Continued from page 1

Hearn, 33, is slated to die Wednesday for the March 1998 fatal shooting of Frank Meziere, a 23-year-old suburban Dallas stockbroker who was abducted at gunpoint while he cleaned his car at a self-service car wash in Dallas. Meziere was driven to an industrial area and shot 10 times before his body was dumped on the side of a road.

Hearn will be the sixth Texas prisoner executed this year, but the first since the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced its switch to single-drug lethal injections amid a drug shortage that has left states scrambling for acceptable alternatives.

Texas said last week it will now use a single dose of pentobarbital, instead of using the sedative in combination with two other drugs. Ohio became the first state a year ago to use a single drug, and several other states have since made the switch. Courts have upheld the practice, despite death penalty opponents’ claims that prisoners take longer to die with one drug.


Ex-Navy SEAL gets nearly 18 years in weapons case

LAS VEGAS — A former U.S. Navy SEAL was sentenced Tuesday to 171/2 years in federal prison for heading a scheme to sell machine guns, explosives and military hardware from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nicholas Bickle, 34, made a brief plea for leniency before U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Las Vegas imposed the sentence.

“I just hope and pray the court affords me an opportunity to start over and be a productive member of society,” he said.

The judge noted that Bickle wore his Navy uniform during trial, but he said he considered it a bid to impress the jury.

“The court recognizes and commends Mr. Bickle for his service to our country,” Judge Hunt said before adding that Bickle’s time in the military didn’t justify committing crimes.

Bickle, convicted in Las Vegas in October of 13 federal conspiracy and arms-trafficking charges, appeared Tuesday in mustard yellow jail garb with the word “detainee” on his back and shackles on his ankles.

He surrendered to federal authorities in December after returning home to San Diego and receiving an “other than honorable” military discharge that stripped him of retirement benefits, health care and military honors including the Bronze Star. Officials say he served eight years in the Navy, including two deployments to Iraq.


Man sues hospital over surgical scars

SIOUX FALLS — A lawyer for an American Indian man who claims the letters KKK were carved into his stomach during surgery has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the South Dakota hospital where the operation was done, the hospital’s board of directors and others.

Story Continues →