National Roundup

Jury convicts man of murder of girlfriend’s mom

CLINTON, La. (AP) — An East Feliciana Parish jury has convicted Kendale Scott of second-degree murder in the June 24, 2012, slaying of 58-year-old Katherine Hartman, of Ethel.
District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla tells The Advocate the jury voted 11-1 Friday after a three-day trial to find Scott guilty of killing Hartman and then dumping her body in the yard of a vacant house in Ethel, where it was found by sheriff’s deputies on July 6, 2012.
The victim’s daughter, Lisa Marie Keller, 34, had reported Hartman missing on June 25, Sheriff Talmadge Bunch said at the time.
A grand jury on Aug. 7, 2012, indicted Scott, 26, along with Keller, Naomi Ruth Wheat, 20; and Shederick Law, 24, of the second-degree murder of Hartman.
At the time of the slaying, Keller, Scott, and Wheat lived with the victim in a mobile home west of Clinton.
Scott initially was booked on a second-degree murder count, while deputies booked the other three with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
Sheriff’s deputies believe Scott shot and killed Hartman on June 24 and Keller reported her mother missing the next day to avoid answering questions about her mother’s whereabouts.
Sheriff’s detectives identified Scott as Keller’s boyfriend; Wheat as a friend of Keller and Law, of Baker, as a friend of Scott.

New Mexico
Police: 70-year-old intentionally ran over cyclist

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 70-year-old man is facing charges after Albuquerque police say he struck his roommate with an SUV.
KRQE-TV reports that Vincent Romero was in court Sunday on charges of aggravated battery and assault related to the bizarre argument.
According to police, Romero showed up to his home Saturday armed with a golf club and told his roommate to get out of their Albuquerque home.
When the victim, who has not been named, tried to leave on a bike, officers say Romero got in his SUV and hit the victim after a short chase.
Authorities say the victim was not seriously injured but he ran off when Romero pointed a gun at him.
Romero has been ordered held on a $20,000 bond.

24 years later, disappearance case still mystery

FREDERICKTOWN, Mo. (AP) — Twenty-four years after a 14-year-old girl disappeared from near her eastern Missouri home, leads still trickle in concerning the disappearance of Gina Dawn Brooks.
Gina was last seen on Aug. 5, 1989. She is presumed dead, but her remains were never found.
She had been riding her red 10-speed bicycle between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., near her home in Fredericktown, Mo., about 75 miles southwest of St. Louis. The bike was found on the street.
There were reports of a light blue, gray or green station wagon at about the time a witness heard a scream in the neighborhood.
Bryant Squires reportedly made a deathbed confession in 1996, indicting himself and Nathan “Danny” Williams, who was charged with first-degree murder in 1999. The charges against Williams were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. Squires reportedly was the driver of the station wagon.
Williams is in prison for raping a young girl in St. Louis, a crime that occurred months after Gina’s disappearance. He denied involvement in the kidnapping or killing of Gina.
“I didn’t kill anybody,” he said after a 1999 court hearing.
Squires died of cancer soon after his confession.

AG asks for U.S. Supreme Court to rule on prayer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has joined 22 other attorneys general around the nation in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling prohibiting prayer at the beginning of government meetings.
A brief written by the staffs at the Indiana and Texas attorneys general offices asks the high court to issue a ruling to provide clarity on whether the practice is legal, noting that various federal appeals courts have reached conflicting conclusions.
The brief was filed in a case involving an upstate New York town that a federal court ruled violated the constitutional ban against favoring one religion over another by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity.
The brief contends a Supreme Court ruling would enable governments to make informed decisions.

2 women face sentencing in ‘gift table’ plot

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Two Guilford women are facing sentencing after they were guilty of running a gifting table pyramid scheme.
Donna Bello and Jill Platt were scheduled to be sentenced Monday in federal court in Hartford. They were convicted in February of charges including wire fraud and filing false tax returns.
Prosecutors said Bello and Platt operated the scam from 2008 to 2011 and it often targeted women in financial distress. Prosecutors said the scheme involved women joining the clubs by giving $5,000 “gifts” to other table members. The new members climbed up the rankings by recruiting new members and left the tables after receiving $40,000 from new members.
Platt’s attorney had said everything she did was legal and based upon the advice of lawyers. Bello’s attorney denied it was a pyramid scheme.

Officials: Woman  stymied probe in husband’s death

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Prosecutors say the Georgia woman accused of hindering the investigation into her husband’s shooting death had a forbidden romance with her boss, who was convicted in the slaying.
Prosecutor Kellie Hill made the arguments during opening statements Monday in the trial of Andrea Sneiderman, who is accused of lying under oath and hindering the investigation into her husband’s death.
Sneiderman’s husband, Rusty Sneiderman, was fatally shot in November 2010 outside a suburban Atlanta preschool. Andrea Sneiderman’s former boss Hemy Neuman was convicted in the killing, but he was found mentally ill.
Prosecutors initially said Sneiderman arranged her husband’s killing, but murder charges against her were dropped. She now faces charges of making false statements, hindering an investigation and perjury.
Sneiderman has pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly denied any romantic relationship with Neuman.