National Roundup


Federal warrant issued for 1980s 'mountain man'

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- The U.S. attorney's office in Montana has filed federal drug and weapons charges against one of the notorious "mountain men," a father and-son duo convicted in kidnapping a world class athlete in 1984, killing a would-be rescuer and eluding authorities for months.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges Dan Nichols and two other men were involved in a statewide marijuana distribution ring that netted nearly $1.8 million. Federal marshals are searching for Nichols.

Authorities issued a warrant for Nichols' arrest last month for failing to appear on state drug charges filed last summer.

His father, Don Nichols, convicted of killing a man who tried to rescue former U.S. biathlon star Kari Swenson, remains in prison for the crimes. He has a parole hearing this month.


Suspended SF Sheriff argues domestic violence case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is disputing prosecutors' version of the events that led to domestic violence charges against him, saying much of the District Attorney's case was a fabrication.

Mirkarimi gave interviews to the San Francisco Chronicle and KQED on Wednesday.

He was accused of bruising the arm of his wife, a Venezuelan actress, during a dispute on New Year's Eve, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment last month.

But Mirkarimi told the Chronicle he inadvertently bruised Eliana Lopez's arm in an effort to shield his son from her and guide her back into the passenger's seat to calm a dispute. He said the couple was arguing during a car ride after Lopez said she wanted to take their son to Venezuela for an extended stay.


Hearing set for man charged in 'Cathouse' death

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A former Marine charged with killing four people, including a prostitute featured on HBO's "Cathouse" series, appeared in court Wednesday.

David "Hooligan" Tyner is charged in the death of Brooke Phillips, who worked at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada. Phillips was found in a burning home in Oklahoma City on Nov. 9, 2009, along with three other people. All four were shot.

Phillips was pregnant, as was victim Milagrous Barrera, so Tyner faces six murder counts.

A judge in Oklahoma City heard pretrial motions Thursday. Prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty when the case goes to trial next month.

Tyner has pleaded not guilty. A witness testified at a preliminary hearing that the killings happened because of "a big, stupid situation over money."

South Carolina

Cops: McDonald's worker spit in customers' drinks

SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina county's deputies say a McDonald's employee spit in two customers' cups of iced tea after the drinks were returned because they weren't sweet enough.

Authorities say 19-year-old Marvin Washington Jr. was arrested Wednesday and charged with malicious tampering with food.

Greenville County investigators say surveillance video caught Washington leaning over the cups before he filled them Saturday at the Simpsonville restaurant. Authorities say the customers discovered phlegm when they removed the lids of the drinks to add more sugar because the iced tea still was not sweet enough.

The owner of the McDonald's says he follows stringent food safety procedures and asked people not to reach conclusions until all the facts come out.


Dispatcher in Powell murder-suicide reprimanded

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A news report says a Washington state dispatcher who took a 911 call from a social worker just before Josh Powell killed his children and himself has been reprimanded.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that dispatcher David Lovrak was reprimanded after 22 minutes elapsed before help arrived. The reprimand letter says nearly seven minutes went by before deputies were sent.

Powell was a person of interest in his wife's 2009 Utah disappearance and had lost custody of his two sons. On Feb. 5, he grabbed them during a visit near Puyallup, Wash., slammed the door on the social worker, and killed them and himself by setting the house on fire.

The letter says Lovrak violated four policies. It also says he asked seemingly unimportant questions and failed to grasp the situation.

The paper says the written reprimand -- obtained via a public records request -- will be placed in his personnel file.

It wasn't immediately clear Wednesday if Washington had a lawyer.


Loughner's attorneys seek appeals court rehearing

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Lawyers for the man accused of shooting former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords are asking a federal appeals court to rehear arguments over his forced medication.

Jared Lee Loughner's attorneys want to stop their client's medication with psychotropic drugs and end his treatment at a Missouri prison facility where experts are trying to make him psychologically fit for trial. But last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for authorities to keep medicating Loughner.

In a 92-page petition filed Wednesday night, Loughner's lawyers say his "fair trial rights may be denied by forcible medication."

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson that killed six people. Giffords and 12 other people were wounded.


State Supreme Court hears public record case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- A lawyer who tried to obtain documents from another attorney in connection to a medical malpractice lawsuit says the records are subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Attorney Luther Sutter told the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday that the documents are public records because they pertain to doctors who are public employees.

But lawyers for the doctors and Arkansas Children's Hospital say the documents are private records and that releasing them would hamper attorney-client privilege.

Sutter requested documents in a medical malpractice case and later sued when he didn't get them. A lower court said the documents were exempt under an exception about competitive disadvantage.

Sutter says the state's highest court ought to interpret the public records act broadly and overturn the lower court's decision.

Published: Fri, Apr 20, 2012


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