National Roundup

New York: NYPD charges model in NYC hotel slaying
NEW YORK (AP) — A Portuguese male model has been charged with murder in the slaying of a celebrity Portuguese television journalist, who was found castrated and bludgeoned to death in a New York City hotel, police said Monday.

Renato Seabra, 21, of Cantanhede, Portugal, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of 65-year-old Carlos Castro, said New York Police Department spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves.

Castro was found dead on Friday in a room of the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel that the two men had shared.

Friends in New York said they were a couple. But Seabra’s mother told Portugal’s TVIndependente television network that her son “was not Carlos Castro’s lover.”

Seabra “never hid his sexuality: that he is heterosexual,” Odilia Pereirinha said Sunday before heading to New York. Portugal’s Lusa news agency said Monday that Portuguese officials would meet with Seabra.

Seabra was detained by police on Saturday after he sought care at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, not far from the hotel. Police said he was at Bellevue Hospital Center on Monday, where he was undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

It was not immediately known if he had retained a lawyer.

Castro and Seabra had arrived in the U.S. in late December to see some Broadway shows and spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square, according to a family friend.

There had been some friction between the two men toward the end of the trip, but nothing to suggest that anything horrible was about to happen, said the friend, Luis Pires, the editor of the Portuguese language newspaper Luso-Americano.

“I think that they were a little bit upset with each other, for jealousy reasons,” Pires told The Associated Press.

Seabra was a contestant last year on a Portuguese TV show called “A Procura Do Sonho,” or “Pursuit of a Dream,” which hunts for modeling talent.

He didn’t win the show but did get a modeling contract with an agency founded by fashion designer Fatima Lopes, who developed the show and was a judge on it.

Police said the victim suffered serious head trauma. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

Texas: Suspect in serial rapes is state prison employee
EDNA, Texas (AP) — A man suspected of raping several older women in central and southeast Texas is a prison employee who once worked for a home health care agency, authorities say.

Billy Joe Harris, 53, was taken into custody early Saturday morning after Edna police responded to a medical emergency alert from an elderly woman, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

DPS officials said police saw Harris running from the woman’s home and arrested him after a short pursuit. After the arrest, a DNA sample taken from the suspect linked him to five other assaults in Yoakum, Bell, Falls and Leon counties, DPS said.

Harris was being held in the Jackson County jail on a burglary charge, the agency said.

A Jackson County jail worker referred comment to Edna police. Chief Clinton Wooldridge and DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange did not know if Harris had an attorney.

Harris lives in the Houston suburb of Missouri City and works as a noncommissioned employee for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Rosharon, DPS said. The agency said records indicate Harris was employed by a home health care agency in Houston.

Authorities have been looking for the so-called “Twilight Rapist” since 2009, when they gave the suspect that name after what they believed were as many as 12 rapes, attempted rapes or burglaries mostly around dawn in rural towns in central and southeast Texas. The women ranged in age from 65 to 91 and generally lived alone, authorities said.

One rape victim played piano at her church on Sundays. An 81-year-old woman scared off an intruder with a gun, firing several rounds. A 66-year-old woman was attacked twice, despite having moved across town following the first assault.

Authorities have said the attacks appeared to have been planned — phone lines were cut and porch lights were unscrewed outside some of the victims’ homes. One victim had more than $10,000 stolen.

Gov. Rick Perry created the Twilight Rapist Task Force in November 2009, 11 months after the first reported attack in Yoakum, a quiet town surrounded by wide-open ranches about 100 miles east of San Antonio. Saturday’s arrest was about 40 miles away in Edna, roughly 100 miles southwest of Houston.

The assailant left behind DNA and other forensic evidence after some attacks, but authorities previously had said they had not been able to link the DNA to anything in the state system.

Maine: F. Lee Bailey writes document defending O.J.
YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) — Former O.J. Simpson defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey is defending Simpson’s 1995 acquittal on charges of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

In his first written account of the trial, Bailey has posted a 46-page paper on his website in which he presents evidence he says proves Simpson’s innocence.

The 77-year-old Bailey tells the Portland Press Herald that the document, called “The Simpson Verdict,” is an effort to reveal evidence not heard before and to explain why he has maintained Simpson’s innocence in the face of attacks from critics.

Bailey was part of Simpson’s defense team when the former NFL football star was found not guilty in Los Angeles in the 1994 slayings of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Iowa: Appeals court: officer had cause to make arrest
WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — A U.S. appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the city of Waverly and a Waverly police officer.

According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, two sisters, Maxine Veatch and Chris Price, say the Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community had retaliated against them when they raised questions about their mother’s care.

Veatch had been arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault in September 2006. A Bartels staffer reported that she’d seen Veatch push her mother into a wheelchair. Veatch says her mother had collapsed and that she caught her mother before she hit the floor.

Veatch was arrested but later was acquitted at trial.

The lawsuit said the city violated Veatch’s constitutional rights.

The appeals court says Waverly Police Sgt. Jason Leonard had sufficient cause to make the arrest.