An Oregon couple, charged with manslaughter in the death of their 12-year-old daughter, have asked that mention of their religious beliefs and faith healing practices be excluded from evidence during their trial.
Prosecutor Keith Stein contends that Travis and Wenona Rossiter are responsible for the death of Syble Rossiter who died of complications from diabetes in February 2013.
“They knew she was in great peril ... They didn’t seek out medical care, and the reason they didn’t do it was their religious beliefs,” Stein said in a hearing Friday according to the Gazette Times of Corvallis, Ore.
“This is what the case is about, and in truth, this is what happened,” he added.
The Rossiters were arrested in August. They are members of the Church of the First Born, a fundamentalist group that believes traditional medical treatment is sinful.
Police Capt. Eric Carter of Albany, Ore., was present at the couple’s arrest.
“The 12-year-old had a treatable medical condition and the parents did not provide adequate and necessary medical care to that child,” he told Portland’s KOIN News in August. “And that, unfortunately, resulted in the death of her on February 5 of this year.”
Carter said he did not know to what degree the couple believed in faith healing, only that he was briefed that the child would have lived had she received proper treatment.
Wenona Rossiter’s attorney, Mark Heslinga, told Judge Daniel Murphy last week that mentioning the couple’s religious beliefs would be prejudicial.
Tim Felling, Travis Rossiter’s attorney, told the judge, “My client is requesting he be tried for the actions of that day, not for his religious beliefs.”
Wenona Rossiter’s 7-year-old brother died of leukemia in 1994 after her parents failed to provide medical care for the child.
A jury convicted her father, Loyd Hays, of criminally negligent homicide in that case. He was sentenced to five years’ probation. He was the first person in the state to be tried for adhering to religious beliefs rather than seeking medical care for a child.
Murphy was the judge in that case as well. He allowed for exclusion of some information about that death but he said it is not relevant to the current case because the children died of different causes.
He said he would issue a ruling in the Rossiters’ case “as soon as possible.”
A date for the trial has not been set.
After massive budget cuts in Josephine County, Ore. led to two-thirds of the sheriff’s department being laid off, the county saw a huge surge in burglaries, vehicle thefts and other property crimes.
Now, Southern Oregon residents are taking it upon themselves to patrol the areas that officers cannot.
Federal land makes up 70% of Josephine County; revenue from timber sales on this land kept the county’s taxes low and county government functioning. However, as logging declined dramatically and payments stopped coming in, the county’s sheriff’s department’s budget was cut by more than half.
As NPR explains, after the cuts, a single deputy was left to patrol the entire county.
The Sheriff’s Office issued a press release announcing that their deputies would respond only to “life-threatening situations.”
Now, citizen safety groups have formed throughout at least four communities in the county.
Alan Cress, a volunteer on a Citizens Against Crime patrol, explained that the patrol group isn’t trying to take the place of law enforcement.
“In fact, we have a great deal of respect for what law enforcement does,” Cress said. Instead, he stressed that in light of the extremely limited resources currently available to the sheriff’s department, these volunteers are “just trying to keep a presence out there.”
In Merlin, Ore., members of the North Valley Community Watch Responder Team are even receiving academy-style training from Ken Selig, a 33-year veteran of the sheriff’s department who retired when he was facing the prospect of being laid off.
“I used the same lesson plans, the same things that [I used] when I taught at the academy,” Selig explained.
As Jeff Bailey, a member of the North Valley Community Watch Responder Team, said, community watches are, “solving the problem, No. 1, and [they are] also kind of sending a message that people are watching and people are willing to do something about crime in the area.”
Although County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson has said that he supports neighborhood watches, a recent community meeting also left him feeling concerned and unsettled. Some citizens feel that these community watches have so effectively replaced law enforcement, that they now oppose the idea of paying for officials to resume enforcement of their county.
“Well, that really concerns me. That does concern me,” Gilbertson said.
The 18-year-old man accused of peeing in an Oregon reservoir says his urine never reached over the wall and crews are about to waste 38 million gallons of drinking water for no reason.
Dallas Swonger told online news magazine Vocativ that he peed on the wall at Mt. Tabor Reservoir 5 in Portland, but not a drop went into the reservoir. He adamantly denied that he aimed his stream into the water supply.
“I didn’t piss in the f***ing water...I leaned up against the wall and pissed on it,” Swonger told the website. “Right there on the wall, dude. I don’t know how else to describe it.”
Swonger was busted for public urination and trespassing after he was caught on security camera apparently peeing into the reservoir.
“When you see the video, he’s leaning right up because he has to get his little wee wee right up to the iron bars,” David Shaff, the city’s Water Bureau administrator, told the Oregonian. “There’s really no doubt what he’s doing.”
