National Roundup

North Carolina: Ex-Marine files lawsuit over Camp Lejeune water
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former Marine has filed a $16 million lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that contaminated water at Camp Lejeune caused him to contract a rare form of breast cancer.

Joel Shriberg of Pinehurst said in Friday’s lawsuit that he was diagnosed with the cancer in 2004, which has since spread to his lungs.

Shriberg was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1959.

Wells at the base were contaminated by fuel leaks and other sources of pollution before being closed two decades ago. Health officials think as many as 1 million people may have been exposed to tainted water.

Other former residents have filed lawsuits and disability claims related to the pollution.

The Marine Corps could not be reached immediately Monday morning.

Georgia: State top court tosses plea in manslaughter case
ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court has thrown out a Lowndes County man’s guilty plea for his role in the death of his mother.

In 2004, a Lowndes County grand jury charged Milton Wilson with murder for the death of his mother, Josephine Tyler. He was also charged with illegal possession of hydromorphone, or Dilaudid, with intent to distribute.

In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, the high court said Monday that Wilson’s guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter and drug charges was invalid because he did not make it with full knowledge of his constitutional rights.

At a mass plea hearing in February 2005, Wilson joined 20 other defendants in pleading guilty. He is serving 13 years in prison. The high court’s ruling throws out his conviction.

Colorado: ‘American Gladiators’ cop case goes to trial
DENVER (AP) — A Denver police officer who appeared as a contestant on “American Gladiators” in 2008 faces a civil trial this week in a federal lawsuit involving allegations of excessive use of force.

A lawsuit alleges that officer Vickie Ferrari roughed up the manager of a Grease Monkey and placed handcuffs on him so tight they caused nerve damage. The manager in June 2007 had asked Ferrari to move her police cruiser that was blocking traffic.

The trial is scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court.

Neither internal affairs nor the city’s independent police monitor were able substantiate the manager’s claims.

Another federal lawsuit alleging excessive force is pending against Denver officer Abbegayle Dorn, another contestant on the NBC reality show.

Alabama: Casino owner wants separate corruption trial

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor is asking a judge to let him be tried separately from the nine other defendants in Alabama’s gambling corruption case.

McGregor’s lawyers filed court papers Saturday in Montgomery saying he deserves a separate trial because he’s ready for trial on the scheduled date of April 4, but most other defendants want a delay.

McGregor’s attorney, Joe Espy, also argued that it will be extremely difficult to try 10 people at once and that such a large trial could result in McGregor being unfairly judged based on evidence of what others did.

McGregor and the other defendants were arrested in October on charges accusing them of buying and selling votes on pro-gambling legislation.

Georgia: High court reverses murder ruling
ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court has reversed a judge’s order that threw out the charges against a man convicted of murder, saying evidence missing in the case was not relevant.

Willie Mizell was convicted of malice murder and other crimes in Fulton County in the 2003 beating death of Cassandra Bryant. Prosecutors said Mizell had beaten Bryant after she smoked all his drugs.

Police found evidence, including shoes, slippers, and cigarette butts in Mizell’s apartment and in a large trash container outside. Mizell claimed someone else had borrowed the apartment.

Last year, a Fulton County judge granted Mizell a new trial and dismissed the charges because cigarette butts from the trash had been lost.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the butts could only have strengthened the case for conviction.

Georgia: Convicted man challenges death sentence
ATLANTA (AP) — The man sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and then murdering a 54-year-old mother along a popular suburban Atlanta bike trail is asking Georgia’s top court to toss out his sentence.

Michael Ledford was convicted of the July 2006 slaying of Jennifer Ewing, who was ambushed during her regular 25-mile bike ride along the Silver Comet Trail, a former railroad bed that stretches from Smyrna to Alabama.

He asked the Georgia Supreme Court to overturn his conviction on Monday because he claims dozens of errors were made during the 2009 trial. Among them, he says, was a judge’s refusal to move it to another venue due to pre-trial publicity.

Prosecutors dismiss the challenges in a 232-page brief and urge the top court to affirm Ledford’s death sentence.

Mississippi: Man pleads guilty to fraud related to oil spill
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Federal authorities say a Jackson man has pleaded guilty to mail fraud related to a scheme to collect $90,000 in claims related to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Jackson said 39-year-old Dennis L. Moore pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to defrauding BP PLC and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which administers claims related to the spill.

U.S. Attorney John M. Dowdy Jr. said in a news release that Moore submitted false documents using a fictitious business to collect money.

Moore will be sentenced April 13. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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