Woman sentenced to die to be released; man faces endangerment charges

June 16, 2013
New York
Bloomberg to begin composting program

New Yorkers may soon have to separate their food scraps for composting if Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) has his way.

The New York Times reported that the Bloomberg administration plans to begin collecting food scraps across the city after recent pilot programs showed high levels of participation.

Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway told the newspaper that the administration will announce that it is hiring a composting plant to handle 100,000 tons of food scraps a year. That’s about 10 percent of the city’s residential food waste. The program will initially be voluntary, but officials say they predict that it will become mandatory in the next few years.

— Associated Press

Indiana
Woman sentenced to death will be released

An Indiana woman put on death row at age 16 for killing an elderly Bible-school teacher is scheduled to be released from prison Monday after serving a term that was shortened after the state Supreme Court intervened.

Paula Cooper’s death sentence at such a young age sparked international protests and a plea for clemency from Pope John Paul II. Now Cooper, 43, is being given a second chance.

Cooper was 15 when she and three other teenage girls showed up at the home of Ruth Pelke on May 14, 1985, planning to rob the 78-year-old Bible teacher.

Cooper stabbed Pelke 33 times with a knife. The four girls fled with Pelke’s car and $10.

Cooper’s three accomplices were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 25 to 60 years. But Cooper, who confessed to the killing, was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. At the time — in 1986 — she was the youngest death row inmate in the United States.

The Indiana Supreme Court set Cooper’s death sentence aside in 1988 and ordered her to serve 60 years in prison.

— Associated Press

New York
Man who kept boys in closet faces charges

A New York man who said he caught four boys vandalizing his father-in-law’s home has been charged with child endangerment after keeping them in a closet until police arrived.

Jesse Daniels was arraigned on four counts of endangering the welfare of a child after authorities said he interrupted the vandalism at the empty house in Wayne County, between Rochester and Syracuse.

Daniels, 53, told WHAM-TV in Rochester that he heard sounds of pounding from the home next door the night of June 8. The house is empty while Daniels renovates it for his father-in-law.

Daniels said he found four boys, ages 8 and 10, inside with hammers.

— Associated Press

Utah
Man is arrested in church shooting

Police have arrested a Utah man accused of walking into a Catholic church and shooting a man in the back of the head during Mass on Sunday in Ogden.

Investigators say Charles Richard Jennings Jr., 35, was captured Sunday afternoon in nearby Box Elder County after fleeing in a stolen pickup truck.

Witnesses say that they heard one gunshot during the 11:30 a.m. Mass at Saint James the Just Catholic Church.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition. His name was not released. Police have not disclosed the relationship between the two, but parishioners said the victim was the gunman’s father-in-law.

— Associated Press

5 killed after driver loses control of vehicle: Authorities in northern Montana say five people were killed and two were injured when the driver of a pickup truck lost control and rolled the vehicle. Names of the victims in the crash Sunday morning near Browning were not released. The Montana Highway Patrol said the truck was driven by a 28-year-old man from Babb. The other victims included one male and three females, ages 17 to 24. The male passenger and two of the females were from Browning. Two more passengers were treated for injuries and released. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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