Man sentenced in slavery case
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A millionaire convicted of helping his wife keep two Indonesian housekeepers as virtual slaves was sentenced Friday to more than three years in prison, ending a trial that shed light on the often little-seen exploitation and abuse of domestic workers.
International perfume maker Mahender Sabhnani, 51, was sentenced to 31/3 years and fined $12,500. He was convicted in December on a 12-count federal indictment that included forced labor, conspiracy, involuntary servitude and harboring aliens.
The victims testified that they were beaten with brooms and umbrellas, slashed with knives, and forced to climb stairs and take cold showers for misdeeds that included sleeping late or stealing food from the trash because they were poorly fed.
On Thursday, Sabhnani tearfully watched as his wife, Varsha, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. On Friday, she dabbed her eyes as she saw her husband meet his own fate.
Girl, 8, has fingers severed in tug-of-war
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - An 8-year-old champion dirt-bike racer severed four fingers during a tug-of-war game at a charity benefit and is recovering from surgery to reconstruct her lost digits.
Alyssa Martin was at the I-94 BMX track in Fergus Falls on June 20 for a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her father, Cameron Martin, is the track's director.
During an intermission, Alyssa Martin was participating in a kids' tug-of-war game. Her left hand apparently got caught in the rope, and the four fingers were severed.
Alyssa has had operations to reconstruct her fingers. Probes in her fingertips are being used to track temperature changes in the damaged limbs.
Lawyer gets 5 years in bribery scheme
OXFORD, Miss. - Richard 'Dickie' Scruggs, who became one of the wealthiest civil lawsuit attorneys in the country by taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge.
U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. called Scruggs' conduct 'reprehensible' and fined him $250,000. The judge handed down the full sentence requested by prosecutors despite arguments from the defense for half that time in prison.
Scruggs, wearing a dark suit and blue tie, appeared to nearly faint as the federal judge scolded him for his conduct. Some people in the packed courtroom gasped as Scruggs started to sway side to side and his attorney grabbed his arm to steady him. He had to be seated for a time before the sentence was read but later stood back up.
4 plead guilty in surfer's death
SAN DIEGO - Four of five men originally charged with murdering professional surfer Emery Kauanui pleaded guilty to lesser charges Friday.
The men had faced up to life in prison if convicted of murder in the beating death of the 24-year-old Hawaiian surfer outside his mother's home in the affluent La Jolla neighborhood after a fight at a bar last year.
Eric House, 21, Orlando Osuna, 23, and Matthew Yanke, 21, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor battery. Henri 'Hank' Hendricks, 22, pleaded guilty to a felony of being an accessory to the death.
Remaining defendant Seth Cravens, 22, alleged to be the ringleader, re-entered a not-guilty plea after his attorney rejected a plea offer from prosecutors.
Homeless man beaten to death
CLEVELAND - A group of teenagers beat a homeless man to death as passers-by slowed to watch the attack, some of which was caught on videotape, police said.
Anthony Waters, 42, suffered a lacerated spleen and broken ribs during the attack Wednesday night and died at a hospital, police said.
'The pack mentality going on in the city of Cleveland must end,' police Commander Calvin Williams said.
Bride gets company to sponsor wedding
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A bride's unusual effort to raise funds online for her wedding has led to a decidedly unconventional result - corporate sponsorship of her special day.
Pinched for cash, Virginia Beach hairdresser Kelly Gray went on eBay to offer a spot in her bridal party to the highest bidder. But when the auction was over Wednesday, the winner was not a woman eager to wear taffeta, but a representative of Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
The company will donate $10,000 and drinks for Gray's April 19 wedding to Karl Gau. She said the company also plans to launch a Web site to help her find a bridesmaid or provide a surprise guest for the slot.