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March 22, 2019

FAMILY OF INFANT BURNED BY COFFEE AWARDED $6.5 MILLION

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal jury has awarded nearly $6.5 million to the family of a 9-month-old girl who was burned by coffee at a Southern California resort.

The child suffered third-degree burns in May, 2016 when she grabbed a carafe placed on a table at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa near San Diego.

The waiter testified at trial that he warned the nanny that the pot was hot. The hotel placed blame on the nanny for not properly supervising the children — and on the parents for allowing the nanny to be responsible for three young kids.

But the jury found Omni 92.5 percent responsible for the incident and the nanny 7.5 percent.

FLORIDA MAN ACQUITTED OF KILLING DAD, BUT CONVICTED OF DISMEMBERMENT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has been acquitted of killing his father but convicted of dismembering the body.

The Palm Beach Post reports that jurors found 50-year-old James “Jimmy” Scandirito II guilty yesterday of abuse of a corpse — and not guilty of first-degree murder. Sentencing is set for June 21.

Boca Raton police say Scandirito killed and dismembered his father, James “Skip” Scandirito, in March, 2018. The younger Scandirito initially claimed his dad hadn’t returned from a kayaking trip, but police found the body parts after following him to an abandoned golf club.

Prosecutors say he killed his father for inheritance money.

The son testified he found his father dead from an apparent drug overdose and hid the body because he was afraid.

MAN WRONGLY CONVICTED IN RAPE FREED AFTER 35 YEARS IN PRISON

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Criminal justice advocates say a man convicted of a 1982 rape in Louisiana’s capital city has been exonerated and freed after 35 years in prison.

The Innocence Project, which works to free wrongly convicted defendants, says in a news release that 58-year-old Archie Williams was released yesterday based on a check of an updated FBI fingerprint database. It says fingerprints found at the scene of the rape and stabbing in Baton Rouge were matched last week to another man. That person was a confessed serial rapist who died in prison in 1996.

The Advocate reports that Williams walked out of the state courthouse in Baton Rouge along with relatives and attorneys, including Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck.

OLE MISS CONFEDERATE MONUMENT TO BE MOVED

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi’s leader says he agrees that a Confederate soldier monument should be moved from its current spot on campus.

Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks has issued a statement saying he’s discussing relocation with historic preservation officials.

Student, faculty and staff groups passed resolutions earlier this month asking Sparks to move the monument to a secluded Confederate cemetery on campus. Sparks hadn’t announced until yesterday that he agreed.

Ole Miss has struggled to distance itself from Confederate imagery, installing plaques with historical context about the monument and about slaves who built some campus buildings before the Civil War.

REFEREE’S LAWSUIT DISMISSED

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A judge in Kentucky has dismissed a college basketball referee’s lawsuit against a radio network, saying the station’s criticism is protected by the First Amendment.

Veteran official John Higgins sued Kentucky Sports Radio, host Matt Jones and editor Drew Franklin, saying their postgame criticism of his officiating in Kentucky’s 2017 NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina resulted in harassment of him and his family. He said he got death threats by phone and that his roofing business was disrupted by false negative reviews online.

Jones has tweeted that he is pleased with the ruling.

CALIFORNIA WILDFLOWER BLOOM LEADS TO PARKING ISSUE

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California city overwhelmed by throngs of visitors seeking out a rare wildflower bloom says it has a parking plan.

Lake Elsinore police chief Michael Lujan says weekend visitors will no longer be allowed to park on streets by a popular trail leading through patches of orange poppies.

Rather, they will be sent to parking areas to buy tickets to board a shuttle to Walker Canyon.

The city about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles was swamped last weekend with about 150,000 people craving to see the super bloom spawned by heavy winter rains.

Officials shut access to the area Sunday as traffic was jammed and people fainted in the heat.