- - Sunday, December 11, 2011

OHIO

Craigslist killings suspect expects short prison term

CLEVELAND — An Ohio 16-year-old charged with murder in a deadly Craigslist robbery scheme says in a letter to his father that he believes God will keep him from a long incarceration.

“There’s a chance I might be out by the time I’m 42,” Brogan Rafferty wrote. “I know there is no way in hell that any kind of God would do that to me.”

The handwritten letter expressing his hopes and fears was sent last month. Mr. Rafferty’s father gave a copy to the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland.

Mr. Rafferty has been charged with aggravated murder and complicity to aggravated murder and is expected to be transferred to adult court after a hearing next week.

Authorities have linked at least two deaths to a bogus help-wanted ad posted to the online Craigslist site to lure victims to rural Ohio. David Pauley, 51, of Virginia was killed Oct. 23, and the body of Timothy Kern, 48, of Massillon was found near an Akron shopping mall Nov. 25. Both had been shot in the head.

MISSOURI

Ex-deputy suspected in double slaying

JEFFERSON CITY — A former rural Missouri sheriff’s deputy is suspected in the killing of his ex-wife and her new boyfriend before leading officers on a high-speed chase that ended with a shootout at an upscale hotel hosting a huge Christmas party, authorities said Sunday.

None of the hotel’s guests, which included members of a youth hockey team and hundreds of partying doctors, nurses and their families, was injured in the Saturday night shootout just two blocks from the Missouri Capitol.

The night’s drama began about 70 miles to the southeast in the rural town of Salem, where authorities say former Dent County Sheriff’s Deputy Marvin Rice, 44, went to the home of his ex-wife and her current boyfriend, demanding custody of his 2-year-old son and pulling out a handgun during an argument.

Annette Durham, 32, and Steven Strotkamp, 39, were fatally shot. Mr. Rice fled with the boy while Ms. Durham’s 6-year-old daughter — who heard the gunshots from a bedroom — ran to a neighbor, who called authorities, the sheriff’s office said.

Mr. Rice was in fair condition Sunday at a Columbia hospital. No charges had yet been filed Sunday.

CALIFORNIA

Police arrest 55 in Occupy San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Police have arrested dozens of people during a raid of an Occupy San Francisco encampment outside the Federal Reserve building early Sunday.

Officer Albie Esparza says that around 4 a.m. officers arrested about 55 people for illegal lodging. No officers or demonstrators were injured, but Officer Esparza says some officers were spit on and one officer was pushed by demonstrators during the arrests.

Officer Esparza says that before police moved in on the encampment demonstrators had been warned on an hourly basis over a 24-period that they were subject to arrest.

The arrests Sunday come after at least 85 people were arrested Wednesday when police cleared a separate Occupy encampment in nearby Justin Herman Plaza.

ALABAMA

Governor, lawmakers to work on immigration changes

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s governor said Friday he’s working to clarify and simplify Alabama’s tough immigration law, which critics say has damaged the state’s international reputation and caused hardships for legal residents.

Republican Robert Bentley said they want to eliminate unnecessary burdens on legal residents and businesses and protect faith-based services while ensuring that everyone working in Alabama is legal.

“We recognize that changes are needed to ensure that Alabama has not only the nation’s most effective law, but one that is fair and just, promotes economic growth, preserves jobs for those in Alabama legally, and can be enforced effectively and without prejudice,” the governor said.

The governor didn’t offer any specific changes they will consider, but the law’s opponents took his comments as an encouraging sign that they will go deeper than the “tweaks” he previously said were needed.

Aides to the governor and legislative leaders said details are being worked out. The governor’s communications director, Rebekah Mason, said nothing will change regarding the employment of illegal immigrants, including requiring businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check the legal status of new hires. “Anything beyond that is open for revision,” she said.

PENNSYLVANIA

Media-savvy cardinal dies at age 76

PHILADELPHIA — Cardinal John Foley, who for 25 years was the voice for American viewers of the Vatican’s Christmas Midnight Mass and who led an ancient Catholic order in the Holy Land, died Sunday. He was 76.

Cardinal Foley died at the Villa St. Joseph in suburban Darby, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said. The cause of death was not given.

In 1984, Cardinal Foley was appointed to lead the Pontifical Council of Social Communications, which spearheaded Vatican initiatives under the media-savvy Pope John Paul II to get out the Church’s message through the media.

In a world of prelates who were often ill at ease when speaking with journalists, or who used convoluted phrases to express a concept, Cardinal Foley’s down-to-earth, straightforward manner of engaging with the public was a refreshing departure.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi described Cardinal Foley as being a man “truly of great spiritual level.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports