National Roundup

New York
Police: Teller stole $160K from 2 bank accounts

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State police have charged a New York woman with stealing more than $150,000 from a customer’s accounts at an upstate bank where she worked.

Troopers say 33-year-old Alicia Smarro, of Troy, was arrested Monday on charges that include grand larceny, falsifying business records and identity theft.

Investigators say Smarro used her position as a teller for Bank of America to withdraw about $160,000 from two savings accounts belonging to a customer. Police say the thefts occurred in neighboring Albany and Rensselaer counties over a one-year period ending this past March.

The victim has since been reimbursed by the bank. Trooper say Smarro had been fired because of an unrelated matter.

She’s being held in the Albany County Jail. The name of her public defender wasn’t available from authorities.

Maine
Woman admits to home invasion that scared woman to death

BELFAST, Maine (AP) — A Maine woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a home invasion victim was literally scared to death.

Belfast officials say 37-year-old Tara Shibles pleaded guilty in a deal with the state for a 10-month jail sentence. WABI-TV reports Shibles apologized in court Monday, saying she never meant to hurt anyone.

According to police, Shibles broke into the home of 72-year-old Joyce Wood in April and jumped into bed with her. Wood called 911 and ran out of the house before suffering a fatal heart attack.

The medical examiner says the shock of the home invasion triggered the heart attack.

Shibles is due to start her sentence immediately.

Florida
Ex-child welfare spokesman accused of child pornography

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A former spokesman for Florida’s child welfare agency is accused of having child pornography.

A Gainesville police report says 67-year-old Thomas William Barnes was arrested last week. On Monday, he was charged with 10 additional child porn charges.

The Gainesville Sun reports the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a report in August that a Yahoo user later identified as Barnes sent a graphic photo of a man and a girl. Police searched his computer and found multiple folders of child porn, according to authorities.

Spokeswoman Jessica Sims said in an email that Barnes left the agency more than 10 years ago.

Barnes remains in jail on a $900,000 bond.

Massachusetts
Man accused of illegally catching tuna, dumping it

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has been accused of catching a tuna out of season and then dumping its headless 400-pound carcass in the woods.

The Gloucester Daily Times reports that 40-year-old Harold Wentworth on Monday pleaded not guilty to state charges including improper disposal of waste and expelling trash or litter from a motor vehicle.

Federal fisheries regulators say they have also served him with an enforcement action for allegedly illegally harvesting tuna out of season.

Authorities say they have video of Wentworth landing the bluefin tuna in Rockport on Oct. 20, 15 days after the close of the initial fall season. It was hauled out of the woods in Gloucester by a tow truck on Oct. 24.

Maryland
Baltimore drops more cases due to alleged police misconduct

BALTIMORE (AP) — The number of criminal cases dropped due to allegations of police misconduct in Baltimore continues to rise, prosecutors said.

The alleged misconduct includes body camera videos that appear to show officers planting evidence and a federal indictment of eight officers on racketeering and fraud charges.

News outlets reported a statement Monday from State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office said a total of 125 cases relying on the indicted officers’ testimony will be dropped. Prosecutors also said they have dropped or will drop more than 200 cases linked to officers involved in the body-camera incidents if more time isn’t granted for additional investigation.

Mosby’s office said in all, nearly 850 state criminal cases have been impacted. Baltimore Public Defender’s Special Litigation Section head Debbie Katz Levi put her office’s estimate at more than 2,000.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the officers are accused of robbing people, filing false paperwork and making fraudulent claims for overtime.

Four of the officers already have pleaded guilty.

An attorney for a fifth officer told The Baltimore Sun that he is expected to plead guilty in court on Wednesday. Sgt. Thomas Allers was charged with stealing more than $100,000 while he supervised the Gun Trace Task Force.

The Sun reported that eight Baltimore officers have been indicted, as well as a Philadelphia police officer who once worked in the city.

A trial is currently set for January for two officers who have pleaded not guilty and a third who has not entered a plea.

The Sun reported that one of the accused offices indicated that he’ll fight the charges. In court documents filed Monday, an attorney for Detective Daniel Hersl said he will contend that taking money was legally justifiable and, if pocketed, was theft and not robbery.

William B. Purpura, an attorney for Hersl, wrote in a motion that “whether Mr. Hersl’s conduct amounted to robbery, extortion, or theft will be the central issue for the jury to decide.”

All nine of the accused are in jail while awaiting sentencing or trial.

Montana
Slain woman’s last words can’t be used in trial, judge rules

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. district judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot use a victim’s last words as evidence in her murder trial.

The Billings Gazette reports that 20-year-old Dimarzio Swade Sanchez’s trial began on Monday, but evidence that prosecutors called “dying declarations” cannot be used to prove whether he killed 28-year-old Roylynn Rides Horse.

Rides Horse made the declarations on her death bed after she was burned and beaten in April 2016 on the Crow Indian Reservation.

Sanchez’s attorneys didn’t want her statements admitted as evidence, saying they don’t fit the definition of “dying declarations.”

Sanchez is charged with first-degree murder for her death. He is accused of beating her and then setting her on fire.

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