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Police / Fire / Courts

Area court news

Monday, December 22, 2014

Northampton ■ Thomas A. Bower, 45, of 129 King St., Apt. 2B, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court to assault and battery on a family or household member. According to court documents, Bower’s sister reported to police that she was visiting him at his apartment at 9 a.m. Saturday when he became angry, grabbed her upper arm and pulled her off the couch while yelling for her to leave, …

Area police news

Monday, December 22, 2014

Amherst ■ Henry A. Meijia-Ayala, 21, of 188 East Hadley Road, Unit 136A, was arrested at 3:21 a.m. Monday on Belchertown Road on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failure to use care in starting, reckless operation of a motor vehicle to endanger and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Police said …

Australian woman charged with killing 8 children

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CAIRNS, Australia — A judge on Monday rejected a plea by lawyers for an Australia woman charged with killing eight children to have the next hearing held in a mental health court. Mersane Warria, charged under her full name of Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, is facing eight counts of murder in the deaths …

Three killed as speeding car slams into Calif. crowd

Thursday, December 18, 2014

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — Pedestrians were filing out of a church Christmas service when a car sped around other vehicles at a red light and plowed into the crowd before hitting another car head-on, police and witnesses said. …

Tsarnaev’s lawyers seek trial delay

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was …

Woman jailed for gambling away in-laws’ money

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WORCESTER (AP) — A Holden woman has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for stealing nearly $1 million from her elderly in-laws to feed her gambling habit. Chiao Fang Ku was also ordered Wednesday in federal court to pay full restitution, avoid any kind of gambling, and …

Suspect in fatal Chicopee stabbing faces fall trial

Thursday, December 18, 2014

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield man charged with fatally stabbing a Chicopee woman in 2011 will go to trial next fall. The Republican reports that a Hampden Superior Court judge on Wednesday scheduled 23-year-old Dennis Rosa-Roman’s murder trial for Oct. 27. Twenty-year-old Amanda Plasse was found dead in …

Uber vows more focus on safety

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Uber promises to focus on rider safety amid increasing concerns that its drivers are not adequately screened for past criminal convictions. In a blog post Wednesday, Uber’s head of global safety defended the company’s safety …

Body of woman found in Millers River in Orange

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ORANGE (AP) — Emergency crews in north-central Massachusetts have found the body of a 52-year-old woman who had been missing since Tuesday. Authorities say the body of Cynthia Ayer of Orange was found in the Millers River in Orange Thursday afternoon. It’s not clear how Ayer died. The …

Store owner arrested in alleged food stamp scheme

Thursday, December 18, 2014

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Authorities say the owner of a Springfield convenience store and market has been arrested in connection with the unlawful use of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and food stamps. Ten illegal gaming machines also were found. The Attorney General’s Office says state police arrested 55-year-old Julio …

Northampton swears in six new police officers, begins return to fully-staffed department

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Six new full-time officers were sworn in Thursday, joining five current members of the Northampton Police Department who were promoted during a ceremony celebrating what Chief Russell P. Sienkiewicz described as progress after a “dark time” …

Authorities still not releasing name of driver in fatal Belchertown accident

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — An investigation of the single-car crash Sunday morning that killed an 18-year-old Lancaster woman and seriously injured the 23-year-old driver remains under investigation. No additional details about the fatal accident, including the name of the driver, are available, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office. Spokeswoman …

Area court news

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Goshen ■ Jason Tomaskowicz, 33, of 102 Bissell Road, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Northampton District Court to charges of assault on a family or household member and malicious destruction of property over $250. According to court records, police arrested Tomaskowicz around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after determining that …