National Roundup


Teen charged in parents' beating deaths

PALOS PARK, Ill. (AP) -- Authorities in suburban Chicago have charged a high school student in the deaths of his parents, who were found beaten in their Palos Park home.

The Cook County medical examiner on Monday ruled that 42-year-old Maria Granat and 44-year-old John Granat died after suffering multiple blunt force injuries. Maria Granat was also stabbed. They were pronounced dead early Sunday in their southwest suburban Chicago home.

Authorities say the couple's son, 17-year-old John Granat, has been arrested and is now charged with first-degree murder in their deaths. He's scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Police haven't revealed a motive for the killings.


Family of former Rebels' player sues Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A Hinds County judge says he will rule soon on a motion by the University of Mississippi to move a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a former Ole Miss football player to Lafayette County.

The Clarion-Ledger reports arguments were heard Monday on the motion.

The motion is being opposed by the family of Bennie Abram. The family sued the university, coach Houston Nutt and the NCAA in May in Hinds County.

Abram was 20 years old when he collapsed during the first day of formal offseason workouts on Feb. 19, 2010, and later died at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Miss. An autopsy revealed Abram died from complications associated with sickle cell trait.

Ole Miss was aware Abram had sickle cell trait, which is usually asymptomatic, but can occasionally trigger severe problems after strenuous exercise. The university has repeatedly said all of its employees acted properly.

The NCAA made sickle cell trait testing mandatory for all Division I athletes last year, though carrying the trait does not prevent an athlete from playing sports.

On Monday, Chuck Mullins, a Jackson attorney representing the family, said Hinds County is the proper place for the suit.

"I believe Lafayette would be a difficult place to get a fair trial simply because of the potential jurors' connection with the University of Mississippi," Mullins said.

J. Cal Mayo, an Oxford attorney representing Ole Miss, said the venue should be where the event took place.

"Everything that took place happened in Lafayette County. Nothing happened in Hinds County," Mayo said.

Mullins said Hinds County is also the proper venue because it is where the state College Board is based, and the board has control over all public colleges and universities, including the implementation of policies and procedures.

"The procedure which should have been implemented in this case is one which the IHL is ultimately responsible for," Mullins said, referring to the exercise program for athletes diagnosed with sickle cell.

He said the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that Hinds County is the proper venue when the College Board is a defendant even when the action occurred elsewhere.

The NCAA has a set of guidelines for institutions to follow regarding the training of athletes with sickle cell trait, including a "slow and gradual" preseason conditioning regimen and for athletes to "stop immediately upon struggling."

The lawsuit alleges that the first day of workouts was "carelessly and recklessly excessive," especially for athletes with sickle cell trait. It also claims there was no evidence Abram was informed of his condition, and that he didn't receive proper medical attention when he began struggling during the workouts, and was instead pushed to continue.

He died several hours after the early morning workouts ended.

The lawsuit also alleges gross negligence, medical malpractice and a violation of civil rights.

Sickle cell trait is found in approximately 8 percent of African-Americans in the United States, according to the NCAA.


Stenographer sues lawyer over transcript claim

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) -- A court stenographer has sued a western Pennsylvania attorney who has claimed the stenographer altered transcripts in a murder case the attorney is appealing.

The Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pa. says stenographer Toni DiNardo filed the defamation suit against attorney Noah Geary, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday. The suit was filed Friday.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has twice rejected appeals by Geary containing allegations that DiNardo changed the transcripts in the case of convicted murderer Gerald Szakal at the behest of Washington County Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca. The judge has denied that.

The appeals court rejected Geary's claims that he was told by DiNardo that audio recordings of Szakal's 2009 murder trial don't match her transcripts. DiNardo claims that's not true and that she's been defamed in Geary's appeals and media reports about them.


Judge dismisses $200M lawsuit against city

STAUNTON, Va. (AP) -- A judge has dismissed a $200 million lawsuit filed against Staunton by a man wrongfully accused in the 1967 slayings of two women at an ice cream parlor.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Glen Conrad says in a decision issued last week that there are no facts to support William Thomas Jr.'s claims that city officials conspired to violate his rights.

Thomas was acquitted in 1968 of one of the slayings. In 2008, the city threw out a second charge when a dying woman confessed to the slayings and said a city police detective knew she shot both women.

The News Leader reported Conrad's ruling in Tuesday's editions. Thomas told the newspaper he hadn't yet seen the decision and couldn't comment.

New Hampshire

Murder victim's children sue woman

DOVER, N.H. (AP) -- A Dover woman convicted of hiring her ex-husband to kill her boyfriend has been sued by the victim's children.

The suit filed in Strafford County Superior Court claims the children should receive the estate of victim David King.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports the suit claims the children were caused great pain and suffering after their father's death.

Dianna Saunders was convicted in March of charges including conspiracy to commit murder and being an accomplice to murder in the Aug. 29, 2008 killing of King.

Saunders is the primary beneficiary of a $500,000 life insurance plan taken out before King's death.

Prosecutors say Saunders enlisted her ex-husband to kill King to cover up the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars she stole from someone else in a real estate deal.

Published: Wed, Sep 14, 2011