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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jul 20, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Woman sentenced on charges stemming from son's beating death

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A West Michigan woman has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in connection with the beating death of her 4-year-old son.

A Kent County judge sentenced Sonja Hernandez on Thursday to 57-120 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to second-degree child abuse and perjury.

Her former boyfriend, Elis Ortiz-Nieves, was sentenced in January to life in prison without parole after being convicted of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the June 2017 death of Giovanni Mejias in Gaines Township.

An autopsy showed the boy died from internal bleeding. He also suffered seven blows to his head, and cigarettes were extinguished on his body.

In court, Hernandez acknowledged she has made mistakes.

Michigan's youngest state lawmaker cited for open intoxicants

DEARBORN (AP) — Michigan's youngest state representative has been cited for driving with open intoxicants following a May traffic stop along a freeway in suburban Detroit.

The Detroit News reported that Rep. Jewell Jones, D-Inkster, is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 24 in 19th District Court in Dearborn on misdemeanor charges of driving with open intoxicants and on violations related to the vehicle's windshield.

The 23-year-old Jones, who is running for re-election, said Thursday that it's "all in the public record" and he didn't want to comment further.

State police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said Jones was pulled over May 26 on eastbound I-94 for speeding, tinted windows and having an obstructed license plate. She said Jones and his passengers were sober, but open intoxicants were found.

2 men raising money for priests are milking charity, state says

DRYDEN (AP) — Michigan authorities are raising flags about two men who raise money for priests accused of crimes.

The attorney general's office is ordering them to stop taking excessive compensation.

From 2014 through 2016, the state says Pete Ferrara received $690,000 and Joe Maher received $579,000. That's 35 percent of the contributions raised in those three years.

The state says the men "took what they wanted when they wanted it."

Maher and Ferrara operate Opus Bono Sacerdotii in Lapeer County. It's a Latin phrase meaning "work for the good of the priesthood."

Messages seeking comment were left for the men and their lawyer Thursday. In a response to the state, Opus Bono said recent compensation for Maher and Ferrara includes catching up after early lean years.

Man who faced robbery charges convicted in stun gun case

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — A 71-year-old man who once was charged with robbing three northern Michigan banks has been convicted in an unrelated stun gun possession case.

A Grand Traverse County jury on Wednesday found William Francis Minore guilty of two felony counts, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

Minore testified on his own behalf, saying he bought the weapons at a flea market. He contends, however, that the case was only brought because authorities couldn't make bank robbery charges stick. 

Minore faces up to four years in prison when sentenced Aug. 10.

The robberies occurred in 2015 and 2016 in Empire and Lake Ann, small towns west of Traverse City. Authorities alleged that Minore distracted police with phony reports of crimes, including a school shooting. A judge dismissed those charges earlier this year.

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