National Roundup

Man gets over 24 years in prison for meth in FedEx package

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Prosecutors say a man found with almost a kilogram of meth in Mississippi has been sentenced to more than 24 years in federal prison.

The Department of Justice tells news outlets in a Monday statement that 40-year-old Demetrius Darnell Mason was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. to 292 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.

The statement says Drug Enforcement Administration agents saw FedEx deliver a package to a home in Biloxi on Nov. 29. Mason retrieved the package and then led police on a high-speed car chase through a residential neighborhood.

DEA agents arrested Mason and discovered the meth in the package.

Teacher defies transgender name policy

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana teacher says a school district forced him to resign following a disagreement over a policy that calls for teachers to address transgender students by their preferred gender name rather than their birth name.

The Indianapolis Star reports that former Brownsburg High School orchestra teacher John Kluge says the Brownsburg Community Schools policy goes against his religious beliefs and violates his First Amendment rights.

LGBTQ community advocates say the practice is a sign of respect and isn’t about religion or politics.

A district representative says Kluge resigned before the end of the school year. Kluge says he submitted a tentative resignation letter because officials threatened to fire him.
Kluge plans to appeal to the school board Monday to get his job back.

District officials declined to comment on the policy.

No charges for teacher who fired gun in class

SEASIDE, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors say a teacher who accidentally fired a gun inside a Northern California classroom while teaching firearm safety will not face charges.

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it had determined Dennis Alexander did not commit a crime when he fired into a ceiling. Some Seaside High School students were injured by falling debris.

KSBW-TV reports the district attorney’s office also determined Alexander didn’t violate any laws when he allowed students to handle his police service weapon and take selfies with it.

California has a state law banning teachers from bringing guns to school but prosecutors say Alexander was legally allowed to carry firearms on campus because he is a reserve police officer.

Alexander is a Seaside City Council member. He resigned from his teaching job.

Officials probe commune after child labor claims

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials will investigate whether children as young as 6 years old work at a soap factory and farm run by a religious commune.

The state labor department says it will investigate the Twelve Tribes community in Cambridge on Monday after the TV show “Inside Edition” aired hidden camera footage purporting to show child labor.

A worker who shot the video talked to children in the factory who said they were 11 and 10. Footage shows a 6-year-old boy pushing a wheelbarrow and picking potatoes.

Twelve Tribes did not respond Tuesday to a message seeking comment.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls reports the commune owns a 112-acre farm in Cambridge and maintains other communities.

They sell to high-end labels, including Acure, which said it would cease business with the factory.

Pro wrestler ‘Rockin’ Rebel’ and wife dead in murder-suicide

WEST GOSHEN, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a pro wrestler fatally shot his wife inside their Pennsylvania home last week and then turned the gun on himself.

West Goshen police say a preliminary investigation found Charles and Stephanie Williams died in a murder-suicide. They say the injuries indicate that the 52-year-old who wrestled as the “Rockin’ Rebel” shot his 50-year-old wife and then himself.

Police responded to the home and met family members early Friday. The officers then searched the home and found the couple in the living room.

No other injuries were reported in the shootings.

Friends say Stephanie Williams was the mother of two 10-year-olds who also lived in the home. But it wasn’t clear if Charles Williams was their father.

He wrestled for Extreme Championship Wrestling and at independent matches.

Judge drops challenge to death penalty procedure

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska judge has tossed out a lawsuit challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol.

The move marks the second time in recent months that a court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block Nebraska’s efforts to resume executions after more than two decades.

A Lancaster County district judge ruled last week that two death penalty opponents who filed the lawsuit lacked standing to do so.

Sen. Ernie Chambers and Rev. Stephen Griffith alleged in their suit that Nebraska’s execution protocol was developed without following state law and procedures. They asked the court to stop any executions until a proper protocol is implemented.

The decision follows a request last month from state Attorney General Doug Peterson. He asked the Nebraska Supreme Court to speed up its decision on issuing a death warrant for an inmate on death row.