November 10, 2012

New England Dispatches

From news service reports

BURLINGTON, Vt.

Grandmother won't be tried in death of infant grandson

A grandmother charged with giving a fatal drug overdose to her infant grandson has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The Burlington Free Press said last week's court decision means 55-year-old Pamela Raymond of Morristown, who was charged two years ago with second-degree murder, could be released for psychiatric treatment.

Raymond, a former nurse, has been in custody since October 2011, a year after the death of her 3-month-old grandson, Warren Bailey. The child was given a lethal dose of an antidepressant to keep him quiet so he would not bother Raymond's husband in September 2010.

Vermont Superior Court Judge Dennis Pearson's decision refers Raymond for further mental-health evaluation and additional hearings.

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt.

Man sentenced to 18 years for stabbing wife to death

A 51-year-old Vermont man is going to prison for 18 years for killing his wife in the parking lot of a St. Johnsbury mall after she threatened to leave him.

Benjamin Berwick of Lyndon pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder in the December 2009 stabbing death of his estranged wife, Anna, outside the Green Mountain Mall.

WCAX-TV reported that at Friday's sentencing hearing in St. Johnsbury, Anna Berwick's relatives called Benjamin Berwick a "monster" and an "evil man." They said the sentence was not harsh enough.

Berwick was taken into custody shortly after his wife's killing. He was suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

JACKSON, N.H.

Organizers aim to set record for largest snow dance

Some people in northern New Hampshire are so eager for snow that they're hoping to set a record for the largest snow dance.

Crowds are being recruited by Black Mountain in Jackson and the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce to join fellow dancers and pay homage to the snow spirits on Saturday at Black Mountain.

There will be a bonfire and music to accompany the dancing to bring on the snow.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

Author Cornwell springing for crime-scene instruction

Best-selling crime author Patricia Cornwell has treated some Massachusetts detectives to crime-scene management training.

Cambridge police officials said the weeklong training at the city's public safety facility included more than 20 local detectives.

Instructors came from the National Forensic Academy in Knoxville, Tenn.

Cornwell's latest crime novel, "The Bone Bed," came out in October.

It marks the 20th book featuring Cornwell protagonist Kay Scarpetta.

Cornwell also gave Cambridge's police commissioner a signed copy of the book, which she set in Cambridge.

The author said in a statement she felt privileged to give back to law enforcement officials who have helped her.

BOSTON

Anti-bullying forum to host author Rachel Simmons

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan is set to host a Safe School Summit, an anti-bullying forum featuring best-selling author Rachel Simmons.

The summit is scheduled for Wednesday at the Smith College Conference center in Northampton.

Simmons is the author of "Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls" and "The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls With Courage and Confidence." She works with schools and organizations to develop strategies to empower girls and reduce bullying.

More than 100 teachers, school administrators, counselors and staff from youth coalitions have registered to attend the summit.

SHELBURNE, Vt.

Women inmates paint barn as part of nonprofit project

The barn on a Vermont family farm in Shelburne has a new coat of paint, thanks to some of the inmates from the state women's prison.

The painting crew from the South Burlington prison helped scrape, repair and paint the barn on the Maille Family Farm.

Jim Maille and his parents, Joe and Sylvia Maille, worked through a program that utilized state government, nonprofit and private resources to enhance Vermont's working landscape.

The crew was organized through a group called Vermont Works for Women, a nonprofit that helps women and girls recognize their potential in ways that can lead to economic independence.

The Shelburne barn was the third to be painted in the project.

MONTPELIER, Vt.

Group welcomes defeat of death-with-dignity bill

The Vermont Right-to-Life Committee, which opposes allowing terminally ill patients to request a doctor's aid in dying, said the defeat last week in Massachusetts of a similar proposal was the correct step.

Bay State voters on Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative calling for what supporters call death with dignity and opponents call physician-assisted suicide, by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent.

 

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