Court Roundup

Man who fled 2008 murder trial caught in Mexico

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) - A man who disappeared on the last day of his 2008 murder trial has been captured in Mexico and returned to Texas, authorities said.

Hidalgo County prosecutors said in a news release Friday that 35-year-old Oscar Davila Rodriguez was returned to the U.S. Wednesday. The statement didn't include details about how or where he was captured.

"The tireless work of dedicated law enforcement on both sides of the border ensured that justice was served," Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. said in the news release.

Oscar Davila Rodriguez was free on $100,000 bond during his murder trial in the 2005 killing of his 19-year-old ex-girlfriend, Nydia Maldonado. Authorities say he broke into her home in McAllen, stabbed her multiple times and strangled her.

Though Rodriguez failed to appear for the last day of his trial, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The trial was in Edinburg, which is about 15 miles from the Texas-Mexico border.

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Puig, who served as lead prosecutor on the case, said Rodriguez' capture will bring closure to Maldonado's family. "Justice will finally be served and will give peace to Nydia and all those who loved her," Puig said.

The 2008 trial was the second time Rodriguez was found guilty of killing Maldonado. Rodriguez, who was free on bond throughout his first trial because he had no criminal record, was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. He remained free when a judge threw out that murder conviction because a witness mentioned a polygraph test that was supposed to have been barred from evidence.

South Dakota
Woman sentenced for drunken chase with babies in vehicle

LAKE ANDES, S.D. (AP) - A Ravinia woman has been sentenced to a month in jail for leading police on a drunken chase with three babies in her vehicle.

Authorities say 29-year-old Kateri Archambeau was legally drunk when she led Yankton Sioux and Charles Mix County officers on a chase in June. Officers found three infants inside her van, not properly secured in car seats.

The Daily Republic reports that Archambeau pleaded guilty to drunken driving and prosecutors dropped other charges including child abuse.

She'll have her driver's license revoked for one month and will serve three years of probation. She also must pay $203 in fines and fees.

Couple pleads guilty to hauling 900 pounds of pot in RV

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Minnesota couple has pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges after Montana authorities said they found 960 pounds of marijuana in the couple's recreational vehicle.

Steven and Vicki Robinson of Milaca, Minnesota, face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison after pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Thursday.

Prosecutors say the couple was transporting the pot from California to Minnesota.

After being tipped off by a Minnesota drug task force, officers from the Montana Highway Patrol located the RV in a Walmart parking lot in Miles City and followed it to a casino, where the couple was arrested following a search of the vehicle.

The Robinsons were released pending sentencing in March.

Judge lets suit targeting Chicago law on breasts to proceed

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge has given a green light to a transgender performance artist's lawsuit challenging a Chicago ordinance prohibiting women but not men from exposing their breasts in certain public venues.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports the ruling rejects a city request to toss the suit. To prevail, Bea Sullivan-Knoff must still prove at a trial that the ordinance violates her constitutional rights and Illinois law.

Last week's ruling says one legitimate question is whether the ordinance is too vague. Sullivan-Knoff argues it doesn't indicate how police are supposed decide when transgender individuals have female breasts or when someone identifying as male no longer has female breasts. She says the ordinance limits her options about where to perform.

The city's law department declined comment because the litigation is ongoing.

Ex-teacher, tennis coach gets prison in 1989-90 sex crimes

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A retired teacher and tennis coach has been sentenced to three years in prison on sex-crime charges from nearly three decades ago.

News outlets report 73-year-old Carl Fennell was sentenced Friday after taking a plea agreement with the state.

Fennell was indicted in August, and acknowledged sexual acts with a teen girl he mentored between July 1989 and May 1990.

The now-43-year-old woman contacted police in July to report being coerced into performing sexual acts after tennis lessons, which he drove her to and from. The woman also addressed the court on Friday, saying she had been "living under a dark cloud of shame" for the past 29 years, and has post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems.

Fennell said was "deeply and rightfully ashamed."

Published: Tue, Nov 20, 2018