BOY LEFT IN CAR DURING CHURCH CHOIR PRACTICE DIES: PHOENIX (AP) — A 3-year-old boy has died a day after being left in a hot car for several hours while his mother and a family friend were in church for a choir practice, police said Monday.
Officer James Holmes says the family friend had taken the boy and other children to a church where the friend and the child’s mother had choir practice late Saturday morning. The mother had arrived earlier.
Hayden Nelson was not discovered missing for three hours, following the end of choir practice at 2 p.m. By then, temperatures had reached the high 90s, and the child wasn’t breathing when he was found in the vehicle, Holmes said.
“It’s obvious that the 27-year-old forgot that the child was in the car,” Holmes said, referring to the family friend. “She was in a hurry. She had something that she had to do, and she didn’t take a minute to make sure.”
The boy was hospitalized in extremely critical condition but died Sunday afternoon.
DAD ACCUSED OF TACKLING SON’S YOUTH FOOTBALL COACH: TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a youth football coach has been attacked by the father of one of his players after a game in southern New Jersey.
Toms River police say the 46-year-old parent was charged with simple assault following the altercation, which was reported around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
The 45-year-old male coach says the parent ran across the field toward him and tackled him. The two men then fought on the ground until bystanders separated them.
The coach says the attack was unprovoked. The parent says he acted in self-defense when the coach “took an aggressive stance,” but authorities say witnesses told them the parent was the sole aggressor.
The altercation came after the coach told his players that their season was over because of their ongoing poor sportsmanship and bad attitudes.
ABU-JAMAL’S SPEECH LEADS TO VICTIMS’ RIGHTS BILL: HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday he supports a bill designed to prevent offenders from causing their victims “mental anguish,” a proposal launched after a Vermont college chose as its commencement speaker a man convicted of killing a police officer.
Corbett spoke at a Capitol event a day after Mumia Abu-Jamal gave a recorded address to about 20 graduates at Goddard College in Plainfield.
“Nobody has the right to continually taunt the victims of their violent crimes in the public square,” Corbett said.
He called the college’s choice of Abu-Jamal “unconscionable.”
The bill that advanced out of a House committee on Monday would allow a victim to go to court for an injunction against “conduct which perpetuates the continuing effects of the crime on the victim.”
Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter and Black Panther, is serving life in prison for the 1981 shooting death of white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner, who had pulled over his brother in an overnight traffic stop. He spent nearly 30 years on death row while pursuing numerous legal appeals.
PROPOSAL TO PROTECT FISHER CITES POT FARM THREAT: GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Citing a threat from rat poison used on illegal marijuana plantations, federal biologists on Monday proposed Endangered Species Act protection for West Coast populations of the fisher, a larger cousin of the weasel.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published notice in the Federal Register that it wants to list the fisher as a threatened species in Oregon, California and Washington.
The full proposal was expected Tuesday.
Other reasons for the proposal include the loss of forest habitat to wildfire, logging and urban development, disease, being eaten by other predators, illegal fur trapping and climate change.
The fisher is the second species in the West for which biologists have formally recognized a threat from marijuana cultivation.
A recovery plan for coho salmon calls for reducing pollution from pesticides and fertilizers used on pot plantations; decreasing illegal water withdrawals from salmon streams; and easing clear-cut logging.
Scientists are also working to see how much the poisons are affecting the northern spotted owl.
Erin Williams, who oversaw the analysis for Fish and Wildlife, said the poisons are regulated, but the rules have done little to stop misuse on pot farms in forests where fishers live.
The full proposal notes that 84 percent of the 77 fisher carcasses found in California’s northwestern mountains and the southern Sierra Nevada tested positive for rat poison. A map shows that virtually all fisher habitat includes illegal marijuana growing sites.
PROSECUTORS LOSE APPEAL IN DETROIT OFFICER’S TRIAL: DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s appeals court on Monday let stand the dismissal of a manslaughter charge against a Detroit police officer who killed a 7-year-old girl during a raid.
In a brief order, a three-judge panel said it was barred from intervening.
Officer Joseph Weekley mistakenly pulled the trigger and killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a chaotic search for a murder suspect in 2010 that was recorded by a reality TV crew. Wayne County Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway last week dismissed the most serious charge, involuntary manslaughter, after prosecutors finished presenting evidence.
Hathaway said there was no evidence that Weekley acted willfully; prosecutors said the judge was using the wrong legal standard.
Appeals Judge Michael Talbot agreed that Hathaway had erred, but he also agreed with his colleagues on the panel that her decision must stand. Once a defendant is acquitted, that ruling can’t be upset, under a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case that coincidentally involved a Michigan trial.
The appeals court later Monday rejected a request for reconsideration. All that’s left at Weekley’s trial is a misdemeanor charge of reckless discharge of a firearm.
Weekley, a member of an elite police unit, insists he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana’s grandmother grabbed his gun as officers burst through the door of her home. Mertilla Jones denied any interference.