National Roundup

Police say man bre­a­ks into me­at business, naps

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Police have arrested a 28-year-old man who they say broke into an Austin business, stole a couple of sausages and fell asleep.

KXAN-TV reports that surveillance video from Hudson Meats shows the man trying to break down the front door for about 20 minutes.

The intruder then takes some sausages from the meat-processing business, goes back outside and then returns, grabbing a coat and falling asleep in the back office.

Austin police officers woke up Ricardo Cardona, who told police he'd been out drinking, and charged him with criminal trespassing. It wasn't immediately clear whether Cardona has an attorney.

The store owner says insurance money paid for a replacement door.

Woman found dead with arrows in head from son

MARY ESTHER, Fla. (AP) - A Florida man told police he shot his mother with a gun and a bow-and-arrow and then stabbed her Sunday because he claimed she "stole his diamonds and also gave his father cancer," authorities said.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office received a call at 2:48 a.m. Sunday reporting a man knocking over Christmas decorations and yelling at another person. When deputies arrived, they found 65-year-old Gloria Watkins slumped forward in a chair with arrows protruding from her head.

Her son, Michael Watkins, 42, admitted to the killing, according to an arrest report.

"You see that, that's death," Watkins said as he pointed to his mother, according to the report.

Watkins claimed his mother "stole his diamonds and also gave his father cancer" and that "he had to kill her because she was trying to kill him," the report said. The report did not say why or how she was trying to kill him.

Watkins was charged with murder and resisting arrest without violence. The sheriff's office said Watkins ignored repeated commands to get on the ground. After eventually complying, he stood up and retrieved a large knife from a sheath on his belt, authorities said.

Deputies used stun guns on Watkins twice.

An autopsy was to be conducted on the victim. It's not clear if Watkins has an attorney. Officials with the jail and the sheriff's office could not be reached.

Trial to begin in German student's shooting death

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana man prosecutors say shot and killed a German exchange student in his garage is scheduled to go to trial this week in a case that centers on whether he justifiably feared another home invasion after recently being burglarized.

Markus Kaarma of Missoula has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in the April 27 death of Diren Dede, 17, of Hamburg. Jury selection was set to begin Monday followed by arguments as soon as Tuesday, the Missoulian reported.

Defense attorneys argue that Kaarma was protecting his home and family when he fired the shots into his garage. However, prosecutors say Kaarma deliberately tried to lure the victim into his dark garage by leaving a purse out and keeping the garage doors partially open.

Prosecutors say Kaarma was frustrated by recent burglaries at his house and set up motion sensors and video cameras to catch the thieves.

The night of the shooting, prosecutors claim, Kaarma was watching a video monitor and saw a dark figure in his garage. They say he grabbed his shotgun, exited the front door, turned to face the partially open garage door and fired four shots into the darkness.

A friend told police he was with Dede the night it happened. The Ecuadorian exchange student, Robby Pazmino, said they were walking down the street, and he watched as Dede entered the garage.

Pazmino told police he heard an unfamiliar voice say, "I see you there." He ran off after hearing the first shot, according to court documents.

Court records show Kaarma pleaded guilty in 2003 to an assault charge in Seattle and received a deferred sentence. Defense attorneys sought to have the trial moved after the Missoulian published a story about the charge.

District Judge Ed McLean denied the request but forbade attorneys on both sides from speaking to reporters about the case.

German prosecutors said in May that they planned to open their own investigation. German law allows them to prosecute offenses committed against German citizens on foreign soil, they said.

Freed day care owners still want exoneration

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Former day care owners who spent 21 years in prison before being freed amid questions over their convictions for child abuse involving satanic rituals are struggling to convince prosecutors that they should be fully exonerated.

Dan and Fran Keller, who divorced in prison, were freed on bond last year when the only physical evidence against them was found to be a mistake. They had been convicted in 1992 after therapists testified that they helped three children recover memories of satanic rituals and sexual abuse at an Austin preschool the Kellers operated.

The Kellers, who always denied the charges, want the courts to throw out their convictions. But a year after they were freed from prison, Travis County prosecutors remain unwilling to proclaim them innocent, the Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday.

Prosecutors say to overcome a jury finding of guilt, the courts require new evidence that unquestionably establishes innocence - something like an ironclad alibi or DNA proof.

"Our responsibility is to make sure the law is properly applied, and, under the applicable standards, we are not satisfied that they have established actual innocence under the law," Travis County Assistant District Attorney Scott Taliaferro said.

That standard seems unfair to Fran Keller, who said there is no way to conclusively prove a negative.

"It's so hard to prove you're innocent when there was never a crime," she said.

The Kellers had been sentenced to 48 years in prison.

During their trial, the only physical evidence came from an emergency room doctor who testified that internal lacerations on one child were evidence of abuse. But in court documents filed in 2013, Dr. Michael Mouw says what he thought were lacerations were actually normal physiology.

That prompted prosecutors in Travis County, which includes Austin, to agree that the case's evidence was faulty and release the two on bond.

The Kellers' claim of innocence will be decided by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Published: Tue, Dec 02, 2014