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plea. The Modesto Bee reports Gustavo Perez Arriaga told the judge Wednesday his true name is Paulo Virgen Mendoza.

His attorney questioned his mental competency, prompting the court to suspend the case until Perez Arriaga gets a mental evaluation.

Perez Arriaga was arrested Friday in the Dec. 26 shooting of Newman police Cpl. Ronil Singh during a traffic stop. The 33-year-old Singh is survived by a wife and 5-month-old son.

A man charged with the killing of police officer in Northern California made his first court appearance but did not enter a plea. The Modesto Bee reports Gustavo Perez Arriaga told the judge Wednesday his true name is Paulo Virgen Mendoza.

His attorney questioned his mental competency, prompting the court to suspend the case until Perez Arriaga gets a mental evaluation.

Perez Arriaga was arrested Friday in the Dec. 26 shooting of Newman police Cpl. Ronil Singh during a traffic stop. The 33-year-old Singh is survived by a wife and 5-month-old son.

Authorities say Perez Arriaga was in the country illegally and had previous arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. Authorities say he was planning to flee to Mexico. President Trump cited the case while calling for tougher border security.



A North Carolina appeals court has scheduled a January hearing for a father and daughter challenging their murder convictions in the beating death of the woman's husband.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Jan. 31 for Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens' requests to throw out their convictions.

In 2017, Corbett and Martens were convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of businessman Jason Corbett.

Molly Corbett and Martens, her father and a former FBI agent, both were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.

Defense attorneys argued their clients acted in self-defense and feared for their lives during a struggle with the husband. In court papers, prosecutors say those self-defense claims are a "fantasy."



An anti-corruption court is set to rule on two cases against Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif, who was removed from office last year after being disqualified from serving his third stint as prime minister, could be sentenced to prison. He is accused of possessing assets beyond his known sources of income. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Ahead of Monday's verdict, Ahsan Iqbal, a senior leader from Sharif's opposition Pakistan Muslim League party, said "it will be unfortunate" if Sharif is sentenced.

Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July over the purchase of luxury apartments in London. He appealed that sentence and was released on bail in September.



In a rare step, the California Supreme Court has blocked Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to issue a pardon to a 37-year-old Cambodian refugee who killed a woman when he was 14 years old.

The court gave no reason for the rejection, but earlier noted it only had the authority to do so in the case of an “abuse of power.” Brown’s pardon would have effectively stopped Borey Ai’s deportation to Cambodia, a nation where his mother was born but he has never seen.

The governor in the last 10 months has pardoned seven ex-convicts who otherwise faced the threat of deportation to Cambodia, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, whose administration has stepped up efforts to deport immigrants with criminal convictions.

It takes at least four votes of the seven justices to block pardons. The unsigned ruling Wednesday didn’t say how many justices voted to block the pardon. The governor is required to obtain the court’s approval for pardons and sentence commutations for twice-convicted felons.

Appellate lawyer David Ettinger said it appears the last time the court rejected a governor’s pardon occurred in 1930.

A spokesman for the governor, Brian Ferguson, declined comment.

Ai was charged as an adult and convicted in Santa Clara County 1997 of second-degree murder and also of a separate robbery. He was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison.


A Minnesota man accused of faking his own death seven years ago to collect a $2 million life insurance policy arranged for a stand-in corpse to be dressed in his clothes in Moldova, according to a judge’s detention order.

Igor Vorotinov, 54, also planted his identification on the body before placing the corpse along a road in the Eastern European country, a U.S. judge said in rejecting Vorotinov’s request to be freed pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine M. Menendez ruled Wednesday that Vorotinov posed too great a flight risk. In her ruling, Menendez said Vorotinov showed “substantial resourcefulness and cunning.”

Vorotinov was indicted in 2015 on one count of mail fraud. He was arrested this month and returned to the U.S.

Prosecutors allege in court documents that Vorotinov took out the life insurance policy in spring 2010 and designated then-wife Irina Vorotinov as the primary beneficiary. The couple divorced later that year.

In 2011, Irina Vorotinov, 51, identified a corpse in Moldova as her husband’s, prosecutors allege. She then returned to the U.S. with a death certificate and cremated remains and received the life insurance payment. Money was then transferred to her son, and to accounts in Switzerland and Moldova.

She has pleaded guilty to her role and is serving a three-year sentence. Alkon Vorotinov, 28, pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to probation.

After the insurance payout was made, prosecutors spoke by phone in May 2016 with Igor Vorotinov in hopes of persuading him to return to the U.S. But he told investigators he would rather live with his new love interest on an apple farm, according to the judge’s filing.

The identity of the corpse is still unclear, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported . The scheme also included a 2011 funeral service at a Minneapolis cemetery, where an urn was placed in a niche. Tests later determined the remains were not Vorotinov’s.

Vorotinov pleaded not guilty Tuesday. He was returned to jail and awaits trial, tentatively planned for January.


The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected the latest appeal by a man convicted of killing a University of Nebraska at Omaha student whose body has never been found.

The high court Friday upheld a lower court's denial of Christopher Edwards' second motion for post-conviction relief. The court found that Edwards' appeal saying the lower court should have held an evidentiary hearing on his claim that his attorney was ineffective was filed too late.

Edwards was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2006 disappearance of 19-year-old Jessica O'Grady, whose body was never found. Edwards was sentenced to 100 years to life.

The high court rejected Edwards' first post-conviction relief motion in 2012. In that motion, Edwards argued that a corrupt Douglas County crime scene investigator planted blood evidence to frame him.



A lawyer representing one of two women who have accused Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan of raping them in France says a court has approved Ramadan's release from jail.

Lawyer Francis Szpiner said a French court granted the 56-year-old Oxford University professor's release Thursday on condition he pay 300,000 euros ($340,000) bail, surrender his Swiss passport and remain in France.

Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, was jailed in February and handed preliminary rape charges 9 1/2 months ago over two alleged assaults in France, one in 2009 and another in 2012. A third woman filed a rape complaint against him in March.

The outspoken scholar denies any wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit claiming the allegations are false. The allegations surfaced as the #Metoo movement took hold in France.

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