National Roundup

Maryland
Officers in ­Freddie Gray case appeal claim to Supreme Court

BALTIMORE (AP) - Five of the police officers charged in the death of a black man who suffered a fatal spine injury while in custody are appealing a lawsuit against Baltimore's top prosecutor.

The Daily Record reports that the appeal filed Thursday follows a May decision by a Richmond, Virginia-based federal appeals court to block the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby maliciously investigated and defamed them.

Freddie Gray died at 25 years old in 2015, a week after he suffered a spinal injury in a police van. His death sparked days of protests. Mosby charged six officers in his death and arrest. Three were acquitted and Mosby dropped the remaining cases.

The appellate court found Mosby has prosecutorial immunity. The appeal asks the Supreme Court to review that finding.

Kansas
Suit blames ­foster agency in killing of girl by dogs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The mother of a 2-year-old girl who was fatally mauled by dogs at her father's home is suing Kansas welfare workers.

The Kansas City Star reports that the lawsuit filed last month says the Kansas Department for Children and Families and foster care contractors put the girl back into the same unsafe Topeka home from which she had been removed. The suit says officials should have known that two vicious pit bulls with a history of attacks also lived there.

The girl - identified in the lawsuit as P.N.D. - was killed in September 2016 when she was "repeatedly attacked" by one or two of the dogs while her father was sleeping.

Spokeswomen for DCF and the contractor said Friday that they can't comment because of the pending lawsuit.

Hawaii
Maui man ­sentenced in ­kidnapping, ­sexual assault of woman

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - A Maui man convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Brandon Silva, 32, was sentenced last week after reaching an agreement with prosecutors where he pleaded no contest to kidnapping and a reduced charge of second-degree sexual assault, The Maui News reported .

Silva had offered to drive the victim to the hospital to find a friend who was in a wreck in April 2016, Deputy Prosecutor Iwalani Gasmen said. The woman had been acquainted with Silva previously, and he drove her to a couple of a hospitals.

On the way toward Kahakuloa, Silva pulled off to the side of the road and threatened the victim with a machete, forcing her to perform sexual acts, Gasmen said.

"Let there be no mistake, this was a very brutal rape," Gasmen told the court.

As they continued driving, Silva took the victim's phone and tried to delete his contact information and text messages to her, Gasmen said. He later pulled onto a dirt road and assaulted the woman again. He released her in Paia the next morning, the prosecutor said.

"No one should have to endure such feelings of trauma, fear, anxiety and stress in their lifetime," Gasmen said. "It is evident that this defendant is dangerous. He is manipulative. He will say whatever is convenient or most beneficial for him at the time."

Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae maintained that the encounter was consensual.

"There's a small amount of time where anything criminal happens," Raidmae said. "The machete was never found."

Silva was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

"I believe the account by the victim in this case," Judge Richard Bissen said at sentencing. "The defendant is, in the court's mind, a violent, dangerous predator."

Virginia
City moves ­forward with ­murder charge despite lack of body

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Prosecutors in Virginia are expected to bring a man to trial on murder charges, even though his former girlfriend's body was never found.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday that Virginia Beach is working on what could be the 11th bodiless murder case to be tried in Virginia.

The case is against 41-year-old Lamont Johnson. He is charged in the death of Bellamy Gamboa. Police spent $50,000 unsuccessfully trying to find her body in a landfill. A trial date is yet to be set.

Despite the challenges, such cases have a higher national conviction rate than the overall conviction rate for killings. That's likely because only the strongest cases proceed.

Evidence often includes phone and bank records and testimony from relatives that the victim would never pick up and leave.

Wyoming
Man who fatally shot girlfriend pleads guilty

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) - A southern Wyoming man who fatally shot his girlfriend has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

The Rock Springs Rocket-Miner reports 42-year-old Stephen Taranovich struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Jan. 28 death of 43-year-old Danielle Martin. He is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

Taranovich, who was facing a charge of second-degree murder, told investigators he unintentionally shot Martin in the head when he took a .40-caliber handgun out of his back pocket to clean it. He could be sentenced to life in prison because he has three prior felony convictions.

Alabama
District attorney says parole rate 'alarming'

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey is criticizing Alabama's parole board, saying violent offenders are being released at an "alarming rate."

WSFA -TV reports that Bailey sent a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey urging her to investigate the parole board's actions.

Bailey wrote that the board has "repeatedly and consistently released violent offenders after they have served only a minute portion of lengthy sentences."

The district attorney asked Ivey to replace members of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles as well as the board's executive director.

The parole board told the station that there has been no change in procedure and they have no data "showing a dramatic increase in violent inmates being considered for parole prior to their original set date."

Published: Tue, Oct 09, 2018

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