National Roundup

Pennsylvania
Teen police say took selfie with corpse is on trial

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A trial is underway for an 18-year-old Pennsylvania man accused of fatally shooting a friend in the face and then taking a selfie with the victim’s body.

Two officers testified Tuesday that Maxwell Morton, then 16, showed little emotion or concern about the February 2015 shooting of 16-year-old Ryan Mangan.

Police contend Morton took a photograph of himself with Mangan’s body minutes after the shooting and an hour later sent the image via Snapchat while he played online video games with a teen in Wisconsin.

The defense has argued that the teens were playing with the gun and it accidentally fired.

The judge ruled Monday the selfie can be seen by the jury.

New Jersey
Bombing suspect’s lawyer wants shootout charges dropped

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A lawyer for a man accused of setting off bombs in New Jersey and New York City wants charges related to a shootout dismissed.

NJ.com reports Union County Deputy Public Defender Peter Liguori, who is representing Ahmad Rahimi, filed pre-trial motions, including one to strike repetitive counts in the indictment against Rahimi.

Twenty-eight-year-old Rahimi is charged with five counts of attempted murder for the Sept. 19 gun battle in Linden, New Jersey. At the time, he was being sought for planting bombs in Manhattan, near a charity run in Seaside Park, and in a trash can in Elizabeth.

Liguori argues prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to support charges he tried to kill Linden police officers.

Rahimi is also facing a federal trial over the bomb charges.

Missouri
Lawyer acquitted in killings of dad and his girlfriend

LEBANON, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City attorney has been found not guilty of killing her millionaire father and his girlfriend in a vicious attack at their Missouri lake house that prosecutors said was fueled by jealousy, even though jurors said they doubted her innocence.

Susan “Liz” Van Note, 48, was acquitted Tuesday night of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2010 deaths of 67-year-old William Van Note and 59-year-old Sharon Dickson, The Kansas City Star reports.

Dickson died at the couple’s Lake of the Ozarks vacation house after being stabbed and shot. William Van Note was also stabbed and shot, but he survived. Prosecutors say Susan Van Note subsequently forged her father’s signature on power of attorney documents so she could authorize his removal from the ventilator that was keeping him alive.

Authorities allege Susan Van Note had filed for bankruptcy and was angry that her father had named Dickson to inherit the bulk of his estate, which had a net worth in 2009 of nearly $8 million. After his death, his daughter assumed the role of the estate’s executor.

Lead prosecutor Kevin Zoellner described Van Note in his closing argument as a “terrible killer” who “used her mouth to tell the hospital to kill” her father. He said a call from Van Note’s cellphone to her home pinged a tower near the crime scene minutes after the attack.

Her attorneys pointed to another man, who has since disappeared, as the killer. No hair, blood, DNA or fibers linked Van Note to the crime scene.

Susan Van Note’s mother, Barbara Van Note, told investigators that her daughter was home in Lee’s Summit when the killings happened 119 miles away in Sunrise Beach. Barbara Van Note went to prison in 2005 for forging her own mother’s name to a power of attorney, and she was ordered to repay $108,000 to a trust fund.

The trial initially was to have been in June 2015, but a mistrial was declared. A second attempt at the proceedings two months later ended when Susan Van Note’s lawyers challenged the admissibility of cellphone evidence.

Dickson’s son, Andrew Dickson, has a wrongful death case pending against Susan Van Note.

Massachusetts
Bermuda lawsuit says hospital bribed premier

BOSTON (AP) — The government of Bermuda has sued a Massachusetts hospital, saying it bribed the island’s former leader in order to secure business there.

The Boston Globe reports that the federal suit filed Tuesday alleges that Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and Ewart Brown, a doctor who was Bermuda’s premier from 2006 to 2010, were part of a racketeering conspiracy that spanned 20 years.

The suit alleges that in return for bribes disguised as consulting fees, Brown directed a large share of the island’s health care business to Lahey, including lucrative contracts to interpret unnecessary MRIs and CT scans performed at two clinics owned by Brown.

Bermuda, a British territory, is seeking unspecified damages from Burlington-based Lahey.

New Hampshire
Circus agrees to pay $25,000 in fatal tent collapse 

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — A Florida-based circus operator has agreed to pay $25,000 in fines to resolve criminal charges in New Hampshire following a tent collapse in 2015 that killed two people and injured dozens.

The Caledonian-Record reports a prosecutor says the plea agreement resolves eight charges, including operating without a license, and ensures the state will receive money from a defendant who has limited funds.

Sarasota-based Walker International Events initially faced more than $200,000 in fines.

The agreement will need court approval. A March 8 hearing is scheduled.

The company, now out of business, also settled some lawsuits and agreed to pay federal safety fines.

Forty-one-year-old Robert Young and his 6-year-old daughter, Annabelle, of Concord, Vermont, died when a storm with 75 mph winds blew through the Lancaster Fairgrounds, toppling the tent.


Maryland
Attorney who argued ‘Brady rule’ case, dies

BALTIMORE (AP) — E. Clinton Bamberger Jr., a Baltimore attorney who argued a precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case about prosecutors’ duty to turn over evidence, has died.

Former Maryland Secretary of Human Resources Kalman Hettleman confirmed that the 90-year-old Bamberger died Sunday in Baltimore. Hettleman says he had pneumonia.

Bamberger argued at the Supreme Court in 1963 on behalf of a man named John Brady, who was convicted along with an accomplice of murder. Both men were sentenced to death, even though Brady’s accomplice confessed he alone had committed the murder. Prosecutors withheld that confession from defense lawyers.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that prosecutors must turn over any evidence they have that could exonerate the defendant. It’s known as the “Brady rule.”

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