National Roundup

 New York

Cops allege Man bit brother’s ear off during party 
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a Rochester man bit off part of his brother’s ear after they began fighting during a Super Bowl party.
The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reports that police say 27-year-old Sean Fallon-Nebbia was hosting the party Sunday at his apartment.
A roommate told police the brothers had been drinking before they started roughhousing after the game, and the tussle turned violent. Police say Fallon-Nebbia bit off part of 26-year-old Frank Fallon-Nebbia’s right ear and punched him several times in the face, knocking him out.
The younger brother was treated at a Rochester hospital.
The older brother is being held in Monroe County Jail on $15,000 bail after pleading not guilty Monday to first-degree assault, a felony. It couldn’t immediately be determined if he has a lawyer.
 
Utah
AG files openi­n­g argument in g­ay marriage case 
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah filed its opening argument with an appeals court in defense of the state’s gay marriage ban, which a federal judge overturned in late December.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the brief was filed with the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at 11:30 p.m. Monday, 30 minutes before the deadline. Attorneys for three same-sex couples challenging Utah’s ban must respond by Feb. 25.
Among the state’s arguments are that its laws are focused on the welfare of children versus the “emotional interests of adults.” The state says kids ideally are raised by their biological mother and father.
More than 1,000 gay couples married in Utah before the U.S. Supreme Court granted the state an emergency stay last month.
Oral arguments are scheduled for April 10.
 
New York
Judge gives man’s claim ag­ainst art dealer go ahead 
NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has ruled that billionaire Ronald Perelman’s fraud claim against a top New York City art dealer can go forward.
The Revlon mogul and Larry Gagosian filed dueling lawsuits in Manhattan State Supreme Court in September 2012.
Gagosian claimed Perelman refused to pay the agreed upon price for artworks he ordered. He said Perelman instead insisted his gallery accept other artworks in Perelman’s collection as payment.
Perelman’s lawsuit accused Gagosian of inflating the price on two artworks.
The gallery later dropped its suit and asked the court to throw out Perelman’s complaint.
The judge on Monday ordered Gagosian to face the single fraud claim. But she dismissed four other charges against him, including breach of contract.
Gagosian’s lawyer said he was confident the other claims would be dismissed.
 
Illinois
Woman gives 3 waitresses $5,000 each 
ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Three waitresses at an Illinois restaurant say they could only stare in disbelief when a woman over the weekend handed them each a $5,000 check.
The owner of the Boone County Family Restaurant in Caledonia, Matt Nebiu, said business was slow Saturday when the customer handed checks to 25-year-old Amy Sabani, 23-year-old Sarah Seckinger and 28-year-old Amber Kariolich.
Sabani told the Rockford Register Star she first thought her check was for $500. But on closer inspection she saw its actual value and refused to take it.
Sabani said the woman told the waitresses to use the money for school and “everything else in life.”
Seckinger says a last semester to earn her associate degree in criminal justice was too expensive, but she will now return to school.
 
Minnesota
Man charged with fatally shooting good Samaritan 
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A 20-year-old man who showed up at a Minneapolis homeowner’s door “frantic, paranoid” and pleading for help was charged Monday with fatally shooting the homeowner who was trying to assist him.
Devon Parker of Minneapolis was charged in Hennepin County with one count of second-degree intentional murder in the death of Thomas Sonnenberg, a 69-year-old retired technician who was killed with his own gun in his home shortly before noon Friday.
Sonnenberg let Parker into his house and called 911 after Parker knocked on the back door and claimed someone with a bat was chasing him, the Star Tribune reported. According to the complaint, Sonnenberg’s wife, Elaine, was also home and told police that Parker appeared “frantic, paranoid and in some sort of distress.”
A police officer who came to the home got no answer but looked through a window and saw Thomas Sonnenberg’s body slumped over a kitchen chair. Officer Eric Lukes kicked and beat at the rear door until Elaine Sonnenberg called out, saying she could not unlock it.
The officer then saw Parker come up behind Elaine Sonnenberg and place his hands on her shoulders, the complaint says. The officer ordered Parker down to the floor at gunpoint, and Elaine Sonnenberg unlocked the door for the officer, who arrested Parker.
Thomas Sonnenberg had been shot once in the head, the complaint said. He wore a holster for a gun on his right hip, but the gun was missing.
Elaine Sonnenberg told police she had heard Parker ask her husband for a gun, knife, hat and gloves. She then heard one gunshot.
Parker came out of the kitchen brandishing her husband’s revolver, she told police. He eventually told her to lock them both in an upstairs bedroom, but they came back down when they heard noises.
Investigators recovered the victim’s gun underneath the bed in the upstairs bedroom.
Parker, who was on probation for a felony assault in 2011, remained jailed Monday. Prosecutors did not know if Parker had an attorney yet. A court appearance is set for Tuesday.
Rachel Sonnenberg Baufield said Saturday that for years, she and her two sisters had begged their parents to move away from what they saw as an increasingly risky block, but her parents were trapped by an underwater mortgage.
Baufield said her father, an Army veteran, was kindhearted, unable to turn away people who came to his doorstep.
“There have been other people who have come to my dad and begged for help, and my dad gave them money because he didn’t want people hurting,” she said. “And this is the repayment that he gets.”

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