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story.lead_photo.caption The Friends Good Will, a reproduction of a merchant ship that played a role in the War of 1812, sails past a lighthouse Saturday during the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven, Mich.

Suspect held in Las Vegas attack plot

LAS VEGAS -- A man who authorities say worked as a security guard has been arrested and accused of plotting to firebomb a Las Vegas synagogue or a bar catering to gay and transgender customers, officials said Friday.

Conor Climo, 23, of Las Vegas was arrested Thursday by an FBI-led anti-terrorism task force, U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe on Friday ordered Climo to remain in federal custody pending an Aug. 23 court appearance on a federal firearms charge.

Court documents say Climo communicated by encrypted Internet chat with people identified as white supremacists, and told an FBI informant in recent weeks that he was scouting places to attack.

Documents point to a 2016 news report by KTNV-TV in Las Vegas about Climo patrolling his neighborhood wearing battle gear and carrying an assault rifle and survival knife. He shows and describes to a reporter the four, 30-bullet ammunition magazines he is carrying.

Neighbors expressed concern, but Climo was not arrested at that time.

Las Vegas police officer Aden Ocampo Gomez noted Friday that Nevada is an open-carry weapon state and Climo broke no laws.

Trutanich said Climo was arrested after an investigation involving at least one undercover online contact and an FBI confidential informant who reported that Climo "discussed, in detail, how to build a "self-contained Molotov" incendiary device.

Ruling upholds law on Indian adoption

NEW ORLEANS -- A 1978 law giving preference to American Indian families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, reversing a lower court judge in a case fraught with emotional arguments over adoptive families being "torn apart" and the urgency of protecting tribal families and cultures.

The decision from a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upholds the Indian Child Welfare Act in a lawsuit involving non-Indian families who adopted or sought to adopt American Indian children.

Opponents of the law called it an unconstitutional race-based intrusion on states' powers to govern adoptions. But the 5th Circuit majority disagreed, saying the law's definition of an "Indian child" is a political classification.

The opinion by Judge James Dennis said the U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress has broad power to regulate tribes. And it said the act's definition of Indian child is broad.

"As Defendants explain, under some tribal membership laws, eligibility extends to children without Indian blood, such as the descendants of former slaves of tribes who became members after they were freed, or the descendants of adopted white persons," Dennis wrote. "Accordingly, a child may fall under [Indian Child Welfare Act's] membership eligibility standard because his or her biological parent became a member of a tribe, despite not being racially Indian."

The decision was a victory for the U.S. Justice Department, which defended the law.

Tennessee escapee remains on the run

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The search continues for a Tennessee convict suspected of sexually assaulting and strangling a corrections administrator, then escaping on a tractor.

The manhunt Saturday for 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson is in its fourth day, with no credible sightings despite 369 tips. Rewards totaling $52,500 are available for information leading to Watson's arrest.

An affidavit says Watson was discovered missing about 11 a.m. Wednesday, several hours after being seen near the house at West Tennessee State Penitentiary where 64-year-old employee Debra Johnson lived. Authorities say Johnson was found dead in the house with a cord around her neck.

Watson had been assigned to mowing duties at 7 a.m. that day, with access to a golf cart and tractor.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted Saturday that it believes Watson remains in the area.

Trial set for St. Louis officers in beating

ST. LOUIS -- Four St. Louis police officers accused of wrongfully beating or helping cover up the beating of an undercover colleague during 2017 protests are set to go to trial this year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a judge on Friday set a trial date of Dec. 2 for Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta. Boone, Hays and Myers are accused of assaulting officer Luther Hall, who was working undercover during a protest downtown at the time. Myers is also accused of destroying Hall's cellphone. Colletta is accused of lying to a federal grand jury investigating the attack. All have pleaded innocent.

Court documents say the officers mistook Hall for a protester on Sept. 15, 2017, after the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer on a murder charge. Hall described the attack in court documents as a "free for all" and suffered several herniated discs and a jaw injury.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/Erie Times-News/JACK HANRAHAN
Noah Davis and his corgis Rowdy and Winston (in chair) relax Saturday during the third annual Corgi Fest at Frontier Park in Erie, Pa.

A Section on 08/11/2019

Print Headline: Suspect held in Las Vegas attack plot Ruling upholds law on Indian adoption Tennessee escapee remains on the run Trial set for St. Louis officers in beating

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