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Regional Roundup

March 29, 2013
The Herald-Star

Woman charged in bank robbery case

STEUBENVILLLE - Elizabeth M. Ely, 28,of 203 Kingsdale Road, Pottery Addition, was charged Thursday with complicity to robbery in connection with an investigation into the robbery of the Huntington Bank in Richmond on Wednesday.

Damion Sacripanti, 36, of the same address was arrested early Thursday and charged with robbery.

The sheriff's department reported Sacripanti walked into the bank, demanded cash, jumped over a counter and took about $1,000. He was arrested by deputies early Thursday morning at the Pottery Addition residence after the sheriff's department received information Sacripanti was involved based on the description of the robber.

The sheriff's department reported Ely was waiting outside the bank for Sacripanti, but she claimed she didn't know he was going to rob the bank.

Sacripanti confessed to deputies about the robbery and said he used nearly all the cash to buy heroin.

Lawmakers skeptical of tax passage

A bill before the West Virginia Legislature would increase the cigarette tax in West Virginia from the current 55 cents per pack to $1.55 - but local lawmakers say smokers shouldn't get fired up just yet.

Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, is among the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 593, and even he doesn't think it will pass the Legislature this year.

"To be quite honest, it's not likely," he said. "The governor (Earl Ray Tomblin) in his platform is pushing for more jobs - and no new taxes. He has indicated he wouldn't accept it."

But Kessler added revenue projections for the last quarter of the year are "not good," and the proposed increase in the cigarette tax could generate between $120 million and $140 million if needed. The money also could be put toward addressing the expected increase in Medicaid costs for West Virginia, he added.

"I'm not optimistic it will pass, but never say never," Kessler added.

Under the legislation, 75 percent of the revenue generated by the increase in the cigarette tax would be deposited in the West Virginia Medical Services Fund; 1 percent in the Civil Contingent Fund; and the remaining 24 percent in the General Revenue Fund.

Investigators wait to talk to mother in fire

BRIDGEPORT - Ohio State Fire Marshal investigators are waiting to interview a mother whose three children died in a March 17 house fire in the village.

Fire Marshal spokesman Michael Duchesne said the mother, Caroline Jean Owens, remains in a Pittsburgh hospital where she is being treated for burns sustained in the fire. Autopsies have been completed on the children.

''That office will not release their findings publicly until our investigation is complete. ... They didn't say this directly, but I assume it is due to the severity of her injuries that they have been unable to (interview her) at this point,'' he said.

The children - Joshua Looby Jr., 5; Ruthann Looby, 4; and Aubrey Looby, 2 - died as a result of the fire that also injured the children's father, Joshua Looby. He also is undergoing treatment for injuries received in the blaze.

Funeral arrangements for the children include visitation from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Wilson Funeral Home, 920 National Road, Brookside. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brookside, preceded by visitation at the church beginning at 10 a.m.

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