- - Saturday, December 12, 2009

Woman, 98, indicted in roommate’s death

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A 98-year-old woman was indicted Friday on a second-degree murder charge that alleges she strangled her 100-year-old roommate in a nursing home.

Laura Lundquist was sent to a state mental hospital for a competency evaluation before she is arraigned on the murder charge. Her defense attorney, Carl Levin, said Ms. Lundquist has a “long-standing diagnosis of dementia, as well as issues of cognitive impairment.”

The body of Elizabeth Barrow, with a plastic bag tied around her head, was found in her bed at the Brandon Woods nursing home in Dartmouth on Sept. 24. Police initially speculated it was a suicide, but a medical examiner ruled it a homicide after an autopsy indicated strangulation.

Hostage-taker back on probation

DOVER, N.H. — A man who took six people hostage at one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s New Hampshire campaign offices two years ago is getting another chance at probation.

Leeland Eisenberg was released from prison in late November. He was jailed again a few days later, accused of violating the terms of his probation by not plugging in his electronic monitoring bracelet.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports that at a hearing Friday, a Strafford County Superior Court judge ordered Eisenberg be released again.

It was not clear when he would be released. Probation officials said they need to reschedule his mental health appointments and ensure he’s on his medication schedule.

State constitution: No God, no seat

RALEIGH, N.C. — An avowed atheist was just sworn in as a city councilman in North Carolina, but political opponents are challenging his appointment, using a little-known clause in the state constitution.

Cecil Bothwell took the oath Monday to serve as a member of the Asheville City Council. But as an atheist, he didn’t put his hand on the Bible and he didn’t swear to God.

Local political detractors said that means Mr. Bothwell can’t legally serve in North Carolina. In an article from 1868, the state constitution disqualifies anyone who denies a belief in “Almighty God” from serving in public office.

Mr. Bothwell’s opponents are threatening litigation. But courts have repeatedly ruled that provisions such as North Carolina’s are unenforceable because they conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

Six suspended in patient probe

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