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News Scan

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Death Penalty Sought in Kidnap, Murder of Young Girl: The Associated Press reports Zachary Dwayne Holly pleaded not guilty Monday to the November 2012 kidnapping, rape, and murder of six-year-old Jersey Bridgeman.  If convicted, Arkansas prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty. Holly and his wife had been babysitting Jersey and her 2-year-old sister on the night she disappeared and Holly had helped the mother take the girls home. The next morning Holly's mother found Jersey missing from her bed.  Police later found the girl's body in a vacant house next door to Holly's home. She had been raped and strangled to death. Holly was arrested days later. He will return to court on February 28. 

NV Alleged Serial Killer May Face Death Penalty: Francis McCabe of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports prosecutors will seek the death penalty for alleged serial killer Nathan Burkett. DNA and other evidence have linked Burkett to  the 1978 murder of a 22-year-old woman, and two separate 1994 murders of women. All three victims were strangled and found near his apartment in Las Vegas. Burkett's criminal history includes two cases of manslaughter; one victim was his mother.

TX Set to Execute Two Murderers: Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press reports convicted killer Kimberly McCarthy is set to be executed by lethal injection January 29 in Texas. McCarthy stabbed and bludgeoned a 71-year-old woman to death during a robbery in 1997. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review her case. Texas currently has ten women on death row. Three have been executed since capital punishment was resumed in 1982.  The AP also reports that Ricky Lynn Lewis is set to be executed on April 9. Lewis shot and killed a 45-year-old Texas man in 1990. He also raped the victim's fiance and stole her car.  Lewis' federal appeal claiming he was too mentally impaired for execution was rejected in November.

DNA Links CO Inmate to Murder:
The Associated Press reports Colorado inmate Robert Baillie was linked by DNA to the 1976 murder of a hotel employee. Baillie was serving a sentence for sexual assault and was eligible for parole January 2014.

Murders Spiked in Some CA Cities in 2012: The Associated Press reports 131 victims were killed in Oakland in 2012. That is the highest murder rate the city has seen in six years; 21 more than in 2011. Violent crime increased 23 percent from 2011. In nearby San Francisco with homicides up from 50 in 2011 to 68 in 2012. San Jose experienced its highest murder rate in 20 years with 46 homicides. The Oakland murder rate and action to address the situation are discussed in this News Scan.

ID Inmate Sues 10 Alcohol Companies: KCRA News reports on Idaho inmate Keith Allen Brown's December lawsuit against ten beer and wine companies. Allegedly, the companies did not inform the inmate of the risks of becoming addicted prior to his becoming an alcoholic. Brown claims that If it was not for his alcoholism, he would never have committed his crimes. Brown, joined by four co-plaintiffs, is seeking one billion dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

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