BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has resentenced an ex-Birmingham police officer who was convicted of using excessive force during an arrest.
U.S. District Judge Inge. Johnson sentenced 36-year-old Corey Hooper on Thursday to a year and one day in prison for repeatedly punching Martez Gulley while he was handcuffed and in the backseat of a patrol car on Sept. 6, 2007.
Hooper was initially sentenced to five years of probation but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled in May that the punishment violated federal sentencing guidelines.
The appeals court said Hooper's initial sentence wouldn't adequately discourage other law enforcement officials from using excessive force.
Hooper was convicted of depriving Gulley of his civil rights in 2012 and is ordered to report to prison Dec. 1.
POLLOCK PINES, Calif. (AP) — A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson in an out-of-control Northern California wildfire that has driven nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday.
Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, is suspected of starting the fire east of Sacramento on Saturday, authorities said at a news conference.
By Thursday, the blaze had burned through 111 square miles as winds surged to 25 mph and continued to fuel its rapid expansion, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was 5 percent contained.
"This fire is definitely eye-opening," Cal Fire spokeswoman Alyssa Smith said.
The blaze has been fueled by heavy timber and grass that is extremely dry because of California's third straight year of drought.
Many of the more than 2,000 threatened homes were in Pollock Pines, 60 miles east of Sacramento. Though the fire grew substantially late Wednesday, it burned mostly into wilderness land in the El Dorado National Forest away from the town, according to Cal Fire.
The blaze was burning about 20 miles from the Desolation Wilderness, a popular hiking area south of Lake Tahoe.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Wednesday, freeing up funds for the two fires. Brown also had secured federal grants to fight each of them.
Rain was possible in the area Thursday, though more gusty, erratic winds also were expected, and there was a chance of lightning.
Meanwhile, farther north in the town of Weed, teams of firefighters went house-to-house Wednesday to survey damage by a wildfire that officials estimated had destroyed 110 homes and damaged another 90. The damage assessment was expected to continue Thursday.
Four firefighters lost their homes. Two churches, a community center and the library also burned to the ground, while an elementary school and the city's last wood-products mill were damaged by flames that were pushed by 40-mph winds.
Insurance companies worked to find places to live for the people who lost their homes.
The cause of the blaze that rapidly swept across town was under investigation. It was 65 percent contained after burning 375 acres.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The couple accused of kidnapping two young Amish sisters in northern New York were charged Thursday in federal court with sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.
Nicole Vaisey, 25, and Stephen Howells Jr., 39, of Hermon, have already pleaded not guilty to state kidnapping charges. They are being held without bail in St. Lawrence County and were taken to federal court Thursday in Syracuse to hear the five new charges.
Handcuffed and wearing orange-and-white jail clothing, they acknowledged in court they knew what was happening and said little else, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley-Dancks appointed lawyers for both.
Calls to their attorneys were not immediately returned.
The 7- and 12-year-old girls were abducted last month from their family farm stand in rural Oswegatchie, near the Canadian border. Authorities say they were shackled and sexually abused before being released the next day about 20 miles from home.
The federal indictment released Thursday in Syracuse says another young girl, now about 8 years old, was also sexually abused previously over the past two years.
"This indictment charges Howells and Vaisey with enticing and coercing children to engage in sexual conduct and making a video recording of it," said U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian, who addressed reporters. The Justice Department has made protecting minors from sexual exploitation a high priority, he said.
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain, who had been planning to seek additional charges against the couple, said she hadn't been consulted by federal prosecutors and would wait to see what they did to avoid crossing up cases with similar charges.