State News Briefly…
Borough to settle teacher-sex lawsuit
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania borough council has voted to settle a lawsuit filed by a former student who accused officials of failing to investigate accusations of assaults by a high school teacher.
Plum officials didn’t identify those involved in the settlement, which was approved unanimously Monday night.
Two female students at Plum Senior High School have sued over sex with teachers. Three male teachers have pleaded guilty and are serving prison sentences, a fourth was acquitted of charges he tried to intimidate one of the accusers by pointing her out in class.
Court documents filed in July indicated the Plum Borough School District reached a settlement in another lawsuit.
Man accused of shooting at police
LANCASTER — Jurors resume deliberations Wednesday in the trial of one of two defendants accused of conspiring to kill Pennsylvania police officers last year.
Eighteen-year-old Marquell Rentas is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, conspiracy and reckless endangering.
Police in Columbia said a dozen shots were fired July 29 out a window and at police vehicles as officers responded. No one was injured.
LNP newspaper reports that prosecutors cited derogatory remarks to officers. But defense attorney Elizabeth Donnelly called that “tough-guy” talk and said her client wasn’t shooting at police.
Lancaster County jurors were sent home for the night after less than two hours of deliberations Tuesday.
Ex-police chief pleads in scam
DOYLESTOWN — A retired New Jersey police chief has been ordered to pay back more than $28,000 after pleading no contest to scamming a 95-year-old Pennsylvania man.
Seventy-one-year-old Robert Ryan, the former chief in Garwood, entered the plea in court in Bucks County on Monday.
It is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment he would have been found guilty of stealing had the case gone to trial.
He was sentenced to time served to 23 months, with five years of probation.
Ryan said he had lost thousands of dollars in a hoax and was hoping to be reimbursed by helping the people who scammed him.
$1B renovation for Pittsburgh airport
PITTSBURGH — A $1.1 billion reconfiguration project for the Pittsburgh International Airport that has won local approval will include a new landside terminal, an expanded security checkpoint and streamlined baggage system.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority voted to approve the renovation project during a meeting on Tuesday. The project will require FAA approval before it moves forward.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the renovations to the 25-year-old airport will enhance the customer experience at the airport and increase overall efficiency. A new roadway system and parking garage are also included in the upgrades.
According to the Allegheny County Airport Authority website, no local tax dollars will be used to fund the extensive project. Officials hope to start work in 2019 and complete the project by 2023.
Suspect held for 9/11 school threats
WEST CHESTER — Police say they have a person in custody for making online, racially-charged threats to harm students at a school in the Philadelphia suburbs.
The threats were made on an Instagram page called “East Shade Room” and referred to black, Hispanic and white students with slurs and racial nicknames. Police say three West Chester East High School students were singled out with the message, “If you guys come to school tomorrow, you will die.”
The threats were apparently posted Sunday but referred to Monday, which was also the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Attempted murder retrial begins
WILKES-BARRE — A retrial has begun for a woman accused of having tried to kill herself and her two young children by piping vehicle exhaust into her car in a Pennsylvania bus station parking lot.
34-year-old Melissa Ann Scholl is charged with attempted murder in Luzerne County, where jurors in June deliberated for seven hours but were unable to reach a verdict.
Prosecutors allege that she drove the 7-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl to a Wilkes-Barre bus station parking lot in December 2015 and strung a hose from the exhaust pipe to a window. A passer-by pulled the hose from the exhaust and called police.
Death of lax recruit under investigation
EASTON — Authorities are investigating the death of a Pennsylvania college’s lacrosse recruit from Massachusetts.
Authorities in Easton say 19-year-old McCrae Williams, of Weston, Massachusetts, was pronounced dead at a hospital around 5 p.m. Monday. Officials did not disclose what led Williams to be taken to the hospital. The Morning Call reports Williams planned to start playing lacrosse at Lafayette College this year. The school listed him as a recruit.
Man admits killing homeless cats
PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh man has pleaded guilty to killing three homeless cats by leaving poisonous mothballs in his yard for them to eat because they defecated on his sidewalk.
44-year-old Daniel T. Smith pleaded guilty Tuesday to animal cruelty counts. Police say two women who had been feeding a colony of 11 homeless cats reported in July 2015 seeing Smith put two dead cats in a trash can and seeing another cat vomiting. That cat was later euthanized.
The humane group Animal Friends had spayed, neutered and vaccinated the cats. Police say Smith told the women who fed the cats, “I killed six or eight of your cats and I’ll kill the rest of them.”
Man killed during home invasion
YORK — Authorities say a man was shot and killed after allegedly forcing his way into a Pennsylvania home following an assault at a nearby home that critically injured an elderly woman.
