National Roundup

Police arrest man in 1976 Tucson murder case

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Investigators in Arizona have arrested a man suspected of killing a woman in Tucson more than 35 years ago.
Tucson police say 66-year-old Bruce McCullough has been charged with first-degree murder in the March 1976 death of 20-year-old Donna Smith. Authorities say the two had been living together as a couple.
Detectives reviewing cold cases were able to track McCullough to San Diego and arrested him at his home last week. They say he avoided law enforcement for decades by using a fake identity but recently had been using his own name.
Tucson police say McCullough is awaiting extradition to southern Arizona.
Detectives say they’ve visited Smith’s mother to let her know of McCullough’s arrest.

Feds sue landlord of dispensary that sells marijuana

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — The federal government is suing Berkeley’s largest medical marijuana outlet with the goal of seizing the property from its landlord.
The Contra Costa Times reports the suit accuses Berkeley Patients Group of breaking federal drug laws by allowing the sale of marijuana. It claims landlord Nahla Droubi is subject to seizure of her property.
The suit comes nearly a year after Berkeley Patients Group was forced to close its previous location down the street on San Pablo Avenue when the landlord there received a letter threatening seizure for the same reason. The newspaper says the letter also cited the fact that it was too close to two nearby schools.

Singer arrested in  sting uncovering murder-for-hire 

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The lead singer of Grammy-nominated heavy metal band As I Lay Dying was arrested Tuesday in Southern California as authorities said he tried to hire an undercover detective to kill his estranged wife.
Tim Lambesis, 32, was arrested at a retail business in Oceanside, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The statement said detectives received information Thursday that Lambesis had solicited someone to kill his wife, who lives in nearby Encinitas. A task force from several law enforcement agencies quickly launched an investigation that led to the arrest.
The department would give no further details on the investigation.
As I Lay Dying formed in San Diego in 2000 and has released six albums including 2007’s “An Ocean Between Us,” which reached No. 8 on Billboard’s charts. A track from the album was nominated for a Grammy for top metal performance.
It was not clear whether Lambesis had hired an attorney, and a phone message seeking comment left at a number listed in his name was not immediately returned.
According to its website, the band is scheduled to tour the country with several other metal acts starting later this month.

Former officer sent to prison in jail beatings case

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A former drug task force agent will spend six months in federal prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to tamper with a witness.
The Telegraph reports that Timothy King Jr. was sentenced to the prison term Tuesday.
He was convicted of conspiring with former Wilcox County Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth, Bloodsworth’s son Austin and some other jailers to lie about three inmates who were beaten up. Authorities say King didn’t participate in the beating, but helped try to cover it up.
Bloodsworth, his son and other co-defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Wednesday.
Authorities say the defendants attempted to cover up the beating of then-19-year-old inmate Kyle Michael Hyatt and two other prisoners after the sheriff was angered about a contraband cell phone being in the jail.

Competency an issue in slaying by sledgehammer 

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Attorneys for a man accused in the sledgehammer slayings of a prominent northeastern Ohio couple say an evaluation may be necessary to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
Eighteen-year-old Shawn Eric Ford Jr. faces capital murder charges in the April slayings of Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert in their home in New Franklin, near Akron.
The (Akron) Beacon Journal reports that Ford appeared in court Tuesday. His attorneys told the judge they still need to meet with medical experts before deciding whether a competency evaluation is needed.
The defense said last month that a written plea of not guilty by reason of insanity would likely be filed, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Ford also is charged in an earlier assault of the couple’s teenage daughter.

Court upholds damages in sky diving deaths

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri Court of Appeals has restored $28 million in punitive damages to the families of five people who died in the crash of a skydiving plane shortly after takeoff from a rural Missouri airport.
Six people died when the plane crashed in July 2006 at Sullivan Regional Airport about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.
In 2011, a Franklin County jury ordered Doncasters Inc. to pay $28 million in punitive damages and $20 million in compensatory damages to five of the families. The sixth family did not join in the lawsuit.
The trial judge stripped the punitive damages from the award and the families appealed.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the appeals court restored the $28 million on Tuesday and denied Doncasters’ request for a new trial.

Cafe owner is charged in court bomb threats

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A well-known businessman who operates a restaurant on the Marietta Square outside Atlanta is accused of calling in bomb threats that shut down two of Georgia’s largest courthouses.
Authorities said the threats led to employees being evacuated from the Cobb and Cherokee county courthouses on Tuesday.
Cherokee County officials say 45-year-old Jody John Wilson’s Woodstock home was in foreclosure and scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps on the same day that authorities say he called in the threats.
The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Wilson has owned and operated the Starlight Cafe on the Marietta Square with his wife the past two years. He faces charges that include making terroristic threats and giving false statements.