National Roundup

New Hampshire

Cop pays thief's tab for stolen cake ingredients

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire police officer dispatched to the scene of a shoplifting incident paid the thief's tab after learning a woman stole the items to bake her child's birthday cake.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Officer Michael Kotsonis, a 19-year member of the Portsmouth force, responded to a call last week at the Ocean State Job Lots after a woman had stolen cake mix, shortening and "a couple things of frosting."

After investigating the theft and learning the woman's identity, Kotsonis went to her home to recover the items. It was there that he found that the woman was a mother who wanted to bake her child a birthday cake.

Kotsonis says the mother's actions weren't right, but, "I'm not going to take away a kid's birthday cake." He went back to the store and bought the items.

A store employee reported his gesture to the newspaper. Frank Warchol, acting deputy police chief, said he wouldn't have known about it, either, if not for a reporter's call. He said Kotsonis exemplifies the department's mission statement emphasizing community, commitment and compassion.


Police: Couple put 4-year-old in garbage bag

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania couple has been charged with duct-taping a 4-year-old girl's hands and stuffing her in a garbage bag as punishment for soiling herself.

Johnstown police say the girl was then left in the bag in a dark, unheated basement.

Authorities say the punishment happened Nov. 16 and was discovered when the girl was taken to a hospital with liver trauma and other injuries two days later.

Thirty-four-year-old Khristopher Newman and 31-year-old Crystal Jedrzejek are charged with child endangerment, corruption of minors and disorderly conduct. Newman is also charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Online court records don't list attorneys for Newman, who remains jailed, and Jedrzejek, who was freed on $5,000 bond. A home number for Jedrzejek couldn't be located.

Both face a preliminary hearing Dec. 10.


Woman accused of killing 3 wants her trial moved

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio (AP) - The lawyer for an Ohio woman accused of suffocating her three sons over a 13-month period wants her trial moved to another county.

The Springfield News-Sun reports 23-year-old Brittany Pilkington's attorney says in court filings that extensive media coverage would prevent a fair trial in Logan County. The prosecutor says an impartial jury can be seated there.

The Bellefontaine (behl-FOWN'-tihn) woman has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges. Her trial is March 7.

Authorities say Pilkington confessed to killing her sons and was jealous of attention her husband paid the boys. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.


Man pleads guilty in strangulation, phone selfie case

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) - A Congolese man accused of strangling his girlfriend and taking a selfie with her corpse has pleaded guilty to murder in southeastern Minnesota.

The Star Tribune says Marc Amouri Bakambia admitted killing Dorothy Redd in August 2014 after she ended their relationship.

Bakambia pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday after a nine-day trial.

Dakota County prosecutors say the 29-year-old Bakambia will serve a 30-year prison sentence and then be deported to Congo.

Redd's mother found her 24-year-old daughter's body in her West St. Paul home. Investigators say they later found a photo on Bakambia's cellphone of him lying next to Redd's body.


Court won't restart probe of recall campaign

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court refused Wednesday to reconsider its decision to end the "John Doe" investigation into Republican Gov. Scott Walker's recall campaign.

The state Government Accountability Board and Milwaukee prosecutors launched the investigation in 2012, to look into whether Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups on issue ads. But in a major victory for the governor, the Supreme Court ended the probe in July, ruling that such coordination was permissible under state law.

So-called John Doe investigations are similar to grand jury proceedings. Information is kept secret and prosecutors can compel witnesses to testify as they weigh whether to pursue criminal charges.

No charges were filed in the Walker investigation, though it led to unsavory headlines about the governor. The conservative-leaning Supreme Court ordered prosecutors to return all evidence they'd collected during the probe and destroy any copies. Francis Schmitz, the special prosecutor who led the investigation, asked the high court in August to reconsider its decision.

Many of the court documents in the case - including Schmitz's motion asking the court to reconsider its decision - have never been released due to the John Doe secrecy rules.

The investigation focused on issue ads, which are campaign advertisements that advocate for or against a candidate's policies without expressly calling for his or her election or defeat. The Supreme Court ruled in July that the state's ban on campaigns coordinating with outside groups was so vague that it infringed on free-speech rights. The justices said the coordination ban applied only to express advocacy, which are ads that directly call for a named candidate's election or defeat.


Ex-cop to testify in DUI case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The former Florida police officer who fatally shot a stranded motorist along Interstate 95 is expected to appear in court on an unrelated DUI case in which he was the arresting officer.

Attorney Richard Lubin told a Palm Beach County judge that Nouman Raja intends to cooperate in cases he was involved in.

The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department fired Raja after 31-year-old Corey Jones was killed in October. Jones, a black man, was waiting for help near his disabled vehicle, when he was shot. Raja was on duty but not in uniform when the shooting occurred.

Raja is a key witness in the October 2014 DUI case when he worked for the Atlantis Police Department.

Attorney Ira Karmelin argues that Raja was outside his jurisdiction when the traffic stop was made. He wants the case dismissed.

Published: Thu, Dec 03, 2015