ZIMMERMAN JURORS TO BE SEQUESTERED UP TO A MONTH: SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The six jurors and four alternates eventually picked to hear the second-degree murder case of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman will be sequestered for the two to four weeks the trial will last, the judge presiding over the case said for the first time Thursday.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson told a potential juror on the fourth day of selection that all panelists will be kept isolated
During the first four days of jury selection, attorneys have asked potential jurors about the hardships they would face if they were kept away from their families during the trial. Defense attorney Don West explained to one candidate that if picked she would have limited contact with her family, would be monitored by court security outside the courtroom and would have to live in a hotel for the duration.
"You would not be able to participate in day-to-day routine activities," West said. "You will be limited in contact with the outside world."
LAWSUIT: MAN ALLOWED TO CURSE ON NY TICKET PAYMENT: LIBERTY, N.Y. (AP) — A 22-year-old Connecticut man who wrote obscenities and "Tyranny" on his speeding ticket payment claims in a federal lawsuit that his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested.
William Barboza is suing two police officers in the Catskill-area village of Liberty over the arrest.
Barboza had replaced the word "Liberty" with "Tyranny" and added an obscenity-laced insult on the payment form accompanying an August 2012 ticket.
The lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union says the Fairfield County man was ordered to town court, where he was handcuffed and arrested for aggravated harassment. He posted $200 bail that day. The charge was dismissed in March.
The NYCLU argues that offensive language is protected speech.
PHILLY INSPECTOR KILLS SELF AFTER DEADLY COLLAPSE: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A veteran Philadelphia building inspector who apparently committed suicide had inspected the site of a deadly building collapse twice in February and an adjacent, related project in mid-May.
The June 5 collapse killed six people when a four-story building tumbled onto a small thrift shop. The demolition site consisted of three attached buildings.
City records show that Ronald Wagenhoffer inspected the site before work began on Feb. 12 and again on Feb. 25, after it got underway. He returned to the strip of attached storefronts on May 14 after a citizen complained about the demolition being conducted at the building next door to the one that collapsed. Wagenhoffer found the complaint unfounded.
Mayor Michael Nutter called the death Wednesday of 52-year-old Wagenhoffer "astounding" and "painful."
"We had six people who died in the building collapse and now we've had another person perish because of this particular tragedy," Nutter said in Chicago, where he was attending a conference Thursday. "This was just astounding to find this out."
CATERPILLAR DROPS BOY SCOUTS SUPPORT OVER GAY BAN: CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. is no longer giving money to the Boy Scouts because the organization discriminates against homosexuals, a spokeswoman for the Illinois-based heavy equipment manufacturer confirmed Thursday.
The company's move wasn't directly tied to the recent Boy Scouts decision to continue to bar homosexual adults from roles within the organization while allowing openly gay children to be scouts. Instead, spokeswoman Rachel Potts said, the company decided to cut off funding while reviewing a request for $25,000 that came in last year from a local group in Illinois.
That decision was never announced publicly or communicated to the Boy Scouts of America, only to the local group, she said. But she added that the Boy Scouts' policy that continues to bar homosexual adults from working in the organization is "discriminatory."
NJ MAN SETS HOUSE ON FIRE TRYING TO KILL BEDBUGS: WOODBURY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey house fire is being blamed on a homeowner's battle against bedbugs.
A county spokeswoman says the homeowner in the southern New Jersey town of Woodbury was using a space heater, a hair dryer and a heat gun Tuesday to try to eradicate the pests in a second-floor bedroom. The combination sparked a fire.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency says very high, sustained heat can kill bedbugs, but raising the temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won't do the job. It says special equipment is needed.
Woodbury Fire Marshal Joseph Buono tells WPVI-TV in nearby Philadelphia that quick Internet remedies for killing bedbugs are a "catastrophe in the making." He says the afflicted should "call the professionals."
NY LIBRARIAN BACK ON JOB AFTER STORM-FORCED FIRING: ROUND LAKE, N.Y. (AP) — A librarian in a small upstate New York village is back on the job two weeks after she was fired for closing the library 40 minutes early amid a tornado warning.
Theresa Marchione (mahr-shee-OHN') shut down the Round Lake Library on May 29 as nasty weather headed her way. Meteorologists later confirmed a tornado touched down 13 miles away.
The library's board fired Marchione two days later, and people in the village 20 miles north of Albany protested loudly.
On Wednesday night, seven of the eight library board members quit. A new board quickly reinstated Marchione with back pay. The decision was met with a standing ovation from the crowd gathered at the meeting.
J COACH ADMITS ASSAULTING LITTLE LEAGUE UMPIRE: NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey Little League coach has admitted attacking an umpire who wouldn't call a game because of darkness.
Henry Milstrey of Newark pleaded guilty to assault while a jury was deliberating his fate on Wednesday following a two-week trial.
Prosecutors say the 46-year-old Milstrey called for help and approximately 16 men assaulted 51-year-old Robert Waters in 2011. Waters, who was president of the Newark Little League, suffered a concussion and broken bone and lost a tooth during the attack.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office says Milstrey would have faced up to 10 years in prison if he had been convicted by the jury. By entering a guilty plea, there is a presumption of no time in prison.