National Roundup

Louisiana

Judge recuses herself from ex-BP engineer's case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal judge in New Orleans has recused herself from the criminal case against a former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo didn't specify in Tuesday's order why she is recusing herself. But she cited a law that says judges should disqualify themselves if their "impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

The case against 50-year-old Kurt Mix, of Katy, Texas, has been reassigned to Judge Stanwood Duval Jr.

Mix pleaded not guilty on May 3 to two counts of obstruction of justice. An indictment accuses him of deleting text messages to a supervisor and a contractor to prevent them from being used in a grand jury probe of the spill.

Texas

Jury to see images in airline exec porn case

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A federal jury in South Texas will be allowed to view most images allegedly found on a computer owned by an airline executive.

Robert Hedrick has been charged with five counts related to child pornography and sexual exploitation of children. The trial of the founder of Brownsville-based Pan American Airways continues Thursday.

The Brownsville Herald reports a judge Wednesday viewed hundreds of the images, then ruled jurors will be allowed to see a majority of the photos.

The defense objected, saying some images could not be proven to involve a minor or depict child pornography.

Police have testified that an undercover officer posing as a girl chatted online with someone using a screen named linked to Hedrick.

The defense has said 61-year-old Hedrick wasn't the person in those chats.

Ohio

Mom gets 9 years in teenager's malnutrition death

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- The mother of a 14-year-old Ohio girl who had cerebral palsy and weighed 28 pounds when she died last year has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

A prosecutor's spokesman says 42-year-old Angela Norman was sentenced Thursday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in Dayton. She pleaded guilty last month to a first-degree felony count of involuntary manslaughter and to single misdemeanor and felony counts of endangering children.

Authorities say Norman's daughter, Makayla, had numerous bed sores and showed other signs of neglect when she died in March 2011. An official with the county coroner's office says the girl died from nutritional and medical neglect complicated by her chronic condition.

Charges also were filed against three nurses who authorities said were to administer or monitor the girl's care.

Indiana

135-year sentence in Indianapolis cookout shooting

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A man convicted of murder in a shooting at an Indianapolis birthday cookout has been sentenced to 135 years in prison.

A Marion County judge ordered the sentence against Damion Martin on Wednesday.

Authorities said two men opened fire at the August 2010 gathering on the city's near west side, probably in retaliation for a killing a year earlier. The 37-year-old woman hosting the party and a 54-year-old man were killed. Six others were injured.

A jury convicted Martin on two murder counts and other charges.

Another man was acquitted of charges in the attack, and jurors couldn't reach a verdict on murder charges against a third man.

Prosecutor's office spokeswoman Brienne Delaney tells The Indianapolis Star that the office intends to retry Antwan Williams in the case.

Kentucky

Convicted serial killer sentenced again in Paducah

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) -- A convicted serial killer serving 15 life prison terms has been sentenced in a Paducah cold case that did not result in a killing.

A judge gave Timothy Krajcir another 65 years in prison during a sentencing hearing Wednesday in Paducah.

According to The Paducah Sun, Krajcir admitted breaking into a house forcing a young man to wrap himself in a blanket and sexually abusing his mother, who has since died. Krajcir also pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary in the 1978 incident.

In court, Krajcir said he regretted the trauma and heartbreak he caused. Krajcir said he was glad the man followed his orders or he would have likely killed him and his mother.

Another Paducah woman, Joyce Tharp, was among the victims killed.

West Virginia

Widow of gas industry worker sues Colo. firm

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- The widow of a Nutter Fort man says two Colorado companies and their executives are responsible for her husband's death because they forced a crew to drive from Ohio to West Virginia after a 22-hour work day.

Crystal Roth's 26-year-old husband, Timothy, died last July when the exhausted driver in charge of the crew fell asleep at the wheel.

She's suing Grand Junction-based Energy Services LLC and Energy Specialties, executive Keri Gray and two others in Harrison County Circuit Court.

Energy Services provides containment and other support services for natural gas drillers.

In court filings, Gray and the two companies deny any wrongdoing.

Roth's attorneys say Gray formed Energy Specialties to circumvent federal transportation regulations and obtain a registration number for her commercial vehicles after Energy Services' registration was revoked.

Ohio

Lawyer disciplined for intercepting emails

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court is temporarily suspending the law license of a former state lawyer who was fired for intercepting sensitive emails between Ohio public safety employees and investigators.

The court on Thursday suspended Joshua Engel's law license for six months for violating professional conduct rules when he worked as the Ohio Department of Public Safety's chief legal counsel.

Engel previously pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of disclosing confidential information. He was sentenced to $750 and suspended jail time of 30 days on each count. He also agreed to cooperate with state investigations regarding the email interceptions and a botched drug sting at the governor's residence.

A court board had noted that Engel's actions didn't benefit him or harm anyone else.

A message was left Thursday for Engel.

Published: Fri, May 18, 2012

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