Review Category : National News

Death penalty is ‘expressed intention’ for Georgia inmates

iStock/Thinkstock(WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.) — A Georgia judge said Wednesday that the death penalty is the “expressed intention” for inmates Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose, who were on the run for over 48 hours after one of them shot and killed two correctional officers.

A Putnam County judge did not grant bond for the men. Their next court date was set for Sept. 18.

Rowe and Dubose were on a transport bus on June 13 when they allegedly breached a protective gate, reaching Baldwin State Prison officers Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, at the front of the bus. The inmates allegedly disarmed and killed them both, officials said. It was unclear which inmate shot and killed the two officers.

The prisoners, armed with the officers’ weapons, then allegedly carjacked a nearby vehicle and spent over 48 hours on the run.

They were captured in Tennessee on June 15 after leading police on a high-speed chase.

Rowe and Dubose were cellmates and friends in prison, and may have planned their escape; however, the bus ride on June 13 was unscheduled, officials said.

At the time of the shooting, 31 other inmates were on board the bus, which was en route to a diagnostic facility when the escape took place. Those inmates provided assistance to investigators, officials said.

Rowe was serving life without parole for armed robbery, the department of corrections said, and Dubose was serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery.

The Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement that the slain officers “were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family.”

Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier said, “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family.”

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Parents, newborn among six killed in 25-car pileup in New Mexico

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — A Phoenix couple and their newborn daughter were among six people killed in a massive pileup near the border of Arizona and New Mexico on Monday, according to police.

Jose Elias Caraveo-Serrano, 30, Susana Caraveo, 29, and their 6-month-old daughter, Julissa, were killed in a 25-car pileup on Interstate 10 West while traveling home from New Mexico, according to ABC’s Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV.

Caraveo was a second-grade teacher at Desert Spirit Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona.

Jill Badcock, a fellow teacher at Desert Spirit Elementary, described Caraveo as a “young sweet soul” who brought “sunshine” wherever she went.

“She was always my little Miss Sunshine,” Badcock told KNXV Tuesday. “It’s such a tragedy, for not only the community but for educators, for her friends … It’s unbelievable.”

A GoFundMe campaign for the couple, who would have celebrated their second wedding anniversary on Tuesday, had raised more than $7,000 as of early Wednesday.

Twenty-five vehicles — 18 commercial motor vehicles and seven passengers vehicles — were involved in the crashes, which resulted in six fatalities and a number of injuries, according to the New Mexico State Police.

The other victims were identified as Jose Manuel Clemente, 77, Maurella Clemente Munoz, 38, both of El Paso, Texas, and Josefina Silva, 47, of Escondido, California.

Officials with the New Mexico State Police said the collisions stemmed from a dust storm that brought high winds and limited visibility to the area.

Other fatal accidents in the Phoenix area have been attributed to dust storms in recent years.

“It’s a topographical area in which the winds come through where there’s nothing that can be done to prevent it,” New Mexico State Police spokesman Carl Christiansen said on Tuesday. “It’s never easy. It doesn’t get easier each time.”

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Police searching for suspect who killed teen during apparent Craigslist transaction

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Miami-Dade police are looking for the suspect or suspects connected to the death of a 19-year-old student athlete who was shot and killed on June 14 during an apparent Craigslist transaction, police said.

Brian Brown, 19, was shot around 3:04 p.m. local time, according to police. Relatives told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV that Brown, who graduated high school a week before his death, was shot three times in the back over what they believe to be a Craigslist transaction.

According to WPLG, relatives said Brown advertised video games and a Play Station on Craigslist to sell. They said he went to go meet the person who was supposed to buy the items from him when the shooting happened.

The teen’s dad, Craig Brown, told ABC News that his son’s girlfriend was with him at the time of the incident. Brian Brown’s girlfriend drove him to Jackson North Medical Center before he was transferred to Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Brian Brown, who played football, had received a full scholarship to Merced College and was excited to head off to school after recently going dorm room shopping, his dad told WPLG. He was expected to leave for school in California on July 1.

