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News Scan

Sexual Predator Demands Release: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday in the Story County case of Harold Johnson, a convicted violent sexual predator currently serving in the state's violent sexual offender program. Johnson argued that his rights were violated because his February 2009 hearing was not within 60 days of when it was ordered as required by Iowa's state law. The hearing was to determine if Johnson was still at risk to commit sexually violent offenses. The supreme court ruled there is no provision for a sexual predator to be released if the deadline is missed. AP has this report. 

Arizona Man Sentenced to Death for Murder of Family: The AP reports a Maricopa County jury yesterday sentenced former businessman William Craig Miller to death for the murder of five members of a family, including two children. Miller shot two former employees-turned-police-informants to prevent them from testifying against him in an arson case, then shot three of their family members, ages 18, 15, and 10. Miller's defense attorney told the jury Miller suffered from bipolar disorder.

Texas Ends Final Meal Tradition: In response to complaints from a prominent Texas state senator, Texas has put an end to its special final meals for condemned inmates, reports the AP. The controversy began when Lawrence Brewer, executed on Wednesday for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas, asked for two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lovers' pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Brewer didn't eat any of it. Condemned inmates will now receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit.

Blinked Testimony Allowed: WLMT News 5 reports a Cincinnati judge agreed to allow testimony from a now-deceased man who identified a murder suspect by blinking his eyes. Prosecutors say they videotaped paralyzed victim David Chandler from his hospital bed, where he indicated by blinking that Ricardo Woods shot him. "I find from the totality of the circumstances based on Ohio law and the facts as I found them that the identification is reliable and there is not a substantial likelihood of misidentification," said the judge.

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