News, Aug. 9: Cause of Death Uncertain for James, Don Johnson Ordered to Pay Hefty Grocery Bill, Hilton Sisters Report Burglary, More…

Rick James’ death still a mystery

An autopsy failed to determine the cause of death for funk legend Rick James, authorities told Reuters Saturday. James, 56, who was a diabetic and had had a stroke in 1998, apparently died in his sleep Friday at his home in Los Angeles. His three children–daughter Ty and sons Rick Jr. and Tazman–said Friday through a spokeswoman that they believe their father died of heart failure, Reuters reports.
James also had a history of cocaine addiction that led him to two assault convictions in the 1990s and a two-year stretch in prison. Officials are awaiting results of a toxicology test, which could take several weeks.

Johnson needs to pay the grocery bill

In a midst of filing for bankruptcy, actor Don Johnson has been ordered by an Aspen, Colo., judge to pay a local grocery store nearly $6,000 for an unpaid tab, The Associated Press reports. Johnson, who starred in TV’s Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, also put his 17-acre ranch near Aspen up for sale in May, after the Los Angeles-based City National Bank sued the actor in March, seeking to force an auction of the property to recoup $930,000 it claimed Johnson owed.

Hilton sisters report burglary

Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton and her younger sister, Nicky, reported that their Hollywood home had been burglarized, police told Reuters on Friday, adding that jewelry, watches and a laptop were stolen. Nicky Hilton returned home early on Thursday morning to discover the break-in, which apparently occurred sometime after 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, a police spokeswoman said. Police did not put a dollar value on the items stolen, though the spokeswoman described it as “substantial, a high amount.” Nicky Hilton, 19, told officers that no suspects were seen, the spokeswoman told Reuters, and the case remained under investigation.

McCready caught in drug fraud

Country singer Mindy McCready was arrested Thursday in Nashville and charged with prescription drug fraud after authorities told AP she used a fake prescription to obtain the pain medicine OxyContin. Authorities say McCready, 28, presented a fraudulent prescription for OxyContin at a pharmacy on Feb. 12, paid for the drugs and then left. Investigators later learned that McCready was not a patient at the doctor’s office from which the prescription purportedly originated. McCready was booked into the county jail and held on $10,000 bond, which she posted and was released the same day, AP reports.

Iraqi government shuts down Al-Jazeera station

The Iraqi government ordered Al-Jazeera’s employees out of their newsroom Saturday after they accused the Arab satellite channel of inciting violence and closed its office for 30 days, AP reports. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station “a chance to re-adjust their policy against Iraq.” “They have been showing a lot of crimes and criminals on TV, and they transfer a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis and encourage criminals to increase their activities,” he said. “We want to protect our people.” Al-Jazeera officials said the closure was an ominous violation of freedom of the press. Haider al-Mulla, a lawyer for Al-Jazeera, said the channel would respect the decision but study its legal options. The controversial Arab satellite channel was the subject of a recent searing documentary The Control Room, directed by Jehane Noujaim.

Film editor Peroni dies

Film editor Geraldine Peroni, best known for her work with director Robert Altman, including her Academy Award nomination for Altman‘s 1992 The Player, died Tuesday at her home in Manhattan, AP reports. She was 51. Her death was ruled a suicide by the city medical examiner’s office, but her family is disputing that finding.

Death penalty tackled in reality show

ABC’s new reality series In the Jury Room was given permission to shoot in an Ohio jury room in the case of Mark Ducic, who was charged with a double murder that carried a possible death sentence, showing the jury’s deliberations in a death penalty case that eventually saw Ducic spared from execution. “What I like to do is take people places they’ve never been before,” producer Michael Bicks told Reuters. “And people have never been taken into a jury room for a capital murder case.” The program, shown in hour-long segments on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, follows the Ducic case over a three-month period from pretrial preparations through the trial and the verdict handed down in June.