National Roundup

Judge: Woman competent to stand trial in mother's death

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state judge has ruled a 55-year-old Baton Rouge woman is now competent to stand trial on a manslaughter charge in the 2014 death of her 82-year-old mother.

Police have said Bessie Looney was found dead amid deplorable conditions, sitting naked in a wheelchair in her home and covered with infected bedsores. Daughter Joleslie Looney and her 19-year-old daughter Lauren Looney are both charged with manslaughter in the death of Bessie Looney.

The Advocate reports state District Judge Mike Erwin found Joleslie Looney incompetent to proceed in February due to her depression, and she was sent later to the state mental facility in Jackson.

Erwin on Monday found her competent at a sanity review hearing after mental health professionals reported her competency to assist her attorneys had been restored.

Woman sentenced for role in global cybercrime scam

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A woman from Los Angeles has been sentenced for her role in global cybercrime schemes uncovered after a Mississippi woman reported she'd been scammed.

The Sun Herald reports 44-year-old Genoveva Farfan received a total prison term of eight years Tuesday on guilty pleas to conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

U.S. Judge Sul Ozerden in Gulfport, Mississippi, also fined her $2,500 on the conspiracy conviction.

Prosecutors say Farfan is among 20 people, including 11 from South Africa, indicted in a probe of internet-based mass-marketing schemes involving losses of $6.5 million. They say the schemes included romance scams and work-at-home jobs through which electronics and other devices were bought using stolen identities and re-shipped overseas to be re-sold.

Founder of violent street gang 'MS-13' sent to prison

BOSTON (AP) - The founder of a notorious street gang has been sentenced to prison in Massachusetts for illegally entering the United States after having been deported.

Carlos Geovanni Martinez-Aguilar, of Mesquite, Texas, was sentenced Tuesday by a U.S. District Court judge in Boston to three years in prison followed by two years of probation.

Martinez-Aguilar pleaded guilty in April to unlawful re-entry of a deported alien.

Prosecutors say Martinez-Aguilar, a native of El Salvador, illegally entered the U.S. in 1995. In 2002, he was convicted of unarmed robbery. He was deported in July 2003.

Prior to his deportation, Martinez-Aguilar was a leader of the MS-13 gang in the North Shore area of Massachusetts.

Authorities say MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, has origins in El Salvador. It is notorious for using extreme violence.

Court rejects school's request in transgender bathroom case

GLOUCESTER, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has denied a Virginia school board's request to allow it to prevent a transgender teen from using the boys' bathroom when he returns to school this September.

The Gloucester County School Board wants to delay an order forcing it to let Gavin Grimm to use the restroom matching his gender identity while it appeals.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied that request Tuesday.

The appeals court sided in April with Grimm, who argues the board violated discrimination laws by forbidding him from using the boys' bathroom. Grim was a girl who now identifies as a boy.

Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in a dissenting opinion that allowing Grimm to use the boy's bathroom will deny male students "bodily privacy while using the facilities."

Parole board to look at releasing 'prison Houdini'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's parole board will decide whether a man known as a "prison Houdini" for a series of jail escapes should walk free.

Mark DeFriest was convicted in 1980 of stealing tools that would have been bequeathed to him, had he waited for his father's will to be executed in 1979.

His original four-year sentence spiraled into a virtual life term after a series of escapes and disciplinary issues.

The state's parole commission voted over a year ago to reduce his sentence. DeFriest hoped to be released this year, but the board is reconsidering that decision based on new disciplinary issues.

Police's fatal shooting of man deemed justified

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The Washington County sheriff's office and Goshen Police Department say deputies were justified in their fatal shooting of a man who authorities say pointed a gun at law enforcement officers during a standoff.

Authorities say 50-year-old Randolph Blecher started a fire at a shop next to his Farmington home June 24, and his home was on fire when police arrived.

Police say Blecher had firearms, which kept firefighters from extinguishing the fire, according to The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Authorities say officers tried to use a stun gun on Blecher, but it had little effect, and he ran down a street before raising a handgun at police.

Lt. Josh McConnell and Cpl. Brian Comstock of the Washington County sheriff's office and Goshen Officer William Sweeney fired multiple shots at Blecher, killing him.

The Washington County sheriff's office completed its internal investigation Monday. Spokeswoman Kelly Cantrell said McConnell and Comstock returned to work Monday without restrictions. They had been on administrative leave pending the investigation.

According to a news release from the sheriff's office, Blecher likely shot at police after they tried to use a stun gun on him.

"Until the actual shooting occurred, officers on scene used incredible restraint as they attempted to reason with Blecher and end the situation peacefully," according to the report.

Sweeney, who is a part-time officer with the Goshen police and a full-time deputy, has also returned to full duty. The Goshen Police Department conducted an internal investigation and determined that Sweeney did not violate any police policies.

Arkansas State Police were asked to investigate the use of force in the shooting. Washington County prosecuting attorney Matt Durrett said state police turned over its investigation to his department late Tuesday. He said he will review and determine if he will file criminal charges.

Published: Thu, Jul 14, 2016