National Roundup

Father and son plead guilty to wildlife crimes

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A father and son from West Springfield have been convicted of importing and selling live freshwater fish without the proper permits in violation of state and federal law.
Authorities say 69-year-old Michael Zombik and 48-year-old Paul Zombik pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court.
Federal prosecutors say they ran a wholesale bait shop in the city that purchased and sold millions of dollars’ worth of live freshwater bait fish and game fish that was then distributed to other states, all without the proper state permits.
Authorities say the Zombiks’ actions increased the likelihood of diseases and invasive species crossing state lines.
They are scheduled to be sentenced March 13 when they face a maximum of five years in prison.

New Mexico
‘Ether Man’ expected to plead guilty to rape

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Colorado inmate suspected of being the “Ether Man” serial rapist in a number of states is expected to plead guilty to a rape in Albuquerque.
Howard Bruce is scheduled to appear in an Albuquerque court Tuesday and is suspected of committing at least 12 rapes in New Mexico in the 1990s.
Bruce is serving a 64-year sentence for attempting to blow up a police officer’s home. He is accused of being the Ether Man, who was known for using chemicals to subdue dozens of rape victims in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.
He has also been linked to rapes in Oklahoma.
It was unclear which attorney in New Mexico was representing Bruce.

Little Rock police sued over 2 shooting deaths

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two civil lawsuits allege wrongful death and excessive force by Little Rock police in two officer-involved shootings.
The lawsuits were filed Monday in federal court in Little Rock by attorney Mike Laux of Chicago. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the lawsuits also question the findings that the shootings were justified.
Police Sgt. Cassandra Davis said she can’t comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuits were filed in the deaths of Landris Hawkins in 2009 and William Collin Spradling in 2008.
Previous reports say police shot Hawkins when he pointed a knife at a woman and child after he had terrorized his grandmother and great-grandmother. Police also said previously that Spradling was shot by officers when he pointed a gun them while being questioned about a burglary.

Woman who drove on sidewalk must wear ‘idiot’ sign

CLEVELAND (AP) — A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to avoid a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children will have to stand at an intersection wearing a sign warning about idiots.
Court records show a Cleveland Municipal Court judge on Monday ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to stand at an intersection for two days next week. She will have to wear a sign saying: “Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”
The judge ordered her to wear the sign from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. both days.
Hardin’s license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.
Messages seeking comment were left at a telephone listing for Hardin and at her attorney’s office.

Inmate turns self in after mistaken release from jail

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) — A robbery suspect who was inadvertently released from the Russell County Jail last week has turned himself in, authorities said.
Cimarron Lamb made arrangements to return to the east Alabama lockup nearly a week after he was mistakenly released, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.
Lamb called the sheriff’s office and arranged to meet authorities around 4:30 p.m. at a hotel in Columbus, Ga., Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said.
The 31-year-old inmate was awaiting a court hearing and his expected extradition back to Alabama.
“He said he was tired of running,” Taylor said. “He just wanted to turn himself in the least intrusive way. Obviously, I’m glad that he’s back in custody. I’m glad that he wasn’t hurt.”
Taylor said Lamb, a suspect in a grocery store robbery, was released Oct. 30 by mistake. Authorities say Lamb had been arrested in connection with the robbery last week of the Rainbow Foods in Fort Mitchell. They say he’s accused of driving the getaway car.
Two employees at the jail have been suspended without pay for their role in Lamb’s release, the sheriff said.

Man seeks legal status as dad of confined teen
ATLANTA (AP) — A Nevada man has filed court documents to be legally recognized as the father of a Georgia teen who prosecutors say was confined to a bedroom for years by his stepfather and mother with little food.
A suburban Atlanta grand jury last month indicted Mitch Comer’s stepfather, Paul Comer, and mother, Sheila Comer, on charges that include cruelty to children and false imprisonment. Lawyers for the Comers said their clients are innocent and another side of the story will emerge at trial.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Tony Wawrzynski says his son, now 18, was 3 years old when his then-girlfriend disappeared with the toddler.
Paulding County Superior Court records show that Wawrzynski has filed a paternity petition to be legally recognized as the teenager’s father.

Judge allows
autopsy photos
in slaying case
MACON, Ga. (AP) — Bibb County Superior Court Judge Tripp Self says he will allow autopsy photographs to be admitted for the first trial in the slaying of Bibb County sheriff’s deputy Joseph Whitehead.
Lawyers for 27-year-old Damon Jolly had argued that the photos are too gruesome to show jurors.
Jolly is one of two men accused of opening fire during a drug raid on March 23, 2006. Prosecutor Gary Wood said the autopsy photographs will help an expert explain to the jury exactly what killed Whitehead, who was serving a “no-knock” search warrant at a Bibb County house.
The Telegraph of Macon reports that the judge ruled Monday that the photos will be allowed at Jolly’s trial. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month in Savannah.?