National Roundup

Ohio
Teen charged with killing brother to have competency tests

RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) — A 13-year-old Ohio boy charged in Juvenile Court in the shooting death of his 11-year-old brother will be evaluated to determine if he’s competent to stand trial.

The Record-Courier reports a judge in northeast Ohio’s Portage County said Monday the teen’s trial could begin as early as August. He’s charged with aggravated murder for killing his brother at their family’s Streetsboro home in April using a handgun stolen from their grandfather.

Police have said the shooting was premeditated. The teen was evaluated at a behavioral health center four days before the shooting after expressing a desire to hurt himself.

A jury must hear the case because the teen could be ordered to spend some of his sentence in adult prison if the judge classifies him as a serious youthful offender.

Minnesota
Sex offender gets $84K in lawsuit over residency ordinance

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A registered sex offender who sued an eastern Minnesota city over its restrictions on where he could live will receive $84,000 as part of a settlement agreement.

The Pioneer Press reports that a federal judge’s order dismissed Thomas Wayne Evenstad’s lawsuit against West St. Paul on Monday.

Evenstad filed the lawsuit in August after authorities told him he couldn’t live in a West St. Paul home because of his first-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction.

The 52-year-old argued the city’s ordinance restricting residency for sex offenders was too broad and unconstitutional because it imposed retroactive punishment that banned him from most of the city.

Evenstad was convicted in 1999 of raping an 18-year-old woman. He was labeled a Level 1 sex offender, meaning he’s least likely to re-offend. He was released from prison in 2008.

Oregon
Judge halts 3D model evidence in FBI agent’s Oregon shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a 3D model can’t be used as evidence in the upcoming trial of an FBI agent accused of lying about firing two shots at a key figure in the 2016 takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the model pinpoints where prosecutors believe W. Joseph Astarita was standing when he allegedly fired two errant shots at the truck driven by Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. Oregon State Police fatally shot Finicum at the same roadblock.

Finicum was a spokesman for the Ammon Bundy-led group that took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon for several weeks to oppose federal control of land in the Western U.S.
The shots came as Finicum emerged from his pickup at a roadblock when police arrested Bundy and other leaders of the armed takeover of the refuge.

One bullet went through the truck’s roof and the other went astray, investigators said. Moments later, two state troopers fatally shot Finicum as he was reaching toward his jacket. Investigators said he had a loaded handgun in an inner pocket.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones wrote Monday that the representation of Astarita’s position is based on aerial FBI video of such poor quality that it can’t be shown to jurors at the trial scheduled to begin July 24.
“The clear image of the model depicting defendant with his rifle shouldered and trained on Finicum’s truck was not the product of a reliable methodology and involved excessive subjectivity,” the judge wrote.

Defense attorney David Angeli declined comment, citing the upcoming trial date. Kevin Sonoff, spokesman for the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office, also said prosecutors declined comment.

Astarita has pleaded not guilty to making a false statement and obstruction of justice.

Jones has authorized trial testimony from the government’s audio-visual expert Frank Piazza, bullet trajectory experts, Oregon State Police forensic scientist Victoria Dickerson, Albuquerque forensic scientist Michael Haag and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Turpen, who made a diagram of the scene.

“Though imperfect,” their work passed scientific muster, the judge said, and could be subject to “rigorous cross-examination” by the defense.

Texas
‘Texas 7’ gang member loses federal appeal

HOUSTON (AP) — The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal from a death row inmate who was part of the notorious “Texas 7” gang of escaped prisoners.

Attorneys for 56-year-old Patrick Murphy argued unsuccessfully to the court that evidence failed to show Murphy killed or tried to kill suburban Dallas police officer Aubrey Hawkins and that he had deficient legal help at his trial and earlier in his appeal.

Murphy was serving 50 years for a Dallas sexual assault when he and six others broke out of a South Texas prison in 2000. They committed numerous robberies, including the Irving holdup where Hawkins was killed, before being captured in Colorado. One killed himself there.

Murphy is among three of the gang on death row. Three others have been executed.

Ohio
Bar association recognizes court’s ’68 stop-and-frisk ruling

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio State Bar Association is recognizing the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the use of some stop-and-frisk searches by police.

The court ruled in 1968 that under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution police officers may stop suspects on the street and search them under certain conditions.

Those conditions include officers having a reasonable suspicion the person has been or is involved in a crime or that the person is armed and dangerous.

The case arose from a Cleveland arrest and is known as the Terry v. Ohio decision.

The bar association planned a morning session Tuesday titled “Fifty Years of Pat Downs and Suppression Hearings: Terry v. Ohio Turns 50.”

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