Columbus Mom Takes Plea Deal, Is Convicted of Child Abuse

gavel-and-scaleCOLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for a 21-year-old Columbus mother convicted of child abuse.

Jodie Shelly pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor negligent child abuse. Prosecutors had lowered the charges from felonies in exchange for her pleas. Her sentencing is set for Aug. 31.

Shelly’s boyfriend, 24-year-old Ryan Roberts, was sentenced in May to five years on two counts of child abuse. Roberts acknowledged backhanding Shelly’s 1-year-old son after the boy bit him in January.

A court document says Shelly acknowledged having an anger problem and that “she grabs her daughter too firmly when she is whining or arguing with her brother.” The document says Shelly acknowledged angrily tossing her daughter onto a couch from a few feet away in January.

Police: 5-Year-Old Boy Dies After Being Struck by SUV in Omaha

omaha-policeOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A 5-year-old boy has died after being struck by an SUV in an alleyway in southeast Omaha.

According to police, Yoshua Mejia-Estrada died late Thursday. He was transported to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition with severe head injuries and a pelvic fracture.

Authorities say a 25-year-old man was driving through the alleyway when he struck Mejia-Estrada as the child emerged from between a set of parked vehicles around 9:15 p.m.

According to police, the boy and his family had been visiting relatives at a nearby residence when the accident happened.

Police say speed and alcohol were not factors in the collision. The incident is under investigation.

Woman Gets Probation for Drowning Puppy in GI Airport Toilet

Cynthia Anderson

Cynthia Anderson

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A Florida woman has been given two years of probation for drowning a 3-week-old puppy in a Nebraska airport toilet.

Cynthia Anderson, of Edgewater, Florida, was sentenced Thursday in Hall County District Court in Grand Island. She pleaded no contest in May to cruelly neglecting an animal, resulting in its death. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

During Thursday’s hearing, the 57-year-old Anderson apologized for her actions and pleaded for mercy and probation.

Anderson was barred from boarding a Jan. 23 flight at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport because the puppy was so young and wasn’t properly contained.

Authorities say she then was seen entering the restroom. Another woman soon reported finding the Doberman puppy dead in a toilet.

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

File Image

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.