National Roundup

Vermont
Trial nearing for man charged in rare state ­capital killing

BARRE, Vt. (AP) — The trial for a man charged with committing the first murder in the Vermont capital in nearly a century will likely take place early this fall.

Prosecutors and the defense attorney for 32-year-old Jayveon Caballero met with the judge Monday.

The Times Argus reports the trial had been slated for August or September, but Caballero’s attorney, Dan Sedon, says September was more realistic, due to the availability of witnesses.

Caballero has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting of Markus Austin in January 2017, hours after they were involved in a fight in the nearby city of Barre.

Police have said it was the first murder in Montpelier since the 1920s, when a woman shot her husband.

Florida
Lawsuit blames Tiger Woods for drunken ­driver’s death

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The parents of a drunken driver who died in a car crash last year are suing Tiger Woods. They blame the golfer and his girlfriend for allowing their son to drive home from their Florida restaurant while intoxicated.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday says Nicholas F. Immesberger was served excessive amounts of alcohol before the Dec. 10 car crash.

Immesberger worked at The Woods restaurant in Jupiter that Woods owns. The golfer’s girlfriend, Erica Herman, is general manager.

The lawsuit says Herman recruited Immesberger as a bartender despite knowing his condition. And it says the restaurant’s employees, managers and owners allowed the 24-year-old man to be over-served even though they knew he was an alcoholic.

Woods’ agent hasn’t responded to an email seeking comment.

Tennessee
FBI probes case of police officer accused of rape

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The FBI is investigating the case of a Chattanooga police officer who’s accused of raping women while on the job.

The allegations are detailed in a federal lawsuit filed Monday. Officer Desmond Logan is accused of raping three women in his custody, and he was fired in 2016 from his side job at the University of Tennessee, where he was accused of harassing a woman . All said they notified Chattanooga police.

But the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Logan wasn’t officially investigated until one of them went to the county sheriff, saying she was raped last June.

The police chief then denied that Logan had a history of complaints. The lawsuit suggests otherwise.

Logan was put on leave and resigned in February before he could be fired.

Florida
Body of woman missing 6 years found in ­discarded ­freezer

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say the owner of a South Florida scrap metal business found the body of a woman who’d been missing for nearly six years inside a used upright freezer in a warehouse bay.

The SunSentinel reports Lilian Argueta called police after making the discovery in March. The medical examiner identified the body as 30-year-old Heather Anne Lacey, whose family lost contact with her in 2013.

Her body may not have been discovered but for the February death of 36-year-old Jonathan Escarzaga in Hollywood. After his decomposing body was found inside an apartment, the building manager hired Argueta’s company to take away the appliances. The freezer was among items taken to Argueta’s warehouse. It was opened a month later.

Police haven’t said how Escarzaga and Lacey died.

North Carolina
Man charged in son’s death 20 years after remains found

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been indicted on a murder charge decades after his son’s skeletal remains were found under a highway billboard.

News outlets report 57-year-old John Russell Whitt was also indicted Monday on a charge of concealing a death.

For years, 10-year-old Robert Adam Whitt’s identity remained a mystery. The case was revived when Orange County Investigator Tim Horne connected with a genetic genealogy consultant and discovered a possible cousin.

Investigators then developed a scenario in which John Russell Whitt killed his son and his wife and dumped their bodies along Interstate 85. Horne says charges in Myoung Hwa Cho’s death may follow. Her body was found in a Spartanburg field in 1998.

Whitt is in a Kentucky federal prison for robbing people at ATMs and carrying a weapon during those robberies.

Connecticut
State considers making phone calls free for prisoners

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is considering legislation that would make it the first state in the country to make telephone calls free for prisoners.

It would be following the lead of New York City, which began allowing free phone calls earlier this month.

One obstacle in Connecticut is the potential loss of the revenue generated by the calls. Currently, inmates or their families pay $4.87 for phone calls of up to 15 minutes. That’s the second-highest rate in the nation.

In the 2018 fiscal year, Connecticut inmates made calls costing $13.2 million. The state took in $7.7 million for various programs from the phone calls, which are handled by a vendor contracted by the state, Securus.

Virginia
Hearing in drug case delayed for 900-pound man

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A hearing scheduled in Virginia in a cocaine conspiracy case has been delayed after the 900-pound (410-kilogram) defendant had to be taken to the hospital.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak continued the hearing for 48-year-old Kenneth T. Hicks until a week from Tuesday. It’s expected that Hicks will plead guilty in the case.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Novak revoked Hicks’ bond and directed that for Hicks’ own safety and dignity — he cannot wear clothing — that he appear in the loading dock of a courthouse for proceedings. It is expected that he will arrive via ambulance.

According to the newspaper, after he left his home in Emporia, Hicks was taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for an unspecified issue.

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