- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

FLORIDA

First American in space honored with stamp

CAPE CANAVERAL | The first American in space, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, finally has his own stamp.

The Postal Service dedicated a stamp Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of Shepard’s suborbital flight, Freedom 7. The ceremony took place at Kennedy Space Center on the eve of the anniversary.

Shepard’s three daughters were there, as was Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. Mr. Carpenter told the crowd it’s fitting that a Forever stamp was chosen to honor Shepard.

Mr. Carpenter said Shepard didn’t like it that Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat him into space by less than a month, but he said the success of Shepard’s flight on May 5, 1961, helped lead America to the moon.

Shepard went on to command Apollo 14. He died in 1998.

LOUISIANA

New trial ordered for ex-cop in cover-up

NEW ORLEANS | A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a new trial for a former New Orleans police officer convicted of writing a false report on a deadly police shooting after Hurricane Katrina, saying new evidence “casts grave doubt” on his guilt.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ruled that Travis McCabe deserves a second trial because the newly discovered evidence - a different copy of the report McCabe is accused of doctoring - surfaced after his December 2010 convictions. Judge Africk, who threw out those convictions Wednesday, said he thinks the jury probably would have acquitted McCabe if it had been presented with the newly discovered narrative report. The judge didn’t immediately set a new trial date.

MASSACHUSETTS

Two in bullying case get probation

NORTHAMPTON | Two teens accused of harassing a 15-year-old classmate who later hanged herself were sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation, the first of five anticipated plea deals in a case that drew worldwide attention to school bullying.

Phoebe Prince’s crying mother approved the deals finalized Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court, where Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narey, both 18, were sentenced for their roles in the bullying that preceded Phoebe’s suicide in January 2010.

Three other former South Hadley High School students are expected to accept similar plea arrangements Thursday in a nearby juvenile courthouse, a few miles from their small hometown about 100 miles west of Boston.

Prosecutors said Phoebe’s family agreed to the plea deals to end the stress of the drawn-out court proceedings and, more important, because they required the teens to admit that their threats, crude insults and slurs about Phoebe’s Irish ethnicity were criminal acts.

MINNESOTA

Man who helped coax 2 to suicide gets jail

FARIBAULT | A former nurse who helped persuade two people he met online to kill themselves was sentenced Wednesday to nearly a year in jail, a punishment tailored to force him to return to jail each year for a decade to spend the anniversaries of his victims’ deaths behind bars.

William Melchert-Dinkel was convicted of two counts of aiding suicide under a rarely used Minnesota law. Prosecutors said he posed online as a suicidal nurse and encouraged a Canadian woman and a British man to commit suicide.

Judge Thomas M. Neuville’s sentence was far less than the maximum 15 years Melchert-Dinkel could have gotten on each count. Judge Neuville sentenced Melchert-Dinkel to 15 years of probation, which includes the jail time. If Melchert-Dinkel violates any terms of his probation, he’ll be forced to serve a 6 1/2-year prison sentence.

NEW MEXICO

Homeless man uses Dumpster as address

ALBUQUERQUE | Albuquerque authorities arrested a homeless man for failing to notify them that he had moved out of the Dumpster he listed as his address.

KOB-TV reported that Charles Mader is a convicted sex offender and is required to give the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department a physical address.

Detectives say Mader violated his sex-offender registration requirement after moving out of the trash bin and failing to report the move within 10 days.

On Monday, deputies found Mader at a shelter for the homeless and arrested him. Mader told KOB he wasn’t familiar with some of the registration rules. Bernalillo County authorities say they have repeatedly told Mader what the rules are.

Sheriff’s officials say Mader could face up to three years in jail for failing to register for a third time.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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