“He was getting ready for it, staying in shape, and everyone, his teammates, friends, everyone was talking about it. He was ready to go,” Craig Brown said.

Craig Brown described his son as a very lovable person and told WPLG, “I can say at least 200 to 300 people have come here to hug me and told me what a great kid he was, and how much love he just had for everyone.”

“I don’t know how I’m going to live without Brian,” the teen’s mother, Landcy Brown, told WPLG.

Detective Robin Pinkard told ABC News that as of Tuesday afternoon no arrest has been made in the shooting death of Brown and that they “are still seeking assistance from the community.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 305-471-2500 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A cash reward up to $3,000 is offered for anyone with information leading to an arrest.

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Dashcam video from police-involved shooting of Philando Castile released

Ramsey County(MINNEAPOLIS) — Dashcam video from the fatal shooting of a black man by a Minnesota police officer was released by officials Tuesday, days after the officer was acquitted in the man’s death.

Philando Castile, 32, was shot several times by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Latino, in July 2016 after Castile was pulled over with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of Saint Paul. Reynolds live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live. Yanez has since been fired from the police force.

The 10-minute video, which was released by Ramsey County in Minnesota, shows Yanez driving behind the white sedan Castile was driving before pulling him over.

Yanez approaches the car and says, “Hello, sir,” to Castile, who responds, “How are you?”

“Good,” Yanez replies, telling him that the reason why he pulled him over is because the brake light to the car is out. He then asks for Castile’s license and insurance while another officer stands on the passenger side of the car.

Castile hands over a piece of paper to Yanez before he says, “Sir, I have to tell you: I do have a firearm on me.”

“OK. Don’t reach for it, then,” Yanez says to Castile as he appears to reach for his own weapon. “Don’t pull it out.”

As Yanez says “Don’t pull it out” a second time, he grabs his gun and points it inside the car, firing multiple rounds. Reynolds can be heard screaming inside the car as the shooting occurs.

Yanez then orders her not to move before saying “f—” multiple times.

Reynolds’ young daughter, who was in the backseat of the car at the time of the shooting, then exits through the passenger side, and the other officer on the scene picks her up and carries her out of view.

As Reynolds explains that Castile was reaching to get out his ID, Yanez says, “I told him not to reach for it.”

Yanez then radios for help, and once additional officers arrive minutes later, they pull Castile’s body out of the car and attempt to render aid.

Once the ambulance arrives, Yanez can be heard off camera, breathing heavily as he says, “He had his grip a lot wider than a wallet, and I don’t know where the gun was. He didn’t tell me where the f—— gun was.”

The video was played during Yanez’s trial. Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter last Friday and the city of St. Anthony announced that day that Yanez had been fired.

Prosecutors claimed that Yanez did not see the gun and acted unreasonably while the defense argued that Yanez saw Castile’s hand on the gun, which he had a permit to carry, the AP said.

Defense attorney Earl Gray said that the “verdict was correct” and that the “jury worked hard.” Another defense attorney, Thomas Kelly, that while Castile’s death was a tragedy, he is “satisfied” with the verdict and “relieved” that the trial is over.

After the verdict was announced Friday, Castile’s family addressed the media, applauding the efforts of Special Prosecutor Don Lewis and his team.

“I don’t know what more could have been done,” said Castile family attorney Glenda Hatchett. “I am disappointed. My heart breaks for this family. My heart breaks for this nation.”

Philando Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said she was “mad as hell” with the verdict and called Yanez a “murderer.”

“The system continues to fail all black people,” she said.

She continued, “I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota. My son loved this state.”

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First responders save up to 27 people from flooded parking lot in Georgia

Gwinnett Police Department(ATLANTA) — First responders in Georgia rescued up to 27 people from a flooded parking lot with chest-deep waters Tuesday.

Just after 1:30 p.m., firefighters in Gwinnett County, northwest of Atlanta, were dispatched to a parking lot and two businesses located at the bottom of a hill after they became flooded with water, according to Gwinnett County Fire & Emergency Services.

