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POSTED February 5, 2015 8:48 p.m.

WOMAN BATTLES NAVAJO NATION OVER HUSBAND’S BODY: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman who was ordered to return her husband’s body to the country’s largest American Indian reservation for burial said she’s not ready to stop fighting to have his remains laid to rest at a California veterans cemetery.

A Navajo Nation judge cited traditional laws in a Jan. 23 ruling that mandates DeeRoy “Spence” Spencer’s body be returned to the reservation spanning parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The order was sought by other family members of Spencer after they learned that his wife, Jean LaMarr, planned to cremate him, according to court documents.

Under the ruling, Spencer’s body cannot be cremated as it runs contrary to the Navajo way of life.

The court said it refused to interfere with a burial process in place by Spencer’s family. Death is a subject largely avoided by traditional Navajos, and the court said that disputes over a lifeless body violate the tribe’s natural laws and threaten to bring harm to his family.

LaMarr wants to bury him in a military cemetery in Susanville, California, about 85 miles west of Reno, Nevada, with a full honor guard. The Vietnam veteran died last month after an extended stay in New Mexico where he sought traditional healing, LaMarr said. He was 68.

A New Mexico District Court ruled Tuesday that the Navajo Nation had jurisdiction over the case and ordered LaMarr to pay to have Spencer’s non-cremated body shipped to a mortuary in Shiprock, New Mexico, within 72 hours. LaMarr said her lawyer told her she could be fined up to $1,000 a day if she didn’t comply.

Rulings in Navajo Nation district courts must be appealed to the tribe’s Supreme Court. 

Navajo Nation Judge Geraldine Benally ruled that the funeral arrangements made by Spencer’s family must move forward as planned this week at the Fort Defiance Veteran’s Cemetery in northeastern Arizona, where he had arranged for a plot next to his brother.


‘DOG WHISPERER’ CESAR MILLAN SUED IN PIT BULL ATTACK: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman has sued Cesar Millan, star of TV’s “The Dog Whisperer,” claiming she was attacked by a vicious pit bull that was released too soon from Millan’s animal training center in California.

The complaint filed by Florida resident Alison Bitney says she suffered disfiguring wounds and muscle lacerations. She is seeking punitive damages.

The suit says the attack last September occurred at a home near Los Angeles, just six days after the pit bull had been released by Millan’s Dog Psychology Center.

Jen Woodard, the center’s director, says Millan never had contact with the dog.

She says the dog’s owner had removed the pit bull “against the strong advice and objection of his trainer.”


EX-DENTIST IS SUSPECTED AS ‘ROLLED-SLEEVES’ BANK ROBBER: SANTA ANA  (AP) — The FBI says a former Orange County dentist is suspected of being the “rolled-sleeves bandit” responsible for stealing more than $21,000 from seven California banks.

Damian Newhart was arrested last week after someone recognized him from security video distributed to local media.

Newhart is being held at a Los Angeles County jail with bail set at $50,000. It’s not immediately known if he has a lawyer.

The newspaper says the bandit in the seven robberies got his nickname because he wore button-down shirts with the sleeves rolled up.

State officials revoked Newhart’s dental license last year after they determined that he wrote fraudulent prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs for his own use.


EX-LAWMAKER YEE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO NEW CHARGES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Former California state Sen. Leland Yee has pleaded not guilty to an expanded indictment in his corruption case that included two new charges of money-laundering.

Yee entered his plea on Thursday. The San Francisco Democrat was first charged in April of accepting $62,000 in bribes from FBI agents posing as contributors.

A new indictment in July accused Yee and Keith Jackson, who acted as Yee’s consultant and fundraiser, of collecting illicit contributions.

The latest federal grand jury indictment, issued Jan. 29, added allegations that Yee and Jackson had tried to conceal the source of bribes Yee allegedly received for arranging a meeting between a donor and another lawmaker and for smuggling guns from the Philippines.

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