National Roundup


Hazing prompts coach firing, player suspensions

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) -- Franklin & Marshall College has suspended part of its women's lacrosse team and fired its national championship-winning coach over a hazing complaint.

The school said Tuesday that it had dismissed coach Lauren Paul and kicked several players off the team after confirming the hazing took place last year.

Vice President of Communications Cass Cliatt told The Associated Press the school will not release details about the dismissed players, but the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era reports 11 players are no longer listed on the roster, including eight of nine seniors.

Cliatt would not release details about the hazing, citing student privacy. The suspended players remain enrolled as students.

Paul guided the team to the NCAA Division III national championship in 2009. A phone listing for her could not be located.


Police say woman fakes kidnapping to see boyfriend

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Police say a 22-year-old suburban Phoenix woman has admitted she lied about being kidnapped in order to meet her boyfriend in Mexico.

Avondale police say Jessica Rodriguez's family told police on March 30 she called from a blocked number saying she was being held against her will.

Her family believed that her boyfriend, 19-year-old Jesus Antonio Araque Mondragon, had arranged her kidnapping after fleeing to Mexico. Mondragon is a person of interest in a January homicide.

The Nogales Police Department on Saturday notified Avondale police that Rodriguez was at a border crossing station.

Avondale police say Rodriguez told them Tuesday that she had lied to her family about being kidnapped because she knew her mother would not let her see Mondragon.

Rodriguez has been released while police review possible charges.


Judge to stay execution of Shannon Johnson

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A federal judge said Wednesday that he will stay the execution of convicted killer Shannon Johnson to hear arguments that Johnson is mentally incompetent and should not be put to death.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet held a hearing Wednesday on the last-minute effort by federal public defenders to stop the execution, scheduled for early Friday.

The federal public defenders are trying for the second time to intervene in the case without Johnson's consent. Johnson's attorney and state prosecutors say the public defender's office has no business trying to insert itself in the case.

Johnson was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Cameron Hamlin, 25, who was shot after Johnson found him sitting in a car with Johnson's ex-girlfriend near downtown Wilmington. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

After the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in 2009, Johnson said he did not want to pursue any further appeals.

The federal public defenders are acting on behalf of Johnson's sister, Lakeisha Ford. They argued in a court filing submitted late Friday that Johnson suffers from a debilitating combination of mental disorders, including mental illness and severe brain damage.

"He is also a person with mental retardation, and is therefore categorically ineligible to be put to death," they wrote.

Johnson's lawyer said in a letter earlier to Sleet that she spoke with Johnson on Monday, and that he remains committed to proceeding with his execution. Attorney Jennifer-Kate Aaronson told Sleet that Johnson has been estranged from his sister for two years and that he did not authorize her attempt to intervene in the case as his "next friend."


Appeals Court upholds murder conviction

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The state Court of Appeals has upheld the capital murder conviction of a Kosciusko man sentenced to life without parole for the shooting death of Jessie Earl Hill at a store in Attala County.

Court records show Barry Love also was sentenced to 65 years on two counts of aggravated assault, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Love was one of four men arrested for the 2008 robbery at Hill Brothers Logging Shop on Mississippi Highway 19 North in Attala County. Three others were convicted in the case.

Prosecutors say Hill was found dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to the chest. Two other men in the shop were wounded.

On appeal Love argued he was under duress while participating in the robbery and his attorney failed to pursue the issue in instructions to the jury.

The Appeals Court rejected that argument Tuesday. The court said the only mention of duress occurred during Love's testimony. The court said the issue of duress was covered in other instructions presented to the jury.


Man accused of threatening to kill judge

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) -- A Grand Junction man is facing charges after he was accused of telling authorities he had assault rifles and directions from God to kill a Mesa County District Court judge.

Justin Townsel is facing a felony charge of retaliation against a judge for allegedly making threats against Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Townsel was expected to be sentenced Thursday in front of Flynn on a prior felony burglary and theft charge.

Townsel was jailed on $150,000 bond and ordered not to come within 50 feet of Flynn.


Man's felony conviction for shooting dog upheld

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A town of Fond du Lac man's felony conviction for shooting his neighbor's dog Shakes with a high-powered pellet gun has been upheld.

The Second District Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the 2010 conviction of Shawn Klingelhoets saying that the jury didn't have to find that he intended to kill the dog, only that he intended to treat it in a cruel manner.

Klingelhoets was convicted on a felony charge of mistreating an animal resulting in its death after he shot his neighbor's Jack Russell terrier three times while it was tied to a post. Klingelhoets testified that he just wanted to "give him a little sting in the butt" to stop him from barking.

But the third shot penetrated Shakes' spinal canal, causing him to be euthanized.

Published: Thu, Apr 19, 2012