National Roundup

New Jersey
Police: Man made black ice to mask drunken crash

SPARTA, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey police say a man poured water on a freezing road to try to fool officers into thinking the cause of his drunken car crash was black ice.

Twenty-year-old Bryan Byers, of Sparta, was arrested Saturday and charged with drunken driving and other offenses.

Authorities say he hit a guardrail after running a stop sign early that morning. Police say Byers and a friend then decided to dump water onto the road, causing it to ice over.

The friend, 20-year-old Alexander Zambenedetti, was also charged with drunken driving. Police say he wasn't wearing a shirt despite a wind chill of 15 below zero.

Byers could not be reached for comment. Zambenedetti didn't immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.

Both men are due in court Thursday.

Former owner of MLB steroid clinic gets 4 yrs.

MIAMI (AP) - The former owner of the South Florida clinic that supplied performance-enhancing substances to Major League Baseball players and other athletes has been sentenced to four years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles imposed the sentence Tuesday on Anthony Bosch, who was seeking a more lenient term because of his cooperation in the investigation. Prosecutors said Bosch could still get his sentence reduced through further cooperation.

Bosch pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to distribute testosterone to athletes from the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables. One customer was New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.

Bosch and Rodriguez are expected to testify if Rodriguez cousin Yuri Sucart and ex-University of Miami pitching coach Lazaro Collazo go to trial as scheduled in April.

Rhode Island
FBI probes source of graffiti at Islamic school

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) - The FBI is investigating the source of offensive graffiti at the Islamic School of Rhode Island in West Warwick.

The agency's Boston division announced Monday it has begun a civil rights investigation into the vandalism Saturday night.

School officials say the entrance was tagged with orange graffiti that read "Now this is a hate crime," ''pigs" and offensive references to Muhammad.

Hilmy Bakri, president of the school's board of trustees, said the school has never before been the subject of vandalism or any serious threats. It opened in 2004.

A news conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday with community leaders from other faiths and government officials to show solidarity.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says the "shameful incident" is at odds with the state's founding principle of religious liberty.

Feds: Mail soaked with drugs was 'hit' with inmates

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Postcards arriving at the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale contained more than just drawings.

Federal prosecutors say the postcards were laced with a hallucinogenic drug that has similar effects as LSD. They say inmates paid $10 for a tiny piece of a card, which they put in their mouths to absorb the drug.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel says two inmates pleaded guilty last week to federal drug charges. Authorities say a third man who was on the outside, 56-year-old William Hahne, has pleaded not guilty to possessing and distributing the drug.

Prosecutors say Hahne mailed the cards to the other two inmates.

Hahne's attorney says he's undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Miami's Federal Detention Center.

Jail officials began investigating in August on a tip from an inmate.

Lawyers cite moratorium, say no death penalty

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Lawyers for a man convicted of strangling two people during a 2002 robbery have asked a judge to bar jurors from considering the death penalty because Pennsylvania's governor has declared a moratorium.

The penalty phase of Hugo Selenski's capital murder trial is scheduled to open Tuesday, four days after Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania.

Selenski's attorneys filed a motion Tuesday asking Luzerne County Common Pleas Judge Fred Pierantoni III to remove the death penalty as a sentencing option.

Selenski was convicted last week of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and his girlfriend, Tammy Fassett.

Police found the victims' bodies, along with three other sets of human remains, on Selenski's property in 2003.

Police chief fired over handling of stolen-gun case

KENSINGTON, Calif. (AP) - A small Northern California town has fired its police chief over his handling of an investigation into a sergeant accused of having his gun stolen by a prostitute at a Nevada hotel.

The Oakland Tribune reports that the governing board of Kensington announced Monday that it was ending contract negotiations with Chief Greg Harman.

Many residents had criticized Harman since the newspaper reported nine days ago that a prostitute stole Sgt. Keith Barrow's gun, badge, ammunition and handcuffs from a Reno hotel room as Barrow slept.

The weapon was recovered the next day when the prostitute's pimp shot himself in the leg during a pawnshop altercation.

Barrow wasn't placed on leave when the department learned of the theft or during its eight-month investigation. He'll serve a suspension.

Judge stays execution of Tommy Arthur

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge has stayed the execution of an Alabama inmate who was scheduled to put to death Thursday.

U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins on Tuesday granted an emergency stay of execution to Tommy Arthur. Arthur has challenged Alabama's new execution drug combination as potentially cruel and unusual punishment because it uses the same chemicals used in botched executions in other states.

Watkins says Arthur's claims will be heard in a May 5 trial.

Alabama has not had an execution since 2013 because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs. Arthur would have been the first inmate put to death with a new drug combination.

Arthur has been on death row since 1983 for the contract killing of a businessman in 1982.

Published: Wed, Feb 18, 2015