- - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CONNECTICUT

Funeral operator gets 8 months

HARTFORD | A Connecticut funeral home director was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in prison for stealing from people, including his dead clients whose homes were raided for money and other valuables.

Kevin Riley, who ran a funeral home in the small Connecticut town of Coventry, also was ordered to give up his professional licenses and scolded for preying on vulnerable people.

“You, Mr. Riley, yourself have to agree you lost your way. You took advantage of that position of trust,” Hartford Superior Court Judge David Gold said.

Authorities say Riley and a co-conspirator, Yolanda Faulkner, stole money, jewelry and paintings from the homes of dead people who had no relatives, after Riley had himself appointed administrator of their estates. Prosecutors say the two sold some of the goods at an auction house where Faulkner was the bookkeeper.

In a statement read to the court by his attorney, the 54-year-old Riley accepted responsibility for his actions.

“The mistakes that I made were to support my wife and my children,” he said.

Riley was charged after an investigation into his two businesses, the Coventry Funeral Home and Hartford Trade Services of East Hartford, and pleaded guilty in August to several larceny charges. Prosecutors initially sought a prison term of seven years, but his sentence was capped at two years by a plea agreement.

FLORIDA

Piano found on Miami sandbar

MIAMI | A grand piano recently showed up on a sandbar in Miami’s Biscayne Bay, about 200 yards from condominiums on the shore.

The piano, which weighs at least 650 pounds, was placed at the highest spot along the sandbar so it doesn’t get underwater during high tide.

While officials aren’t sure how it got there, they know it won’t be going anywhere unless it becomes a hazard to wildlife or boaters.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino says the agency is not responsible for moving such items. And, he adds, unless it becomes a navigational hazard, the U.S. Coast Guard won’t get involved.

For now, the piano has become a fancy roost for seagulls.

ILLINOIS

Car salesman fired for tie

OAK LAWN | A car salesman in suburban Chicago has been fired for refusing to remove a Green Bay Packers tie that he wore to work the day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears to advance to the Super Bowl.

John Stone says he wore the Packers tie to work Monday at Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn to honor his late grandmother, who was a big Green Bay fan.

The sentimental gesture did not impress his boss, Jerry Roberts.

Mr. Roberts says the dealership has done promotions involving the Bears and he was afraid the tie could alienate the team’s fans and make it harder to sell cars.

Mr. Roberts adds that Mr. Stone was offered five chances to take off the tie but he refused.

NEBRASKA

State considers execution

LINCOLN | If inmate Carey Dean Moore is put to death, it will be Nebraska’s first execution since 1997 and its first lethal injection.

The office of Attorney General Jon Bruning filed a motion with the Nebraska Supreme Court on Monday, requesting that a date be set. Moore was sentenced to death for the 1979 murders of two Omaha cabbies.

The state’s last execution occurred in 1997, when Robert Williams was electrocuted for killing three women.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the electric chair amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Since then, lawmakers approved lethal injection as the state’s sole method.

On Friday, the state received the third drug needed to perform a lethal injection. A worldwide shortage of the drug, sodium thiopental, has made it hard to acquire.

VIRGINIA

Wal-Mart battle heads to court

ORANGE | The dispute over a Wal-Mart near a Virginia Civil War site is shifting to a courtroom as opponents attempt to block a Supercenter near the Wilderness Battlefield.

Orange County Circuit Judge Daniel R. Bouton is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on requests for summary judgments from attorneys in the case.

If the trial moves forward, a preservation group and local residents who oppose the store will square off against the world’s largest retailer and the Orange County officials who approved the Supercenter.

Opponents claim the store will be built on what was a “nerve center” for the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.

County officials say the store would be built in an area already zoned commercially and outside the limits of the protected battlefield.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide