National Roundup

New Hampshire

Convict in shamed girl's rape plans appeal

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A former New Hampshire church member is appealing his forcible rape conviction involving a 15-year-old girl years ago.

Lawyers for Ernest Willis of Gilford have filed a notice of appeal with the state Supreme Court, raising 14 questions to be considered.

Willis was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison in September for raping his teenage babysitter, who became pregnant and was made to stand before their Baptist church congregation 14 years ago and apologize for her immorality.

The Concord Monitor reports among other issues, lawyers for Willis are seeking to challenge the admission of testimony from his former pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, who said Willis admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girl.


Prosecutors seek 50 years in murder-for-hire plot

COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho (AP) -- Federal prosecutors are asking that a north Idaho attorney convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his wife and mother-in-law be sentenced to 50 years in prison for the failed plot.

Edgar J. Steele of Sagle is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene. He was convicted in May.

The government's sentencing memorandum says Steele was heartless to plan the murder of his wife and depraved in manipulating a financially desperate neighbor to commit the crime.

Informant Larry Fairfax confessed to attaching a pipe bomb to Cyndi Steele's vehicle, but said he rigged it so it wouldn't go off. It was discovered when she stopped for an oil change shortly after her husband's arrest. An explosives expert said it could have detonated.


Judge OKs settlement of poultry antitrust case

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) -- A federal judge has approved the settlement of an antitrust lawsuit that challenged George's Inc.'s acquisition of a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Harrisonburg.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed the lawsuit in May. The Daily News Record reports that U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad approved the settlement on Friday.

The lawsuit claimed the sale would reduce the ability of chicken growers in the Shenandoah Valley to receive competitive prices for their services.

Under the settlement, George's will make capital improvements to the plant to increase its production. The Department of Justice said that would resolve competitive concerns because it would increase the number of chickens processed by the plant.

The plant produces commodity boneless and whole bird chicken, as well as chicken leg quarters.

South Carolina

U.S. federal judge sanctions boxer Mayweather

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- A federal judge has ordered prizefighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. to perform 40 hours of community service for dodging a deposition in a music rights dispute with a man.

In a ruling released Monday, Judge Joseph Anderson instructed Mayweather to log his community service at the Las Vegas Habitat for Humanity Project by Jan. 31.

Anderson wrote that videotape shows Mayweather at a pair of Atlanta nightclubs during a time in September when he told the court he couldn't be deposed because he was resting after a boxing match.

Mayweather is being sued by Anthony Dash, who says a beat for a song he created in 2005 was illegally used at a pair of appearances the boxer made at World Wrestling Entertainment events.

Mayweather couldn't immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.


Vancouver man suing Portland police over arrest

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A Vancouver, Wash., man is suing the city of Portland and the police officers who arrested him when he refused to let them dig through his pockets.

In the suit filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, the 31-year-old engineer, Jose Gasque, is seeking $180,000 for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

The Oregonian reports he and a buddy were sitting on a curb in November 2009 when police asked them for identification, ran background checks and patted them down for weapons. They cooperated. But, when an officer said she was going to dig through their pockets, Gasque pulled out a copy of the ACLU's "Know Your Rights" guide and said no.

He spent more than three hours in jail on a trespassing charge that was later dismissed.


School hockey players sue for right to play

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The governing body for high school sports in Maine is facing a lawsuit for not allowing students from other high schools to play for the Portland High boys' hockey team.

The suit filed last week in Cumberland County Superior Court on behalf of two Deering High boys and a Casco Bay High boy contends the decision by the Maine Principal's Association is discriminatory because Deering girls are allowed to play for Portland.

Paul Greene, a lawyer for the boys and their families, says it's a case of gender discrimination.

Deering eliminated its hockey programs because of a lack of players.

MPA Executive Director Dick Durost says allowing the boys to play for Portland violates association rules and it allowed the girls' teams to combine to encourage a growth sport.

New Jersey

Jury clears pub in patron's death

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) -- Jurors found a New Jersey pub was not negligent in the death of a patron who was struck and killed while walking on the Garden State Parkway.

The jury decided not to award money to the parents of Robert Barbiero II.

They sued the owners of Emerald Corner bar in Clifton after the 24-year-old was killed while walking on the parkway in Bloomfield in 2009.

The Record newspaper reports five people who were with Barbiero at the bar testified that while he appeared "tipsy" or "buzzed," his speech was not slurred nor was he stumbling.

State law says patrons must appear visibly intoxicated for a bar to be held civilly responsible after they leave the establishment.

The bar's attorney said Barbiero left the pub about three hours before the accident.

Published: Wed, Nov 9, 2011