Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EDT


Man exonerated in ’97 Detroit rape case

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man convicted of sexual assault 20 years after the crime has been exonerated.

A judge on Friday granted a new trial to James Clay, but the Wayne County prosecutor dropped the case. Clay says it’s an “amazing feeling.”

In 2017, CIay was convicted of raping a teenager back in 1997 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was charged after his DNA was compared to evidence that had languished in storage.

But it turns out that Clay had an intimate relationship with her when he was 16 and she was 15. It was around the same time that she said she was assaulted by a man with a gun. Now 37 years old, she says she didn’t recognize Clay at trial as her old boyfriend.

Reporting by the Detroit Free Press raised doubts about the case.


Boy who died after football practice had heart condition

SARANAC, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a western Michigan boy who died after collapsing during football practice had a heart condition.

Dr. David Start of the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office tells WOOD-TV on Friday that Skylar Lasby suffered sudden cardiac death caused by an abnormal heartbeat. The Saranac Community Schools 7th-grader collapsed Wednesday evening during a non-contact drill and died hours later at a hospital.

Start says the investigation continues but there were no signs of trauma or infection.

An obituary posted online by Lake Funeral Homes says 12-year-old Skylar enjoyed football, fishing and camping, and was an avid fan of the University of Michigan. He is survived by his parents and several siblings.

The schools’ Facebook page says a funeral is planned Wednesday at Saranac Junior/Senior High School.


Cops: 19-year-old extorted girls into sending nude photos

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man is accused of extorting nude photos and money from underage girls and was arrested while he was trying to extort more photos from a teen while police were interviewing her.

Police say they immediately went to the Bethlehem home of Charles Cummings and took him into custody on Friday.

Bethlehem police tell that the victims are a 14-year-old girl from Michigan and a 17-year-old girl from Pennsylvania. He threatened to send nude pictures to the girls’ friends and families unless they paid him and sent him more photos.

Police Chief Mark DiLuzio tells the (Allentown) Morning Call there may be as many as 300 other victims.

Cummings was arraigned Friday on a number of offenses related to the extortion of underage girls.

He was sent to Northampton County Prison. No attorney is listed in court records.


Severe storms spawn tornado in Michigan, hail, flooding

NEW LOTHROP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say severe thunderstorms that moved across Michigan spawned at least one tornado that damaged some structures and knocked down trees.

The National Weather Service says the tornado touched down Thursday night near the Shiawassee County community of New Lothrop, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

No injuries were reported.

WEYI-TV reports two garages and two barns were damaged or destroyed. A storm survey Friday was to determine the intensity of the tornado.

The storms also hit other parts of the state. Flooding and hail were reported in parts of western and central Michigan. High winds also were felt.


Nancy who? GOP targets House Dem ‘squad’ in campaign attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Move over, Nancy Pelosi. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the “squad” of freshmen women of color are emerging as stars of Republican attacks against Democrats running for Congress.

The tone is being set from the top as President Donald Trump bashes the four squad members with a strategy Republicans are quick to mimic, modeled on his own rise to the White House. Trump made some Republicans uneasy in 2016 by taunting rivals and branding them with exaggerated nicknames intended to make them unelectable.

The GOP is embracing the tactic for 2020.

A first test will be a Sept. 10 special election in North Carolina, where Trump-endorsed Republican Dan Bishop is portraying Dan McCready and other Democrats as “crazies,” ”clowns” and “socialist.”

It remains to be seen whether the strategy will work.


Police: Shooting outside Michigan nightclub leaves 3 injured

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say an early-morning shooting outside a nightclub near the campus of Western Michigan University left three people injured.

Kalamazoo Public Safety says officers responded about 1:20 a.m. Friday to reports of gunfire and found a large crowd, including two people with apparent gunshot wounds. They say another person showed up at a hospital with a gunshot wound. All three were reported to be in stable condition.

Investigators didn’t immediately say what may have led to the shooting. They say a male suspect in a yellow Chevrolet Camaro was seen leaving the area immediately afterward. He was being sought.

The shooting prompted Western Michigan University’s Department of Public Safety to warn people to exercise caution while in the area.


EPA forces VW to correct gas mileage on 98,000 vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making Volkswagen Group correct fuel economy labels for about 98,000 gasoline-powered vehicles.

The revisions of about one mile per gallon (0.4 kilometer per liter) cover VWs as well as affiliated brands Audi, Porsche and Bentley. All are from the 2013 through 2017 model years.

The EPA says it investigated the gas vehicles after finding that VW cheated on diesel emissions in 2015.

The agency and the California Air Resources Board found that transmission software on the gas vehicles made them shift differently during government lab tests so they got better mileage than on the road.

The software was on about 1 million vehicles, but 98,000 were found to have lower mileage.

VW Group says it also settled lawsuits filed by owners and will reimburse them for overstated mileage.


Doctor charged with murder sues over coverage of legal costs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio doctor charged with murder in the deaths of 25 hospital patients is suing his former employer’s parent company for not covering his criminal defense costs, as it has in dozens of related civil cases.

William Husel’s (HYOO’-suhl) federal lawsuit argues his professional liability insurance should cover the defense expenses. His complaint says that if Trinity Health Corporation’s insurer won’t advance his legal costs, it hurts his ability to defend himself .

The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System found Husel ordered excessive painkillers for dozens of patients over several years.

Husel pleaded not guilty . He argues he was trying to provide proper palliative care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.

Livonia, Michigan-based Trinity Health declined Friday to comment.


Former church worker convicted in sexual assault case

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A former church worker has been convicted in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a teenage altar boy at a suburban Detroit church.

Oakland County Circuit Court says 66-year-old Hurmiz Ishak was found guilty Thursday of one count of criminal sexual conduct and acquitted of two others. Sentencing is Sept. 27.

Defense attorney Jalal Dallo argued there was a lack of evidence and said the allegations were fabricated.

Police say the boy’s parents reported alleged assaults last year to a priest at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy.

The St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy says church officials contacted authorities as soon as they were told. The church says Ishak served as a sacristan, opening and closing the church, as well as a subdeacon, assisting at services.