ABDUCTED FROM SCHOOL
Judge: Torture anime not OK at kidnap-rape trial
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge has declined to allow Philadelphia prosecutors to introduce evidence that a woman charged with abducting and raping a kindergartner had viewed online cartoons depicting sexual torture.
The judge on Thursday ruled out use of the Japanese anime videos at trial. However, the judge says the jury can hear accusations that 21-year-old defendant Christina Regusters had molested a young relative.
Prosecutors say the graphic computer searches counter potential defense arguments that men were involved in the violent sexual attack on the 5-year-old girl in January 2013.
Police say Regusters donned a Muslim garment and veil to pose as the girl's mother and take her from school.
Prosecutors say Regusters had also done computer searches about Muslim garb and destroying DNA.
The trial has been delayed until Monday.
FRAMED FOR CHILD PORN
Jury: Woman downloaded child porn to frame husband
INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania woman has been found guilty of downloading child pornography in a failed attempt to frame her estranged husband.
Meri Jane Woods, of Clymer, was convicted Wednesday in Indiana County.
District Attorney Patrick Dougherty says the 43-year-old Woods downloaded 40 images to the family computer, took it to police last August and blamed Matthew Woods for the material.
But when police examined time stamps, they determined the images had been downloaded more than two weeks after Meri Woods had her husband kicked out of their home with a protection-from-abuse order.
Woods' attorney had argued the time stamps were unreliable.
The Indiana Gazette says Woods faces up to nine years in prison when she's sentenced Dec. 15. She may also have to register as a Megan's Law offender.
Philly university probes reported attack, slurs
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia university says it is investigating a reported attack on a student that allegedly included what the school called "religious slurs."
Temple University said in a statement that Wednesday afternoon's confrontation on the school's main campus in north Philadelphia "is alleged to have included physical violence and anti-Semitic statements and religious slurs."
Officials said one male student was alleged to have struck another during an argument at the table of the Temple chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine. The incident occurred as students were moving into the dorms for the school's fall term. The student was later treated at an area hospital and released.
University officials said they had "reached out to leaders of the Temple Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities" seeking "a best path for moving forward."
COUPLE FOUND SHOT
Coroner IDs 2 victims found shot outside home
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. (AP) - The coroner's office has identified a man and woman found shot in a street in western Pennsylvania and has ruled their deaths to be homicides.
The victims are 43-year-old John Russ, of New Kensington, and 28-year-old Shannon Bongartz, of Penn Hills.
Russ was found shot inside a parked vehicle near his home, while Bongartz was found dead in the street nearby Wednesday morning.
The Westmoreland County coroner's office says Thursday that both had been shot several times.
New Kensington police were reportedly searching for a man seen running from the scene in New Kensington, a suburb about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Authorities aren't saying whether they have a suspect or suspects in the shooting.
7 charged with drug trafficking between Pa., NYC
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say they have broken up a million-dollar narcotics trafficking operation between New York City and western Pennsylvania.
Five suspects were arrested Thursday morning after a grand jury in Pennsylvania recommended charges including drug delivery and conspiracy. Two other defendants remained at large.
Authorities say the ring distributed large quantities of heroin, cocaine and marijuana around Beaver and Allegheny counties in Pennsylvania.
Investigators allege one suspect made at least 14 trips to the New York area between October and February to buy drugs for redistribution in Pennsylvania.
Over the course of the investigation, officials say they seized about two pounds of cocaine, a pound of marijuana, 15 bricks of heroin and four guns.
Six defendants live in either Beaver or Allegheny county. One lives in New York.
Teen sought in explosion at Philly take-out
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities are trying to identify a teenager who used an explosive device to damage a Chinese takeout restaurant in north Philadelphia.
Police say the teen entered the Oriental Kitchen Take-Out restaurant at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday and placed the device in a small access panel in the wall before fleeing.
Surveillance video shows the device detonating, and police said the restaurant was damaged. No injuries were reported.
Detectives said the suspect is believed to be about 14 years old, and they are asking for help from the public in identifying and locating him.
Man indicted in Pa. battlefield fire, dispute
GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A federal grand jury has indicted a man on charges stemming from a fire and reported domestic dispute at Gettysburg National Military Park earlier this month.
Forty-one-year-old Gary DuRocher was indicted on charges of assault, threatening and malicious mischief in the Aug. 8 incident on the central Pennsylvania battlefield.
