Suspect in ricin case
ruled fit to stand trial

A woman accused of mailing poison-laced letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

In a trial scheduled to start Oct. 7, Shannon Guess Richardson will face one count of making a threat against the president of the United States and two counts of mailing threatening communications. She faces up to five years in federal prison on each charge if convicted. U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in Texarkana, Tex., had earlier ordered a psychological evaluation of Richardson at her attorney’s request.

Richardson, 35, of New Boston, Tex., was arrested June 7 after a federal grand jury accused her of mailing letters containing ricin, a toxic substance, to Obama, Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group Bloomberg founded that seeks stricter gun laws.

— Reuters

Zimmerman’s wife
pleads guilty to lying

George Zimmerman’s wife pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing, and she was sentenced to a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service.

Shellie Zimmerman, 26, had been charged with felony perjury after she lied about the couple’s assets during a bail hearing following her husband’s arrest in the fatal 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted last month of second-degree murder.

Shellie Zimmerman had been charged with a felony and, if convicted, had faced up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. As part of the deal, she wrote a letter of apology to Judge Kenneth Lester, who presided over last year’s bail hearing.

— Associated Press

Judge apologizes for
remarks in rape case

A Montana judge apologized Wednesday for saying a 14-year-old rape victim was “older than her chronological age” and had as much control of the situation as the teacher who raped her — remarks that prompted protests and a petition for his resignation.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh made the comments Monday while sentencing former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold to a 15-year prison sentence then suspending all but 31 days and giving him credit for one day already served.

Faced with a backlash over the comments and calls for his resignation, Baugh, 71, wrote an apology in a letter to the editor of the Billings Gazette. Speaking to reporters later, the judge said that he “made some really stupid remarks” and deserves “to be chastised,” but maintained that the sentence given to the teacher was appropriate.

— Associated Press