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5:13 AM Tue, Oct. 16th

Arizona in Brief: High-altitude balloon explodes at Tucson launch site

High-altitude balloon explodes at Tucson launch site

TUCSON (AP) — A high-altitude balloon has exploded at a launch site in Tucson, but authorities say nobody has been injured.

Officials with World View Enterprises say that following the completion of a successful fill test on the launch pad Tuesday afternoon, the large tethered balloon ruptured.

They say there was only superficial facility damage at the launch site south of Tucson International Airport and the flight system wasn’t affected.

A loud boom was heard when the balloon exploded.

World View officials say they have been using hydrogen gas to fill its balloons.

The startup aerospace and space tourism company operates Spaceport Tucson under a contract with Pima County.

Lawsuit filed over man’s death in struggle with Phoenix cops

PHOENIX (AP) — A lawsuit alleging excessive force has been filed against the city of Phoenix in the death of a homeless man during a struggle with police officers nearly a year ago outside a community center.

Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin, 43, died shortly after officers took him into custody for having an outstanding criminal warrant. Police were called to the Maryvale Community Center after a dispute arose there over whether Muhaymin, who suffered from mental disabilities, could bring his service dog into a public bathroom with him.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by Muhaymin’s sister, seeks $10 million from the city. It alleges excessive force and wrongful death, saying officers caused the death by using unjustified force in restraining Muhaymin, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and acute claustrophobia.

The Phoenix Police Department on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuit. The agency also declined to specify the charge that Muhaymin faced in the outstanding warrant or say whether any officers were disciplined as a result of the encounter.

Former ‘Property Wars’ star gets prison in Arizona for fraud

PHOENIX (AP) — A former star on the “Property Wars” reality TV show has been sentenced to 17 years in federal prison in Arizona for bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

Scott Menaged also was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $33 million in restitution to banks and more than 200 investors.

The 40-year-old Menaged pleaded guilty in the case in October.

Menaged owned and operated furniture stores in the Phoenix metro area and a real estate investment business.

He was arrested in May for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars in loans meant for real estate purchases and providing fake purchase documents to conceal the fraud.

Prosecutors say Menaged was accused of fabricating receipts of furniture store purchases and using the information of recently deceased people for bank credit applications.

Historic Tombstone documents subject of theft investigation

TOMBSTONE (AP) — Authorities are investigating the whereabouts of original handwritten document under which the Village of Tombstone became a city in 1881.

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and the Tombstone Marshal’s Office have conducted interviews attempting to locate the charter and other city documents, some of which date back to the 1880s, since Tombstone Mayor Dusty Escapule reported the documents missing in February 2015.

The criminal inquiry of the disappearance of the documents was re-ignited last month when Tombstone Marshal Bob Randall obtained a search warrant to look for evidence of a theft, the Sierra Vista Herald reported .

The Tombstone Marshal’s Office executed a search of a storage unit last month at Tombstone RV & Mini Storage. The unit belongs to Mark Duke and Nancy Sosa, Tombstone’s former historic records manager, who was relieved of her duties in September 2014 after four years with the city.

Marana man gets a 16-year prison term for killing his mother

TUCSON (AP) — A Marana man who pleaded guilty to killing his mother in February has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Pima County prosecutors say 36-year-old Nathan Ray Fouts was sentenced Monday on a second-degree murder charge.

He was arrested Feb. 9 after telling a county sheriff’s deputy that he’d killed his mother, 62-year-old Debra Elaine Fouts.

Marana police went to the home and saw the woman on her back on the living room floor.

They say Debra Fouts had been dead for some time and she had been shot twice in the back.

Officers found three rifles and a handgun in the home, where Nathan Fouts also lived.

Nathan Fouts originally was facing a first-degree murder charge. He pleaded guilty in the case last month.

Man gets 180-year prison sentence for youth center shooting

FLORENCE (AP) — A man was sentenced to more than 180 years in prison after he was convicted of shooting at a group of children outside a youth center in southern Arizona.

The Casa Grande Dispatch reports 21-year-old Rollin Johnson was sentenced Monday after a jury found him guilty last month of charges that included firing at a structure, assisting a criminal street gang and two dozen counts of aggravated assault.

Johnson and four others were arrested in May. Authorities say he fired at least 12 rounds from a handgun at a group of children and teenagers outside the Coolidge Youth Center. Two people were injured.

Some of the charges held increased penalties because they were classified as crimes against children.

Johnson declined to make a statement to the court before sentencing.