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California death row inmate who mutilated 5-month-old girl dies of natural causes
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uSAN QUENTIN  (AP) — Authorities say a man who was sent to California’s death row for killing and mutilating a 5-month-old girl has died of natural causes.

State corrections officials say 56-year-old Brett Pensinger died Thursday night at a hospital. The specific cause of his death is pending.

Pensinger was sentenced to San Quentin’s death row in 1982 for killing a 5-month-old San Bernardino County girl. Prosecutors say Pensinger, who was then 19, kidnapped Michelle Melander and her brother, Michael, after drinking with their parents. The infant was killed. Her brother was released unharmed.

Another death row inmate died last month after being found unresponsive in his cell. Thirty-five-year-old Miguel Magallon was sentenced for killing a Los Angeles County public safety officer during a 2004 robbery.

California now has 735 prisoners on death row.

uDRIVERS GROUP PLANS WORK STOPPAGE AHEAD OF UBER IPO: NEW YORK (AP) — An organization representing for-hire drivers in New York City says its members will go on a two-hour strike against Uber and Lyft ahead of Uber’s planned initial public stock offering.

The New York City Taxi Workers Alliance says its members voted not to drive for Uber or Lyft between 7 and 9 a.m. Wednesday.

San Francisco-based Uber is aiming to raise $9 billion in its initial public offering Thursday.

Drivers in other U.S. cities are planning a work stoppage Wednesday to demand a minimum wage.

App-based drivers in New York City are already legally entitled to a minimum wage of about $17 an hour after expenses. The Taxi Workers Alliance says its demands include greater job security.

An Uber spokesman declined to comment. A Lyft spokeswoman said Lyft drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years.

uYOUTUBE STAR GETS 10-YEAR SENTENCE IN CHILD PORN CASE: CHICAGO (AP) — A former YouTube star with a large teenage following was sentenced in Chicago federal court to 10 years in prison for coercing six girls to send him sexually explicit videos.

Prosecutors sought an 11-year prison sentence for Austin Jones on Friday. The defense wanted the minimum available five years.

Jones of Bloomingdale, Illinois pleaded guilty in February to child pornography.

Prosecutors said the 26-year-old singer admitted to reaching out to 30 other girls online before his arrest on child pornography charges in 2017. In addition to giving the girls suggestions for poses and underwear choices, Jones frequently gave them “lines” to recite.

In a court filing last week, prosecutors said Jones “preyed on their youth, their vulnerabilities and most glaringly, their adoration of him.” A defense filing contended Jones’ life was “marred with abuse, pain, loss and death.” It asserted he suffered sexual abuse as a child.

Some of Jones’ music videos garnered millions of views on YouTube, which he parlayed into tours.

uPOLICE: LINCOLN MAN DROPS GUN, SHOOTS SELF IN GENITALS: LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Police say a 32-year-old Nebraska man is recovering after dropping his gun on a sidewalk, causing it to fire and shoot him in the genitals.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that police believe the man was walking Wednesday night in north Lincoln when a .22-caliber gun dropped out of his pocket, hit the ground and fired.

Police say the man gave conflicting accounts of how the shooting occurred and was cited on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person.

Police say the man’s injuries are not life-threatening.

uWISCONSIN WOMAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING 3 INFANTS IN 1980S: MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin woman who pleaded guilty to killing her newborn son and two infants she babysat in the 1980s has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Sixty-two-year-old Nancy Moronez was sentenced Friday in Milwaukee to three consecutive 10-year prison terms. Moronez has a chance to be paroled because sentencing laws from the 1980s apply in the case.

Prosecutors say Moronez admitted to drowning her 18-day-old son, Justin Brunka, in 1980, and suffocating both 6-month-old Brad Steege in 1984 and 3-month-old Katie Kozeniecki the following year. All three deaths were initially attributed to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, and the cases were closed.

In 2015, Moronez’s adult daughter, Ami Brunka, came forward and told police that her mother had confessed to killing Justin and the case was reopened.

uPOLICE: WVA WOMAN KILLED BY TROOPERS WAS ARMED WITH HAMMER: WELCH, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia State Police say a woman who was fatally shot by troopers was armed with a claw hammer and lunged at an officer in a threatening manner.

News outlets report police identified her Friday as 49-year-old Shawna Widemann of Welch.

Police responded Sunday night to a domestic violence center in Welch after receiving a call about a person armed with a claw hammer banging on the door. Police said in a news release they found Widemann brandishing a claw hammer and that she ignored commands to drop the weapon. The release said she lunged at a trooper before both of the officers fired their weapons. S 


uVIDEO SHOWS NEWBORN BABY BEING DROPPED AT ARIZONA HOSPITAL: CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona couple is accusing a hospital of negligence after their newborn daughter was dropped after delivery.

Monique and Derrick Rodgers, who live in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, told TV stations they posted video from the Feb. 14 incident on Facebook this week out of frustration.

The 12-second clip shows their premature daughter slipping out of a worker’s hands, falling less than a foot and landing on a table. As of Friday, it had garnered more than a million views.

The couple says the hospital has not apologized and they want to know if the baby’s fall is the cause of a small head injury revealed in an ultrasound.