- - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CALIFORNIA

Transit agency chief defends cell shutoff

SAN FRANCISCO — The head of the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency is defending the system’s move to cut wireless service to thwart a planned protest last week. But he says the tactic likely won’t be used again.

BART board president Bob Franklin says cellphone service was left on during a second demonstration Monday night because the tactic was unlikely to prevent protesters from gathering at San Francisco’s Civic Center station.

Four days earlier, the agency turned off the service in its stations after protest organizers said they would issue last-minute instructions through social media and text messages. The demonstration had been planned in response to a fatal BART police shooting.

Mr. Franklin says BART lawyers had signed off on the plan, but says he expects the agency will be sued.

LOUISIANA

Man accused of cutting off son’s head gets lawyer

NEW ORLEANS — A man accused of decapitating his disabled 7-year-old son has been assigned a lawyer experienced in death-penalty cases.

Kerry Cuccia says his appointment Tuesday doesn’t mean prosecutors will seek the death penalty for 30-year-old Jeremiah Lee Wright.

He says the Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana tries to get involved whenever anyone is booked with first-degree murder, which can bring a death sentence.

Police say Mr. Wright confessed to killing Jori Lirette, who had many medical problems and very limited speech.

Uniformed Lafourche Parish deputies held hands with mother Jesslyn Lirette as she walked into the parish courthouse Tuesday.

Mr. Wright was escorted by two male deputies.

Police officials said Monday that motive in the slaying was unclear.

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