National Roundup

Mental exam ordered in case of beheading

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - A judge has ordered a mental competency exam for a man accused of beheading a co-worker at a food processing plant in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoman reports that defense attorneys for Alton Alexander Nolen requested the evaluation. Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley approved their request, and her order was filed Wednesday.

Nolen is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept 25, 2014, death of Colleen Hufford. Nolen is accused of beheading Hufford and stabbing another woman at Vaughan Foods after he was suspended from his job at the plant.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

An expert from the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department will examine Nolen and will report findings to Walkley.

Women pictured on Facebook page talk to cops

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Police say some women pictured nude or seminude in photos posted to a Penn State fraternity's secret Facebook page have come forward, and some frat members are now cooperating with an ongoing criminal investigation.

State College police Lt. Keith Robb says authorities are interviewing them and are asking people to "be patient so we can do our job."

The Kappa Delta Rho fraternity has been suspended for a year and is being ordered by its national office to reorganize. Penn State President Eric Barron says the university has also begun a wide review of the role fraternities and sororities play at the school.

The new developments emerged Wednesday as protesters marched to the house and called for the school to shut down the fraternity permanently.

State board denies parole to murderer, poet

NATICK, Mass. (AP) - A man convicted of murder in Massachusetts, who escaped from prison and spent 20 years as an activist and poet in Chicago, has been denied parole.

The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Parole Board on Wednesday ordered 75-year-old Norman Porter Jr. to spend four more years in prison, saying he was not suitable for parole because he has "chosen to remain in a state of denial" and "has not had any rehabilitative programming that addresses his criminal behavior."

Porter was convicted of killing a 22-year-old store clerk during a robbery in Saugus in 1960.

He escaped in 1985, and evaded capture until March 2005 when he was found living in Chicago under the alias of Jacob "J.J." Jameson. He was a well-known poet, community activist and anti-war protester.

Jackson leaves federal prison for halfway house

CHICAGO (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was released from an Alabama federal prison early Thursday, two years after pleading guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items, his father said.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson described his son's release from the minimum security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, as a "joyous reunion" and said the younger Jackson was doing "very well."

Jackson, a 50-year-old Illinois Democrat, began his sentence on Nov. 1, 2013. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons lists his release date as Sept. 20, 2015. Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who visited Jackson on Monday, said Jackson would serve out the remainder of his 2 1/2-year term in a Washington, D.C., halfway house. Jackson must also spend three years on supervised release and complete 500 hours of community service.

Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June of 2012 he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.

Jackson's wife, Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. She must serve her term after her husband completes his sentence. The couple has two children.

According to court documents, the Jacksons spent campaign money on televisions, restaurant dinners and other costly personal items, including $43,350 on a gold-plated men's Rolex watch and $9,587.64 on children's furniture.

During sentencing, the judge scolded Jackson for using campaign funds as a "piggy bank."

Jackson's resignation ended a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.

Court lets air out of balloon injuries case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin appeals court has let the air out of a lawsuit brought by a woman injured by a runaway hot air balloon.

The 4th District Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the case brought by Patti Roberts of Beaver Dam.

Roberts was hurt while standing in line waiting for a hot air balloon ride at a charity event in Beaver Dam. The balloon was tethered to the ground by three ropes attached to trees and a large truck.

A gust of wind led to one of the tethers snapping, causing the basket and balloon to skid along the ground knocking down and injuring Roberts.

She sued Sundog Ballooning, but the appeals court says Wisconsin law provides it immunity from Roberts' injury claims because it happened during a recreational activity.

City sues former master developer for $1.5M fraud

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - The city of Joplin is suing its former master developer and two men who ran the Texas-based company.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks $1.5 million from Wallace Bajjali Development Partners and accuses the company of fraud.

One of the company's former partners, David Wallace, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday in federal court in Houston.

The city hired the development partners, of Sugar Land, Texas, in 2012 to lead the Joplin's recovery from the 2011 tornado. The city learned in January that the company had closed and that Wallace and Costa Bajjali had resigned.

Peter Edwards, attorney for Joplin, says Wallace's bankruptcy filing might not protect him from Joplin's lawsuit.

Published: Fri, Mar 27, 2015