National Roundup

U.S. attorney, St. Anthony apparently settle lawsuit

ST. ANTHONY, Minn. (AP) - The U.S. government has apparently reached a settlement with the city of St. Anthony over a proposed Islamic center.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger planned to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon on the results of settlement negotiations.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Minneapolis alleged the St. Anthony Village City Council treated Abu-Huraira's application for a conditional use permit at the St. Anthony Business Center on less-than-equal terms as other, non-religious permits to assemble.

The lawsuit wanted the court to require St. Anthony to allow the Abu Huraira Islamic Center to maintain a worship space in the basement of the St. Anthony Business Center.

The City Council voted to reject the proposed Abu Huraira Islamic Center in 2012, saying a religious and cultural center wasn't compatible with the site's light industrial zoning.

New Mexico
State Supreme Court tells judge she must step down

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The state Supreme Court says a District Court judge for three northern New Mexico counties must step down after losing a retention election.

The justices ruled unanimously Monday that the election results stand and that Judge Sheri Raphaelson must give up her judicial post on Dec. 31.

Raphaelson serves in a judicial district comprised of Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties, and she primarily hears cases in Tierra Amarilla.

Raphaelson unsuccessfully challenged the election results by saying she didn't have to stand for retention yet in the first place because she was initially elected to fill a midterm vacancy.

Two justices said during a hearing that Raphaelson could have objected before the election to her name going on the ballot.

Gov. Susana Martinez will appoint a replacement.

5th Circuit won't rehear Texas whooping crane case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal appeals court in New Orleans has voted 11-4 against reconsidering a ruling that Texas is not directly responsible for the deaths of nearly two dozen endangered whooping cranes.

A strong dissent by three of the judges says the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did something it should not do: reconsidering facts rather than ruling about procedure.

Edward Prado wrote that other 5th Circuit judges have given the same reason in recent dissents, including one about Texas' abortion law.

He says the court is sending a clear message that anyone who doesn't like a judge's factual findings can get "endless retrials on appeal."

In June, the 5th Circuit overturned a ruling that the state should have known that its water management practices would hurt the birds.

Homeless slayings suspect accused of 4th killing

ATLANTA (AP) - A man already accused of gunning down two homeless men in their sleep and fatally shooting a hairstylist as she walked to her car now faces charges in the death of a fourth person.

Investigators say Aeman Lovel Presley, 34, is suspected of killing Calvin Gholston at a shopping center on Sept. 27. Like two of the previous victims, Gholston was homeless, police said.

Police already have accused Presley of killing two homeless men in Atlanta, firing multiple times while the victims were wrapped in blankets and sleeping on the sidewalk. Dorian Jenkins was killed Nov. 23, followed by Tommy Mims on Nov. 26.

Investigators have said both homeless men were shot with an elongated .45-caliber bullet - often called a "cowboy bullet." In their investigation, police emphasized the type of bullet used as they asked the public and law enforcement agencies nationwide for help with the seemingly random shootings of the homeless men.

Jenkins was shot five times and Mims was shot seven times, and police have described it as "overkill."

Presley also faces a murder charge in the Dec. 6 death of Karen Pearce, a hairstylist, in Decatur, just outside Atlanta. Police said Pearce was shot as she walked to her car after leaving a downtown restaurant.

A break in the case came Thursday when a transit system police officer saw Presley pass through a transit station entry gate with paying a fare, authorities said. He was carrying a loaded revolver and a box of ammunition, officials said.

No attorney was listed for Presley in online court records Tuesday.

West Virginia
4 charged with failing to report abuse at center

ROMNEY, W.Va. (AP) - Four people face misdemeanor charges stemming from an investigation of abuse allegations at a center for developmentally disabled adults and children in Romney.

Jennifer Flores of Romney and Augusta residents Joseph Moreland Jr., Denny Timbrook and Katrina Phillips are each charged with failure to report abuse or neglect. All three remain free on bond, Hampshire County Magistrate Ron DiColia said Tuesday.

West Virginia State Police arrested Flores on Friday and the others on Saturday, The Hampshire Review reported.

State police began the investigation in January after upper management at the Potomac Center reported allegations of abuse to the state Department of Health and Human Resources. The DHHR removed 24 children from three intensive training program houses at the center and moved them to other facilities in the state.

State police have said up to 12 children who were removed, ages 7 to 17, were abuse victims.

Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling said at the time that children were subjected to "inhumane and degrading treatment by some employees of the Potomac Center Inc. facility."

A lawsuit filed April 7 alleges that employees abused a 17-year-old former Potomac Center resident. It also claims the center was negligent in in hiring, training and supervising staff to prevent the alleged abuse. Bailey and Glasser, a Charleston law firm, filed the lawsuit in Hampshire County Circuit Court.

The nonprofit Potomac Center was established in 1980. It offers residential assistance and support to children and adults with developmental disabilities, along with respite for caregivers. It also manages a foster care program in Romney, Moorefield and Elkins.

The center, which is cooperating in the investigation, laid off 50 employees in January.

Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014