National Roundup

Florida
1 of 5 students pleads guilty in gang rape case

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — One of five high school football players charged with gang raping a fellow student near their central Florida high school has pleaded guilty to sexual battery.

State Attorney Phil Archer said in a news release Monday that the Winter Springs High School Student pleaded guilty to sexual battery by multiple perpetrators.

The student was one of five football players charged with the attack. He was charged as a juvenile, along with two others.

The two other students were charged as adults.

The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.

After entering his plea, the student was sentenced to probation.

The 16-year-old student says she was raped in a patch of woods near the school in November.

Investigators say she captured part of the encounter on her iPod.


New York
Prosecutors: Starving dog ate wood before death

WESTBURY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York man is accused of causing the death of his dog, which was so hungry it ate wood and plastic and so cold its temperature didn’t register on a thermometer.

Nassau County prosecutors say Jemell Blackman told veterinarians he thought his dog, Scotia, had been poisoned because it showed no signs of illness until Feb. 3.

Prosecutors say the 2-year-old pooch was severely underweight, had sores and was filthy. They say Scotia’s heart rate was one-half to one-third of what a normal dog’s heart rate would be.

Newsday says the dog was euthanized after 40 minutes of unsuccessful rescue efforts.

Blackman, of Westbury, was arraigned Monday on animal abuse charges and released on his own recognizance.

Alabama
Judge won’t stay order in case of gay-marriage

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) — A federal judge is not backing off her order to an Alabama probate judge that he must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade on Monday refused to stay her order to Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis. Granade in January ruled that Alabama’s gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional and told Davis that he could not refuse licenses because of a couple’s sexual orientation.

The Alabama Supreme Court, however, issued a ruling earlier this month telling all probate judges to refuse to issue the licenses.

Granade said the “overwhelming consensus” of courts across the country is that the bans are unconstitutional.

Following the state Supreme Court decision, Davis shut down all marriage-license operations altogether in Mobile County to avoid running afoul of either order.

Delaware
Teens sentenced in taped assault of disabled man

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Three Delaware teenagers involved in videotaped assaults of a mentally disabled man have been sentenced to probation and house arrest, followed by placement in a secure juvenile facility.

The teens were sentenced Monday after each pleaded guilty to a single felony count of crime against a vulnerable adult.

The boys, two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old, were sentenced to probation and house arrest for the rest of the school year, followed by summer placement at a juvenile facility.

The defendants were charged with offensive touching, assault of a vulnerable adult, and conspiracy. Prosecutors later added hate-crime charges, which were dropped along with other charges following the guilty pleas.

Videos posted online showed the 27-year-old victim being body-slammed to the ground, stomped on and kicked, and repeatedly punched in the head.

Connecticut
Police: Man stabbed to death  over spilt coffee

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A 15-year-old Connecticut boy is among two people charged in the fatal stabbing of a man after a fight that began over spilled coffee.

Police tell the Stamford Advocate that 52-year-old Antonio Muralles was leaving a Stamford restaurant with a cup of coffee March 11 when he bumped into the boy, spilling coffee on him.

James McLamb, of New Haven, and the boy have been charged with murder. A third suspect is being sought.

McLamb had been arrested on an unrelated weapons charge Saturday and was arraigned Monday. He’s held in lieu of $2 million bond.

McLamb didn’t enter a plea. His public defender says he hasn’t yet read McLamb’s arrest warrant.


California
Officer charged with smuggling immigrants

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Los Angeles police officer has been charged with smuggling a Mexican man into the country in the trunk of an SUV.

A federal complaint filed Monday says 34-year-old Carlos Quezada Jr. tried to enter the U.S. at San Diego’s Otay Mesa port of entry.

He and a 31-year-old female passenger were arrested Saturday night after an X-ray machine alerted border inspectors to a man hiding in the spare tire area of a Nissan Juke.

Los Angeles police spokeswoman Rosario Herrera says Quezada has worked at the department for 10 years and is assigned to the Hollywood division.
He is on paid leave until the investigation is completed.

A judge set Quezada’s bond at $20,000 and appointed an attorney, David Silldorf, who declined a request for comment.

Texas
Appeals court halts scheduled execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — An East Texas man set for execution this week for a shootout eight years ago that left two sheriff’s officers dead has won a reprieve from the state’s highest criminal appeals court.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals late Monday stopped the scheduled execution of 55-year-old Randall Wayne Mays. The ruling means Mays will not be execution Wednesday evening for the fatal shootings at his home in Henderson County.

The court agreed with Mays’ lawyers that additional review is needed to determine if Mays is mentally competent for execution.

His punishment would have depleted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s supply of pentobarbital used for lethal injections and now difficult to obtain for capital punishment.

The decision leaves Texas with enough for the next execution, scheduled for April 9.

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