National Roundup


Plane hijacker who ret­urned to U.S. de­n­ied bail 
MIAMI (AP) — An American who returned from Cuba to face U.S. charges that he hijacked an airliner to Havana decades ago will not be released on bail before his trial.
A Miami federal magistrate ruled Tuesday that 56-year-old William Potts is a risk to flee prosecution and is a danger to the community. Potts is also charged in a 1984 New Jersey armed robbery.
Potts was convicted in Cuba of the 1984 hijacking of a New York-to-Miami Piedmont Airlines flight. Potts has pleaded not guilty to U.S. air piracy charges, which carry a prison sentence of between 20 years and life.
Potts’ attorney says he returned from Cuba earlier this month to resolve the U.S. charges. Potts hopes to get credit for the 13-plus years he served in a Cuban prison.
Boston father, teen son, face murder charge 
BOSTON (AP) — A Boston man and his 16-year-old son are facing murder charges for what prosecutors call an unprovoked attack on another man on a city street.
Elias Sanchez, 43, and Angel Sanchez, 16, beat and stabbed Edwin Santos to death outside a South Boston store at about 5 p.m. Sunday, prosecutors said.
Both were held without bail at their arraignments Monday, the teen in court, the older man in the hospital, where he is recovering from stab wounds. Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf.
The teen’s name was made public because he was arraigned in adult court due to the serious nature of the charges.
The suspects and the victim were “well-known to each other,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Zanini said, but the exact motive remains under investigation.
Angel Sanchez’s attorney said it was noteworthy that prosecutors did not mention that both Angel and Elias Sanchez also were stabbed, and that his client was not arrested at the scene.
The boy has “never been before the court at any time on any charge,” J.W. Carney Jr. said.
Santos, 29, and his girlfriend were standing outside the store when the Sanchezes attacked, prosecutors said. The older Sanchez was armed with a metal baton, his son with a knife, authorities said.
A third man joined in, but his identity remains under investigation.
Santos’ girlfriend, armed with a knife, tried to intervene, but the suspects continued to beat and stab the victim “until the attackers grew tired of it,” Zanini said.
They then fled on foot.
Santos was taken to Boston Medical Center where he died of blunt trauma and stab wounds, prosecutors said.
2 prison inmates’ lawsuit cites  overcrowding 
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Two inmates have sued the state’s corrections director and other officials, saying prison overcrowding has caused them emotional distress.
Dukhan Mumin and Khalid Muhammad say in the lawsuit that Department of Correctional Services Director Michael Kenney and other officials have failed in their duty by allowing such conditions to exist and not moving to alleviate them, the Lincoln Journal Star said.
The two men want $80 million each for punitive damages and what they say is intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Department spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed last week in Lancaster County District Court.
The men’s lawsuit says that because of overcrowding at the Tecumseh prison, they get a fifth of the 50 square feet of living space listed in guidelines by the American Correctional Association. As of Oct. 31, the Tecumseh prison held 970 inmates, 101 percent of capacity.
The prison’s ventilation system in unable to prevent mold and keep out other contaminants, the lawsuit says. And it says it often takes several minutes for staff members to respond to medical emergencies.
“If a prisoner is having a heart attack or is being attacked by his cellmate, the response time would cost him his life,” the lawsuit says.
Prison population issues have been raised for years in Nebraska. The state’s nine prisons have room for 3,175 inmates and hold nearly 4,800, or about 151 percent of capacity.
Reaching 140 percent of capacity triggers a report to the governor, who can declare an emergency. Gov. Dave Heineman, who is among those named in the lawsuit, has not done so.
Lawmakers have been looking at prison reforms to propose during next year’s legislative session. The changes include ways to reduce overcrowding and expand treatment services. State officials have focused on the prisons after several deadly incidents involving inmates who were released.
The men’s lawsuit mentions one of the former inmates: Nikko Jenkins, who’s accused of killing four people in Omaha in August, within days of his prison release.
Mumin, 58, was sentenced in August to 10 to 20 years on a Lancaster County cocaine conviction. Muhammad, 46, has been in prison since 2007, serving a sentence of 10 to 40 years for a Sarpy County theft.
State high court upholds firing in school Bible case 
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s highest court says a school district was legally justified in firing a science teacher who refused orders to remove classroom displays of religious materials.
With three justices dissenting, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Mount Vernon district had grounds to fire John Freshwater for insubordination for keeping religious books and a poster of a president praying.
The court says the district infringed on Freshwater’s First Amendment rights by ordering the removal of his personal Bible but found he was insubordinate for keeping other items.
Court of Appeals now considering exoneration bid
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Lawyers for both the state and a man who spent four years in prison for a sexual assault he didn’t commit have asked the Virginia Court of Appeals to clear his name.
A three-judge panel of the court heard Johnathan Montgomery’s plea for a writ of actual innocence Tuesday. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined Montgomery’s lawyer, Jon Talotta, in seeking the relief. A decision could take weeks or even months.
Gov. Bob McDonnell ordered Montgomery released from prison last year, but the conviction remains even though his accuser has admitted that she lied.
Montgomery’s accuser, Elizabeth Paige Coast, was sentenced in August to two months in jail for committing perjury. Coast claimed Montgomery molested her in Hampton in 2000 when she was 10 and he was 14.