National Roundup

Snapchat selfie leads to arrest of armed robber

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (AP) - Police in Northern California say they have arrested a man accused of armed robbery thanks to a Snapchat selfie he took with one of the victims.

KNTV reports Pacific Grove police arrested 18-year-old Victor Almanza-Martinez, of Castroville, and that they continue to search for two other suspects believed to have participated in an armed robbery.

Police say that Almanza-Martinez and the two others approached four victims Wednesday at Lover Point Park and allegedly robbed them of their belongings, including a car.

The suspects fled in the stolen car, which is still missing, but before leaving Almanza-Martinez and a female victim exchanged Snapchat information and posed for a selfie together.

Police say the selfie helped them track down Almanza-Martinez. He has been charged with armed robbery and kidnapping and is being held at the Monterey County Jail.

Court reverses Key West tattoo shop ruling

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling barring a Virginia man from opening a tattoo shop in Key West.

In a 14-page decision released last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the city lacked evidence in arguing that adding tattoo shops would hurt tourism.

The Key West Citizen reports the judges also found city officials misused tattoo-referencing lyrics in Jimmy Buffett's song "Margaritaville."

In a deposition and in arguments before the district court, city officials twice referenced the song to support their argument that inebriated tourists would be more likely to get tattoos and then regret getting tattoos if more tattoo shops were open in Key West's historic district.

The appeals court judges wrote in a footnote that the singer in "Margaritaville" considers his own tattoo "a real beauty" and seems far from embarrassed about it.

The appeals court ruled that U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez erred in his 2014 ruling that the city did not violate Brad Buehrle's First and 14th Amendment rights.

Buehrle, who operates a tattoo shop in Richmond, Virginia, had asked the city to issue a permit allowing him to open a commercial tattoo business in a historic stretch of Duval Street.

The judges said in their ruling that the city failed to prove that Buehrle's proposed tattoo shop would erode the historic district's "character and fabric."

Buehrle's attorney, Wayne LaRue Smith, said that he "doesn't believe for a minute that there's any adverse effects even remotely possible from allowing as many tattoo establishments as the market will support."

Tattoo parlors were banned within Key West city limits until 2007, when the city amended zoning rules to allow a limited number of them.

According to the appeals court ruling, the city feared that "rash tourists will obtain regrettable tattoos, leading to negative association with Key West."

State has backlog of 13,000-plus rape test kits

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says more than 13,000 rape test kits around the state have not been submitted for processing.

Managing that backlog could cost the state tens of millions of dollars and take several years.

The FDLE released results Monday of a $300,000 study on the number of untested kits and will present the findings to the Legislature.

The report said estimates of managing the backlog range from about $9 million to $32 million dollars.

Rape kit testing backlogs has been an issue across the U.S. In September, federal officials said an estimated 70,000 rape kits sitting in laboratories and evidence collection rooms across the country will be tested.

Police say couple left 3 children in SUV to hit casino

BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) - Police say a New Jersey couple left three young children in a cold SUV for nearly two hours while they were inside a Pennsylvania casino.

The Bucks County Courier Times reports police were called to the Parx Casino parking lot in Bensalem on Saturday for a report of three children - ages 8, 3 and 1 - inside a vehicle. Temperatures were hovering near freezing at the time.

Court records show 39-year-old Jarrett Evan Nelson and 30-year-old Ebony Walker, both of Newark, face charges including endangering the welfare of children.

Surveillance video showed the two entered the casino at 7:33 p.m. and returned to the SUV around 9:11 p.m.

Sweepstakes cafes must close after warning

WASHINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Prosecutors in eastern North Carolina are threatening criminal charges against sweepstakes cafe operators, the latest round in a five-year battle between business owners and officials who call the games a form of gambling.

District Attorney Seth Edwards issued warning letters to sweepstakes operators in Washington, Beaufort, Tyrrell, Martin, and Hyde counties. Alcohol Law Enforcement agent Rusty King tells WITN-TV businesses received the letters on different days, but Monday is the final cutoff.

State lawmakers banned Internet-based sweepstakes games with in 2010 after years of seeking to outlaw electronic gambling. The state Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012.

Since then, some police and prosecutors have shut down sweepstakes cafes while others allow the parlors to keep operating. Sweepstakes operators say they've changed software to comply with the law.

Man due in court in appeal of 1957 killing conviction

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) - A DeKalb County judge has set a January court hearing for a 76-year-old man serving a life sentence in the death of a northern Illinois girl in 1957.

Jack D. McCullough is due in court Jan. 14 as he tries to appeal his 2012 conviction in the death of Maria Ridulph of Sycamore.

The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports that Judge William Brady could appoint an attorney for McCullough, who is seeking post-conviction relief. The judge also could rule based on information provided from McCullough and prosecutors.

DeKalb County Judge Robert Pilmer rejected McCullough's petition in September. But McCullough filed another motion in December. McCullough is representing himself and wrote his original petition from prison by hand. McCullough has maintained his innocence. He claims evidence shows he was elsewhere when the girl was abducted.

Published: Tue, Jan 05, 2016