Police were called to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial after officials said a boy was pulled from a vehicle during a domestic dispute.
Park officials said the former Maryland resident left the scene and was arrested hours later at Gettysburg college.
Authorities allege that he sent threatening texts to an ex-girlfriend during the incident and set fire to 250 hay bales inside the park.
Man to trial in case of bomb meant for paramour
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania man has been ordered to stand trial on charges he built a remote-controlled pipe bomb which police say he planned to use to blow up his wife's paramour.
Fifty-three-year-old Frederick Rice, of Harrisburg, waived his preliminary hearing on charges including manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction.
Police say they determined Rice was fixated on his wife's suspected infidelity. That's when someone tipped off police that Rice had the bomb in his vehicle while visiting a friend in Ferguson Township, Centre County on Aug. 5.
When township police found Rice at his friend's house, they say he acknowledged having the bomb and said he planned to attach it to the paramour's vehicle and detonate it.
Police defused the bomb after finding it in Rice's vehicle.
Judge denies dismissal motion in Pa. hit-run death
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania judge has turned down a defense motion to dismiss charges against a man accused in the hit-and-run crash that killed a woman on Mother's Day last year.
Thirty-seven-year-old John Kuniskas of Shavertown is charged in Luzerne County with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in the May 2013 crash that killed 65-year-old Jean Darsky as she was returning home from attending church and visiting with a friend.
Defense attorney Peter Olszewski Jr. said prosecutors have "zero evidence" that Kuniskas was even driving or in the area, much less that he had been drinking or was texting while driving.
Prosecutors allege that Kuniskas told other people he was the driver of the truck that hit Darsky and had been drinking at a Plains Township tavern.
MACHETE-ADULT STORE ROBBERY
2 men, 1 armed with machete, rob adult bookstore
BENTLEYVILLE, Pa. (AP) - State police were searching for two men - one reportedly armed with a machete - after an adult bookstore was robbed in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Troopers from the Washington, Pennsylvania barracks say the robbery occurred about 2:40 a.m. Wednesday at the High News/Adult Mart. The business is along Interstate 70 near Bentleyville.
Police say the men wore red bandannas to cover their faces when entering the store. Both grabbed money from a cash register before running away.
Troopers were still searching for the suspects on Thursday.
PUC OKs Uber for temporary Pittsburgh-area service
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Uber has become the second ride-sharing company to satisfy insurance, safety and other requirements that give it temporary permission to operate in the Pittsburgh area.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission last month gave conditional approval for Uber and its competitor, Lyft, to obtain temporary licenses to operate in Allegheny County.
Lyft satisfied those conditions and was granted a 60-day permit to operate on Aug. 14. On Thursday, the PUC said Uber had complied with the conditions, too.
Both companies are seeking permanent "experimental" licenses. The services need "experimental" approval because they operate differently than taxis and other transportation covered by PUC regulations.
The companies use smartphone apps to dispatch drivers who use their personal vehicles to give people rides. The drivers then share the fares they collect with the companies.
LARGEST STATE STORE
Largest state liquor store debuts in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was opening its largest store in the state in Pittsburgh's trendy Shadyside neighborhood.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the 17,000-square-foot store grew out of a smaller one that first opened in January 2002. That store then was consolidated in 2006 with two smaller stores nearby that closed.
Since then, sales at the shop have grown, prompting the LCB to expand the store again when some adjacent space became available. The LCB spent nearly $250,000 on the expansion.
The store, known as the Penn Circle South location, had sales of $19.1 million last fiscal year.
The store offers nearly 5,800 products, compared to about 3,900 in Wexford and 4,600 in the Pine Plaza Premium Collection store, two of the biggest in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
Mo'ne Davis brings big ratings to Little League
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - Pitching sensation Mo'ne Davis' latest start has drawn record television ratings for the Little League World Series.
ESPN said Thursday her team's game earned the highest ever preliminary rating for the event on the network. The 8-1 loss by Davis' Philadelphia squad to Las Vegas on Wednesday night received a 3.4 overnight rating, up 143 percent from the corresponding game last year.
The 13-year-old Davis rose to a national celebrity after becoming the first girl to pitch a shutout in her team's LLWS opener. She was removed after just 2 1-3 innings Wednesday, allowing three runs and striking out six.
The game drew a 16.3 rating in Las Vegas and a 14.9 in Philadelphia.
Ratings represent the percentage of homes with televisions tuned to a program. Overnights measure the country's largest markets.
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