The Water Bureau is flushing all the water – enough to fill about 57 Olympic-size pools.
“Even though there is very minimal public health risk, the bottom line is that our commitment is to serve water that’s clean, cold and constant,” Shaff said. “That doesn’t include pee. Not from people, at least.”
“Yeah, it’s f***ing retarded dude,” Swonger told Vocativ.
“Everybody thinks it’s funny and a joke and I’m going to be on the news,” he said. “It’s no f***in’ joke, dude. I don’t want people thinkin’ that Dallas is dumb ass because he pissed in the f***in’ water. In our drinking water. Yeah, that’s f***ing awesome. I mean, wouldn’t you be pissed about that?”
“Dallas is really bummed out about all of it,” his skater friend Daniel McDonald told Vocativ Thursday. “He’s a really good guy at heart. He just doesn’t make the best decisions. Honestly, he has the potential to do really good.”
The city of Portland, Oregon has been forced to flush 143 million liters of drinking water down the drain after a 19-year-old delinquent decided to urinate in the reservoir.
The 19-year-old was caught on surveillance footage around 1 a.m. urinating off the bridge and into the reservoir. Though the Water Bureau used to keep guards on duty through the night, the posts were cut a few years ago to reduce rate increases.
The reservoir will be drained and sanitized after Wednesday’s incident, according to city water officials.
“That water goes directly into people’s homes,” David Shaff, Portland Water Bureau adminstrator said. “There is no way to re-treat it.”
The draining and cleaning of the reservoir is expected to cost the city $35,000.
“Even though there is very minimal public health risk,” Shaff said, “the bottom line is that out commitment is to serve water that’s clean.”
An Oregon man received a postcard addressed to his deceased great-grandmother postmarked at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 1940.
It’s been a long journey for a postcard addressed to Florence Marion of Butte Falls, who died in 1952.
The card arrived at the Butte Falls post office in July 2013 and was delivered to her great-grandson, Alan Marion of Phoenix, Ore., on April 14, 2014.
“To me, it’s one of those things that must have been meant to be. For everything to fall in place and show up at my doorstep, so to speak. I’m thrilled to have this card,” said Marion, who happens to be the maintenance director of the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society.
The front of the postcard is a picture of a boat with the handwritten inscription: “Leaving Manilla Bay. Feb. 1906. Flying Homeward Pennant.”
On the back, in faded pencil, it says, “Arrived in Portland at 8 o’clock. Having a fine time. Be home sometime Sat. — Blanche.”
Sunny Bryant, a USPS employee at the Butte Falls Post Office discovered the postcard last July. She asked around town about Florence and “got little clues here and there.”
But she couldn’t find a find for the piece of mail. That’s when she contacted Charleen Brown of the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society.
Brown recognized the name Marion and contacted the RVGS member. She said Alan once told her he had family in Butte Falls.
“Somebody’s been looking over my shoulder here, and it must have been my great-grandmother,” Alan said.
“Obviously these kinds of situations are very rare,” says Peter Hass, USPS spokesman. “It’s really difficult to determine where it might have been for those many years. The good news is it did get delivered to a relative, at least.”
Florence was laid to rest with her husband John, who died in 1935, in a cemetery in New Sharon, Iowa.
No one recognizes the sender of the postcard. Just who Blanche was remains a mystery.
An Oregon woman is suing Walmart and a shampoo maker for $10,000 after she says she used a product that left her hair so tangled she had to cut it for the first time in years.
Jennifer Fahey, 30, claims she’s had hair down her back for most of her life. She says she bought a bottle of Equate Everyday Clean Dandruff Shampoo from a Portland Walmart last year. On Oct. 8, the first time she used the shampoo, her hair became irreparably tangled and she had to cut most of it off.
Her attorney William Ball told the Oregonian she had to cut off several feet of hair, leaving her with only four inches on her head.
“She was not able to remove the knots and as a result she had to cut a large portion of her hair from the top and back of her head,” says the suit, filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Fahey saved the bottle of shampoo for chemical analysis, which Ball says hasn’t yet been completed.
The suit names Walmart and the St. Louis-based shampoo-maker, Vi-Jon, as defendants.
She is seeking $10,000 for her "past, present and future physical and emotional pain and suffering, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment, expenses for replacement hair, along with diminished and lost wages" and “loss of life’s pleasures and activities.”
Walmart website lists the 23.7-ounce bottle of Equate at $3.44.
Hundreds of women sued Unilever last year after they claimed Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit caused hair loss. A settlement was reached for three class action suits in February.
