National Roundup

Couple accused of sex act on observation wheel

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Houston man and a New York woman are facing felony charges after authorities say they were recorded having sex in public during a 30-minute ride in a glass-enclosed cabin on a Ferris wheel 550 feet above the Las Vegas Strip.

A Las Vegas judge on Tuesday set a March 9 date to see if the charges against Phillip Frank Panzica III and Chloe Scordianos can be resolved without trial.

The two were arrested Feb. 5 after riding alone together in one cabin on the High Roller.

Police say surveillance cameras captured the act, security warned the couple to stop, and people in another car shot cellphone video.

Images haven't been made public.

Panzica's attorney, Bennair Bateman, declined comment.

Scordianos' lawyer, Chris Rasmussen, says his client believed the couple had an expectation of privacy.

Officers oppose delay of trials in Freddie Gray case

BALTIMORE (AP) - Two Baltimore police officers charged in the Freddie Gray case are opposing the state's motion to delay their trials until appellate courts decide whether another officer can be compelled to testify against them.

Lawyers for Lt. Brian Rice and Officer Edward Nero filed the responses Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

They call the state's motion a "transparent subterfuge" to avoid trying them before William Porter's retrial on related charges in June. Porter's first trial ended in a hung jury in December.

Six officers are charged in the case. Nero's is the second scheduled trial, starting Feb. 22.

Defense attorneys say arguments over Porter's availability as a state's witness could delay the other trials until September, violating their defendants' speedy-trial rights.

Gray was a black man fatally injured in police custody.

Court throws out caddie lawsuit against PGA Tour

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Caddies have lost their class-action lawsuit against the PGA Tour claiming they were forced to wear bibs that made them "human billboards."

The ruling came just over one year after the lawsuit, which grew to include 168 caddies, was filed in federal court in northern California.

U.S. District Judge Vice Chhabria on Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the caddies cannot refile their complaint.

Caddies have been complaining about their treatment by the tour. They went after the tour over wearing bibs, which include the logo of the corporate sponsor that week. They said they effectively were being used for advertising without compensation.

Chhabria, however, found no merit. He ruled that the tour's longtime policy requiring caddies to wear bibs did not implicate federal antitrust or trademark law.

Cop fired after 137-shot barrage wants job back

CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cleveland police officer who was fired after a high-speed chase led to a 137-shot barrage that killed two unarmed black people says he wants to return to the force.

Six police officers were fired last month in connection with the November 2012 shooting. The chase began when officers mistook a car backfiring for a gunshot, and it ended in an East Cleveland parking lot. Thirteen officers fired their guns, killing driver Timothy Russell and passenger Malissa Williams.

Former officer Freddy Diaz, who fired first, told WJW-TV the scene was a scary and "horrific" experience.

"I don't want to relive it, I don't want to think about it but it is always going to be embedded in my heart and my mind," Diaz said.

The acquittal of a different officer, who is white, on manslaughter charges in the shooting drew protests, and the case helped lead to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that calls for bias-free policing in Cleveland.

Diaz was found guilty of several administrative charges that alleged he didn't get proper permission to join the pursuit and acted contrary to his training when he left the cover of his vehicle and fired at the suspect vehicle.

The city wouldn't comment on Diaz's case as his firing and five others are being appealed through grievances by Cleveland's largest police union.

The union's president, Steve Loomis, has described the firings as unbelievable, unprecedented and politically motivated.

Dozens more officers were given suspensions of varying lengths in connection with their actions during the chase or shooting.

Ex-priest arrested  in 1960 killing of schoolteacher

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) - A former priest has been arrested in Arizona in the 1960 slaying of a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department arrested 83-year-old John Feit (fyt) on Tuesday. Feit faces a murder charge in the death of Irene Garza in McAllen, Texas, and is awaiting extradition to that state.

Authorities say Garza visited Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where Feit was a priest, on April 16, 1960. Garza, who was Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, had planned to go to confession that evening but never returned home. Her body was found days later in an irrigation canal.

According to an autopsy, Garza died from a head injury.

Feit was a suspect in the killing. The case was reopened in 2004 but a grand jury did not indict the former priest. He was never arrested or charged in the case.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said he presented the case against Feit to a grand jury last week.

Ricardo said: "We felt that we had sufficient evidence to present to a grand jury. It was presented last week, and they came back with a true bill."

According to the district attorney, the next step is to see if Feit will contest his extradition to Texas. It is unclear if Feit has an attorney.

The McAllen Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety Ranger Service assisted in the investigation and the arrest.

Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016


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