National Roundup

Ohio
Police: Woman late for work lies about clown attacking her

READING, Ohio (AP) - Police say an 18-year-old Ohio woman lied about being attacked by a knife-wielding clown as an excuse for being late for work.

Police in the Cincinnati suburb of Reading say investigators found inconsistencies in 18-year-old Alexsandra Conley's story and charged her with making a false alarm, a misdemeanor.

WCPO-TV reports Conley said someone dressed like a clown jumped a fence Saturday, waved a knife at her and cut her thumb.

No phone listing could be found for the Hamilton woman. It couldn't immediately be determined whether she has an attorney.

There have been several recent reports nationwide of people having frightening encounters involving clowns. A report last week of a clown grabbing a woman by the throat and threatening Reading schools led to classes being canceled for the day.

Florida
No deal? Seminole tribe and state now head to court

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state are squaring off in a crucial federal trial that may affect the future of gambling in Florida.

The trial scheduled to start Monday could decide whether the tribe can continue to have blackjack tables at their Florida casinos.

The tribe filed the lawsuit last year after key portions of a gambling deal with the state expired. The state countersued saying that under the terms of a 2010 deal or "compact" the Seminoles were required to remove the blackjack tables.

Gov. Rick Scott last December reached a new deal with the tribe that would let them keep blackjack and add games such as craps and roulette. But the deal was rejected by the Florida Legislature.

Missouri
Death row inmate Ernest Johnson loses appeal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man on Missouri death row for killing three convenience store workers in 1994 has lost on appeal that claimed a medical condition would make lethal injection too painful.

U.S. District Chief Judge Greg Kays found Friday that Ernest Johnson hadn't successfully argued that Missouri's lethal injection drug, pentobarbital, could trigger seizures due to a brain condition. Johnson still has part of a benign tumor in his brain, and surgery to remove the rest of the tumor in 2008 forced removal of up to 20 percent of his brain tissue.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the defense doesn't explain the effects of pentobarbital on seizures or defective brains.

Johnson's attorneys, Jeremy Weis, told The Associated Press he's "disappointed" but plans to amend the complaint and refile it.

Ohio
State plans Jan. execution using 3-drug combo

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio plans to resume executions in January with a new three-drug combination after an unofficial three-year moratorium blamed on shortages of lethal drugs, an attorney representing the state told a federal judge Monday.

The state outlined its plan to Columbus federal Judge Edmund Sargus in a hearing where The Associated Press was the only media outlet present. Thomas Madden with the Ohio attorney general's office said the state will use the drugs midazolam, rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride. He said the drugs are not compounded and are FDA approved.

Madden said a new execution policy will be announced at the end of the week.

Attorneys representing death row inmates say they'll file a new challenge almost immediately.

The development opens the way for the execution of Ronald Phillips for the rape and murder of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993.

Ohio hasn't put anyone to death since January 2014, when Dennis McGuire repeatedly gasped and snorted during a 26-minute procedure using a never-before-tried two-drug combo.

The state also used midazolam in McGuire's execution, making it disappointing that Ohio would again turn to that drug, said Allen Bohnert, a federal public defender representing several death row inmates.

Ohio and other states have struggled since then to find legal supplies of execution drugs.

The state has more than two dozen inmates with firm execution dates sitting on death row, with executions scheduled out as far as October 2019.

After McGuire's execution, the longest ever in Ohio using lethal drugs, the prisons agency changed its policies to allow for single doses of two alternative drugs. Complicating matters, neither of those drugs - sodium thiopental and pentobarbital - is available in the United States after their manufacturers put them off-limits for executions.

The state has unsuccessfully tried to find compounded or specially mixed versions.

Last year, Republican Gov. John Kasich ruled out looking for alternative methods, such as the firing squad or hanging.

In 2014, Kasich signed a bill into law shielding the names of companies that provide the state with lethal injection drugs.

Supporters said such confidentiality is necessary to obtain supplies of the drugs, and the measure is needed to restart Ohio executions. Opponents said it was naive to think the bill could truly protect companies' names from being revealed.

In 2014, former federal Judge Gregory Frost sided with the state, saying the prisons agency's need to obtain the drugs outweighed concerns by death row inmates that the information was needed to meaningfully challenge the source of the drugs.

Texas
Killer of real estate agent loses appeal

HOUSTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a North Carolina parolee on Texas death row for the slaying 10 years ago of a suburban Dallas real estate agent whose body was found in a model home.

The high court, without comment Monday, rejected an appeal from 36-year-old Kosoul Chanthakoummane. A lower appeals court earlier this year had turned down arguments he had deficient legal help at his 2007 trial.

He'd served time in North Carolina for aggravated kidnapping and robbery and was paroled to Dallas to live with relatives when he was arrested for the death of 40-year-old real estate agent Sarah Walker. Walker, stabbed 33 times, was found in the kitchen of a model home in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Published: Tue, Oct 04, 2016

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