Deputy in prisoner escape may have been threatened

The attorney for a sheriff’s deputy accused of helping a felon escape the downtown Denver jail says the deputy and his family felt they were in danger. Deputy Matthew Andrews faces felony charges that he aided in the Sunday night escape of Felix Trujillo, who remained at large Tuesday. According to the Denver Post ( ), attorney Donald Sisson says Andrews had been threatened and there was never an agreement to help Trujillo escape in exchange for money. Sisson says that on Saturday, a driver pulled up next to Andrews, aimed a gun at him and said his family and his life would be in jeopardy unless he helped get Trujillo out of jail. Denver police refused to comment on the case and reports have been sealed. Continue Reading

Pa. man charged with bomb threat at White House

A Pennsylvania man has been arrested after police say he made a bomb threat outside the White House. D.C. police spokesman Araz Alali says the man approached an officer at the White House gates Wednesday morning and warned that a bomb would detonate in a truck parked nearby. Surrounding streets and the entrance to a nearby Metro rail station were shut down as the Secret Service inspected the vehicle for explosives. Streets were reopened after nothing dangerous was found inside the truck. The man has been identified as 44-year-old Krzysztof Wasik of Hazle Township, Pa. Continue Reading

UCLA water polo player allegedly raped female acquaintance in dorm

A UCLA water polo player has been arrested after a female acquaintance reported that he raped her in a campus residence hall, authorities said. Hakop Kaplanyan, 18, was arrested without incident on April 2, the same day the woman reported the alleged incident to campus police, UCLA’s athletic department said in a statement. Kaplanyan, originally from Glenside, Calif., was released on bail Thursday and is scheduled to return to court on April 25, according to jail records. The 6-foot, 2-inch tall redshirt freshman attacker has been suspended from the university. He can appeal that status, campus officials said. Continue Reading

Texas executes man for 1990 fatal shooting, rape

A Texas convict with a lengthy criminal history has been executed for fatally shooting a man and raping the slain man’s fiancee. Fifty-year-old Rickey Lynn Lewis received a lethal injection Tuesday evening for the murder of 45-year-old George Newman more than 22 years ago. Newman’s slaying and the rape of Newman’s fiancee took place at their home in a rural area of Smith County, about 90 miles east of Dallas. Lewis had been in and out of prison five times in less than seven years when he was arrested three days after Newman was killed in September 1990. No last-day appeals were filed to try to delay the punishment. Continue Reading

Teens jump from runaway car on Va. highway

Two teens leapt from a speeding car with malfunctioning brakes in Virginia on Tuesday before a state trooper used his patrol car to force it into an interstate highway guardrail. The car’s passenger and the Virginia State Police sergeant who stopped the vehicle were taken to the hospital with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening. A State Police news release said the two teens were heading south in a 1998 Mazda Protege when the car’s passenger called 911 to report that its brakes were not working near Weyers Cave. Nineteen-year-old Sean Wies told officials that the car was going about 60 miles per hour but was gaining and losing speed based on the grade of the highway. Police positioned their vehicles around the car in order to keep other vehicles on the interstate from being hit. Continue Reading

Colo. officials order faster responses to parolees

Colorado parole officers must now respond to alerts from parolees’ electronic monitoring equipment within two hours, after a review that followed the death of the state’s prisons chief. Parole records show that white supremacist gang member Evan Ebel slipped out of his ankle bracelet five days before Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements was killed at his home. Ebel is a suspect in Clements’ death. Colorado’s governor announced a sweeping review of the state’s prison and parole operations last week. Corrections officials announced the change in its electronic monitoring policy Tuesday. Continue Reading

Attorney wants separate trials in Ga. baby killing

The defense attorney for a 15-year-old charged with felony murder in a baby’s slaying in Georgia says he should be tried separately from an older teen accused of shooting the toddler in the face. Attorney Kimberly L. Copeland said Tuesday she believes her client, Dominique Lang, is “more of a witness than a defendant.” Copeland says she’s afraid Lang would automatically be found guilty if the same jury also chose to convict 17-year-old De’Marquise (deh-mahr-KEESE) Elkins. Authorities say he was the gunman. Both teenagers are charged in coastal Brunswick with the March 21 slaying of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago, who was shot in the face as he sat in his stroller. Continue Reading

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Iowa Senate Committee Okays Mental Health Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Senate panel has approved a bill that funds the state’s new regionalized mental health care system.  

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed the measure Tuesday and it now moves to the full Senate. The measure would provide more than $29 million in state funding over the next fiscal year for counties to administer mental health services not covered by Medicaid. It’s the next step in funding a plan to coordinate mental health care on a region-based system. Counties would get about $18 million starting July 1 and another $11 million in January. Continue Reading

Iowa Man Sentenced to Life as Teen May Get Reprieve

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case that could free a man imprisoned for life for his involvement in a 1986 Council Bluffs parking lot brawl in which another man was killed.  

The court will consider whether 44-year-old Jeffrey Ragland is eligible for parole now or must spend decades more in prison. Ragland is among more than three dozen teen killers given a chance to seek parole following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last June that says states cannot automatically sentence juveniles to life. In July, Gov. Terry Branstad ordered people sentenced to life for juvenile crimes to remain imprisoned for 60 years before seeking parole. A district court judge ruled Ragland is eligible now. Continue Reading