National Roundup

Gaetz associate seeks sentence delay to continue cooperation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A key associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is seeking to delay his sentencing so that he can keep cooperating in a broader sex trafficking investigation.

Court documents filed Tuesday show that the lawyer for Joel Greenberg wants his sentencing postponed for 90 days. Greenberg pleaded guilty in May to sex trafficking of a minor and five other charges, among the nearly three dozen he faced.

Greenberg’s sentencing hearing is currently set for Aug. 19. In the court papers, defense attorney Fritz Scheller said the additional three months are crucial to finish Greenberg’s cooperation with investigators.

“Said cooperation, which could impact his ultimate sentence, cannot be completed by the time of his sentencing,” Scheller wrote.

Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, currently faces an estimated 12 years in prison, his lawyer noted. Greenberg, 36, also pleaded guilty to identity theft, wire fraud and conspiracy.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents much of the Florida Panhandle, was not mentioned in Greenberg’s plea agreement. But Greenberg’s cooperation could play a role in an ongoing investigation into Gaetz’s supposed pay-for-sex relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

While not mentioning Gaetz by name, in his plea deal Greenberg said he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts.”

Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and has said repeatedly he will not resign from Congress. No charges have been brought against Gaetz.

Greenberg has been linked to a number of other Florida politicians and their associates. So far, none of them have been implicated by name in the sex trafficking probe.

The Greenberg plea agreement says that he admitted being “involved in what are sometimes referred to as ‘sugar daddy’ relationships where he paid women for sex, but attempted to disguise the payments as ‘school-related’ expenses or other living expenses.”

A federal judge in Orlando did not immediately rule on Greenberg’s request for a delay. Scheller said in the court documents that prosecutors do not oppose it.

Man who shot former Target co-workers in 1993 sentenced to life

POMONA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man who shot and killed two former Target co-workers, including one who received the promotion he wanted, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Sergio Dujuan Nelson, 46, also received a consecutive sentence of 35 years to life for the 1993 attack on the employees as they sat in a car in the parking lot of a Target store in the Los Angeles suburb of La Verne, the San Bernardino Sun reported.

Nelson killed Robin Shirley, who got the promotion, and Lee Thompson, who had defended Shirley when Nelson harassed her over it, according to court documents cited by the paper.

Nelson had quit in September 1993 after failing to win the promotion. But about three weeks, he later he rode his bicycle to the store, shot through an open rear window, started to walk away, then came back to fire more shots before fleeing, according to the court documents.

The defense argued Nelson snapped and acted impulsively because of his failure to be promoted, his severe depression, sex and relationship issues and “family dysfunction,” the documents stated.

Nelson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 1995. But the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence in 2016, finding the judge had interfered with the jury’s penalty-phase deliberations.

The case was sent back to the judge for resentencing after the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said it wouldn’t seek the death penalty again. District Attorney George Gascón opposes the death sentence.

During the sentencing in Pomona Superior Court, Shirley’s husband, Robert, said Nelson robbed his children of their mother, the Sun reported. They were 6 and 10 years old when she died.

He said Nelson had walked away but heard Robin Shirley “gurgling and gasping” and returned to shoot her in the forehead.

“For your cowardly actions you deserve to die,” Robert Shirley said.

Thompson’s brother, Ty Thompson, wrote in a victim impact statement that the family strongly believes Nelson should have been sentenced to death.

Prosecutor: Suspected serial killer indicted

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A suspected serial killer accused in the deaths of several people in Delaware and Pennsylvania has been indicted on 41 felony charges, including two murders, authorities said Tuesday.

Delaware prosecutors allege that Keith Gibson, 39, killed two people and injured four others in Delaware during a weekslong crime spree earlier this year.

Gibson is also a suspect in several murders committed in Pennsylvania this year, including the killing of his mother and the robbery and slaying of a north Philadelphia doughnut shop manager.

“This indictment lays out one of the most vicious, staggering crime sprees I’ve seen in my career,” Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings said in a statement issued Tuesday. “It is even more disturbing to think, based on what investigators have revealed in Pennsylvania, that this may just be the tip of the iceberg.”

Gibson, who was previously convicted of manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, was released from prison on Dec. 20 after a 13-year sentence. Authorities said Gibson violated the terms of his probation and was held in custody briefly before being released again on April 27.

Investigators allege that Gibson shot and killed Leslie Ruiz-Basilio, 28, during a robbery at a cellphone store in Elsmere, Delaware, on May 15, then stole her car.

Gibson then shot and killed Ronald Wright, 42, during a June 5 street robbery in Wilmington, also shooting another man, prosecutors said.

Earlier that same day, Christine Lugo, 40, was accosted by a gunman as she opened up her Philadelphia doughnut shop. Philadelphia police allege that Gibson pushed her inside at gunpoint, took about $300, shot her in the head and fled. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities believe Gibson robbed or assaulted three other people in Delaware, and tried to murder one of them, over the following three days. He was arrested June 8 in connection with the robbery of a Wilmington Rite-Aid during which a clerk was pistol-whipped.

Authorities in Pennsylvania also plan to charge Gibson in shooting death of his mother, Christine Gibson, 54. She was found shot to death in February. He is also a suspect in a January double murder in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood.