Appeals Court Tosses Nebraska Man’s Sentence for Shooting Bald Eagle

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File Image

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A federal appeals court has tossed a Nebraska man’s sentence for shooting a pair of protected birds last year near Macy.

Lamar Bertucci has spent the past five months in prison for shooting an eagle and a rough-legged hawk. A federal judge has set Bertucci’s resentencing for Aug. 12.

Bertucci pleaded guilty in killing the birds, but had disputed the $10,000 value that a federal probation officer put on the eagle.

The officer, who prepared Bertucci’s presentence report, relied on testimony from a Virginia-based wildlife expert, who estimated the replacement cost of the eagle.

The bird’s worth mattered to Bertucci because the amount of the loss can dictate the length of a sentence. He was sentenced last year to eight months in prison.

Iowa Authorities ID Nebraskan Whose Body Was Pulled from River

council-bluffs-policeCOUNCIL BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man whose body was recovered from the Missouri River at Council Bluffs.

Council Bluffs police identified the man as 37-year-old Jeffrey Kahler, of Omaha, Nebraska. Police say there’s no evidence that a crime was involved in Kahler’s death.

His body was spotted a little before 5:30 p.m. Sunday just south of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects Council Bluffs with south Omaha. Council Bluffs firefighters recovered the body less than 30 minutes later.


Only Small Increase in US Girls Getting Cervical Cancer Shot

vaccinationNEW YORK (AP) — More U.S. girls are getting a controversial vaccine, but the increase last year was only slight.

A national survey released Thursday found 60 percent of adolescent girls received at least one of three doses of the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV. It was 57 percent in 2013.

For boys, the rate was 42 percent, up from 34 percent.

The vaccine has been available to girls since 2006 but has been recommended for boys since 2011. It protects against cervical cancer and genital warts. The shots are recommended at age 11 or 12, to protect youths before they start to have sex.

Health officials say not enough pediatricians are strongly recommending HPV shots. Vaccination rates against other diseases like whooping cough are much higher.

Teen Accused of Suffocating Newborn Then Going Shopping

police-lights-redNEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors say a teenager suffocated her just-born baby before taking his body with her on a trip to Victoria’s Secret in New York City.

Eighteen-year-old Tiona Rodriguez pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge stemming from the shopping trip two years ago. Prosecutors say she was arrested on a shoplifting charge at the store, and her 8-pound newborn was found dead in a bag she was carrying. The shoplifting charge was later dropped.

Prosecutors say Rodriguez intended for weeks to kill the infant and sent a text message about plans to “dig a hole” and “put it somewhere.”

Defense lawyer Earl Ward says Rodriguez’s term of pregnancy was unclear. He says Rodriguez didn’t know she was pregnant and she had a stillbirth. He says she acted out of confusion.


Feds Release Updated Strategy Against AIDS in America

HIV-AIDSNEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials have updated their strategic plan for fighting AIDS, setting new goals for reducing infections and deaths.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — increasing the number of people with health insurance.

However, new HIV infections have stayed about the same, at around 50,000 a year. Diagnosed infections have dropped in women and heterosexuals, but climbed in gay and bisexual men.

The updated document adds some new goals for 2020, like reducing the death rate among HIV-diagnosed people by at least one-third, and increasing the percentage who control their infection though medication.

Police ID Motorcyclist Killed in Lincoln Collision

fatal-motorcycle-crashLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a 19-year-old man who was fatally injured when his motorcycle ran into the back of a car near a Lincoln intersection.

Police identified him Thursday as 19-year-old David Romero, of Lincoln.

The accident occurred around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. Police say the southbound car turned west onto O Street at 56th Street and soon was hit from behind by the westbound motorcycle. Police say Romero died later at a hospital and that the car driver, Lori Morin, of Lincoln, wasn’t injured.

Papillion Man Found Guilty of Shooting 2 Dogs with BB Gun

Barry Richey

Barry Richey

PAPILLION, Neb. (AP) — A Papillion man has been found guilty of shooting his family’s two dogs with a BB gun, killing one of them.

56-year-old Barry L. Richey was convicted Wednesday. He had pleaded no contest to two counts of cruel neglect of an animal. According to prosecutors, Papillion law enforcement responded to a disturbance at Richey’s home on April 20.

Police say Richey’s wife told officers she took her dogs to the veterinarian and learned both dogs had been shot several times with a BB gun.

Richey’s sentencing hearing has been set for October.

Lincoln Man Accused of Molesting 5 Girls Over Several Years

Michael Martin

Michael Martin

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 67-year-old Lincoln man has been accused of molesting five girls over several years.

Lincoln Police Sgt. Brian Agnew said in court documents that Michael J. Martin molested the girls between 1997 and 2015. Martin faces one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child and five counts of third-degree sexual assault of a child.

Court records show Martin is being represented by an attorney from the Lancaster County Public Defender’s Office. A message left with the office was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Police say Martin knew the girls and in some cases the alleged abuse happened over several years. Agnew said the youngest girl was 3 years old when the abuse began.

FBI Says Iowa Credit Union Robbery Linked to ‘AK-47 Bandit’

ak47-banditMASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Federal authorities believe a man suspected of robbing a credit union in Iowa with an assault rifle is the same man suspected of robbing banks in several states.

The FBI says the “AK-47 Bandit” robbed banks in California, Idaho and Washington in 2012 and a bank in Nebraska in 2014. The suspect carries an assault rifle similar to an AK-47 into the banks.

Authorities say a man entered the Iowa Heartland Credit Union in Mason City on Tuesday wearing a black ski mask. He was armed with an AK-47 and left with an undisclosed amount of money.

The FBI is offering up to $100,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in connection with the shooting of a police officer during one of the robberies in California.

Omaha Deejay Charged with Hate Crime in Assault of Transgender Woman

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A deejay has been charged with a hate crime after police say he assaulted a transgender woman at an Omaha bar.

45-year-old Stephen E. Thompson was charged Monday with one count of third-degree assault that is being prosecuted as a hate crime. A police report says 27-year-old Kara Jeslyn Barone was at a bar for a party Friday when she was assaulted.

Barone told authorities she went into the women’s restroom when Thompson tried to force his way in. Barone said she pushed him outside the door and locked him out. She said when Thompson’s girlfriend, who was in the restroom, opened the door, Thompson punched her and shouted anti-gay slurs.

Thompson was arrested that night and is being held on a $50,000 bail. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney.