National Roundup

Man sentenced after stabbing, killing stepfather

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado man has been sentenced to 33 years in prison after stabbing his stepfather and posting a social media video of the body.

The Sentinel reported Monday that 21-year-old Nickolas Vinson originally pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity before switching his plea to guilty of second-degree murder.

Authorities say Vinson acknowledged stabbing and killing 50-year-old Oscar Owensby in December 2017 in an Aurora home.

Authorities say Vinson then took a video of the body and posted it to Snapchat.

He was 19 years old at the time of the murder.

Court officials say they were arguing about helping around the house earlier in the day.

Vinson has been held at Arapahoe County Detention Facility since his arrest and will be credited with 648 days of time served.

North Dakota
Woman pleads guilty to trespass for zoo selfie

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An 18-year-old North Dakota woman who authorities say jumped a zoo guard rail to take a selfie in front of a primate cage has pleaded guilty to trespassing.

Ashlee Brown was fined $300 after Monday’s guilty plea and will be on unsupervised probation for nearly a year. She can keep the incident off her record if she stays out of trouble during that time.

Authorities say Brown jumped the rail at Bismarck’s Dakota Zoo in July, touched a small ape known as a siamang, and took a photograph. Brown didn’t testify in court and declined comment.

Zoo director Terry Lincoln said at the time that some diseases can be transmitted between humans and primates, and actions like Brown’s raise safety concerns for zoo visitors.

Man guilty of 1988 attack, ­subsequent death of doctor

DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas jury has found a man guilty of capital murder in the death of a doctor who died last year after she was left incapacitated in 1988 following an attack in which she was raped and strangled.

Fifty-eight-year-old George Guo was convicted Monday following a jury trial. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty and Guo was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Guo attacked Dr. Katherine Bascone in her home and her strangulation left her with a brain injury that resulted in blindness and paralyzing injuries that required lifetime care.

Authorities were unable to identify a suspect at the time but after Bascone died in February 2018 they reopened the case and resubmitted DNA samples collected from Bascone’s home.

The testing led investigators to Guo , who was himself a licensed physician and also a registered sex offender.

North Carolina
Sheriff accused of plotting killing is suspended

OXFORD, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff accused of helping plot the killing of a deputy has been suspended.

The attorney for Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins issued a statement Monday that said his client voluntarily agreed to the suspension. Thomas C. Manning says in the statement that Wilkins looks forward to “exoneration and resumption of his duties.”

Wilkins was indicted last week on felony justice obstruction charges over allegations that he discussed killing a former deputy.

Prosecutors say Wilkins learned in 2014 that deputy Joshua Freeman planned to release a recording of him saying “racially offensive” comments.

The indictment says Wilkins spoke with an unidentified third party about killing Freeman and coached the person on how to avoid being discovered by law enforcement.

Gov.’s comments concerning lethal injection allowed in lawsuit

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A federal magistrate judge is allowing comments about the death penalty made by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to become part of a long-running lawsuit challenging Ohio’s lethal injection process.

Lawyers for death row inmates asked for the inclusion of “numerous statements” by the Republican governor that he would not authorize executions using the state’s current three-drug method.

The lawyers argued the statements weren’t barred by rules preventing the use of hearsay and that they were relevant since DeWine has said executions won’t go forward for now.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Merz in Dayton on Monday ruled in favor of allowing DeWine’s comments into the court case.

Executions have been on hold in Ohio while the prisons system looks for new supplies of lethal drugs.

School district to pay $284K for reburial of inmates’ remains

SUGAR LAND, Texas (AP) — A Houston-area school district will spend $284,000 for the reburial of remains believed to be 95 African American prisoners hired out during the notorious Texas convict-leasing period.

Trustees of the Fort Bend Independent School District on Monday night awarded the reinterment contract to the Missouri City Funeral Directors. The remains were found last year at a school construction site in Sugar Land.

District officials later decided not to build on the property that’s believed to be a burial site for inmates contracted out, but not paid, in the decades after the Civil War.

Fort Bend County and school officials in July reached an agreement to establish a permanent resting place for the convict laborers as part of a possible memorial and education center.

Man tried 6 times for murder moved to jail

GRENADA, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man tried six times for murder is back in a local jail, awaiting a possible seventh trial.

Lawyer Rob McDuff says Curtis Flowers was moved Monday from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman to the Grenada County jail.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Flowers’ conviction in June, finding racially biased jury selection. Prosecutors say Flowers killed four people in a Winona furniture store in 1996. He was sentenced to death in 2010’s sixth trial.

McDuff has asked a judge to free Flowers on bail and throw out charges.

McDuff argues Mississippi law requires bail after two capital murder mistrials. Flowers’ fourth and fifth trials ended in mistrials.

He urges the judge to reject a seventh trial and quash charges, citing prosecutorial misconduct and arguing a limit to trials.