Miami Police Probe Second

Use of a Stun Gun on a Child

MIAMI -- Police have acknowledged using a stun gun to immobilize a 12-year-old girl just weeks after an officer jolted a first-grader with 50,000 volts.

Police Director Bobby Parker defended the decision to use a Taser on the 6-year-old boy last month because he was threatening to injure himself with a shard of glass. But Parker said Friday that he could not defend the decision to shock the fleeing girl, who was skipping school and apparently drunk.

According to the incident report, Officer William Nelson responded to a complaint that children were swimming in a pool, drinking alcohol and smoking cigars on the morning of Nov. 5.

Nelson said he noticed the girl was intoxicated and was walking her to his car to take her back to school when she ran away through a parking lot.

Nelson, 38, said he chased her and yelled several times for her to stop before firing the Taser when she began to run into traffic. The electric probes hit the girl in the neck and lower back, immobilizing her.

Nelson said he fired "for my safety along with [the girl's] safety." Paramedics treated the girl, who went home with her mother.

* ROCHESTER, N.H. -- A woman and her boyfriend are accused of plotting to sacrifice the woman's three children on a church altar. Nicole Mancini, 29, and John Thurber, 35, were arrested at St. Mary's Church on Wednesday after workers said they heard the woman say she wanted to sacrifice the boys. Mancini and Thurber were in jail Saturday on more than $25,000 bail. They were arraigned Friday on three counts each of misdemeanor child endangerment. The children, ages 9, 7 and 2, were not harmed and were placed in state custody.

* KITTANNING, Pa. -- A man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday in the starvation death of his 4-year-old daughter, whose body was found in a picnic cooler left for trash pickup outside his home. The sentence was automatic under Pennsylvania law after the jurors said they were unable to decide unanimously whether James Tatar deserved death by chemical injection.

* GOLDEN, Colo. -- A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated animal cruelty for stealing five puppies and burning two of them to death. Ryan Turtura was accused of breaking into a Colorado Humane Society shelter in February and stealing the dogs. Court records said he admitted setting three of them on fire. One of the burned puppies survived. Turtura could receive 101/2 years in prison and faces fines of as much as $800,000 when sentenced in January. He has been held on $25,000 bail.

* SALT LAKE CITY -- Attorneys for a man accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart have asked a judge for additional competency evaluations, potentially delaying a trial already held up for months over the issue. Heidi Buchi, a lawyer for Brian David Mitchell, 51, argued in a motion that she has seen a marked decline in Mitchell's capacity to assist in his defense. Mitchell is charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated kidnapping. He is scheduled to stand trial beginning Feb. 1.

-- From News Services

Nicole Mancini, left, and John Thurber are accused of plotting to sacrifice Mancini's children on a church altar in Rochester, N.H.