National Roundup

New York
Guard gets 5 years in prison for inmate death

NEW YORK (AP) — A former Rikers Island guard convicted of ignoring the pleas of a dying inmate has been handed a five-year prison term by a judge who said the sentence was intended to be a deterrent to others.
Former Department of Correction Captain Terrence Pendergrass dabbed tears from his eyes after the sentence was announced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams in New York.
She rejected a request by prosecutors that Pendergrass be immediately incarcerated, noting he had reliably shown up for his court appearances.
The 51-year-old Pendergrass was sentenced in the 2012 death of Jason Echevarria. The 25-year-old prisoner died after swallowing toxic detergent while housed in a now-closed solitary confinement unit for inmates who break jailhouse rules.
Pendergrass was convicted in December of depriving Echevarria of his civil rights.

Bank robber who ate biscuits gets state prison

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man who was arrested for robbing a western Pennsylvania bank when he stopped to eat biscuits at a nearby restaurant will spend two to four years in prison.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports 32-year-old Shane Lindsey, of Arnold, was sentenced by a Westmoreland County judge on Wednesday after pleading guilty.
Lindsey was arrested about 20 minutes after he robbed the Citizens Bank in downtown New Kensington on Jan. 14.
That’s when witnesses saw a bald man matching Lindsey’s description run toward a restaurant after the heist. Police knew the business had surveillance video and went inside to view it hoping for clues as to where the suspect went — only to find Lindsey eating at a booth.
Police say Lindsey used the restaurant’s bathroom to discard a coat and hood he wore during the robbery.

Ex-cop suing over racial profiling investigation

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former police officer in an affluent Orlando suburb is suing the town after charges that he conducted racially based traffic stops were later dropped.
Jason Darnell, who is white, also is suing Windermere’s former police chief, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and others after an investigation into the allegations discovered inconsistent statements in witness accounts.
Darnell was charged in April 2013 with misconduct and making threats against a public servant after a fellow officer told FDLE that Darnell had instructed him to pull over cars driven by black motorists. The charges were dismissed the following month.
Darnell is being represented by attorneys Jose Baez and Benjamin Crump, who achieved national fame during the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin cases.

Hearing delayed for teen girl in trooper shooting

COCOA, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida teenager is being evaluated at a mental health center and remains on suicide watch after a weekend shooting that killed her boyfriend and wounded a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.
Florida Today reports that the 16-year-old girl faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. A hearing scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.
Officials say that on Sunday, the girl and her 15-year-old boyfriend, Zane Terryn, were stopped at a gas station in Cocoa when a trooper noticed the lights on their vehicle were out. Officials say that when Lt. Channing Taylor approached them, Terryn shot him in the shoulder and that the trooper fired back, killing the boy.
Authorities say the teens were heading to Ohio, where they had planned to kill themselves.
Taylor has been released from a hospital.

Newspaper not entitled to  attorney fees

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says a newspaper isn’t entitled to attorney fees in an open records dispute.
The Racine Journal Times filed a request with Racine police commission in 2012 seeking records of each commissioner’s vote to reopen a search for a new police chief in a closed meeting that February. A city attorney said no such records existed and the newspaper sued. Days later the attorney sent the newspaper an email explaining how each commissioner voted.
The newspaper argues it deserves attorney fees because it essentially prevailed in its lawsuit. The commission countered it never violated the open records law because no record existed.
The Supreme Court sided with the commission Thursday, ruling no record existed.
The Journal Times’ attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Police: Robbery suspect needed money to kill ex

BELLE VERNON, Pa. (AP) — Police say a western Pennsylvania man jailed on three robberies and suspected in another in West Virginia told them he needed the money to kill his ex-girlfriend and flee the state.
Rostraver police say 34-year-old Stephen Gaza IV, of Masontown, “openly admitted” that was his motive after he was charged by them with robbing a PNC Bank branch there on June 11.
Gaza is also charged with robbing a Kmart in June 7 and a United Bank on Monday, both in Uniontown. He was caught after the Monday bank heist, and is also suspected of robbing a Huntingdon Bank in Morgantown that same afternoon.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Gaza, who remained in the Fayette County Jail unable to post $100,000 bond on Thursday.

Woman found guilty of animal cruelty for dogs

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Colorado woman has been found guilty of animal cruelty after Casper police found 12 malnourished dogs in her U-Haul trailer.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Georgia Lynn Moody, of Livermore, Colorado, was convicted Wednesday of 13 counts of animal cruelty.
Natrona County Circuit Judge Michael Huber ruled that Moody is forbidden from ever owning animals. She was forced to surrender the 11 Siberian huskies that police confiscated as well as a cat found in her vehicle.
All the dogs were rescued in February after they were found malnourished and covered in feces inside crates in a trailer.
A puppy was also found in the trailer but it had to be euthanized by police when officers responded to the scene. They believed the puppy had a broken neck.