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JUDGE OKS OKLAHOMA’S LETHAL INJECTION PROTOCOL: OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol is constitutional and the state can proceed with the scheduled executions of four death row inmates early next year, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot denied a request for a preliminary injunction that was requested by a group of Oklahoma death row inmates. The prisoners argued the use of the sedative midazolam as the first drug in a three-drug combination the state administers risks subjecting them to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

After the ruling, Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said the state planned to move forward with the execution of Charles Frederick Warner on Jan. 15 and three other lethal injections scheduled through March 5.

“We will now proceed with the guidelines set forth in the policy and protocol in preparation for the upcoming executions,” Patton said.

The inmates sued after the April 29 execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed on the gurney, mumbled and lifted his head during his 43-minute execution that the state tried to halt before it was over. Lockett’s execution was the first in Oklahoma using midazolam, which also has been used in problematic executions in Ohio and Arizona.


DONNY AND MARIE OSMOND EXTEND LAS VEGAS SHOW DATES: LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sibling singers Donny and Marie Osmond will be singing at the Flamingo Las Vegas at least through the end of 2015.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced Monday that the duo has signed on to keep performing at the hotel-casino through the end of next year.

The pair is still performing more than six years after they committed to six weeks of shows starting in September 2008.

The 90-minute variety show is scheduled to have performance dates every month in 2015 except in March, July, August and December.

Tickets cost $95 to $260, not counting taxes and fees.


COURT SIDES WITH MOM WHO GAVE BIRTH WHILE ON METHADONE: TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey can’t conclude a mother abused and neglected her baby because the child was born exhibiting symptoms of methadone withdrawal due to the mother’s use of the drug, the state Supreme Court ruled in an opinion released Monday.

The unanimous ruling reversed an earlier appeals court ruling that allowed the woman to retain custody of the boy but under state supervision. The Supreme Court referred the case back to the appellate division to determine if there were any other factors that could warrant a finding of abuse and neglect.

According to court documents, the woman, identified by the pseudonym “Yvonne,” had become addicted to a prescription painkiller after she was injured in a car accident. When she became pregnant, she was advised by hospital personnel to take methadone because to suddenly stop taking the painkiller could jeopardize her pregnancy.

The baby was born in early 2011 with symptoms of methadone withdrawal and spent several weeks in the hospital. The state Division of Youth and Family Services filed a complaint shortly afterward, seeking to have the baby put in state custody.


NO BAIL FOR MAN IN STRANGLING OF GIRLFRIEND, KIDS: BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Maine man charged with killing his girlfriend and her two young children told investigators he chased down and strangled the 10-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl because they had seen their mother’s death, according to court records released Monday.

The details are contained in an affidavit about the case against Keith Coleman, who faces three counts of murder in the deaths of Christina Sargent, 36; Duwayne Coke, 10 and Destiny Sargent, 8. Coleman, 27, was ordered held without bail during an appearance in Bangor.

Investigators said the three bodies were found Saturday in the mobile home Coleman shared with the victims in Garland.

A state medical examiner’s autopsy of the mother and children found all three were killed by “ligature strangulation,” said Timothy Feeley, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.


MAN WHO SHOT PROTECTED HAWKS GETS 6-HOUR JAIL TERM: NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man who shot protected hawks from the back door of his southern New Jersey home has been ordered to serve six hours in jail and perform 60 hours of community service at a wildlife facility.

Federal prosecutors say 70-year-old Robert Losasso, of Somers Point, also must pay $4,350 in restitution to the wildlife rehabilitation centers that incurred losses in treating or euthanizing the hawks. He also must serve 18 months of supervised release, during which time he can’t possess any firearms.

The sentence was imposed Monday. Losasso will serve his brief jail time Jan. 5.

Losasso had pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for killing, or trying to kill, four species of hawks protected under federal law.

Losasso admitted that he fatally shot or attempted to shoot red-tailed, sharp-shinned, red-shouldered and Cooper’s hawks on several occasions. Those species are among the tens of thousands of birds of prey that migrate every year from Canada along the Atlantic Flyway through New Jersey.

Losasso also admitted that he didn’t have any permit to shoot the birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was enacted in 1918. It affords protections to migratory birds under several international conventions to which the United States is a party.


CHARGES TO BE DISMISSED IN ARIZONA DOG DEATHS: PHOENIX (AP) — Animal cruelty charges will be dismissed against the owners of a suburban Phoenix kennel and two caretakers charged in the deaths of 21 dogs this summer, prosecutors said Monday.

The charges could be refiled at some point, but the case as presented to a grand jury didn’t take into account the potential for problems with an air conditioning unit, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement.

Caretakers found the dogs passed out in an 8-by-12-foot room June 20. Austin and Logan Flake reported trying to save the animals by hosing and icing them down, but authorities said they didn’t call for emergency assistance before the dogs died.

Green Acre Dog Boarding owners Jesse and Malesia Hughes have said the animals died of heat exhaustion because one dog chewed through the air conditioner’s power cord after their daughter and her husband, the son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, left the Gilbert facility for the night.

County sheriff’s investigators said no evidence was found that a chewed-up electrical wire had cut power to a cooling unit, and a veterinarian said some of the dogs likely suffocated. The findings were forwarded to Montgomery’s office for prosecution.

Dennis Wilenchik, an attorney representing the Flakes, argued that the air conditioning unit stopped working because of a clogged air filter. He has asked that the case be presented to another grand jury for reconsideration.