National Roundup

Judge: ­Convicted swindler won’t have to pay restitution

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a former Connecticut insurance broker convicted of swindling millions of dollars from several elderly clients won’t have to repay the money, as originally ordered.

Galan Newton was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2001 and ordered to repay $3.2 million to his victims and insurance companies.

The Hartford Courant reports that the now 65-year-old Newton was released from probation Tuesday after a judge found that there was no way for him to repay the $2.3 million he still owed.

Newton’s lawyer told the judge his client works low-paying jobs and will never be able to repay the money.

Prosecutors say all of Newton’s victims have died and the insurance companies he owed no longer exist because they have been swallowed up in mergers.

Teen faces aggravated murder charge in death of woman

WADSWORTH, Ohio (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has been charged in Juvenile Court with aggravated murder in the death of a 98-year-old woman found by police inside a closet at her northeast Ohio home.

The teen also was charged Tuesday in Medina County with aggravated burglary and abuse of a corpse in the death of Margaret Douglas.

Her body was found April 9 after a relative asked police to check on her welfare. She had not been heard from since April 3.

Wadsworth Police Chief Randy Reinke (REN’-kee) has said preliminary autopsy findings indicate that Douglas was strangled.

The teen was arrested Monday after investigators found Douglas’ wallet inside his family’s home in Wadsworth. Reinke says the teen is a junior at Wadsworth High School.

West Virginia
Ex-Massey CEO says documents withheld in trial

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) — Convicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship claims documents that would have assisted his defense weren’t made available to his attorneys before his trial and he’s asking a federal court to vacate his misdemeanor conviction.

Blankenship made the claim in a news release through his U.S. Senate campaign to announce a planned motion to vacate the conviction. No motion was listed on a federal court website Tuesday night.

The statement claims that among the withheld information were federal Mine Safety And Health Administration documents. The campaign’s statement didn’t include the documents.

Blankenship served a one-year prison term on a misdemeanor conviction stemming from the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 men in southern West Virginia. Blankenship has long maintained he didn’t get a fair trial.

Deanna Eder, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Charleston, declined comment Tuesday night.

Police: Man who stabbed deputy shot to death

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A man who claimed he had been poisoned stabbed a Georgia deputy in the leg inside the sheriff’s office and was shot to death by police, authorities said Wednesday.

The man arrived at the Douglas County sheriff’s office looking for shelter Tuesday night and was given water, news outlets reported. Oakes eventually went into a restroom and called 911, saying he’d been poisoned, sheriff’s Sgt. Jesse Hambrick said.

Deputies found the man — later identified as 32-year-old Justin Oakes — and he was combative, Hambrick said. They tried to subdue Oakes with a stun gun but “Oakes continued moving in the direction of the deputies with the knife,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday.

A deputy was stabbed at least twice in the leg during the confrontation, the agency said. One of the officers was “forced to discharge his firearm” after the man stabbed him, Hambrick told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Two deputies were treated at a hospital and released, authorities said.

Dozens of animals taken from home, woman charged

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida say deputies confiscated 55 cats, 23 mice, three ferrets and two dogs from a woman’s home.

A Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office news release says deputies responded to 55-year-old Shirley Ann Duncan’s home Monday.

The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota reports officers were first called to the home on April 9 for a complaint that Duncan was neglecting several animals inside the residence. While speaking with Duncan, officers noticed an emaciated cat that had matted with urine and feces.

Duncan claimed the feline was suffering from an illness but couldn’t provide proof of veterinary care. The cat was taken to an animal hospital and euthanized.

Police charged Duncan with aggravated cruelty to animals and abandonment. It’s unclear if she has a lawyer.

Ex-magistrate in Messiah baby name case vies for judgeship

NEWPORT, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee magistrate who ruled that a child couldn’t be named Messiah is running for a circuit court judgeship in next month’s primary.

The Knoxville New Sentinel reports Lu Ann Ballew is challenging the incumbent, Carter Moore, in the 4th Judicial District.

In 2013, Ballew was Cocke County child support magistrate when she ruled that Messiah should only be used to refer to Jesus and ordered the name removed from an 8-month-old’s birth certificate. The parents were only seeking to change the baby’s surname.

The ruling was overturned, and Ballew was removed as magistrate. The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct later issued a public censure of her. In 2014, she ran unsuccessfully in the Cocke County General Sessions Court race.

Ballew didn’t return phone messages.