ART STUDENT BEATEN
Pa. jury begins hearing about black man's beating
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The attorney for a performing arts student who alleges he was wrongly arrested and beaten by Pittsburgh police says the case is about "an abuse of power."
Lawyer Robert Giroux made the argument in federal court on Tuesday. He represents Jordan Miles, a black man who was 18 during the confrontation with three white officers in January 2010.
But an attorney for one officer blamed Miles for the encounter. James Wymard told the jury that Miles tried to run and then fought with police.
Miles claims he was beaten for being a young black man in a high-crime area. The officers acknowledge beating Miles because they mistook him for an armed prowler.
Miles' lawsuit contends police violated his civil rights through the wrongful arrest and the use of excessive force.
GAS WELL FIRE-DUNKARD
More remains found at W. Pa. well blast site
DILLINER, Pa. (AP) - A coroner says he and a team of anthropology students have recovered what they believe to be more fragmented remains of a worker who was killed when a southwestern Pennsylvania natural gas well exploded last month.
Greene County Coroner Greg Rohanna tells the (Washington) Observer-Reporter the remains are believed to be those of 27-year-old Ian Robert McKee, of Morgantown, W.Va. Rohanna has been assisted by Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat and students from Mercyhurst University.
Other remains found previously at the Chevron well pad in Dunkard Township were also believed to be McKee's.
McKee was a contract technician working on the well when it exploded into fire Feb. 11. A second well head nearby caught fire three days later due to flames from the first blast.
The well heads have since been secured.
Pa. man pleads guilty to threat against Obama
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to posting an online threat to kill the president.
Nicholas Savino pleaded guilty Monday to posting a threat on the White House website last August that said, "President Obama the Anti-Christ. As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead."
The 42-year-old Clarks Summit man will be sentenced June 11. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Under a plea agreement, Savino will forfeit three guns and about 11,000 rounds of ammunition that agents found in his apartment and car. Savino was arrested about a week after posting the threat, just before Obama visited nearby Scranton.
NBC plans to air interview with Dottie Sandusky
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - NBC's "Today" show is about to air an interview with Jerry Sandusky's wife that was recently recorded at her home in State College.
The network said it would broadcast the segment that Matt Lauer taped with Dottie Sandusky on Wednesday morning.
In excerpts posted online by NBC, Dottie Sandusky defends her husband, saying she's sure he didn't "do the horrible crimes that he's convicted of."
Jerry Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in a southwestern Pennsylvania prison. He's maintained his innocence and is awaiting word by the state Supreme Court about whether it'll take his case on appeal.
Dottie Sandusky testified for about 40 minutes for the defense during the 2012 trial that ended in a 45-count conviction.
Proposal would let Pa. universities exit system
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Some Pennsylvania state lawmakers think universities should be able to leave the State System of Higher Education and are proposing legislation to allow it.
Sen. Tommy Tomlinson outlined the proposal at a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, saying enrollment trends and financial pressures mean the schools should have the flexibility to make more of their own decisions.
Tomlinson's bill would let larger schools among the 14-member system become "state-related" universities, a group that now includes just Penn State, Pitt, Lincoln and Temple.
Schools that leave the state system would have to pay back the value of their property over 30 years.
Opponents say the idea would lead to higher tuition and provide less state oversight and accountability.
Pa. turnpike crash exposed gaps, officials say
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania state senators are warning that a Valentine's Day pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was a lesson in chaos and gridlock that needs to be corrected.
Officials from the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission acknowledged during a Senate Transportation Committee hearing on Tuesday that they need to work on their response to major pileups.
Nobody died as a result of the 41-crash chain-reaction over three miles on the turnpike in suburban Philadelphia, about seven miles east of the Willow Grove interchange in Bucks County.
But officials acknowledged that some responding agencies didn't communicate well initially, including the state police and Bensalem police. Backed up traffic hampered the efforts of police and responders because gridlocked cars couldn't get out of the way.
2 Pa. women charged with neglect of relative, 88
DAUPHIN, Pa. (AP) - Two central Pennsylvania women are accused of neglecting an 88-year-old relative who was supposed to be in their care.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said Tuesday that 58-year-old Kathy Hope and 30-year-old Elena Mishula of Middle Paxton Township have each been charged with neglect of care of a dependent person, a first-degree felony.
Investigators said paramedics called to the defendants' home on Feb. 6 found the elderly and disoriented woman lying on a concrete carport.
Marsico said she hadn't been given her medications for months and was suffering from hypothermia, sepsis, hypertension and bed sores. She remains hospitalized. Her name wasn't released.
Detectives obtained a search warrant and found the home to be uninhabitable and crammed with rotting food, trash, animal feces and diapers.
