Continued from page 1

Ms. Johnston died in her home in 2006 when three members of a police drug squad kicked in the door, acting on an informant’s claim that he had bought narcotics there. She took a shot at them and was gunned down. No drugs were found, and officers planted drugs that had been recovered from a different raid.

An FBI investigation led five officers to plead guilty for their roles in the shooting, while six others were reprimanded for not following department policy.

MASSACHUSETTS

Jail probe sought after suspect’s suicide

BOSTON | A Boston city councilor called Monday for an independent investigation of jailhouse procedures after the apparent suicide of a former medical student awaiting trial in the shooting death of a masseuse he met through Craigslist.

City Councilor Stephen Murphy said Philip Markoff, 24, should not have been able to kill himself while in custody of the Suffolk County sheriff. He was discovered dead, alone in his cell, on Sunday morning.

The Boston Herald, quoting anonymous sources, said Mr. Markoff used a pen to cut arteries and covered his head with a plastic bag. The newspaper also reported that he had not been checked all night.

“Regardless of my personal feelings about Philip Markoff, he technically was an inmate awaiting trial, and he was in the care and custody of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. He had shown a penchant for doing harm to himself before. You would have thought he would have been under the closest of attention,” said Mr. Murphy, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee.

MISSOURI

Judge overturns ban on funeral protests

JEFFERSON CITY | The state’s ban on protests at funerals is unconstitutional, a federal judge said.

Monday’s ruling affects restrictions targeting a Kansas church whose members have picketed outside service members’ funerals. The church contends the deaths are God’s punishment for U.S. toleration of homosexuality.

Missouri’s law bars protests near any funeral, procession or memorial service from an hour before until an hour after the service. A complementary law specifically states that protesters must stay back at least 300 feet.

But Judge Fernando Gaitan said the ban infringes on free-speech rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year refused to step into Missouri’s appeal of a court order barring it from enforcing the ban while a lawsuit against it was ongoing.

Story Continues →