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POSTED June 7, 2012 9:33 p.m.

Sleepwalking used as defense in attempted robbery

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man accused of attempting to rob a woman at knifepoint in an elevator at the Mohegan Sun casino says he was sleepwalking at the time.

Attorney Nicholas D'Amato told a judge Wednesday that he plans to use a medical defense for Winston Riley based on that claim, the Norwich Bulletin reported in Thursday's editions.

The Bridgeport man was arrested on March 18 after the woman told police he had flashed a large knife and tried to grab her purse while the two were alone in a parking garage elevator, police said.

Riley said he was awakened by the woman when she ran away in confusion and fright, D'Amato said.

The lawyer said he's confirmed with Riley's family that the 27-year-old has had a problem with sleepwalking since he was a child. The lawyer said he's in the early stages of gathering medical records in his attempt to convince prosecutors they should take the claim seriously.

TEXAS INMATE LOSES CIVIL RIGHTS 'VAMPIRE' SUIT: HOUSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected as frivolous a civil rights lawsuit from a Texas prisoner who argued he was being barred from practicing religious beliefs related to vampires.

Inmate Courtney Royal two years ago sued about a dozen Texas prison administrators and officials at the Hughes Unit where he's serving a life sentence for numerous offenses, including aggravated assault, robbery and escape.

Royal's nine-page single-space typewritten lawsuit, rejected Thursday by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said he wanted to practice "West African spiritualism and 18th Century Catholicism" marked by prayer to Africans reincarnated by blood. He argued it was no different from "unproven" Christian beliefs.

In the filing, Royal described himself as "Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest."

THIEF STEALS US FLAG FROM MAN IN CHICKEN SUIT: MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Manchester, Conn., police are investigating the theft of an American flag from a man in a chicken suit.

Eric Didio was waving the flag and dancing outside a newly renovated Boston Market restaurant Wednesday as part of his job, when a man jumped from a car, grabbed the flag and took off.

The newspaper reports that the dispatcher had a hard time relaying the call to officers, breaking into laughter while trying to say "chicken suit."

Nathan Atwood, the restaurant's general manager, says he stood beside the 23-year-old Didio for the rest of his shift to provide security.

MOM OF BOY IN BUCKLED-UP GAS CAN PHOTO FIRES BACK: AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A mother of a toddler who was photographed in a car not buckled up, with a gasoline can in the car seat next to him, says the photo is a big misunderstanding.

The Colorado Department of Transportation posted the photo on Facebook this week. Aurora police Lt. Chuck DeShazer has said the photo wasn't staged.

DeShazer says an officer snapped the photo last week after stopping the vehicle for making an improper turn. The officer found that the toddler, a 14-year-old passenger, and the driver weren't properly restrained. Driver Sandra Ramirez was ticketed.

Ramirez told KUSA-TV in Denver on Wednesday her son was in the car seat but wiggled out while she spoke to the officer, and the teen then put the gas can in the car seat.

 

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