MISSOURI Kansas City — A Kansas City-area priest whose case led to a criminal conviction against his bishop will likely spend the rest of his life in a federal prison after being sentenced to 50 years Thursday for producing or trying to produce child pornography. The Rev. Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty in August of last year to five counts — one for each of his five young victims. He was charged in May 2011 after police received a flash drive from his computer containing hundreds of images of children, most of them clothed, with the focus on their crotch areas. Ratigan, 47, apologized to his victims and their families before learning his punishment and asked the judge for the statutory minimum sentence of 15 years for each count, with the terms to all run at the same time. “Prison is hell,” Ratigan said. “I know I deserve 15 years, but 50 years? Come on, I don’t think so.”
PENNSYLVANIA Harrisburg — A Pennsylvania judge Thursday ordered a suburban Philadelphia court clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and the clerk said he would comply but is considering an appeal. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini said Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes did not have the power to decide on his own whether Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution. “Unless and until either the General Assembly repeals or suspends the Marriage Law provisions or a court of competent jurisdiction orders that the law is not to be obeyed or enforced, the Marriage Law in its entirety is to be obeyed and enforced by all commonwealth public officials,” Pellegrini wrote. Hanes said he was disappointed. “The decision to issue a marriage license was not made in haste, and what we’re going to do next, based on this decision from the court, will not be made in haste,” Hanes said.
GEORGIA Brunswick — A Georgia teen convicted of fatally shooting an infant in a stroller was sentenced Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole after the grieving mother asked a judge to punish the gunman for taking “the love of my life.” De’Marquise Elkins, 18, stood silent and showed no emotion as he was sentenced in a courtroom less than two weeks after a jury found him guilty of murder in the slaying of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago during a robbery attempt. “His first word was never heard. His first sentence was never said,” Sherry West, the child’s mother, said through tears on the witness stand as she read a statement made to rhyme like a poem or a nursery rhyme. “He never got to sleep in a toddler bed.”
MONTANA Missoula — A federal judge ordered a Montana newlywed released from jail Thursday as she awaits trial on charges that she pushed her husband to his death over a cliff in Glacier National Park because she was having second thoughts about marriage. Prosecutors immediately sought to reverse Thursday’s order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch, saying Jordan Linn Graham, 22, of Kalispell, was a risk to the community and had lied to investigators. But Lynch said the government had not shown that Graham was a danger to the community or a flight risk — the two main factors in deciding whether someone should be released. He ordered her into home detention at her parents’ house in Kalispell, and to undergo a mental evaluation.
WASHINGTON Spokane — Two 16-year-old boys have pleaded not guilty in the beating death of an 88-year-old World War II veteran in Spokane, Wash. Demetruis Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard entered the pleas Thursday afternoon in separate appearances before Spokane County Superior Court Judge James Triplet. The defendants said little else during their brief appearances. They’re accused of beating Delbert “Shorty” Belton to death.