Officials in Dauphin County said the assault victim remains in critical condition at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
Police in Lower Paxton Township said an apparent domestic dispute between 23-year-old Servando Santos and a resident apparently led to the assault on the woman, whose name wasn’t released.
Authorities allege that Santos then walked down the street, armed with a baseball bat, and forced his way into another home, where the homeowner fired several shots.
Santos was hit in the abdomen, struggled with people in the home and police officers, and later died at Pinnacle Health Community General Osteopathic Hospital.
Body found among home with hoarding
PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh man has been found dead in a home police say was filled with trash and other debris in a hoarding situation.
The Allegheny County medical examiner says the man found Monday evening was 46-year-old Larry Killian Jr.
Police say the man’s mother, who also lives in the home, called them for help.
First responders had to cut the front door in half to enter the home and dig a pathway to the body because the home was so filled.
An autopsy was set for Tuesday. Investigators say it’s not clear how long the man had been dead.
Man sentenced in slaying of teen
PITTSBURGH — A man sentenced to prison in the shooting death of a Pennsylvania teenager during a gun sale has apologized to the family but says he’s “not the devil.”
Twenty-year-old Deonte Howell pleaded guilty in May to third-degree murder in the March 2015 shooting death of 16-year-old Justin Clark of Penn Hills.
Allegheny County prosecutors said he and 21-year-old Darnell Burks planned to rob the teen before Burks shot him in a Monroeville parking lot.
Burks is serving a 14- to 28-year term.
Howell told the teenager’s mother Tuesday that he hadn’t known what was going to happen.
He said “I’m not evil. I’m not the devil. I don’t possess that energy.”
Clark’s mother asked him why he didn’t call 911. She asked “How did you continue to sleep or eat?”
Man saves deer that fell into pool
ROSS — A Pennsylvania man saved a young deer from a swimming pool at a housing development in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
Fifty-five-year-old Kevin Brady says his reaction to save the deer on Aug. 20 was just instinct.
A video of the rescue was posted on YouTube, then shared to Facebook and Twitter by Michelle Wright, a news anchor on WTAE-TV. She’s a friend of Brady’s.
The deer fell into a pool at the Mews of Town North housing development in Ross Township.
The fawn was carried to the pool’s edge by Brady, and a township officer helped other men lift it out of the pool. The rescuers tied beach towels together to help lasso the deer.
Trial begins for decades-old killing
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Testimony is underway in a New York courtroom in the murder trial of a man charged with running over his wife with a tractor-trailer in a Pennsylvania parking lot 17 years ago.
The January 2000 death of 34-year-old Elizabeth Welsh Callahan at a truck stop in Sayre was initially ruled an accident by Pennsylvania authorities. But prosecutors in Otsego County, New York, reopened the case last year and charged 52-year-old former trucker Casey Callahan with second-degree murder.
The case is being prosecuted in New York because authorities believe Callahan had intended to kill his wife while still in Otsego County.
Testimony began Monday in county court and is continuing Tuesday.
Callahan is serving a 12-year sentence in a New York prison for conviction on a sexual abuse charge.
Child rapist guilty of porn recordings
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania man already serving life in state prison for raping a girl from the time she was nearly 2 until 11 years old has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges he chronicled the abuse with videos he shared online.
Forty-eight-year-old Eric Stull will be sentenced Jan. 8 by the federal judge in Pittsburgh who accepted his guilty plea Tuesday to possessing and sharing the pornographic videos and other materials online.
Stull pleaded guilty in Greene County last October to raping the girl starting in 2006 until online videos of the attacks were discovered by state police last year.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Morgan Township man told the county judge last year that he “destroyed” the girl’s innocence, saying, “You’ve seen the videos. I was wrong.”
Autopsy planned for 2-year-old boy
MASURY, Ohio — Authorities say an autopsy is planned for a 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy who died after being pulled unresponsive from a pool in Ohio.
Sharon, Pennsylvania, police chief Gerry Smith says the boy’s name isn’t being released but more information should be available Tuesday. The boy died Sunday night at Sharon Regional Hospital.
Smith tells The Vindicator detectives are retracing the steps of the boy and his 5-year-old brother from the time they were reported missing Sunday afternoon.
The boys’ home is in Sharon one block across the Ohio line from the village of Masury.
Great Lakes Asian carp meetings set
MUSKEGON, Mich. — Federal officials are hosting three public meetings this week to get feedback on a plan to prevent Asian carp from slipping into the Great Lakes and threatening native fish species.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposal in August to block the invasive fish at a lock-and-dam complex in Joliet, Illinois, a choke point between the carp-infested Illinois River and Lake Michigan.
The $275 million dollar plan includes measures such as installing underwater sound equipment and electric barriers. The first hearing was held Monday in Chicago. The meetings are being broadcast live on the Army corps’ Rock Island District Facebook page.