Parts of the parking lot were filled with waist and chest-deep waters, officials said. First responders were able to walk about half of the people out through water that was just ankle deep.

Flooding and a fallen tree on Meadow Rue Drive in Peachtree Corners.

— Gwinnett Police Dept (@GwinnettPd) June 20, 2017

Flooding in parking lot of 6875 Mimms Rd (Atlanta-Gwinnett).

— Gwinnett Police Dept (@GwinnettPd) June 20, 2017

The remaining people were moved to higher ground using a raft from the Swiftwater Rescue Team, according to officials. Between 24 and 27 were rescued, but no injuries were reported.

Gwinnett County officials encouraged residents to stay alert to weather conditions and be prepared to evacuate due to flooding.

A flash flood warning is in effect in Georgia until 10 p.m. Tuesday. Up to three inches of rain has already fallen in some parts of the state, and additional pockets of heavy rain will continue to move through the area tonight.

In nearby DeKalb County, firefighters rescued a family of four from their home, which was becoming surrounded by water.

DeKalb Co. firefighters just did swift water rescue, took family of 4 out of home. Live at 5:33 with story.

— Rikki Klaus (@RikkiKlausWSB) June 20, 2017

No one was injured in the ordeal, and DeKalb County Fire Rescue broadcast the swift water rescue on Periscope.

DCFR assisting getting family from their home in Brookhaven, Ga. @itsindekalb

— DCFR Public Affairs (@DCFRpubaffairs) June 20, 2017

The heavy rain in DeKalb County was enhanced by tropical moisture coming from Tropical Storm Cindy, which was coming off the Gulf of Mexico.

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OJ Simpson’s parole hearing date set for July 20

Issac Brekken-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — O.J. Simpson is set to face a parole board on July 20, the Nevada Department of Corrections announced Tuesday.

Simpson was arrested in 2007 during a botched robbery in Las Vegas when he led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He was charged with a number of felony counts, including kidnapping and armed robbery. He was found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He is serving his time at Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada.

The former football star contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him. His bid for a new trial in the case was rejected in 2013, but he was granted parole that same year on some of the charges, based on good behavior. He was not released from prison at that time, since his prison sentences were set to run consecutively. Simpson had to wait until this year to appear again before the parole board.

If Simpson is granted parole next month, he would be released in October. If not, commissioners will decide the date of the next parole board meeting, which could be as far away as five years.

Simpson’s friend, Tom Scotto, told ABC News that Simpson is “hopeful.” Scotto said if Simpson is freed, he would want “to just keep a low profile, be with his kids, be with his family, play golf.”

Simpson, who will turn 70 in July, was acquitted more than 20 years ago of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The two were found on June 12, 1994, stabbed to death at her Los Angeles home.

A civil jury later ordered Simpson to pay $33.5 million in damages after finding him liable for wrongful death in the double murder.

Goldman’s family told ABC News earlier this year they cannot bear the idea of Simpson as a free man.

“Disgust,” Ron Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, said when asked what it would look like to him if Simpson was paroled.

Added Ron Goldman’s sister, Kim Goldman, “He committed a horrible heinous crime, and I have no feeling except rot in hell.”

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Delaware Correction Employee Dead After Hostage Situation at Prison

iStock/Thinkstock(SMYRNA, Del.) — A Delaware Department of Correction employee is dead after a hostage situation that lasted nearly 24 hours inside the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, officials said Thursday morning.

At 5:06 a.m. Thursday, Delaware State Police breached the C Building, where the situation with two remaining hostages was unfolding, according to the state’s Department of Correction.

One of the two hostages, a Department of Correction employee, was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at 5:29 a.m., the Department of Correction said.

The second hostage, also a Department of Correction employee, “was safely rescued and is being examined at a local hospital,” the Department of Correction said, adding that she was “alert and talking.”

