National Roundup

Georgia
Woman charged in teen's shooting felt threatened

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A central Georgia woman charged with shooting a teenage boy in the head said she and her husband had been terrorized by young people throwing rocks for days before she opened fire.

Elisabeth Cannon told The Telegraph of Macon in a story published Friday they felt "felt really unsafe and extremely threatened" before the shooting. Cannon said she had called police about the teenagers two days before the gunfire, but officers only told the teens to stay away.

The 47-year-old woman is charged with aggravated assault in the shooting of Vernon Marcus Jr., 15, who is hospitalized in critical condition in Macon after being shot in the head Monday.

Cannon, who is free on bond, said she called police about the teens Saturday, but officers only spoke with the teens and warned them not to walk near the house.

"We didn't have any trouble at all Sunday, so we thought, 'Maybe it's over,'" said Cannon.

Monday night, Cannon walked outside to check the pressure of the tires on her daughter's car.

"A second before I looked up ... all the rocks come flying toward the house and right at me," Cannon said. "(I was) standing right at the car, right next to the mailbox, right next to the house."

Cannon, a nurse who is now disabled, said she pulled a .38-caliber gun from her pocket and aimed it in the direction of the teens.

"In that second, when you've been terrorized for more than a week, you just want it to stop," she said. "We would have been happy if it'd just stopped. That's all we wanted, was to have some peace."

Cannon fired five shots from a Taurus revolver, according to an arrest warrant.

Cannon said she then saw Marcus on the side of the road. A report said a bullet went through his forehead and exited the back of his head.

"I told him, 'Hold on,' and I called 911." Cannon said. "He was not talking, but he was breathing and grunting. I stayed over there with him right until they got here."

Pennsylvania
Phony doctor gave physicals at high school

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities are investigating how a woman with phony medical credentials ended up giving physicals last year at a Philadelphia public high school.

A school district spokesman said Friday that the woman performed physicals on more than 100 students.

The district says it works with a nonprofit organization to make sure students get proper physicals but didn't immediately explain the vetting process for those who give exams.

It says new protocols have been put in place to prevent it from happening again.

Georgia
Court: Allow transgender name changes

ATLANTA (AP) - A Georgia appeals court has overturned a lower court judge's orders denying legal name changes to two transgender men.

The Georgia Court of Appeals on Friday issued an opinion saying that Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper abused his discretion when he denied the name change petitions.

LGBT rights group Lambda Legal last year filed appeals on behalf of Rowan Elizabeth Feldhaus, whose birth name was Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus, and Andrew Norman Baumert, whose given name was Delphine Renee Baumert.

Roper had denied the name changes, saying they could confuse and mislead people who interact with the young men and could be considered a type of fraud.

The appeals court sent the two cases back to Roper and directed him to enter an order changing the names.

Iowa
Man pleads not guilty in 2nd murder-for-hire

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) - A March trial has been scheduled for a North Liberty man accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill three people who were expected to testify against him in another murder-for-hire case.

Justin DeWitt pleaded not guilty Thursday to three counts of attempted murder. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that his Muscatine County trial is scheduled to begin March 6.

A court document says DeWitt met in Muscatine County Jail with an undercover state agent who DeWitt thought knew a hit man. The document said DeWitt agreed to pay $25,000 to have an Iowa Public Safety Department agent and two other people killed before his Jan. 17 Johnson County trial in the first case. Authorities say DeWitt wanted a business associate and his family killed.

New York
Shooting suspect found incompetent to stand trial

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) - A man charged with fatally shooting a UPS driver outside a central New York Wal-Mart last month has been ruled mentally incompetent for trial.

A Tompkins County Court judge made the ruling Thursday in the second-degree murder case against Justin Barkley. The judge committed him to a state mental health institution for evaluation. The move comes after two psychiatric examinations decided Barkley wasn't competent.

Barkley was charged with killing 52-year-old William Schumacher of Candor outside the Wal-Mart in Ithaca early on the morning of Dec. 8. Authorities say Schumacher was a seasonal driver for the package delivery service when he stopped at the store to get something to eat.

Prosecutors say they'll continue to pursue the case against Barkley.

New York
$43M verdict upheld for duo exonerated in LI teen's slaying

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a $43 million jury verdict against a Long Island county after DNA evidence exonerated three men who had been convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a teenager in 1984.

John Restivo, Dennis Halstead and John Kogut were convicted of killing 16-year-old Theresa Fusco, of Lynbrook. The trio served nearly 18 years behind bars before being freed in 2003.

The men sued, accusing a Nassau County detective of planting and withholding evidence. Kogut, who initially confessed, was excluded from the civil trial.

Newsday reports a Manhattan court on Thursday upheld a 2014 ruling that found the civil rights of Restivo and Halstead were violated.

The ruling says the duo suffered "grave harm" from their wrongful imprisonment.

County Attorney Carnell Foskey says they're reviewing their options.

Published: Mon, Jan 23, 2017

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