National Roundup

Alaska
Mother of slain teen appointed to lead parole board

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The mother of a teenage boy who was killed by classmates has been appointed to lead the Alaska Parole Board by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

The Republican governor’s office announced last week the appointment of Edie Grunwald, who must be confirmed by the state Legislature, the Anchorage Daily News reported .

Her 16-year-old son, David Grunwald, was shot to death near the Knik River in November 2016. Two people have been convicted and criminal cases are ongoing against two others.

Grunwald said she did not expect to be appointed to lead the board, but will bring compassion and a victim’s perspective to the position. She said she will be fair-minded as she presides over the board’s parole and clemency decisions.

“I follow the rules, I follow the laws, I know how to make decisions,” Grunwald said. “I’m loyal to my oath. I’m not going to make bad decisions because I’ve got personal biases.”

A Dunleavy spokesman declined to answer questions about the appointment.

Dunleavy wrote in a letter to Grunwald that her work leading the board “will help to ensure the safety of all Alaskans.”

The board is currently made up of four former or current state corrections employees and a village public safety officer. Members serve five-year terms.

Grunwald is a retired Air Force colonel who has not worked in corrections or law enforcement. Her term would start in March.

Grunwald ran for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary last year, losing to Kevin Meyer.

Nevada
Man linked to 4 killings ­suspected of being in U.S. ­illegally

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A man suspected by authorities of being in the U.S. illegally shot and killed four people in Nevada over the past few weeks, officials said, adding fuel to the immigration debate.

While it wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday where 20-year-old Wilbur Martinez-Guzman was from or how he came to the U.S., President Donald Trump has seized on the killings as evidence of the need for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our Country,” Trump said in a tweet Monday. “We need a powerful Wall!”

Martinez-Guzman has been jailed in Carson City, in northern Nevada near the California border, since Saturday on possession of stolen property, burglary and immigration charges.

Authorities have said they expect to file murder charges against him in the shooting deaths of an elderly Reno couple and two women in the nearby town of Gardnerville.

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said that federal immigration authorities told his office that Martinez-Guzman was in the country illegally.

Authorities have said Connie Koontz, 56, was found dead Jan. 10 in her home. Three days later, 74-year-old Sophia Renken was found dead in her home about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from where Koontz lived.

On Jan. 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, and his 80-year-old wife, Sharon, were found in their home on the southern edge of Reno.

Furlong said the investigation is ongoing and that it was too early to comment on a possible motive.

He said Martinez-Guzman did not yet have an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Florida
Former AG Bondi headed to D.C. to work with ­lobbying firm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is heading to Washington to take a new post with a leading lobbying firm.

Ballard Partners announced Tuesday the well-known Republican politician will head the firm’s new regulatory compliance office. The firm is headed by Brian Ballard, who has close ties to President Donald Trump.

The news was first reported by Politico.

Bondi left office earlier this month after serving two terms as attorney general.

Last November, President Trump said he wanted Bondi to join his administration. During her time as office Bondi was a frequent guest on Fox News, which stoked speculation she may start a television career.

Ballard Partners says Bondi will assist large companies implement policies dealing with various issues such as data privacy and opioid abuse.


Maryland
Man gets 10 years for theft of 10 packs of cigarettes

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) — A Maryland man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing 10 packs of cigarettes from a Wicomico County gas station.

News outlets report 36-year-old John Edward Lowe was sentenced Thursday. He was convicted in November of robbery and second-degree assault in the crime. The Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office says it asked for a sentence above the three to seven years recommended by guidelines due to Lowe’s public safety risk.

A release by the state’s attorney’s office says Lowe threatened a store clerk on New Year’s Day in 2018, failed to get a cash register open and then fled the store with the cigarettes. It says he then tried to sell the cigarettes or trade them for gas later that day.

Iowa
Lawyers seek to depose lottery fraud ­mastermind in prison

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawyers pursuing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of lottery customers nationwide are seeking to interview the jailed insider who allegedly rigged jackpots for himself and others for years.

The lawyers said in a court filing Friday they want to take the deposition of Eddie Tipton at the prison in Clarinda, Iowa, to gather information for their case against the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Judge Michael Huppert recently granted class-action status to the case, which involves customers who bought losing tickets for roughly 20 drawings between 2005 and 2013 that were allegedly tainted by Tipton’s software.

Tipton worked for the Iowa-based lottery association, where he built and installed random number generators that picked winning combinations.

He’s serving a prison sentence after admitting to installing code that allowed him to predict winning numbers on certain days of the year, and working with his brother and others to buy tickets and win jackpots.
 

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