IN BRIEF

MEDICARE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

Pain center operators settle federal lawsuit

A Las Vegas pain management center and five of its health care professionals have settled with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve a lawsuit involving allegations of Medicare fraud.

According to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas, Advanced Spine and Pain Management Center, anesthesiologist Robert Odell, chiropractors Roger Russell and David Ketchum, and physician’s assistants Douglas Turner and Steven Olenchak agree to pay about $167,000 to resolve the case.

The complaint, filed in June against Odell, involved allegations that he and others submitted claims to Medicare for procedures that were not considered covered benefits under Medicare policies. According to the complaint, the fraudulent claims for reimbursement had been submitted since January 2000.

ARYAN WARRIORS CASE

Inmate on life sentence gets another five years

A federal judge has imposed an additional five-year prison term on a member of a white supremacist gang who already is serving a life sentence for murder.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson sentenced Charles Axtell, who previously pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge.

The plea agreement stemmed from a federal prosecution targeting numerous members of the Aryan Warriors, a prison gang that distributed methamphetamine, sought to corrupt guards and assaulted fellow prisoners.

Nevada Department of Corrections records show that Axtell, 49, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs. Clark County District Court records show that he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 1981.

HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER SOUGHT

LV woman identified as pedestrian killed

A woman who died after a hit-and-run accident early Thursday while walking on Tropicana Avenue near Nellis Boulevard has been identified as Mildred Blue, 60, of Las Vegas.

Evidence indicates the driver was traveling west on Tropicana around 3 a.m. when the vehicle drifted out of its lane, veered onto the sidewalk and struck the woman.

The driver didn’t stop.

Blue was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where she later died.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Las Vegas police at 828-3786 or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.

VICTIM SHOT FIVE TIMES

Woman gets 18 years for killing husband

A woman convicted in the September, 2007 shooting death of her husband at their home in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., was given an 18-year prison term Wednesday.

Candice Wright, 59, was sentenced in Kingman by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Rick Williams on her conviction of second-degree murder. Bill Wright, 73, suffered five gunshot wounds.

Judge Williams said he was troubled by the measures Wright took after the shooting in attempting to fabricate an alibi.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SLAYING

Bludgeoning death results in 16-year term

A Northern Arizona man who used a wood-splitting maul to kill a man in Peach Springs, Calif., has been given a 16-year federal prison term. Jonathon Bennie Yazzie Jr., 20, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Mary Murguia in Phoenix.

U.S. District attorney’s office spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said people inside were sleeping when an intoxicated Yazzie kicked in the door to enter his mother’s residence in November. Hornbuckle said Yazzie became involved in an altercation with Edgar Walema Sr., 47.

“Yazzie grabbed a wood-splitting maul or ax, and struck the victim in the back of the head, killing him instantly,” Hornbuckle said. “Agents recovered the murder weapon outside the trailer, and the defendant’s bloody handprint was found on the maul.”

Yazzie was convicted of second-degree murder in a plea agreement.

MARKINGS BEGINNING TO SHOW

San Diego Zoo’s new panda cub is a boy

The panda cub born at the San Diego Zoo nearly a month ago is a boy.

The zoo said the yet-to-be-named cub’s mother briefly left the den Thursday, allowing veterinarians to examine the 2.8-pound baby panda for the first time.

Senior zoo veterinarian Geoff Pye says the cub is healthy and starting to show its black-and-white markings. He says the cub has reached its “initial cute stage” and is “very roly poly.”

The tiny cub’s birth on Aug. 5 attracted so much traffic to the zoo’s Web site that the online Panda Cam feed crashed. The zoo’s blog also went down for a period.

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