National Roundup

Photographer sues Kanye West over LAX scuffle

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A photographer who claims he was attacked by Kanye West at Los Angeles International Airport sued the rapper Wednesday, claiming assault, battery, negligence and violation of his civil rights.
Daniel Ramos claimed his right hip was injured when the rapper punched him in an unprovoked attack and wrestled his camera to the ground. Ramos was a member of the paparazzi who staked out at the airport July 19 to snap celebrity photos.
“I told him twice, ‘I don’t want to fight you,’” Ramos said. “However, he attacked me anyway.”
An attorney for West couldn’t immediately be located.
Last week, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file felony assault and attempted robbery charges against West, saying Ramos didn’t have a significant injury.
The city attorney’s office was considering whether to file misdemeanor charges.

Co-defendant questioned in slain baby case

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — The 15-year-old co-defendant of a man accused of fatally shooting a baby boy in his stroller during a robbery attempt in coastal Georgia has told a judge that 18-year-old De’Marquise Elkins was the shooter. The younger man maintains that he had no involvement in the boy’s death.
The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Dominique Lang, 15, was questioned in front of a judge Wednesday in the trial of Elkins, who is accused of fatally shooting 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in Brunswick March 21.
Authorities have said Elkins and Lang targeted Santiago’s mother, Sherry West, in an attempted armed robbery that left West injured. The Florida Times-Union reports a jury will likely hear Lang’s testimony on Thursday.
Brunswick police Det. Angela Smith also testified Wednesday and answered questions that were aimed at calling into question the department’s investigation into the shooting.

Man gets prison sentence for part in mortgage scam

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania businessman must spend 6 1/2 years in prison for stealing more than $2 million from clients of his mortgage closing businesses.
Forty-five-year-old Jeffrey Garbinski, of Butler County, acknowledged the crimes, but says he was trying to keep his businesses afloat and workers employed and was not motivated by greed.
Federal prosecutors disagree, saying Garbinski used Closing Co. of PA and Main Street Mortgage Services to steal money from some clients in order to repay others. He allegedly siphoned money from escrow accounts he handled and spent it for his own use.
Garbinski was indicted in November 2011, the same month he pleaded guilty in state court to stealing money from the Highland Country Club in Ross Township, which he formerly owned. He received nine to 18 months on house arrest for that $174,000 theft.

Ex-priest gets 5 to 10 years in sex abuse case

WELLSBORO, Pa. (AP) — A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexual assault of an altar boy in northern Pennsylvania in the 1990s has been sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.
The (Williamsport) Sun-Gazette says 66-year-old Thomas Shoback of Wilkes-Barre was sentenced Monday in Tioga County Court.
He was convicted in May of seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and endangering the welfare of a child.
Prosecutors alleged that the assaults occurred at St. Mary’s Parish in Blossburg from 1991 to 1997, at the parish rectory and a private cabin in Farmington Township.
The Diocese of Scranton suspended Shoback in November 2011 after the allegations first surfaced. At the time, he was working at a parish in Jermyn, Lackawanna County.

St. Louis County coach arrested for sex assault

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A high school cross country coach is charged with felony sodomy involving a female runner who says she was abused 17 years ago.
James Bliss Wilder III is on leave with pay as Lindbergh High School track coach and physical education teacher at Sperreng Middle School after his Tuesday arrest. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the alleged victim recently came forward. She was a 16-year-old member of the Lindbergh High track team at the time.
Wilder faces six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy for crimes that prosecutors say occurred between August 1996 and the teen’s 18th birthday in 1997. Police say some of the sex acts took place at the high school. He remains in jail on a $50,000 cash bond. Online court records don’t list a defense attorney.

Grand jury indicts 5 alleged to be part of drug ring

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A mother and son and three other alleged members of a Baton Rouge heroin ring have been indicted on racketeering and narcotics charges.
Christopher “Julio” Varnado, 31 and his mother, Marlene Varnado, 51, were indicted on additional weapons charges.
The Advocate reports an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on Wednesday also charged two of the ring’s alleged Baton Rouge customers, one of whom is accused of purchasing heroin in the presence of her young child.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office will seek to have convicted felon Christopher Varnado, the group’s alleged ringleader, sentenced to life in prison as a habitual offender if he is found guilty on the racketeering, drug and weapons charges
Varnado previously was convicted of possession of cocaine in East Baton Rouge Parish and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Mississippi, according to the indictment. He also has drug and weapons charges pending in East Baton Rouge Parish before state District Judge Lou Daniel, court records show.
Also indicted Wednesday on racketeering and drug charges were Dearcy Dirone Robertson, 24; Ronza Robertson, 33; and Kenneth Robertson, 28. Dearcy Robertson is Ronza Robertson’s nephew, and Kenneth Robertson is their cousin, authorities said.
Christopher Varnado and Ronza Robertson were once boyfriend and girlfriend but later became partners in the illegal heroin business, authorities said.
The Varnados and Robertsons, who were arrested in June, face one count each of racketeering, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession with intent to distribute Roxicodone. Christopher Varnado also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and Marlene Varnado is charged with a count of illegally supplying a firearm to a felon.


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