National Roundup

Massachusetts
Body matches description of suspect in death

GILL, Mass. (AP) - Authorities in Massachusetts have pulled a body from the Connecticut River that matches the description of a man suspected of fatally stabbing a college professor, then jumping from a bridge.

The male body was found in Gill on Monday afternoon by Selectman Greg Snedeker and his daughter in the reeds 30 feet from shore.

Police Chief David Hastings says the man was dressed in clothing that fits the description of Tyler Hagmaier, believed to have jumped from the French King Bridge about a mile upstream on May 6.

The 24-year-old Hagmaier is suspected of fatally stabbing his neighbor, Quincy College professor Vibeke Rasmussen, in her Plymouth apartment May 5.

Gill is about 120 miles from Plymouth.

The body has been sent to the medical examiner for identification.

Georgia
Man accused of shooting deputy denied bond

HAMILTON, Ga. (AP) - A man accused of shooting a Georgia sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop has been denied bond.

News outlets report that 24-year-old Joe Garrett, of Phenix City, Alabama, appeared in a Harris County, Georgia, courtroom Monday after having been extradited from Alabama. Garrett is facing numerous charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer.

Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley says deputy Jamie White pulled over Garrett on Saturday night on Interstate 85, about 80 miles south of downtown Atlanta. Jolley says White spoke to Garrett and an unidentified passenger for about seven minutes before Garrett shot White above the left eye.

Authorities say Garrett fled, but turned himself in to Phenix City police the next day.

Jolley says White is recovering, but may lose sight in his left eye.

Utah
Death row inmate: Mormon church interfered in trial

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah man sentenced to death in a 1985 murder case is appealing his conviction by arguing the Mormon church interfered in his trial.

Douglas Lovell, 58, has been counseled by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bishops in prison, and he wanted them to testify as character witnesses after he was granted a new trial, his lawyers wrote in court documents.

But Mormon officials were concerned the bishops' testimony could make it seem like church representatives approved of a murderer, so they told some members to keep testimony brief while preventing others from testifying at all, attorneys argue. One mentor tearfully asked not to be called as a character witness after a higher-ranked member cautioned him against it, Lovell said.

Lovell's lawyers say that kept the jury from seeing how sorry he was for his crime and showing that his life has value, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"The church, out of concern for its policies, pressured witnesses not to testify or cooperate with Mr. Lovell," attorney Samuel Newton wrote. "And put witnesses in the position of having to disobey their church leaders to support Mr. Lovell."

The church, though, said Lovell's lawyers agreed to any restrictions on testimony. Spokesman Eric Hawkins says leaders don't usually participate in court cases unless it directly involves the church, but in the Lovell case the people who had talked with him were subpoenaed and testified to their personal opinions.

"Our hearts go out to the victims of this unspeakable crime," Hawkins said in a statement.

Lovell is appealing a second jury verdict that sent him back to death row last year in the rape and murder of Joyce Yost.

He wants a new evidence hearing to question witnesses and show his trial court lawyers failed him by not raising enough objections to the church interference.

Lovell made a similar argument shortly after the verdict came down last year, but a judge denied his request for a new trial.

Prosecutors said Lovell followed Yost to her driveway and raped her in 1985, then spent four months plotting to kill her to prevent her from testifying against him.

Lovell broke into her home with a knife after his plans to hire a hit man fell through. He ignored her begging, drugged her and drove her to a canyon where he strangled her, stomped on her neck and buried her in leaves, prosecutors said.

Lovell pleaded guilty to killing Yost in 1993 to avoid the death penalty, but a judge imposed it anyway after Lovell couldn't fulfill a condition of the plea deal and find her body. He cooperated in a search, but she was never found.

The Utah Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2010, ruling he wasn't informed of his right to a presumption of innocence and a public trial. He was convicted again and sentenced to die a second time in 2015.

Massachusetts
Stripper who fled U.S. before assault trial is caught overseas

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - A stripper who fled the U.S. more than six years ago on the eve of her trial for armed assault of a fellow exotic dancer has been apprehended in the Dominican Republic.

Authorities announced Monday that former Providence, Rhode Island, resident Katherine Pimental was arrested last week and returned to Massachusetts, where she's facing charges stemming from a July 2007 stabbing.

The 35-year-old Pimental is accused of attacking a fellow dancer at a Dartmouth strip club, leaving her with severe injuries to her face and arm. Pimental didn't show up for court in December 2009 on the day her trial started.

Pimental is due Tuesday in Fall River Superior Court to face charges connected to the stabbing and bail-jumping charges.

It's unclear whether she has a lawyer who could comment.

New Jersey
Bookkeeper gets prison for ­stealing from Piscopo

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) - A bookkeeper who stole $234,500 from former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Joe Piscopo has been sentenced in New Jersey to three years in prison.

Frank Larocca's lawyer had asked the judge on Friday to sentence his client to probation and a suspended prison term. But the judge declined, noting the benefits of the plea agreement Larocca received from Morris County prosecutors.

The 40-year-old Larocca pleaded guilty in February to theft by unlawful taking. His wife also pleaded guilty to theft and is expected to be sentenced to three years' probation.

Prosecutors say Piscopo hired Larocca to pay his bills and manage his bank account. The thefts occurred between February 2010 and March 2014.

Larocca used the money for personal expenses.

Piscopo's run on "SNL" lasted from 1980 to 1984.

Published: Wed, Jun 01, 2016

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