February 28, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Ex-cop sentenced for killing woman

The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Bobby Cutts Jr. talks with his attorney, Fernando Mack, after sentencing Wednesday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

A former police officer was sentenced Wednesday to at least 57 years in prison for killing his pregnant lover and her fetus.

Jurors spared Bobby Cutts Jr. the death penalty on the most serious charge, an aggravated murder count in the death of the fetus. He could spend up to life in prison on those and other charges.

Cutts’ attorney, Fernando Mack, said the defense had achieved a goal of sparing the defendant’s life.

“Clearly, that was the objective here,” he said.

Cutts, 30, had sobbed on the witness stand when he claimed the death of 26-year-old Jessie Davis from an elbow to the throat last June was an accident during an argument. He said he dumped her body in a park in a panic. He returned to the stand after his conviction to ask jurors to spare his life.

Prosecutors argued that Cutts killed Davis and the nearly full-term girl at her home in northeast Ohio to avoid making child support payments.

Washington

USDA rule change prompts lawsuit

The Humane Society sued the federal government Wednesday over what it said is a legal loophole that allows sick or crippled cattle, called “downers,” into the food supply.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture rule change made in July allows some downer cows into the food supply, the Humane Society of the United States alleges in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

In 2004, the USDA tightened regulations to prohibit the slaughter of all “downer” cows – animals that cannot stand – after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state. The lawsuit alleges that under last year’s change, cows that fell down after an initial veterinarian inspection but appeared otherwise healthy were allowed to be slaughtered.

The lawsuit asks the USDA to close the loophole to protect consumers and ensure the humane treatment of animals.

DeKalb, Ill.

Site of shooting will be demolished

The Northern Illinois University building where a gunman killed five students in an auditorium lecture hall, then committed suicide on the stage, will be demolished and replaced, school officials said Wednesday.

Cole Hall – a huge classroom building at the center of the 25,000-student campus – will be replaced with a state-of-the-art general classroom building to be named Memorial Hall.

Former graduate student Steven Kazmierczak burst into the auditorium on Valentine’s Day, carrying at least four guns, and fired dozens of shots into a geology class, killing five and wounding at least 16 people before turning the gun on himself.


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