Region briefs 2/27/08

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cape robber sentenced to 25 years

Gregory D. Williams, 32, of 321 Albert St., was sentenced Tuesday in Butler County to 25 years apiece for three charges of first degree armed robbery.

Williams pleaded guilty Dec. 13, 2007 to robbing three area business in Cape Girardeau in late 2006 and early 2007. The plea came after a mental competency hearing.

At the hearing, a Butler County judge ruled Williams was faking schizophrenia and declared him mentally sound to stand trial for the robbery of Sally Beauty Supply on Dec. 24, Payless Shoe Store on Feb. 3 and Dollar General on Feb. 9, all in Cape Girardeau.

After the ruling, Williams experienced what prosecuting attorney Morley Swingle then called a "miraculous cure," and

entered a guilty plea for all three charges.

While in jail, Williams was reading the book "Sybil," about a girl with a mental illness, because he planned on faking a similar ailment, Swingle said previously.

He disguised the book with a homemade white paper jacket.

The 25-year sentences will run concurrently with one another.

Three new lawmakers sworn into Mo. House

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Three new House members officially have become lawmakers. House Speaker Rod Jetton on Tuesday swore in Republicans Mary Kasten of Cape Girardeau and Mark Parkinson of St. Charles, and Democrat Michele Kratky of St. Louis. The three were elected earlier this month during special elections. Those elections were called after lawmakers resigned because of new job opportunities or a criminal conviction.

Kirkwood mayor to be released from hospital

CREVE COEUR, Mo. -- A suburban St. Louis mayor who was shot twice in the head by a disgruntled resident at a city council meeting will be released from the hospital today. Kirkwood Mayor Michael Swoboda will be discharged from St. John's Mercy Medical Center to a rehabilitation hospital in the same medical system. His son, Michael Swoboda Jr., said at a news conference Tuesday that the family hopes the mayor can come home in three weeks to two months.

-- From staff and wire reports

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