National Roundup

Man enters guilty plea in meat recall case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A co-owner of a Northern California slaughterhouse accused of processing cows with cancer has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that 77-year-old Robert Singleton, co-owner of Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp., entered the plea on Friday to aiding and abetting in the distribution of adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat. He has agreed to work with prosecutors who have filed charges against the company's other owner, Jesse Amaral Jr., and two employees, Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera.

They have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say the company slaughtered dozens of cows with skin cancer of the eye, and plant workers swapped the heads of diseased cattle with those of healthy cows.

Operations were halted in February after a series of recalls, including one for 8.7 million pounds of beef.

Couple charged in scheme to get girl pregnant

SELMA, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say an Alabama couple tried to obtain a baby by sexually assaulting an underage girl in hopes she'd get pregnant.

Court records show 29-year-old Jeremy Swann and his 28-year-old wife Amanda Swann of Jones are charged with rape.

Dallas County Investigator Janet Cole tells the Selma Times-Journal the couple propositioned a girl to have sex with the man. They allegedly wanted the girl to have a baby for them.

Cole says the girl was assaulted at least six times. She apparently never got pregnant.

Jeremy Swann's mother, Dianna Swann, is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She allegedly knew what was going on and didn't intervene.

The three are due in court Monday for a bond hearing.

Records show they don't yet have lawyers.

Denver court considers Kansas, Arizona voter rules

DENVER (AP) - A federal appeals court in Denver is considering whether Kansas and Arizona can force federal elections officials to help them impose their proof-of-citizenship requirements on voter registration forms.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on Monday in the case. It hinges on whether the federal government or the states have the ultimate authority to regulate voter registration.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission appealed an order from a federal judge to modify a federal form to include instructions requiring Kansas and Arizona residents to provide citizenship documentation.

More than a dozen voting-rights groups have either joined the lawsuit or filed friend-of-the-court briefs. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers have urged the appeals court to throw out the judge's ruling.

New York
Cops: Caregiver said she stepped on tot, who died

NEW YORK (AP) - A child care worker charged with killing a toddler in her home told police she threw the boy to the floor and stepped on him three times, and after that, he could no longer walk on his own, authorities said.

Athena Skeeter, 40, was arraigned Sunday on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

The city's Administration for Children's Services did not immediately respond to a message seeking information on Skeeter, who police said was a licensed child care worker.

According to a court document, Skeeter told police she had been wrestling Friday with 20-month-old Cardell Williamson at her Bronx home after his father dropped him off that morning. She said the child was on the bed when she lifted him by one arm and one leg and put him on the floor. She told police she stepped on his stomach but "didn't use full force."

Skeeter said she then put her son on top of Cardell and stepped on his stomach.

"Cardell acted different after that," Skeeter said, according to the court document. "He threw up. His head kept tilting."

She said she put him in a bathtub and put cold water on his face, and then stepped out for a short time. When she came back, Streeter told police, Cardell's head was in the water and steam was coming up. She said he had burns on his arm and face.

Police responding to a 911 call found Cardell lying on a bed, struggling to breathe. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Skeeter was in custody and was due back in court Thursday. No attorney information was available for her.

West Virginia
Former teacher sentenced on sex charges

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) - A former Mercer County teacher has been sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison on sex charges involving female students.

Media outlets report that 36-year-old Jonathan Edward Kirk was sentenced Monday in Mercer County Circuit Court. He will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

Kirk had pleaded guilty earlier this year to sexual abuse by a guardian or custodian and other charges.

Mercer County chief assistant prosecutor George Sitler says all seven victims were juveniles.

Kirk formerly was a teacher and coach at PikeView High School. He resigned after the investigation.

Judge rejects mental exam for abuse suspect

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A federal judge has denied prosecutors' request for a mental evaluation for an Oklahoma man accused of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya.

Prosecutors wanted the psychiatric evaluation for 19-year-old Matthew Durham, who remains jailed after he was indicted earlier this month on sex abuse charges. Prosecutors accused him of sexually abusing children at the Upendo Children's Home.

Prosecutors requested the mental examination, saying they needed to know whether Durham was insane at the time of the alleged offenses and if he can stand trial. But Durham's attorneys opposed the motion, noting that they'd given no notice of an insanity defense or incompetency claim.

U.S. District Judge David Russell rejected the request Monday, finding that prosecutors didn't present sufficient evidence that Durham may be mentally incompetent.