Unilever agreed to create two funds: a "Reimbursement Fund" of $250,000, to reimburse consumers for their purchase of the Smoothing Kit, and an "Injury Fund" of $10,000,000, to compensate consumers for bodily injuries and for emotional distress that accompanied bodily injury.
Apparently the death of a parent isn’t a good excuse to miss an unemployment class.
Oregon woman Kristen Smith was ordered to repay a week’s worth of unemployment compensation to the state of Oregon after she rescheduled an unemployment class because of her mother’s impending death.
On the Wednesday before this past Thanksgiving, doctors called Smith and told her that her mother would pass away within the next 24 hours. Smith immediately called her unemployment office and told representatives she needed to cancel her class that evening so that she could be with her mother.
“I called that evening that I found out about mom passing. Soon they told me I was doing the right thing,” Smith said.
Sure enough, her mother passed away the next morning.
Two weeks later, Smith received a call from the unemployment office saying she needed to pay back her income assistance from that week.
“Because I rescheduled the class it showed that I was not emotionally available for work that week and I owe that week back,” the office claimed, according to Smith.
Smith says she has proof she was actively looking for work during the week her mother passed. Nevertheless, she’s still being asked to repay the $400 in assistance.
An ongoing federal lawsuit in Portland, Oregon accuses police officers of arresting two tow truck company employees after they towed unmarked police cars parked illegally on a private lot.
The five cars belonged to police officers and a DEA agent who were working on a nearby sting. A business owner at the lot says the cars were parked there over a span of two days. The owner first put a note on the windshields of the cars asking them to be moved. The next day, he spoke with one of the officers.
The officer allegedly “responded with expletives” to the note and insisted the cars would not be moved. The business owner then called the property’s trustee, who called a towing company. The cars were towed.
Later, several police officers showed up at the tow company's office to get their cars back. Per protocol, employees of the company asked for proof of ownership of the vehicles. The officers were unable to display any information proving they owned the cars. They left and said they would return later.
Soon after, a group of cops both in uniforms and street clothes returned to the office. Then, according to the lawsuit, Sgt. Andrew Roberts showed his badge to the tow company employees and insisted that was all he needed to retrieve the cars. When the employees didn’t comply, they were arrested.
The lawsuit filed by the arrested employees accuses the officers of violating their constitutional rights by detaining them. They say the officers didn’t have probable cause to arrest them, and that their rights to due process and protections against unreasonable search and seizures were both violated in the arrest. The lawsuit also claims Sgt. Roberts threatened to arrest the lawyer of the employees for asking questions.
The employees are seeking $500,000 each for pain and suffering. The tow truck company seeks to recoup money spent defending the employees in court.
A cat with a thirst for blood gave an Oregon family quite the scare on Sunday.
The behemoth cat named Lux, weighing in at 22 pounds, attacked the seven-month-old child of Lee Palmer and Teresa Barker. Palmer kicked the cat to get him off of his child. When he did that, the cat turned on him.
"He's trying to attack us," Palmer is heard saying in a 911 call. "He's very, very, very, very hostile."
"Every time we opened our back bedroom door, the cat would hiss,” Barker recalled.
The 911 dispatcher sent police to the household to restrain the cat. The officers brought a dog snare with them to reign in the beast. Upon opening the home’s door, officers say Lux darted to the kitchen “attempting to flee custody.”
The dog snare came in handy as it was used to trap the cat and put him in a crate. Officers left the home after Lux was caged up.
"The cat remained behind bars in the custody of the family, and officers cleared the scene and continued to fight crime elsewhere in the city," the Portland Police Bureau said.
Palmer told the 911 dispatcher Lux has a history of aggressive behavior.
"He's got kind of a history of violence," he said. "He's kind of a violent cat already. But he's really bad right now."
The family is currently deciding whether to keep Lux or find him a new home. Barker admitted that the idea of being held hostage in a room by a cat sounds funny. That is, unless you’re the one being held hostage.
"It's only funny when it's not happening to you," said Barker. "When this happens to you, I assure you, you will do the same thing."
A Portland, Ore. man riding a public bus has been arrested for claiming to have a “loaded and cocked” gun on him during the ride.
According to reports, 41-year-old Patrick O’Brien Nolin announced that he had the gun, and when the bus driver overheard, she decided to call the police.
When police arrived, they carefully approached the bus to apprehend Nolin. Once they got him into custody, they discovered that he didn’t really have a gun on him at all. Even though police didn’t find a firearm on Nolin, and he didn’t break any laws in that regard, authorities still arrested him.
Nolin was charged with interfering with public transportation and is currently being held at Multnomah County Jail.