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In Brief: Woman calls in bomb threat to cancel college graduation

Hartford, Conn. – A woman trying to keep her family from learning she had dropped out of college called in bomb threats to a commencement ceremony at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, police said Monday.

Danielle Shea of Quincy, Massachusetts, was wearing a cap and gown when she was arrested Sunday.

Hamden, Connecticut, police said Shea left the college this year because of financial issues, including an unpaid tuition balance, but her mother continued to pay thousands of dollars she thought was for her daughter’s education.

“She was living off-campus. Her mother thought she was going to school,” Hamden police Capt. Ronald Smith said.

On graduation day, Shea’s mother tried to obtain a ticket for a ramp where relatives could take photographs of the graduates, but the registrar’s office told her Shea was not enrolled. Shea overheard the conversation, then stepped away and allegedly called in a bomb threat to try to cancel the ceremony, Smith said.

The threats delayed the start of the ceremony by an hour and a half, and it was moved to a second location at the indoor athletic arena as a security precaution.

Shea, 22, was arraigned Monday in Meriden Superior Court where bond was set at $10,000.

Supreme Court: ‘Raging Bull’ lawsuit can go forward

Washington – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a copyright lawsuit over the 1980 Oscar-winning movie “Raging Bull” can go forward, a decision that could open Hollywood studios to more claims from people seeking a share of profits from classic films and TV shows.

In a 6-3 decision, the justices said that Paula Petrella, daughter of the late screenwriter Frank Petrella, did not wait too long to file her lawsuit against Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer claiming an interest in the film.

Petrella’s father collaborated with legendary boxer Jake LaMotta on a book and two screenplays, which inspired the movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro. The elder Petrella died in 1981 and the copyrights passed to his daughter.

She sued MGM in 2009 seeking royalties from continuing commercial use of the film. But a federal judge said she waited too long because she had been aware of the potential to file a lawsuit as early as 1991.

The Supreme Court reversed that ruling, giving Petrella a chance to resurrect her lawsuit. The ruling was a blow to movie studios, which have long relied on the legal doctrine of unreasonable delay to prevent distant relatives and estates from bringing copyright claims years or decades after movies have been released.

Afghanistan war veteran to receive medal of honor

Washington – An Afghanistan war veteran who absorbed the blast of a grenade to protect a fellow Marine will receive the medal of honor next month, becoming the eighth living recipient for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq.

President Barack Obama will present the medal to retired Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter during a White House ceremony on June 19.

Carpenter, now 24 years old, was wounded Nov. 21, 2010, while guarding a patrol base in a small village in Helmand Province.

Man who sent ricin-laced letters receives prison term

Washington – A former north Mississippi martial arts instructor was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for mailing letters laced with deadly ricin last year to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a Mississippi state court judge.

A federal grand jury indicted James Dutschke, 42, of Tupelo, on six felony counts last year. Among the charges was an allegation that he tried to frame and retaliate against Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis Presley impersonator with whom he’d feuded, by enclosing ricin in threatening letters that mimicked material Curtis had posted on the Internet.

Within a day of the discovery of the ricin letters at mail-screening centers in Washington, federal authorities arrested Curtis. Agents wearing protective suits searched his home and prosecutors charged Curtis. Several days later, after listening to Curtis’ adamant denials and evaluating additional evidence, they released him and conducted a similar search of Dutschke’s martial arts facility, leading to his arrest.

Dutschke pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to one count of developing and possessing ricin, and three counts of mailing threatening letters containing the substance to Obama, Wicker and Sadie Holland, the Mississippi judge.


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