The incident began Wednesday around 10:30 a.m. with four hostages. The first two hostages were eventually released on Wednesday.

Officials said the building is secure.

The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is Delaware’s largest male correctional facility, with approximately 2,500 inmates.

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.

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Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa.) — Punxsutawney Phil says Americans shouldn’t put away their coats just yet and to expect a longer winter.

The Pennsylvania groundhog saw his shadow when he emerged from his home on Thursday morning. According to legend, that means Americans won’t see an early spring.

“Six More Weeks of Winter!!” the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club tweeted Thursday morning.

Six More Weeks of Winter!! #punxsutawneyphil #ghd2017

— Punxsutawney Phil (@GroundhogClub) February 2, 2017

Had Punxsutawney Phil not seen his shadow Thursday, legend says that would have signaled an early spring instead.

Punxsutawney, the Pennsylvania town that is home to one of the most famous weather-predicting groundhogs, Punxsutawney Phil, has been carrying on the tradition of Groundhog Day since the 1800s, according to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

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Two High School Students in Custody After Police Discover Alleged Mass Shooting Plot

iStock/Thinkstock(FULLERTON, Calif.) — Police in Southern California have detained two 16-year-old high school students for allegedly planning a mass school shooting they bragged would be “bigger than Columbine,” police said Wednesday.

The Fullerton Police Department in Orange County — located south of Los Angeles — said in a statement that the two students “have been detained for making criminal threats and conspiracy to commit a felony.” They have been released to the custody of Orange County Juvenile Hall. Their names have been withheld as California law prevents law enforcement from releasing the identities of juvenile suspects.

Officials learned of the alleged plot on Wednesday after a Fullerton Police Department Resource Office assigned to Troy High School “received information regarding a possible ‘school shooting’ plot.”

The statement adds, “the School Resource Officer was told that the previous evening, two students were attending a Troy High School athletic event and during the event, the reporting party overheard the two students discussing their plans to ‘shoot up’ the school in a manner ‘bigger than Columbine.'”

The two students were also overheard discussing the types of firearms they would use, and the effectiveness of various firearms.

The individual who overheard the two students’ conversation took a photo of them, which allowed them to be identified to police.

“The reporting party in this incident may have saved countless lives, and untold heartache for an unknown number of families, simply by reporting to police what was overheard,” police said in the statement.

After obtaining the photos of the students and identifying them, officers contacted the students at school, where an “initial investigation indicates the students did make statements similar to the statements reported to police,” the police statement said.

After obtaining search warrants for “multiple locations in Anaheim,” police say they found evidence that the students had conducted online research of mass shootings.

The evidence indicated that the students were researching “weaponry and prior school shootings (including Columbine) as recently as yesterday, in preparation for their plot,” according to police.

The investigation is ongoing.

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DHS Inspector to Probe Implementation of Trump’s Immigration Ban

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General on Wednesday announced that it is reviewing the DHS’ implementation of President Trump’s controversial executive order issued last week that bans immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations and puts a halt to admitting refugees.

In a statement released late Wednesday night, the Inspector’s General’s office said the review of how the executive order was rolled out is in response to “congressional request and whistleblower and hotline complaints.”

Last Friday, President Trump announced a ban that immediately suspended immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa — Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya — for 90 days, ended for 120 days the entry of any refugees into the U.S., and indefinitely stopped the entry of Syrian refugees.

The action set off an immediate firestorm of national protests and more than a dozen legal challenges, including over the fact that a number of U.S. green card holders returning from travels had been refused entry at several airports across the country.

On Jan. 29, Democratic Sens. from Illinois, Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin sent a letter to the DHS Inspector General John Roth to request an investigation into what they called the “chaotic execution” of the order.

Wednesday’s statement noted that “in addition to reviewing the implementation of the Executive Order, the OIG will review DHS’ adherence to court orders and allegations of individual misconduct on the part of DHS personnel.”

“If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review,” it added.

The statement indicated that a final report would be issued to DHS Secretary John Kelly.

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