National Roundup


Deputy accused of child rape dies in apparent suicide

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A Texas sheriff's deputy who was jailed on charges alleging that he sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl and threatened her mother with deportation has died from an apparent suicide.

The Bexar County sheriff's office says 47-year-old Jose Nunez died Monday at the jail in nearby Karnes County. It says he appears to have killed himself, but it didn't say how or where in the jail he did it.

Nunez was a 10-year veteran of the Bexar County sheriff's office assigned to that county's jail when he was arrested in June on a charge of super aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Authorities said at the time that the assaults may have been going on for months or even years and that Nunez threatened the mother, who is from Guatemala, with deportation if she reported him.

Despite the threat, she took the girl to a fire station to make a report.

New York
Bill creating ­commission on prosecutorial abuse signed

NEW YORK (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that creates the nation's first commission to investigate prosecutorial misconduct.

The law establishes an 11-member commission appointed by the governor, Legislature and New York's chief judge to probe misconduct claims against New York state district attorneys and their assistants.

The Democratic governor on Monday said the law will root out any potential abuses of power and will give New Yorkers comfort that there is a system of checks and balances in the criminal justice system.

The legislation was opposed by the state DA's association. Queens DA Richard Brown says the law is unconstitutional and he'll support coming litigation against it.

The Innocence Project applauded the governor, saying "too many innocent people have been wrongly convicted as a result of prosecutorial misconduct."

'Affluenza' teen's mom stays jailed pending trial

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A judge has denied bond for the mother of a Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck.

Tonya Couch will now await her trial on money laundering and hindering apprehension charges in the Tarrant County Jail. Her trial is now set for Nov. 12.

State District Judge Wane Salvant's order came at a Monday bond reduction hearing in Fort Worth. Salvant had revoked Couch's bond for a second time and ordered her arrest June 7 after a drug-testing lab reported she had tested positive for methamphetamine.

Couch was charged in 2016 after she fled with son Ethan to Mexico in 2015. Ethan Couch was released on probation last March.

A psychologist at trial blamed "affluenza," or acting irresponsibly due to wealth, for Ethan's actions in a 2013 North Texas wreck that killed four people.

Man gets 15 years in terror-related case

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) - An Indiana man who pleaded guilty to terror-related charges has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen on Monday also sentenced Marlonn Hicks of Crown Point to three years of supervised release, to be served after his prison term.

Hicks pleaded guilty in 2016 to distributing information regarding the manufacture and use of explosives with the intent the information be used for and in furtherance of a violent crime.

Prosecutors say Hicks talked online with individuals who were cooperating with the government about carrying out an attack in the U.S. and wanting to travel to Islamic State-controlled territory.

Hicks' attorney read a statement in which Hicks claimed he is "not a menace to society," but "a big teddy bear that got emotional."

Cocaine-using white woman gets 5 years in black student slaying

BEAR, Del. (AP) - A Delaware woman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to killing a man who was driving by her home.

The News Journal reports that Cheryl Jennings's defense lawyer insisted she's innocent at Monday's sentencing. She blames her husband, Ralph, for shooting 19-year-old Malcolm Evans. Prosecutors said they're satisfied she's the one who pulled the trigger.

Defense attorney Joseph Hurley says Jennings thought her home was being broken into when she ran outside and blocked the car of Evans, a Delaware State University student on his way to work at 4 a.m. Prosecutors say phone data showed the black man, an aspiring neurosurgeon, could not have been "harassing" the home.

Hurley said Jennings, who is white, had consumed cocaine and alcohol before the confrontation.

1959 racial ­slaying of teen to get fresh look

CORINTH, Miss. (AP) - The 1959 killing of a black Mississippi teenager by a shooter in a pickup full of white teens brought less than a year in prison for the boy who pulled shotgun trigger.

Six of the seven others in the truck got a year's probation through youth court, and an 18-year-old walked free.

Now, the U.S. Justice Department has referred the case to Mississippi "for potential prosecution."

Fifteen-year-old William Roy Prather was fatally wounded on Halloween night 1959 when white teenagers in a pickup cruised through a black neighborhood. One of the white boys shot Prather in the face, and Prather died the next day.

It's unclear whether a district attorney will pursue charges against any aging defendant. Witnesses' memories may be fading, and some evidence has disappeared.

Former top state Democrat to be sentenced in ­federal case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former prosecutor and chairman of Missouri's Democratic Party is set to be sentenced next month for misusing campaign funds for personal expenses and vacations.

The Kansas City Star reports that Mike Sanders faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Sept. 19 in federal court for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Sanders had been on a trajectory to run for statewide or congressional office before resigning two years ago as head of Jackson County government. In his guilty plea, Sanders acknowledged converting $62,000 in political campaign funds into cash in a check-cashing scheme involving a disabled friend from high school.

While some of that cash went for political purposes, Sanders admitted using $15,000 to $40,000 of the cashed checks for personal use.

Published: Wed, Aug 22, 2018