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Saturday, 29 June 2013 07:27

Plea deal offered in funeral fraud case

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Seven defendants accused in a pre-arranged funeral scam have been offered plea deals that would allow them to avoid potential life sentences.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlined the plea offers on Friday. The deal would require five to 10 years in prison in exchange for guilty pleas. The case is being handled in federal court in St. Louis.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan cited the high cost of trials that could last three months.

Prosecutors say now-defunct National Prearranged Services Inc. operated like a Ponzi scheme before it was shut down in 2008. Customers were allegedly bilked of up to $600 million.

One former employee, 69-year-old Sharon Nekol Province, pleaded guilty earlier this month. Sentencing is November 7th.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A bankrupt St. Louis-based coal company's push to significantly cut thousands of retirees' health care and pension benefits is in the hands of a judge.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States has until May 29 to decide the matter that last week was argued before her by attorneys for Patriot Coal Corp. and the United Mine Workers of America union. It's not clear how soon any ruling may come.

Patriot's proposed benefits cuts have been the most contentious aspect of its bankruptcy case since the Peabody Energy Corp. spinoff filed for Chapter 11 protection last summer. The company says it would have to spend $1.6 billion to cover retirees' health care costs, and that if that didn't change it might risk liquidation.

The union considers the cuts immoral, drastic and unfair.

 

Published in Local News

A St. Louis man convicted of brutally beating to death his 2-year-old son will spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

The reasons may be unknown--an alcohol fueled rage or bipolar disorder--but a jury has made sure 32 Aaron Lucy of south city  will never hurt another child. 

He was found guilty of first-degree murder and four felony counts of child abuse, evidence tampering and armed criminal action in the death of his son, Kyle Lucy. He has no chance for parole.

The boy's mother,30-year-old Amanda Newman, told the St Louis Post Dispatch she was satisfied with the life sentence because she believes it will keep Lucy away from their daughter, Abby, who is now 7. 

Prosecutors said Lucy beat Kyle to death the day after Christmas 2010 while the family was at a holiday play. 

Authorities said Lacy left bruises and scrapes on almost every part of the toddler's body and caused two skull fractures and a fatal brain injury. Blood was found throughout the apartment, including on the back of a picture frame, a broken drawer an overturned television that had been thrown across the floor. 

Lucy's mother argued he should be in a mental hospital rather than prison.

 

Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri statute requiring both parties to sign a marriage license in the presence of a county recorder of deeds has been deemed unconstitutional when the prospective bride or groom is incarcerated.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. in Kansas City, Mo., issued the ruling Thursday in a lawsuit brought by five women engaged to Missouri inmates.

Because betrothed inmates can't make it to the recorder's office, marriage license applications involving inmates typically are brought into a prison. The lawsuit claimed that Cole County's recorder had been allowed inside prisons for 17 years, but was denied entry in August and unable to bring marriage licenses to several prisoners. The reason: He declined to list his Social Security number on a form.

The weddings scheduled for Sept. 24 were called off.
Published in Local News
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — James Frost is already serving 40 years in prison for four St. Louis-area rapes. Now, he is getting more prison time for a fifth.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that all the crimes occurred in 2006 in St. Louis city and county. The fifth case was brought by prosecutors in September on the basis of further DNA testing. Prosecutors say Frost assaulted the victim at gunpoint.

As part of a plea deal, Frost on Monday was sentenced to 30 years plus 10 on charges of forced rape, forced sodomy and sexual abuse. The latest sentence will run concurrently with the time already being served on the other attacks.
Published in Local News
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The 18-year-old triggerman in a 2011 shooting death in St. Joseph has been sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Elijah Pickett was sentenced Friday for killing 28-year-old Brian Ulmer during a robbery attempt at Ulmer's home. He was convicted in January of second-degree murder and several other charges.

Prosecutors say Pickett shot Ulmer three times at point-blank range.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports Pickett said he planned to appeal because he was unhappy with the effort of his attorney.

Two other defendants, Kasey Hall and Xavier Johnson, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. A fourth defendant was found not guilty. A fifth defendant is in federal prison and no date has been set for his trial.
Published in Local News
Friday, 08 February 2013 14:12

Unique gait gives away burglar

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - The eastern Missouri burglar busted by the peculiar hitch in his get-along has been sentenced to probation.

Wentzville police arrested 21-year-old David Moore in November for smashing through a glass door at Nu Way Concrete Forms and taking nearly $1,500 in cash.

Surveillance video showed the burglar pointing his toes outward as he walked. Surveillance tape shot four days earlier during business hours showed a man with the same walk. Employees had been suspicious of that man because he wore a heavy coat and gloves on a warm day. They wrote down his license plate number.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Moore pleaded guilty to burglary and theft Monday. In addition to probation he must serve 60 days of shock time and pay back the stolen money.
Published in Local News

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