Ill. governor names Obama replacement

CHICAGO - Defying U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers, Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, praised the 71-year-old Burris' integrity and asked that the corruption allegations not 'taint this good and honest man.'

'The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington D.C.,' Blagojevich said. 'As governor I am required to make this appointment.'

58 years for gang leader in slaying, torture

PORTAGE, Wis. - A drifter convicted of helping his gang of scam artists kill a woman and torture her young son was sentenced to 58 years in prison Tuesday.

Michael Sisk, 27, of Portage, faced more than 136 years in prison on 10 charges, including second-degree reckless homicide, child abuse, false imprisonment and aggravated battery.

Sisk was convicted in August of helping his gang kill 36-year-old Tammie Garlin and torture her 11-year-old son. Police found the boy locked in a closet and Garlin's body in a shallow grave behind the gang's house in Portage.

Man charged in Hudson killings appears in court

CHICAGO - A murder indictment has been issued against the man accused of killing the mother, brother and nephew of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.

No new details were offered in Tuesday's indictment against 27-year-old William Balfour, who's facing first-degree murder and home invasion charges.

Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister. He has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, her brother, Jason Hudson, and 7-year-old Julian King.

Lawyer: Jena Six teen shot himself out of despair

NEW ORLEANS - One of the teenagers at the center of the Jena Six civil rights case shot himself because he worried his Christmas Eve shoplifting arrest would ruin his dream of playing college football, a lawyer said Tuesday after speaking with the teen's family.

Mychal Bell, 18, shot himself Monday night at his grandmother's house in Monroe, in northeastern Louisiana. He remained hospitalized Tuesday, but police said the wound to his upper right chest was not life threatening.

'When it was broadcast that he was charged with shoplifting he just felt that the whole year had been wasted and that he had worked all of that time for nothing,' said Louis Scott, who represented Bell in the Jena Six case.

9-year-old found incompetent in Ariz. slaying

ST. JOHNS, Ariz. - A psychologist found a 9-year-old murder suspect incompetent to stand trial and determined the boy's age and intelligence keep him from understanding the premeditated murder charges he faces, the boy's defense lawyer said.

The mental health expert nominated by the defense also said the boy could not be restored to competency within the time allowed by law, attorney Benjamin Brewer said this week.

The attorney declined to discuss the evaluation further. It wasn't made public, nor was an evaluation conducted by an expert nominated by prosecutors.

The boy, whose birthday was Monday, is accused of using a .22-caliber rifle to shoot his father and another man on Nov. 5 at the family home in St. Johns. Killed were Vincent Romero, 29, and a co-worker, 39-year-old Timothy Romans, who was renting a room.