State digest 07/26/03

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Man gets 15 years for shooting at Cape police

FARMINGTON, Mo. -- A 22-year-old South Carolina man pleaded guilty Friday in a St. Francois County courtroom to breaking into a mobile home and keeping Cape Girardeau police at bay during a 7 1/2-hour shootout on May 13, 2002.

Dax Justin May, 22, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., pleaded guilty to first-degree counts of assault of a law enforcement officer and burglary. The case was transferred to Farmington on a change of venue.

In exchange for his plea, an additional charge of assault on a law enforcement officer and charges of second-degree assault, first-degree property damage and armed criminal action were dismissed.

Judge Kenneth Pratte sentenced May to two 15-year terms in prison, to run concurrently, said assistant prosecuting attorney Angel Woodruff.

After breaking into a trailer at the Pinewood Moble Home Park at 1400 S. West End Blvd., May spent hours shouting and firing at police with a 12-gauge shotgun and 7 mm Mauser. The incident ended when police used tear gas and pepper spray.

AT&T suing Crowder College over fees

NEOSHO, Mo. -- Telecommunications giant AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Crowder College seeking to collect thousands of dollars in long-distance fees the college maintains were fraudulently charged to Crowder by computer hackers.

College president Kent Farnsworth said the charges stem from calls illegally made by computer hackers in August 2001 through the college phone network. In its lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court in Springfield, AT&T seeks to recover the charges, $70,673.03, plus interest, court costs, and attorney fees.

Judge grants restraining order against Florida firm

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a Florida company accused of violating Missouri's telemarketing law, Attorney General Jay Nixon said Friday.

Nixon said that his office has received more than 100 complaints about Family Trip Travel.Com Inc. of Margate, Fla., which allegedly called people whose names are on Missouri's No Call list in order to solicit vacations.

Nixon said the company misled people by claiming that it did not have to abide by the state law because the law was pre-empted by a federal No Call measure, which takes effect Oct. 1.

KC man charged with elder abuse turns self in

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City man accused of leaving his crippled wife on the floor of their home for several days turned himself in to Clay County authorities Friday.

Robert A. Swartz, 47, had been missing since being released from jail Wednesday, hours before the Clay County prosecutor's office charged him with one count of second-degree elder abuse.

Police found Swartz's wife nearly motionless on the living room floor Tuesday with bedsores and infections on her frail, 65-pound body. Her wounds were so advanced that her ribs and other bones were exposed, police said.

Swartz was arrested Tuesday but was released after 20 hours when no criminal charges had been filed. When police went to his home to arrest him Thursday, he was not there.

Man innocent of fire that killed wife, stepdaughter

HILLSBORO, Mo. -- A jury deliberated only briefly Friday before finding a St. Louis area man innocent of setting the house fire that killed his wife and 10-year-old stepdaughter.

The verdict came after a trial in which several relatives of Tina Monroe, 37, testified she was suicidal due to increasing debts and could have set the fire herself.

Former Boeing Co. engineer Eric Monroe, 39, of Fenton, had been charged with first-degree murder and could have faced life in prison without parole. Authorities believed Monroe set the July 2001 fire to collect on insurance policies.

-- From staff, wire reports

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