Woman gets prison term for glass-eating scheme

A Massachusetts woman has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after she admitted that she and her husband intentionally ate glass particles, then submitted false insurance claims.

Mary Evano, 49, was also ordered Tuesday to pay more than $340,000 in restitution. In September, she pleaded guilty to a 23-count federal indictment charging her with fraud, conspiracy and other offenses.

Federal prosecutors alleged that between 1997 and 2005, the couple collected more than $200,000 in compensation after filing insurance claims that they had been injured by restaurants, hotels and grocery stores that had served them food containing glass particles.

Evano’s husband, Ronald Evano, is serving a five-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2007.


Court: Don’t punish homeless sex offenders if GPS runs down

Massachusetts’ highest court says homeless sex offenders should not be punished for being unable to keep their monitoring devices charged.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday in the case of John Canadyan Jr., who was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

After his release, Canadyan was ordered to wear a GPS device. But a judge found that Canadyan had violated his probation by not doing enough to find a job that, in turn, would allow him to secure housing and have access to an electrical outlet for charging the device.

The Supreme Court ruled that the lower court’s finding that Canadyan had violated the terms of his probation was “akin to punishing the defendant for being homeless.”


City to use grant funds for memorial to buried slaves

The city of Portsmouth, N.H., is going to use $100,000 in grant money to help build and maintain a memorial park to an 18th-century cemetery for African slaves.

Archaeologists and historians believe the remains of at least 200 people could be buried beneath Chestnut and State streets. The graves were discovered in 2003.

It’s believed African slaves or free Africans were buried in the area from 1705 until the 1790s.


Machete attack defendant seeks new venue for trial

The trial of a second man charged in the fatal machete attack on a Mont Vernon woman should be moved to another county because of the intense media coverage given his co-defendant’s trial and conviction, his lawyers argued Monday.

Public defenders for Christopher Gribble, 21, of Brookline cited a 38 percent spike in traffic on the website of The Telegraph newspaper of Nashua during Steven Spader’s trial.

Spader, 19, also of Brookline, was sentenced last month to life in prison for the murder of Kimberly Cates and maiming of her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie, at the Cateses’ home in 2009.

Prosecutors countered that Spader’s trial coincided with hotly contested state and national elections and that it’s impossible to know what the site’s readers were viewing.

Gribble admitted this month that he helped kill Kimberly Cates and repeatedly stabbed Jaimie, but he claims he was insane at the time. Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson said she won’t rule until sometime in January on whether to move the trial.


National union head defends teachers at troubled school

The head of the American Federation of Teachers on Tuesday defended teachers at a persistently troubled Rhode Island high school where the entire staff was fired last year, but she also asked the state’s incoming governor to intervene.

Randi Weingarten said at a news conference with local union officials that teachers are committed to making the school better but need help and support from the administration.

Weingarten toured the school, met with teachers and called for a “mid-course correction” and for Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee, an independent, to convene a team, including the state education commissioner and school superintendent, to work on ways to improve the school.

The school received national attention last year when the district’s trustees approved the firing of the entire teaching staff under a federal model used for failing schools. Just 7 percent of 11th-graders tested in October 2009 were proficient in math. The firings caught the attention of federal officials and President Obama, who called the move an example of holding teachers accountable for poor student performance.

The teachers were rehired months later after agreeing to work a longer school day and make other reforms. But the school year is off to a rocky start amid reports of student disciplinary problems and an absenteeism rate among teachers that administrators consider troubling.