ALLENTOWN STABBING DEATH
Police probe stabbing death of eastern Pa. man
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in eastern Pennsylvania are investigating the homicide of an Allentown man found stabbed to death in his home.
Officials in Lehigh County said the 65-year-old victim was pronounced dead of multiple stab wounds at 4 a.m. Tuesday. An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday.
Police and the coroner's office are investigating and say more information will be released after the victim has been positively identified and his relatives notified.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT DEATH
Pa. student's death probed as possible meningitis
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities say the death of a student at a Philadelphia university's sorority house is being investigated as a suspected case of meningitis.
Drexel University officials said Stephanie Ross of Pittsburgh was found unresponsive Monday by housemates at the Phi Mu (Beta Tau) sorority house.
Spokeswoman Niki Gianakaris said Ross was transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
She said the cause of death hasn't yet been determined, but the university is treating it as a suspected case of meningitis and is working with the city health department.
Prophylactic antibiotics are being made available through the University's Student Health Center for those who had close contact with Ross.
The university said Ross, a sophomore, was majoring in mechanical engineering.
HOME ALONE-CAR BURGLARIES
W. Pa. couple left son alone during car break-ins
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania couple has been jailed on charges they left their 9-year-old son home alone while they broke into several cars.
The Hempfield Township couple, 30-year-old Jesse Brown and 28-year-old Nicole Brown, were arrested about 5 a.m. Monday after they were seen breaking into several vehicles in Greensburg.
Police say the couple took GPS devices, and even a six-pack of soda pop, from at least three vehicles. Police say Jesse Brown told them he and his wife were unemployed and needed the money.
Police also charged the couple with endangering the welfare of a child and other crimes after learning the boy was home alone. Westmoreland County caseworkers eventually turned over the boy to his maternal grandmother.
Online court records don't list attorneys for the Browns who face a preliminary hearing March 20.
PIZZA OWNER-SEXUAL CHARGES
Pa. pizza shop owner faces teen worker sex charges
TYRONE, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania pizza shop owner has been jailed on charges he made lewd comments to eight employees aged 16 to 18, and kissed or fondled some of them - or encouraged them to do that to one another.
Defense attorney Steven Passarello tells the Altoona Mirror that 62-year-old Samy El Masry, of Tyrone, denies the charges.
Tyrone police say their investigation began when a 16-year-old girl complained of being touched in appropriately on her first day of work. Police eventually interviewed seven other teens, some male, some female, who related various complaints about lewd conduct, comments or unwanted touching or kissing.
Police say one 16-year-old girl applied to work at the pizzeria but decided against taking the job after El Masry allegedly told her, "If I were younger, I'd drink your dirty bath water."
NEW MOTHER-DRUG TEST
First-time mom sues UPMC over faulty drug test
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A first-time mother is suing the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center saying hospital officials defamed her and violated her doctor-patient confidentiality by telling a county child welfare agency the woman failed a drug test the day her baby was born, even though the results were due to bread she ate containing poppy seeds.
UPMC isn't commenting on the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Rachael Devore, an Allegheny County woman who gave birth at Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC on June 24.
The lawsuit contends the hospital staff took Devore's urine for drug testing while she was in labor, then turned over the "positive" drug test to county caseworkers who eventually inspected Devore's home, and referred her to a substance abuse counselor.
Opiates like heroin are made from poppies, which is why the seeds can result in false positives on drug tests.
PENNSYLVANIA ELECTION-CANDIDATE FILINGS
Pa. congressional incumbents file petitions early
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - All of Pennsylvania's congressional incumbents who are seeking re-election avoided a deadline crunch by filing their petitions early.
Sixteen of the 18 representatives - as well as more than a dozen challengers in the May 20 primary - had filed by Tuesday morning, well in advance of the 5 p.m. deadline.
The state's other two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are open this year.
Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach is retiring at the end of this term in the 6th Congressional District and Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz is running for governor.
Major-party candidates seeking nominations for governor, lieutenant governor, Congress, the Legislature and seats on the Democratic and Republican state committees are required to file petitions.
Candidates for Congress are required to turn in at least 1,000 signatures.
PARKING SPOT BRAWL
Search on for biting suspect in parking spot brawl
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) - The search is on for a woman suspected of biting another woman's finger amid a dispute over a parking spot at a southern New Jersey mall.
Police are still trying to identify the woman who bit Tonya Knight-Joseph's finger outside the Cherry Hill Mall on Saturday.
The 42-year-old Philadelphia resident says she was arguing with two women who accused her of stealing their parking space when one attacked her.
Knight-Joseph says the attacker was cursing, yelling, getting in her face and hitting her. Then, the woman bit her finger, nearly severing it. That was "game over," in Knight-Joseph's words.
She says hospital workers who took X-rays couldn't believe the bite was caused by a human.
Police have released an image of the suspect. They say she could face aggravated assault charges.
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