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A Wisconsin man has been found guilty of killing his step-grandfather with an ax and severely injuring two others.

The jury in Monroe County Circuit Court on Thursday convicted Thomas Aspseter, 38, of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of aggravated battery involving a dangerous weapon.

Eighty-seven-year-old Bernard Waite was killed in the June 2021 attack at his home in Sparta that also wounded Waite’s brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Margaret Waite of Exeland.

Authorities say Aspseter had previously lived in Waite’s home, but had been asked to leave. A criminal complaint said the Waites returned to the home after a trip to Waukesha and found Aspseter on the property.

Bernard Waite again told Aspseter to leave and the attack took place a short time later.

According to the complaint, Aspseter shot himself in the throat with a rifle after the attack, called 911 and confessed to killing Waite.

A date for Aspseter’s sentencing has not been set yet.

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  Offbeat News  -   POSTED: 2022/09/01 23:44

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A Michigan elections board on Wednesday rejected an abortion rights initiative after its two Republican board members voted against putting the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

The two Democrats on the Board of State Canvassers voted in favor, but getting the measure on the ballot required at least three votes of the four-member board. The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign, which gathered signatures to get the measure on the ballot, is expected to appeal to the Democratic-leaning Michigan Supreme Court in the coming days and expressed confidence it would prevail.

The board’s administrative and clerical work on elections was once carried out in obscurity, but it drew national attention in 2020 when Donald Trump pressured Republican members not to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win in the state. Its partisan split was evident on another issue Wednesday, when it deadlocked 2-2 on a measure to expand voting, with Democrats for it and Republicans against.

The proposed constitutional amendment aims to negate a 91-year-old state law that would ban abortion in all instances except to save the life of the mother. The meeting drew hundreds of people, who packed the hearing room and overflow rooms for a chance to comment. Abortion opponents also protested outside.

Wisconsin voters with disabilities can get help returning their ballots, despite a state Supreme Court ruling and state laws that suggest otherwise, a federal judge said Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson issued an order ahead of the November election saying that voters who have difficulty returning their own ballot can choose someone to return their ballot for them. Peterson cited the federal Voting Rights Act. Federal law generally takes precedence over state laws under the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause.

“Voters shouldn’t have to choose between exercising their federal rights and complying with state law,” Peterson wrote in his order.

The order comes after the state Supreme Court in July issued a ruling that outlawed absentee ballot drop boxes and said that voters must return their own absentee ballot in person to a clerk’s office or other designated site. The decision did not explicitly address voter assistance for returning ballots by mail.

However, Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe subsequently said that “right now, the voter is the one required to mail the ballot,” referencing a state law that says the same.

A federal judge is holding a hearing Tuesday to determine if a mentally ill man charged with killing three people and wounding eight others at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015 should be forcibly medicated so he can be put on trial.

Robert Dear’s prosecution in state court and then federal court for the attack on the clinic in Colorado Springs has been stalled because he has been repeatedly found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial after being diagnosed with delusional disorder. He has refused to take antipsychotic medication according to federal prosecutors who are asking U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn to order that Dear be given medication against his will.

In a court filing, prosecutors said they expected Dear’s lawyers to argue that serious medical problems prevent him from being treated with antipsychotic medication. According to prison medical records, Dear has reported that he suffered a heart attack while taking such a drug years ago but prosecutors said they could not find any record to back that up, according to a prosecution filing.

Dear, described by acquaintances at the time of his arrest as a reclusive loner, is being represented by federal public defenders who do not comment to the media on their cases.

During outbursts in court, Dear has declared himself a “warrior of the babies” and said he was guilty. When Blackburn declared that he was incompetent to stand trial in September 2021, Dear objected, shouting “I’m not crazy,” The Denver Post reported.

Dear told police he attacked the clinic because he was upset with Planned Parenthood for “the selling of baby parts,” according to state court documents.

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Friday to 46 months in federal prison for attacking a police officer with a Donald Trump flag during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The newspaper reported that Howard Richardson, 72, of King of Prussia, told the court in Washington “there’s no excuse” for his behavior and pleaded for mercy.

But U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly responded, “Your presence and actions in joining other insurrectionists was an inexcusable attack on our democracy.”

Richardson’s sentence is one of the longest yet among those who have been prosecuted for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. In addition to the nearly four-year prison sentence, Richardson was ordered to serve three years under court supervision after his release and to pay $2,000 in restitution.

Richardson never entered the Capitol, the Inquirer reported, but prosecutors said his attack on a Washington, D.C., police officer merited a lengthy prison term.

According to the paper, police body camera footage showed Richardson bludgeoning an officer outside the Capitol with a metal flagpole. NBC News reported that Richardson also joined a mob using a giant Trump billboard as a battering ram.

Approximately 850 people have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6. Over 350 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors, and over 230 have been sentenced. Dozens of Capitol riot defendants who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from seven days to five months.

Democratic candidates have decried North Carolina’s newly reinstated abortion restrictions after a federal judge allowed a state law banning nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy to go into effect.

But some North Carolina Democrats say the ruling earlier this month — the latest fallout of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision eliminating federal abortion protections — might be the catalyst their party needed to reinvigorate its political prospects in what was shaping up to be a losing year.

“I do think it’s a blessing in disguise for Democrats,” said Morgan Jackson, consultant to powerful North Carolina Democrats like Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. “It was a horrible policy decision that set back decades and decades of progress for women, but at that same time, it has given Democrats a renewed optimism about this year.”

U.S. District Judge William Osteen ruled Aug. 17 that the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade erased the legal foundation for his 2019 ruling that had placed an injunction on the 1973 state law banning abortions after 20 weeks. Though the law allows leeway for urgent medical emergencies that threaten the patient’s life or “create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment,” it does not grant exceptions for rape or incest.

The judge’s decision comes as North Carolina is preparing to vote this fall on its entire state legislature, two state supreme court races, all 14 U.S. House seats and a high-profile U.S. Senate contest.

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