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The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against a Boston man seeking to overturn his murder conviction because his lawyer failed to object when the trial judge closed the courtroom during jury selection.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the 7-2 ruling that the error Kentel Weaver's lawyer committed did not appear to affect the outcome of the case. Weaver was found guilty in the 2003 murder of a 15-year-old boy.

The lawyer's failure to object prevented Weaver's mother and others from watching what should have been a public jury selection process. The judge had closed the courtroom because it was overcrowded.

Weaver's lawyer later testified that he mistakenly believed closing the court for jury selection was permitted. In fact, it violates the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial.

But Kennedy said Weaver did not show a "reasonable probability of a different outcome but for counsel's failure to object." He said the lawyer's shortcomings did not lead to a "fundamentally unfair trial."

Weaver was only 16 years old at the time of murder. Prosecutors said the victim, Germaine Rucker, was attacked by a group of men and boys after selling some jewelry to a woman, and was shot twice.

Witnesses saw a boy wearing a baseball cap pull a pistol from his pants leg. The cap fell off and was recovered by police, who discovered Weaver's DNA on it. Weaver confessed to his mother, and later, to police when his mother brought him to the police station.

Before trial, the judge ordered the courtroom closed because it was overcrowded with 90 prospective jurors, forcing some to stand in the hallway. Weaver's mother and a friend tried to get in but were refused entry.


Rhode Island's highest court has overturned the conviction of a 21-year-old man serving two consecutive life sentences for a 2012 triple slaying at a housing complex.

Authorities allege the then-16-year-old Quandell Husband had plotted with three others to rob a marijuana dealer at a Providence apartment. Shemeeka Barros, her boyfriend Michael Martin— who was the primary target — and their friend, Damien Colon, were fatally shot. Husband was convicted of three murder counts in 2014.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday found that the Superior Court judge abused his discretion by allowing the jury to consider "enormously prejudicial" evidence that shouldn't have been admitted at the trial.

The case has been sent back to Superior Court. The attorney general's office says the state is prepared to move forward and retry the case.



A young Massachusetts woman accused of sending her boyfriend dozens of text messages urging him to kill himself when they were teenagers was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter Friday.

Michelle Carter was charged in the death of Conrad Roy III. Carter, then 17, cajoled Roy to kill himself in July 2014 with a series of texts and phone calls, prosecutors alleged. Roy died when his pickup truck filled with carbon monoxide in a store parking lot in Fairhaven. After he exited the truck, Carter told him to "get back in," prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege Carter pushed Roy to commit suicide because she was desperate for attention and sympathy from classmates, reports CBS Boston, and wanted to play the role of a grieving girlfriend. Carter's lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, said Roy was intent on killing himself and took Carter along on his "sad journey."

Carter waived her right to a jury trial, so Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz decided the case. He began deliberating late Tuesday after closing arguments concluded and read his verdict Friday morning.

While Roy took "significant actions of his own" to take his own life, Carter's instruction to get back in the truck constituted wanton and reckless conduct, the judge said. Even though she knew he was in the truck, she didn't take action to help him by calling the police or his family, Moniz said.

"She called no one and finally she did not issue a simple additional instruction -- get out of the truck," Moniz said.

Carter cried as the judge read his verdict and sobs broke out in the courtroom.

The judge set sentencing for Aug. 3. He ruled that Carter, now 20, can remain free on bail but ordered her not to make any contact with Roy's family and not to leave the state. She faces a sentence of probation to 20 years in prison.


Court documents say a plea deal has been reached in the case of an Ohio man accused of trying to travel to Libya to join the Islamic State group.

A document filed in federal court Thursday says Aaron Daniels, of Columbus, will plead guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Authorities allege Daniels wired $250 to an Islamic State operative in January 2016 and told an undercover informant he was interested in traveling to commit violence overseas.

Daniels was taken into custody last year at John Glenn Columbus International Airport after a months-long investigation.

No date has been set for Daniels to enter the plea. He faces 20 years in prison.


Court records show a man shot by a Virginia State Police trooper in February appears to have been preparing for a fight in the hours leading up to the incident.

The News Leader of Staunton reports that a text message sent by Shaun Riley, who has previous felony convictions, shows he wrote his mother that he wasn't going back without "a fight." Riley survived the shooting and is being held at Middle River Regional Jail.

He was shot at a Weyers Cave rest area after allegedly refusing orders to comply and advancing on the trooper while holding a knife.

Police were called to the rest area after a New York man in the restroom overheard two men discussing how to alter their appearance.


A man who leased the Oakland warehouse where 36 people died in a massive fire appeared briefly in court on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Derick Almena had been expected to enter a plea Thursday but his attorney asked to delay the arraignment.

A judge ordered the 47-year-old Almena to return June 15 when co-defendant Max Harris is expected to make his first appearance on the same charges.

Officials say the warehouse was illegally turned into living spaces and an unpermitted concert was held there on the night of the fire in December.

Almena's attorney Jeffrey Krasnoff said his client is being used as a scapegoat and plans to fight the charges. Harris doesn't have an attorney yet.


The state Supreme Court has for the third time upheld the death sentence for Ohio's only condemned female killer.

The court ruled 6-1 Tuesday in the case of Donna Roberts, sentenced to death for a third time in 2014.

In the past, the court said a prosecutor improperly helped prepare a sentencing motion in Roberts' case and that a judge hadn't fully considered factors that could argue against a death sentence.

Justice Terrence O'Donnell, writing for the majority, rejected arguments that allowing a new judge to sentence Roberts after the original judge died was unconstitutional.

The 73-year-old Roberts was accused of planning her ex-husband's murder with a boyfriend in hopes of collecting insurance money.

The boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, also was sentenced to death in the 2001 slaying.

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