National Roundup . . .

FBI opens hate crime probe in attack on Muslim

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The FBI has opened a hate crime investigation into an attack on a Muslim woman in which police say a 19-year-old Indiana University college student shouted racial slurs and tried to remove her headscarf.

FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne told The Herald-Times there is no deadline for concluding the investigation into Saturday’s incident in Bloomington, Indiana.

Triceton Bickford, who is from Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been charged with multiple felony charges, including intimidation, strangulation and battery, in the attack on the 47-year-old woman Turkish cafe in Bloomington, about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the Muslim woman was sitting at a table with her 9-year-old daughter when a man later identified as Bickford emerged from a nearby alley shouting “white power,” anti-black racial slurs and “kill the police.” Bickford grabbed the woman by the neck and forced her head forward, restricting her breathing as he tried to remove her headscarf, police say.

Indiana University expelled Bickford following reports of the attack. He was released Sunday from Monroe County’s jail on $705 bond and other fees and is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

Bickford has said he has no memory of the incident and that a combination of drinking alcohol and not taking his anti-anxiety medication caused him to snap.

Online court records do not indicate that Bickford has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Prosecutor: Man choked woman, 87, cut her throat

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A prosecutor says a Kentucky man posed as a repairman to get into an 87-year-old Ohio woman’s house, then shocked her with a stun gun, choked her and cut her throat.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser (MOH’-sur) told jurors Wednesday in opening statements of 57-year-old Daniel French’s trial in Hamilton that French killed Barbara Howe in 2012 after telling her he was there to repair a medical alert system.

Gmoser says French then put Howe’s body in the trunk of her car and poured peroxide on her.

Defense attorney Lawrence Hawkins III says French caused Howe’s death but didn’t purposely kill her. He says French only planned to steal from Howe.

French has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder. It could carry the death penalty with conviction.

Consultant issues report on inmate’s escape

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A consulting firm says the Pennsylvania jail where an inmate escaped before allegedly killing a woman had poor morale and training and a warden who wasn’t respected by staff. And among the staff was a guard who was nodding off instead of monitoring security cameras on the morning of the escape.

The report by CSI Corporate Security says Robert Crissman was wrongly given a job that enabled him to leave the jail to retrieve breakfast trays for inmates. That’s when he escaped from the Armstrong County Jail on July 30. The report says Crissman, a heroin user, was still in drug withdrawal and shouldn’t have been in the trusted inmate program.

The Armstrong County Prison Board paid $15,000 for the report. It says despite the findings, no guards “should be held responsible or be blamed” for the escape.

Man found guilty for randomly shooting people

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man has been found guilty of randomly shooting at people while driving through a Des Moines suburb last November.
The Des Moines Register  reports that 33-year-old Pete Jason Polson was convicted Wednesday of several charges including attempted murder and two counts of assault with intent to inflict serious injury.

Prosecutors say Polson randomly shot at people in Pleasant Hill on Nov. 17, 2014.

Police say 25-year-old Zachary Whitehill was shot in the back and another bullet went through his neck and into his shoulder. Thirty-four-year-old Mark Mitchell was shot in the abdomen while he was on his front porch. A third man was shot at but was not injured.

Polson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

Ex-teacher pleads no contest in custody case

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former Pittsburgh elementary school teacher who police say was obsessed with one of her 11-year-old students has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corruption of minors.

Twenty-nine-year-old Geraldine Alcorn of Lawrenceville entered her plea Wednesday and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Prosecutors say Alcorn encrypted her phone number on the girl’s math homework, exchanged thousands of text messages with her and even talked about adopting and running away with the girl before Alcorn resigned in March.

Court records show Alcorn’s sentence included that she have no contact with the girl or go within 1,000 yards of her residence. She must also undergo a mental health evaluation.

Records show Alcorn’s teaching license is valid but is set to expire this year. Her attorney declined to comment.

Sheriff’s deputies won’t arrest child prostitutes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sheriff of Los Angeles County says deputies will no longer arrest children for prostitution because they are victims, not criminals.

The Los Angeles Times says Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced Wednesday that the department will immediately stop such arrests.

In a letter to employees, McDonnell said children cannot consent to sex under any circumstance and should be considered rape victims.

McDonnell says he has told employees to stop using the term child prostitute for young sex trafficking victims. That’s in line with a motion passed a day earlier by county supervisors.

The Los Angeles Daily News says Compton, Long Beach and the Los Angeles Police Department also are following a protocol that aims to provide medical screening and other care to such children instead of locking them up.