National Roundup

Ohio
Trial delayed for dad of girl found decomposed

MEDINA, Ohio (AP) — The trial will be delayed for an Ohio man charged with corpse abuse after his daughter’s decomposed body was found in a crib.

Eric Warfel also is charged with child endangering, evidence tampering and cocaine possession in Medina County. He’s pleaded not guilty.

The judge’s office says the trial originally scheduled for Monday will be postponed as attorneys review evaluations of Warfel’s competency to stand trial and his sanity at the time of the alleged crimes.

A message seeking comment was left Monday for Warfel’s attorney, Michael O’Shea.

The body of 21-month-old Ember Warfel was discovered in July in Warfel’s Medina apartment. A medical examiner hasn’t said how she died.

Warfel previously lost a 5-month-old daughter in 2013. A medical examiner ruled that a “sudden unexplained infant death.”

Louisiana
Lawyers set record for largest pot of gumbo

LAROSE, La. (AP) — A team led by Louisiana lawyers set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest pot of gumbo.

The Courier reports the team led by Arlen Braud and Michelle Gallagher set the record at 5,800 pounds at the Larose Civic Center on Saturday in southern Louisiana. The event was part of Major League Eaters’ World Record Gumbo Eating Competition.

Gerald Danos helped build the pot which took about 700 hours to make. It was then filled with 1,500 pounds of shrimp, 500 pounds of crabs and 40 gallons of oysters and was consumed by the hundreds of visitors at the event.

New Jersey
Professor wants conviction tossed for sexual assault

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A Rutgers University professor is asking a New Jersey judge to throw out her conviction for sexually assaulting a disabled man.

NJ.com reports that 45-year-old Anna Stubblefield filed a motion seeking to either acquit her or order a new trial. She was convicted last month of aggravated sexual assault.

Stubblefield says the man consented to sexual activity by communicating through a keyboard message. She says she and the man had fallen in love.

Prosecutors challenged the method, known as facilitated communication. The 34-year-old man has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak other than making noises.

Defense attorney James Patton says the motion is based on how there was insufficient evidence to prove Stubblefield knew the man couldn’t consent.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 15.

Pennsylvania
Autopsy: Crime spree suspect killed himself

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When police knocked on the door of a Pennsylvania motel room where a man suspected in a North Carolina double slaying was staying, he apparently figured he’d been caught and took his own life shortly after firing at the officers and missing.

But the officers knew nothing of the North Carolina crimes and were there to arrest another man in the room on a parole violation.

Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harran said Sunday that an autopsy confirm that Lloyd Wayne Franklin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He said it also confirmed Franklin had two bullet wounds from one of his suspected slaying victims.

Franklin, 34, and Jennifer Michelle Lanning, 38, had been on the run since Oct. 29, when police found 82-year-old Davie Lee McSwain and his 78-year-old wife Joan dead in their Thomasville, North Carolina, home.

Authorities believe Davie McSwain had shot Franklin before he was killed. After Franklin fled with a gun stolen from the home, police said, he picked up Lanning and the two stole prescription painkillers during pharmacy robberies in Aberdeen and Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and Georgetown, South Carolina, before apparently heading north.

Bensalem officers were patrolling near the Knights Inn in Trevose on Saturday afternoon when they discovered that a man staying in one of the rooms had an active Pennsylvania arrest warrant on a parole violation. But when they approached the room, they had no idea that the North Carolina murder suspects also were inside, authorities said.

The officers entered the room but were fired upon and took cover outside. They were joined by other officers and a SWAT team that converged on the scene. Lanning later surrendered and told police two men were in the room. The other man held police at bay for more than two hours before he also surrendered. Franklin was found dead inside.

The other man, identified as James Miller, was to be sent to the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

Missouri
Police present initiative seeks to restore trust

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Police in Ferguson are vowing to walk the streets and talk to residents more often as part of an effort to repair frayed relations with the community more than a year after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

About 130 people turned out Saturday at Greater Grace Church for the inaugural presentation of the neighborhood policing plan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The presentation, the first in a series, comes as the St. Louis suburb works to rebuild trust after Brown, who was black, was shot to death by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014 during a confrontation in the street.

The Ferguson neighborhood policing program calls for teams of officers to be assigned to a specific area, where they would build relationships with residents and businesses.

“We want to get the community more involved in our efforts to develop a better relationship,” Ferguson Interim Police Chief Andre Anderson said at the meeting. “We know we can’t do it without the community.”

Anderson, who became interim police chief in July, said his program was based on old-style policing in which officers would walk the streets and engage residents in conversations.

The Justice Department later cleared Wilson, concluding evidence backed his claim that he shot the 18-year-old in self-defense after Brown first tried to grab the officer’s gun during a struggle through the window of Wilson’s police vehicle, then came toward him threateningly after briefly running away.

Brown’s death helped spawn the national “Black Lives Matter” movement rebuking police treatment of minorities.”

Some residents voiced concerns about how they said some officers continued to treat residents roughly despite assurances of change.

“Culture takes times to change,” Anderson told the audience.

The goal of Saturday’s meeting was to jumpstart community involvement in the new policing initiative.
 

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