National Roundup

Iowa

Man with zebra, parrot in truck gets DUI

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) -- An Iowa man stopped outside a Dubuque bar with a small zebra and a parrot in his truck has been charged with drunken driving.

KCRG-TV reports officers arrested 56-year-old Jerald Reiter of Cascade on Sunday in the parking lot of the Dog House bar, where people had been taking photos of the animals.

Reiter says the zebra and macaw parrot are pets and like riding in the truck. Reiter claims he sometimes takes the animals into the bar, but the owner says they're not allowed inside.

Officers gave Reiter a field sobriety test and charged him with drunken driving. Reiter disputes the arrest. He says he was about to let a passenger, a person, begin driving.

He says he thinks someone who came to see the animals called police.

Pennsylvania

State court to decide Orie Melvin pay question

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A Pennsylvania court will determine whether Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin should be paid while she defends herself against criminal corruption charges.

The Court of Judicial Discipline has scheduled a hearing for June 12. Melvin has 30 days to respond to a complaint filed on Friday based on the corruption charges she faces. Her salary is $195,000 a year.

Melvin was charged May 18 with illegally using her taxpayer-funded staff in her 2003 and 2009 campaigns for a seat on the state's highest court.

The Republican justice from Pittsburgh's suburbs has pleaded not guilty and contends the charges are politically motivated. Democrat Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. denies that.

Melvin's sister, Jane Orie, is awaiting sentencing June 4 on her conviction for similarly misusing her legislative staff.

Massachusetts

Cape Cod man convicted in 1980 slaying of wife

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) -- A 78-year-old Cape Cod man was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder for hiring someone to kill his estranged wife more than three decades ago.

Edmond Carriere Jr. was convicted in Barnstable Superior Court of paying $10,000 to two men to kill Frances Carriere, who was found stabbed to death in the bathroom of her home in the Buzzards Bay section of Bourne on Jan. 3, 1980. Jurors deliberated for three hours.

Authorities say the woman, whose body was found by a male friend, was stabbed multiple times with such force that her aorta was severed and her heart and lungs punctured.

Edmond Carriere was long a suspect but was not arrested and charged until 2010, when prosecutors said a witness stepped forward to implicate him.

Steven Stewart, of Brockton, testified at trial that Carriere hired him to kill Frances Carriere, who was 44 at the time of her death. The Carrieres, parents of four children, were going through a bitter divorce at the time.

Stewart was convicted of murder in 2005, but after the state's highest court overturned his conviction, he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to testify against Edmond Carriere.

Another suspect, Richard Grebauski of Wareham, was never charged in the killing and died in 2004.

Edmond Carriere had long maintained his innocence and said he was in Florida at the time his wife was killed.

He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole at sentencing scheduled for Wednesday.

His lawyer, Jack Atwood, told the Cape Cod Times that while disappointed with the verdict, he is confident it will be overturned on appeal based on rulings during the trial that he did not elaborate on.

He also questioned the veracity of Stewart's testimony, saying he had been offered leniency.

The Carrieres' children, who were in their early teens to early 20s at the time of the killing, did not comment after the verdict but could make victim-impact statements before sentencing.

"He's guilty, thank God," Gerry Derochea, Frances Carriere's sister-in-law, said outside court.

Ohio

Jury convicts couple on pill mill charges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A federal jury has convicted a couple on charges alleging they ran an Ohio pill mill responsible for illegally prescribing thousands of painkillers.

The case in Cincinnati was among several brought in recent years to help stem what's considered an epidemic of illegal painkiller distribution.

The jury on Tuesday convicted Nancy and Lester Sadler of operating Ohio Medical and Pain Management as a continuing criminal enterprise. The charge carries the possibility of life in prison.

The jury, which had been deadlocked, also convicted the couple of one count each of conspiracy and maintaining a premise for the purposes of distributing drugs.

The jury acquitted employee Sandy Wells.

A defense lawyer had contended there was no wrongdoing.

Washington

ACLU sues Mo. county over prayers at meetings

WASHINGTON, Mo. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union is suing an eastern Missouri county in an effort to halt prayers at county commission meetings.

The Washington Missourian reports that the suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis by the ACLU on behalf of an anonymous resident of Franklin County. It alleges that the commission begins meetings with a prayer in violation of the U.S. and Missouri constitutions.

Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer has said he prefers to fight the ACLU but is concerned about spending taxpayer money in litigation.

Meanwhile, County Counselor Mark Vincent says he is drafting a policy for commission meetings that addresses concerns in the lawsuit and will meet federal and state laws.

Louisiana

Man labeled as predator wins $160K court judgment

HOUMA, La. (AP) -- A judge awarded $160,000 to a Bayou Blue man who said he was labeled a child sexual predator in emails and flyers sent by Houma police.

The Courier reports state District Judge Johnny Walker last month ruled that the man was publicly defamed and that his right to privacy was violated. On Monday, Walker awarded the man $160,000 in damages and expenses from Terrebonne Parish and Houma police.

The man's lawsuit stemmed from an incident in October 2008 when he had stopped on a public jogging path near a school as children played outside. The man said he was resting during a run, but police were called. The man was never arrested or charged but information about him was distributed.

Published: Thu, May 24, 2012

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