- - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DETROIT — The latest search for former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa has come up empty.

Tests on soil samples gathered last week from a backyard in suburban Detroit showed no traces that Hoffa, or anyone else, was buried there, Roseville police announced Tuesday.

“Our department just received the soil sample report from Michigan State University, after a battery of tests; the samples submitted for examination showed no signs of human decomposition,” the police statement read. “As a result of these tests the Roseville Police Department will be concluding their investigation into the possible interment of a human body upon the property.”


Girls in short dresses barred from school dance

TOOELE — A Utah public high school principal has apologized to dozens of teens who were turned away from their homecoming dance because their dresses were deemed too short, in what parents and students called a “homecoming spirit massacre.”

Stansbury High Principal Kendall Topham held four assemblies Monday to tell students that the school’s dress code policy was too vague to be properly enforced and vowing to hold a free dance to make up for Saturday’s dress debacle.

As many as half of those who arrived at the dance did not enter after their dates and friends were turned away.

The school’s handbook states that dress for formal events should be “at or near knee length,” leaving room for interpretation.


Christian group challenges ban on gay teen therapy

SAN FRANCISCO — A Christian legal group has filed a lawsuit to overturn a first-of-its-kind California law that prohibits licensed mental health professionals from practicing therapies aimed at making gay teenagers straight.

The Sacramento Pacific Legal Institute challenged the legislation signed Saturday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The lawsuit was filed late Monday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

The institute filed the lawsuit on behalf of a psychiatrist and a marriage and family therapist who is also a church pastor in San Diego. It also names as a plaintiff Aaron Bitzer, a Culver City man who says he has benefited from the “reparative” therapy.

The lawsuit claims the law, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, violates First Amendment and equal protection rights.

Shooting suspect’s case delayed for examination

OAKLAND — The murder case of a man accused of killing seven at a small California Christian College was suspended Monday after the suspect’s attorney questioned his mental competency to stand trial.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta on Monday ordered that two psychiatrists examine suspect One Goh after assistant public defender David Klaus told her during a brief hearing that Mr. Goh refuses to speak to him and that a mental evaluation is needed to determine whether his client is fit to stand trial.

Under California law, Mr. Klaus’ request immediately placed the case on hold as Judge Panetta said the doctors will report their findings during a Nov. 19 hearing.

Mr. Goh is charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the April 2 attack at Oikos University in Oakland.

He has pleaded not guilty to killing the six students and receptionist that became America’s deadliest school shooting rampage since the 2007 attack at Virginia Tech.


Deer poacher convicted of killing game warden

GETTYSBURG — A deer poacher was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday for the slaying of a Pennsylvania game warden who pulled him over.

The jury deliberated for about a half-hour before delivering the verdict against Christopher Johnson of Fairfield.

Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner intends to seek the death penalty.

Defense attorneys acknowledged that Johnson fatally shot Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove in November 2010, but they had argued for third-degree murder, saying Johnson was too drunk to form the intent to kill.

Investigators said Johnson and a friend had poached a deer at night when the game warden pulled them over on a dark stretch of rural road near Gettysburg. Johnson was not allowed to have gun because he was a convicted felon.


Teacher scolded for making children write to inmate

NEW YORK — A teacher has received a warning letter from the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board for making her fifth-graders write Christmas cards to a friend serving time in prison.

The cards contained the children’s names and, in some cases, addresses. They were intercepted by a corrections officer.

According to The New York Times, Melissa Dean escaped harsher punishment because she resigned in June.

Ms. Dean taught at Public School 143 in Queens. In December, she told her class to write the cards to people who were lonely.

Instead, she sent the cards to a friend, John Coccarelli, serving time for illegal weapons possession. Prosecutors said he also was charged with possessing child pornography but it was not brought to trial because he pleaded guilty to a charge calling for a longer sentence.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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