National Roundup

Woman gets 35 years for setting ex-boyfriend on fire

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Prosecutors say a Southeast Texas woman has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for setting her ex-boyfriend on fire after shutting off power to his apartment to lure him outside.

Nancy Ruth Allen of Galveston was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/ family violence. Officials say the victim survived but suffered severe burns to his face and body.

Investigators blamed the 51-year-old Allen for a 2017 disturbance at her former boyfriend's home. Authorities say Allen shut off power to the residence and waited for the man to exit to reset the circuit breaker box.

Prosecutors say the victim was assaulted using a "firebomb" made of fuel-soaked rags and set ablaze. Officers recovered a charred lighter nearby.

North Dakota
Supreme Court hearsarguments for parole in1995 slaying

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - An attorney for a man who fatally shot a West Fargo woman in 1995 is asking the North Dakota Supreme Court to give him a chance at parole.

Barry Garcia is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing Cheryl Tendeland while she, her husband and a friend were sitting in a car.

KFGO reports defense attorney John Mills told justices that North Dakota law permits minors serving long sentences to seek parole after serving 20 years. But, Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick says the legislative intent was not to change the law retroactively.

The defense has also cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a life sentence without parole for juveniles was cruel and unusual punishment. Garcia was 16 at the time of the shooting.

The high court did not immediately rule.

Ruling: ­Warrantless search of ­probationer's ­cellphone OK

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - An appeals court says probationers' "significantly diminished privacy rights" mean it's reasonable to conduct a warrantless search of the cellphone of a felony probationer who consented to searches of himself and his property.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday overturned a Pima County Superior Court judge's ruling suppressing evidence taken from a probationer's cellphone as authorities investigated whether he was involved in a new serious offense.

The ruling says Bryan Lietzau agreed to submit to warrantless searches and allow safe access to his property when he was placed on probation for aggravated harassment.

A judge didn't permit incriminating cellphone evidence to be used after a woman reported that Lietzau had an "inappropriate relationship" with her 13-year-old daughter and Lietzau was indicted on charges of sexual conduct with a minor.

Judge dismisses lawsuit filed after school rape scandal

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by three former school employees in Tennessee after a rape scandal involving students.

The three former Ooltewah High School employees sued District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, the Hamilton County Department of Education and former superintendent Rick Smith in 2017.

The Times Free Press reports U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Steger dismissed the case Tuesday, ruling the former employees didn't provide proof that Pinkston acted "in concert" with others to penalize them.

Former principal Jim Jarvis, former athletic director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley and former basketball coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery said they followed district guidelines and state law when handling the December 2015 incident.

Man charged with killing teacher wants trial delayed

ATLANTA (AP) - A man is asking Georgia's highest court to delay his trial for the slaying of a high school teacher whose disappearance remained a mystery for more than a decade.

Ryan Duke is charged with murder in the October 2005 death of teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead in rural Irwin County. Jury selection in his trial is scheduled to begin Monday.

News outlets report Duke's attorneys filed an emergency motion Tuesday with the Georgia Supreme Court, saying the trial judge wrongly denied Duke funding to pay for expert witnesses in DNA, false confessions and psychology.

A similarly named co-defendant, Bo Dukes, was convicted at a separate trial last Thursday of concealing Grinstead's death. He confessed to investigators to helping Duke burn the woman's body in a pecan orchard.

Jurors see videos in 'Joe Exotic' murder-for-hire trial

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Jurors have watched videos shared by an Oklahoma zookeeper and former gubernatorial candidate accused of trying to hire someone to kill the operator of a Florida animal sanctuary.

Prosecutors say Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic, tried to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue.

According to The Oklahoman, jurors were shown a Facebook video Tuesday that depicts Maldonado-Passage shooting a blow-up "Carole" doll in the head. Other videos show him pretending to dig a grave for Baskin and threatening to mail her rattlesnakes. Attorneys for Maldonado-Passage say the videos weren't meant to be taken seriously.

Maldonado-Passage is also accused of killing five tigers in October 2017 and selling and offering to sell tiger cubs in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

West Virginia
Catholic ex-bishop accused of ­drunken sexual assault

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - A new lawsuit accuses the former bishop of a Catholic diocese in West Virginia of molesting adolescent and adult males.

Michael Bransfield's former personal altar server sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and its former leader last week, saying he was sexually assaulted in 2014 and harassed for years prior.

The filing asserts Bransfield would consume nightly at least a half-bottle of Cointreau liqueur and drunkenly assault or harass seminarians.

Last year, the diocese released a list of 31 priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct since the 1950s. Bransfield was not included.

A diocese spokesman declined to comment to The Intelligencer. Earlier this month, the state's attorney general sued the diocese and Bransfield, saying they covered up criminal behavior.

Bransfield resigned in September amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Published: Thu, Mar 28, 2019