NEW YORK

Mentally ill homeless man dies in overheated jail cell

Jerome Murdough was just looking for a warm place to sleep on a chilly night last month when he curled up in an enclosed stairwell on the roof of a Harlem public housing project where he was arrested for trespassing.

A week later, the mentally ill homeless man was found dead in a Rikers Island jail cell that four city officials say had overheated to at least 100 degrees, apparently because of malfunctioning equipment.

The officials told The Associated Press that the 56-year-old former Marine was on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, which may have made him more vulnerable to heat. He also apparently did not open a small vent in his cell, as other inmates did, to let in cool air.

“He basically baked to death,” said one of the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss specifics of the case.

The medical examiner’s office said an autopsy was inconclusive and that more tests were needed to determine Murdough’s exact cause of death.

HOUSTON

Texas obtains supply of drugs used in executions

Texas has obtained a new batch of the drugs it uses to execute death row inmates, allowing the state to continue carrying out death sentences once its existing supply expires at the end of the month.

But correction officials will not say where they bought the drugs, arguing that information must be kept secret to protect the safety of its new supplier. In interviews with The Associated Press, officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice also refused to say whether providing anonymity to its new supplier of the sedative pentobarbital was a condition of its purchase.

“We are not disclosing the identity of the pharmacy because of previous, specific threats of serious physical harm made against businesses and their employees that have provided drugs used in the lethal injection process,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark.

BERKELEY, Calif.

Senator chides president for allowing alleged spying

Sen. Rand Paul assailed President Obama and other government leaders over recent surveillance disclosures and called for a congressional investigation of possible spying abuses during a brief speech before cheering students at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Republican senator from Kentucky on Wednesday used his platform at the historically liberal campus to chide “the nation’s first African-American president” for allowing the alleged spying abuses to occur with “no compunction,” even though Martin Luther King Jr. and other black heroes were once targets of illegal government surveillance.

Paul also called for federal lawmakers to create a special committee to investigate allegations raised by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California that CIA agents secretly searched Senate computers.

LOS ANGELES

Hostage-holding cat to appear on ‘My Cat from Hell’

The large cat that attacked a baby and trapped an Oregon family in a bedroom touched off an Internet uproar that worries Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell.”

Cats don’t become ferocious felines that turn on their families for no reason, says the cat behavior expert, who is heading to Portland soon to work with the 4-year-old part-Himalayan pet named Lux. Galaxy will film the visit for his show’s fifth season, which kicks off April 26.

Lux became a worldwide phenomenon after owner Lee Palmer called 911 and said the cat had cornered him, his girlfriend, their baby and the family dog inside a room.

– From news service reports