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News Scan

Serial Killer Sues Jail Over Candy Bars and Playboy:  Larry Welborn of The Orange County Register reports California death row inmate Rodney Alcala, 67, filed twenty-six civil claims against the county for damages while he was incarcerated in the Orange County Jail awaiting trial.   Among his claims, nearly all of which have been denied, Alcala alleged he didn't receive two candy bars like the other inmates one Thanksgiving, that he was denied access to his Playboy subscription, and that the county failed to provide "climatically suitable clothing for adequate seasonal comfort and protection," because he was cold at night.  A few of his lawsuits seek as little as $1.50 in recovery.  Alcala was convicted last year of sexually assaulting and killing five women in the 1970s, and remains a suspect in at least three other killings.  His previous conviction and death sentence were overturned by the Ninth Circuit in 2003.

Serial Killer Dies in Prison at Age 82:  Sam Stanton of The Sacramento Bee reports Sacramento serial killer Dorothea Puente, 82, died of natural causes Sunday at the Central California Women's Facility.  Puente ran a boarding house for disabled and elderly residents, but caught officials' attention after a social worker reported one of her tenants missing.  Police eventually unearthed seven bodies in the backyard and learned that Puente had cashed at least 60 government assistance checks belonging to them.  She was convicted in 1993 of three counts of murder (the jury deadlocked on six other murder counts) and sentenced to life in prison.

Tennessee Bill Aims to Improve Domestic Violence Accounting:  Brian Haas of The Tennessean reports a proposed bill in the Tennessee legislature seeks to develop a better accounting of domestic violence in the state by forcing police officers to give a detailed report of any domestic violence complaint within 48 hours.  Police reportedly have been documenting many domestic violence complaints by filing "matter of record" reports, which records an incident that is significant enough to document but does not rise to the level of a crime.  These "matter of record" reports are not accounted into crime totals given to the state, the FBI, or the public.  Under the proposed legislation, the more detailed reports can be tracked in state statistics.  State Representative and sponsor of the bill Karen Camper wants a more clear understanding of domestic violence in Tennessee and states, "we wanted to get a true representation of what was going on in order to develop good public policy."       

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