National Roundup

Connecticut
Son charged with killing parents over inheritance

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - The son of a Connecticut couple whose remains were found months after they vanished has made his first court appearance on two murder counts.

Jeanette and Jeffrey Navin of Easton disappeared in August. Their remains were found last week outside a vacant house in neighboring Weston.

Their son Kyle Navin was already in federal custody on a weapons charge. He was formally charged with murder on Tuesday and ordered held in lieu of $2.5 million bond. He is due back in court on Nov. 24.

Court documents indicate Jeanette Navin had told a friend that she and her husband planned to sell their trash-hauling business and cut their son out of their will.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday with Kyle Navin's attorney, Eugene Riccio.

Pennsylvania
Cop accused of shooting man in back goes on trial

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Video played Tuesday at a police officer's murder trial shows the 15-year veteran shocking a fleeing suspect with a stun gun, then shooting him twice in the back as he lay face down in the snow.

Officer Lisa Mearkle is on trial for shooting of 59-year-old David Kassick after he fled from a Feb. 2 traffic stop in Hummelstown, a Harrisburg suburb. The shooting was captured by a camera attached to the officer's stun gun.

The high-definition video shows Kassick's hands repeatedly disappearing underneath his body as Mearkle screams at him to keep them where she can see them, a key point of contention between the defense, which says Mearkle fired in self-defense, and the prosecution, which called the shooting unjustified.

In opening statements, prosecutor Johnny Baer said Mearkle "took David's life without justification. Took it unnecessarily."

Defense attorney Brian Perry said Kassick ignored commands, and Mearkle thought he was reaching for a weapon.

"You don't shoot to wound. You shoot to stop the threat. He was a threat," Perry said.

Authorities said Mearkle had attempted to pull over Kassick for expired inspection and emissions stickers and he sped away.

Her "cop bells" started to go off when she turned on her lights and sirens and Kassick failed to pull over, even going around a car stopped at a red light, Perry told jurors. Mearkle followed Kassick a short distance to his sister's house, where he had been living. Kassick parked in the driveway, got out of the car and began fleeing on foot.

"It's not an inspection sticker now," Perry told the jury.

He said Mearkle ordered Kassick to stop, get on the ground and show her his hands 23 separate times, but he made the "conscious decision" to ignore her.

"If he complies, he's alive," he said.

Even if Mearkle believed she was in danger, that belief was "unreasonable in light of the circumstances," Baer said.

"This officer used deadly force to subdue a suspect without justification," he said.

Derry Township police Chief Patrick M. O'Rourke, who took command of the scene shortly after the shooting, testified that when he got there, he saw Mearkle "feverishly attempting life-saving measures" on Kassick. He said Kassick was pronounced dead at the scene.

It's unknown why Kassick fled, but he had problems with substance abuse and police recovered a syringe near his body that might have been his.

Prosecutors have said alcohol and unspecified drugs were found in his system.

Mearkle was suspended without pay after her arrest. She remains on electronic monitoring while out on bail.

She's charged with third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Dauphin County Judge Deborah Curcillo barred authorities from publicly releasing the video taken from the stun gun, saying it would jeopardize Mearkle's right to a fair trial. Lawyers for PA Media Group, which publishes Pennlive.com in Harrisburg, filed a motion last week asking for release of the video as soon as it is shown at trial.

Oklahoma
Ex-sheriff: Cop used unapproved gun in shooting

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A former Oklahoma sheriff says a reserve deputy fired an unapproved firearm that he wasn't qualified to use when he fatally shot an unarmed man.

The Tulsa World reports that former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz acknowledged to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies that Robert Bates was carrying a personal firearm in April when he shot Eric Harris.

Glanz says Bates wasn't disciplined for the shooting because the sheriff's office couldn't take any action after the volunteer deputy resigned from the department. Glanz also says he waived application requirements for reserve deputies who had previously been law enforcement officers. Bates had been an officer for one year in the mid-1960s.

Glanz was indicted after an investigation held in the wake of the shooting.

California
Man cuts plea deal in mercy killing of wife

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a man who shot and killed his wife inside their San Francisco Bay Area home last year because she suffered from dementia will be sentenced to three years under a plea deal.

Jerry Canfield, 73, pleaded no contest Friday to voluntary manslaughter in the death of his wife, Joann, the Oakland Tribune reported Tuesday.

Canfield shot his 72-year-old wife in the head at their residence in Alameda, California, police said. He then placed roses near her body, drove to the police station and confessed. Canfield told police that he wanted to end his wife's suffering.

The shooting followed a failed attempt by Canfield to kill his wife with sleeping pills, authorities said.

The two were married for 37 years.

Attorneys with the Alameda County Public Defender's Office declined to comment on the plea deal.

Connecticut
Man sentenced to 17 years for prostituting teens

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A New York man convicted of luring teenage girls to Connecticut and prostituting them out of a motel has been sentenced to 17 1/2 years in federal prison.

Edward Thomas was found guilty in January of sex trafficking of minors and was sentenced Monday in a Hartford court.

Prosecutors said Thomas lured a 16-year-old and 17-year-old from their home in Oregon in September 2012 to prostitute them out of a Milford motel.

Lawyers for the 41-year-old Brooklyn man had argued that a 10-year sentence was sufficient to keep him off the streets.

Kayla Walters, a co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor in November 2014. She's awaiting sentencing.

Published: Wed, Nov 04, 2015

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