National Roundup

 Nevada

Sanctions denied over deadly  Amtrak crash 
RENO, Nev. (AP) — A state judge has found no proof two rail companies tampered with evidence after a tractor-trailer and an Amtrak train collided in 2011, killing six people and injured dozens in northern Nevada.
Washoe County District Judge Scott Freeman, in a ruling handed down late Thursday, denied a motion for sanctions against Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad.
Lawyers for John Davis Trucking Co. asked Freeman to punish the rail companies, claiming they tampered with a gate-crossing arm and a video to make it appear its driver was to blame.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Freeman ruled the allegations are based on “mere conjecture and speculation.”
His ruling stems from a consolidation of about 20 lawsuits filed by victims against all three companies.
The companies also have sued each other in federal court.
 
Pennsylvania
Craigslist killing suspect says 2 never showed 
SUNBURY, Pa. (AP) — A woman charged along with her newlywed husband with killing a man she met through Craigslist tells a newspaper that two other men had responded to her ad for companionship but never showed up.
Nineteen-year-old Miranda Barbour tells The Daily Item of Sunbury that their failure to show saved the men’s lives. The newspaper interviewed Barbour at a state prison on Tuesday. The story appeared on the newspaper’s website Saturday.
Police say Barbour met 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara, of Port Trevorton, through Craigslist and stabbed him to death in her parked car in Sunbury last November with the help of her husband, Elytte Barbour.
Miranda Barbour claims she previously killed more than 20 people in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California. Investigators say they have found no evidence to substantiate her claims.

New York
Man: 86-year-old shooter wanted victims evicted 
NEW YORK (AP) — An 86-year-old man shot his grandson in the head, killed the grandson’s girlfriend and then took his own life because he believed the couple was taking advantage of his ailing daughter and living in her home, the grandson said in an interview published Sunday.
Michael Feliciano told the Daily News from his hospital bed that his girlfriend, Claritle Huerta, called him on his way home Friday evening to tell him that his grandfather was there and wanted to talk to him. He got to the house minutes later.
“I opened the door,” he told the newspaper, “and that was it.”
Police said the grandfather, Heriberto Pagan, shot Feliciano, killed Huerta inside the house with a gunshot to the head, got in his car, drove a few blocks and turned the gun on himself. He was found lying outside his car with a bullet wound in his head.
Feliciano, Huerta and their 4-month-old son were living in a Staten Island home owned by Feliciano’s ailing mother, who has moved elsewhere. Pagan felt the couple was taking advantage of her and encouraged his daughter to evict them, his grandson said.
The older man didn’t accept his grandson’s assurances that he had put drug problems behind him, Feliciano said.
Neighbors said grandson and grandfather clashed frequently.
The couple’s son was found unharmed inside the house after the shooting. The infant is now in city Administration for Children’s Services custody.
 
Nevada
Sentencing delay­ed for Saudi Arabian airman  
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sentencing is being postponed at least another month for a Saudi Arabian air force sergeant facing a mandatory minimum of 35 years in Nevada state prison for raping a 13-year-old California boy at a Las Vegas Strip hotel.
A prosecutor and defense attorney said Monday’s sentencing for Mazen Alotaibi has been pushed back to April 30 in Clark County District Court.
It’s the second delay since trial attorney Don Chairez withdrew and a new team of attorneys took over the case.
The 24-year-old Alotaibi remains in custody at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.
A jury found him guilty in October of kidnapping and forcing sex on the boy in the bathroom of a sixth-floor room at the Circus Circus hotel on New Year’s Eve 2012.
 
Missouri
Kansas City faces  lawsuits alleging discrimination 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City has settled four discrimination lawsuits filed by former part-time municipal prosecutors at a cost of more than $1 million since last July, and four similar lawsuits are still pending.
The prosecutors’ office replaced part-time assistant prosecutors with full-time positions in 2011. Eight of the part-time employees who were replaced sued the city for age, race and/or gender discrimination, The Kansas City Star reported.
“One of the biggest expenses we seem to have, year in and year out, (is) lawsuits for discrimination, retaliation, and it just seems to me that we could do a better job on the front end,” said City Councilman Ed Ford, a private practice lawyer. “It’s just costing us too much money.”
The eight former assistant city prosecutors filed their lawsuits individually and alleged different circumstances. They had each worked part time for years and all applied for the new full-time jobs but were not selected. They alleged the city hired younger, less experienced candidates.
Former city prosecutor Lowell Gard, who oversaw the 2011 prosecutors’ office reorganization before retiring late last year, said the change has worked out well, despite the lawsuits. Gard said that in 2011, the municipal court was switching to a fully computerized, paperless system that required prosecutors to be much more involved in the court’s case management and preparation. That made moving from 16 part-timers to eight full-timers a sensible move, he said.
“It was necessary to bring the city’s prosecution effort into the 21st century,” he said.
Mayor Sly James said the City Council wasn’t involved in the municipal prosecutor reorganization. James also said he didn’t know if it was a good decision or not and he understands the frustration over the settlement payments.
City Manager Troy Schulte said while the reorganization was justified, the city is taking steps to minimize future discrimination complaints with better training and more consistency in promotions, terminations and discipline. He said it’s a challenge to eliminate all discrimination complaints from an organization with 4,000 employees.
“We’ve got some engrained bad habits, and we’ve got to root them out,” he said.

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