Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2001

Nation Briefs

April 26, 2001

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SAN FRANCISCO
Court rejects O.J.'s bid to reverse ruling

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected O.J. Simpson's bid to overturn the $33.5 million civil court judgment against him for the deaths of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. The former football star was acquitted of criminal charges in the case in 1995. He was then sued for wrongful death by the victims' survivors, found liable for the killings and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.

Simpson, who has said he can't afford to pay the sum, had asked the Supreme Court to reverse the judgment, saying the civil case was "built on top of a failed prosecution, a prosecution which was suspect for corruption, fraud, contamination, coercion and collusion." "There is no way you can tell me this was a fair trial," Simpson said Wednesday. "If you're right, you fight."

Indiana
Cancer patient arrested for beating his wife

A cancer patient is charged with beating his wife in her sleep with an 18-inch baseball bat after she told him she needed a break from taking care of him, authorities in Portage said.

Robert Lagerstrom, 57, was charged Tuesday with attempted murder and aggravated battery. His wife, Patricia, suffered bleeding to the brain and broken facial bones. She was in serious condition after undergoing surgery, police said.

Robert Lagerstrom's plan was to beat his wife unconscious, then use a gun to kill her and himself, police said. Patricia Lagerstrom, 37, woke up during the Saturday morning attack and began screaming. Her children restrained Robert Lagerstrom and called police.

Texas
Convicted murderer is 7th execution in 2001

A man convicted of killing a drug counselor in 1990 was executed by injection Wednesday. David Lee Goff, 32, insisted he was innocent of the death of 34-year-old Michael McGuire. At the time, Goff was on parole for the robbery and attempted murder of two other people.

Goff was the seventh person put to death this year in Texas, where a record 40 executions were carried out last year. The U.S. Supreme Court denied two appeals by Goff's attorneys Wednesday afternoon.

Kentucky
School chapel reopens despite lawsuit threat

Residents have reopened a high school chapel, raising the ire of civil liberties groups who say it blurs the constitutional separation of church and state.

The Cumberland High School chapel was closed earlier this month after the American Civil Liberties Union questioned its constitutionality. It reopened Monday under pressure from residents.

"Why don't the Christians have as much right as the ACLU does? We're people, too," said Judy Disney, whose husband Don conceived the chapel. The chapel, built in a janitorial closet, is called a "quiet room" by school officials and contains pews, a pulpit and an altar.


North Carolina
Custody awarded after 7-year abduction

Seven years after giving their infant daughter to another woman for temporary caretaking and subsequently accusing her of abducting the baby, a couple have regained custody and can take the child home to Florida, a judge ruled Wednesday.

"Happy, very happy," said Lazalia Urick, 24, about her feelings after a juvenile court hearing with her fiance, Ernest Barnett, 29. Urick and Barnett, both of Brooksville, Fla., are the natural parents of Crystal, who until last week lived outside Raleigh with Katherine Romero. She is charged with felony child abduction and is in jail on $1 million bond.

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