ARIZONA: Prison for 'straw' gun buyer
A federal judge sentenced a Phoenix man Wednesday to nearly five years in prison for purchasing firearms for a Mexican drug cartel, triggering a chain of events that included the death of a Border Patrol agent and the unraveling of a failed gun-tracking operation called "Fast and Furious." Jaime Avila Jr., 25, was a "straw purchaser" of the firearms for the cartel. His purchases included two rifles found at the scene of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry two years ago this week in the desert south of Tucson. Avila bought 52 firearms over 10 months. Federal Judge James A. Teilborg sentenced Avila to 57 months in prison, for what he called running "weapons of war." Avila's attorney pleaded for a lighter sentence for her client, saying he was remorseful and dabbled in drug running only to feed his methamphetamine addiction.
CALIFORNIA: Guv treated for prostate cancer
Gov. Jerry Brown is being treated for early-stage prostate cancer but will stay on the job throughout his nearly four-week treatment, his office said Wednesday, calling the prognosis for the typically energetic 74-year-old chief executive "excellent." The office of the three-term governor said he would undergo conventional radiotherapy until the week of Jan. 7 for what it called a "localized" cancer.
OKLAHOMA: 55 years for child rape in church
A former janitor at a Tulsa megachurch engulfed in a sex-abuse scandal was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in the church's stairwell. Chris Denman also was sentenced to 5 years of probation and a $12,000 fine. Denman pleaded guilty in October to first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Denman was accused in the August rape of a girl on the campus of Victory Christian Center, a worldwide ministry located in south Tulsa that has 17,000 members. Denman was also charged with molesting a 15-year-old girl and making a lewd proposal to a 12-year-old girl.