GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Judge rejects mistrial for former BP engineer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has refused to declare a mistrial in the case of former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix.
In a filing Tuesday, defense lawyers said questions asked Monday of witness Wilson Arabie improperly raised issues of whether Mix ordered copies made of spill-related documents in order to eliminate possibly incriminating hand-written notes made in some of the margins. The defense says an earlier court order precluded prosecutors from raising the issue.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled Tuesday that he would instruct jurors to disregard the testimony. However he declined to declare a mistrial.
Mix is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages and voicemails about the company's response to its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
WRESTLING MOVES-CHILD DEATH
Boy, 13, convicted in sister's death gets 3 years
GRETNA, La. (AP) - A 13-year-old Terrytown boy who admitted killing his 5-year-old half-sister while practicing wrestling moves has been sentenced to three years in a secure juvenile facility with credit for time served.
The New Orleans Advocate reports the teenager's defense team had argued he be offered rehabilitation services in the community.
But Judge Andrea Janzen told the teenager's attorney that he had given her no evidence to explain how or why the child - described as jovial and outgoing by church members - was so disrespectful and angry at home.
The boy will get credit for the time he has served since July and Janzen recommended Tuesday he be sent to the Bridge City Center for Youth so he could get support from his family and members of his church.
Pilot makes emergency landing in Hammond pasture
HAMMOND, La. (AP) - A pilot made an emergency landing in a pasture about eight miles from the Hammond Airport.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards says both the pilot and owner, Nicholas Burtchaell, of Folsom, and an instructor pilot, Otis Briggs, of Kentwood, walked away from the 10 a.m. incident Tuesday unharmed.
Edwards say the men were aboard a single engine Areo 112, flying at about 3,000 feet when Burtchaell noticed they were losing oil pressure. The men began to descend and at about 600 feet, the engine failed. Edwards says the pilots looked for a safe place to land and found a pasture in Folsom.
Authorities say the Federal Aviation Administration was en route to the area to investigate.
It was unclear where the plane departed from or where it was headed.
State money running low for higher education
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration and lawmakers plugged dollars from property sales, legal settlements and other financing assumptions into the higher education budget this year. Much of that hasn't yet been deposited into the set-aside fund used to pay for public colleges and universities.
Uncertainties about the fund are creating cash flow concerns for colleges, with a money crunch looming by the end of the month at some campuses.
Jindal says the administration will shuffle around available state cash, if needed, to keep campuses afloat until the dollars planned for higher education's budget arrive. He says the schools will get the money promised.
Jury gets ex-cop's case over Katrina shooting
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal jury has begun deliberating for the retrial of a former New Orleans police officer charged with fatally shooting a man without justification outside a strip mall after Hurricane Katrina.
Jurors heard closing arguments Tuesday in the case against David Warren, who shot and killed 31-year-old Henry Glover less than a week after the 2005 storm's landfall.
Warren testified Monday that he feared for his life when he shot Glover because he thought he saw a gun in his hand. Prosecutors said Glover wasn't armed.
Warren was sentenced to nearly 26 years in prison after a different jury convicted him of manslaughter in 2010. But an appeals court overturned his convictions last year, ruling that Warren should have been tried separately from four officers charged in an alleged cover-up.
Miss. utility regulators reject Entergy-ITC merger
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi utility regulators have unanimously rejected a merger proposal by Entergy Corp. and ITC Holdings Corp.
Public Service Commission members say the deal could've meant a $300 million rate increase for Mississippi customers over 30 years.
Entergy executives say they're disappointed in the Mississippi regulators' vote Tuesday and will work with ITC to determine the companies' next steps.
In 2011, New Orleans-based Entergy said it would transfer its high-voltage lines to Novi, Mich.-based ITC. ITC would issue Entergy shareholders enough stock to give them a majority of ITC shares worth more than $2 billion. ITC would assume $1.78 billion in debt.
The merger request also was filed in other states Entergy serves - Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
Regulators there haven't acted, but rejection in Mississippi makes the deal's success unlikely.
LEESVILLE BANK ROBBERY
Man robs Leesville's City Savings Bank
LEESVILLE, La. (AP) - Leesville police are search for a man who robbed the City Savings Bank.
Police tell the Leesville Daily Leader the robber entered the bank around 4 p.m. Monday, demanded money and exited the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.
Police said the robbery was wearing a tan jacket, green ball cap, blue jeans, and grey tennis shoes.
Thibodaux woman accused of animal, child cruelty
THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - Police say 35 pets and a young girl were found living in a feces-filled and urine-soaked Thibodaux home that reeked so bad that the child was bullied at school because of it.
The Courier reports the girl's mother was booked with animal and child cruelty.
Police say 45-year-old Lorencia Raffray was arrested Friday after Thibodaux Police got a tip that she was hoarding animals.
Thibodaux Police spokesman David Melancon said there were 14 cats, 18 kittens and three dogs inside the home.
He said the odor could be detected from outside and was so bad inside officers had to step outside several times to get fresh air.
Raffray is free on a $500 bond.
It was unclear whether she has an attorney.
Court: Tax on Vt. nuclear plant might be OK
NEW YORK (AP) - A New York federal appeals court says the legality of a tax on Vermont's only nuclear plant is best left up to a state court. But it shot down some of the plant operator's arguments against the tax anyway.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Tuesday. The case stems from a tax affecting the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
The plant, which began operating in 1972, is run by the New Orleans-based Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc.
The company has argued that the electricity tax is unconstitutional and is not really a tax.
The appeals court said it is a tax and Vermont state courts can decide constitutional issues.
The appeals court has yet to rule on a challenge to the nuclear plant's right to operate.
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