Review Category : National News

How Workers Will Clean Site of ‘Atomic Man’ Nuclear Accident

Hanford Site/Department of Energy(SPOKANE, Wash.) — Environmental clean-up workers are preparing to enter and clean out a room at a nuclear power plant where a blast left a worker with gruesome injuries and levels of radiation so high he was dubbed the “Atomic Man.”

The McCluskey Room, perhaps one of the most dangerous rooms at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Spokane, Washington, has been left largely untouched since a chemical reaction sprayed its namesake, Harold McCluskey, with 500 times the safe dosage of nitric acid and radioactive americium.

While workers entered the room for the first time since the accident in 2010, the Department of Energy has given the go-ahead for beginning the decontamination and clean-up process, with the end goal of preparing the Plutonium Finishing Plant for demolition within the next two years.

When workers enter the room this summer and begin the clean-up process, they’ll suit up to protect themselves from airborne radioactivity, poor ventilation and surface contamination.

According to the Department of Energy, the specialized team assigned to the McCluskey Room prepared for the task by visiting a similarly contaminated site in Idaho where they observed the use of state-of-the-art protective suits and procedures.

The bubble-like suits the team will wear as they clean the McCluskey Room are resistant to abrasion, allowing them to stay protected from the lingering contamination in the room.

A device inside the suit will monitor air quality, while an air system will continually pump cool air for comfort and breathing inside, allowing workers to work for up to two hours at a time, according to a video from the Department of Energy.

Once inside, they will get to work removing remaining glove boxes, pipes and tanks to prepare that area of the plant for demolition.

McCluskey, 64, a chemical operations technician, was working in the room that now bears his name when a chemical reaction caused a glass glove box to explode. His bloodied body was so hot that when he arrived via ambulance at a decontamination center, he was removed by remote control and taken to a steel and concrete isolation tank.

Doctors pulled glass and metal from his skin, while nurses bathed him three times a day and shaved his entire body.

McCluskey’s body miraculously reached an acceptable radiation count one year later and he was allowed to return home.

According to the Department of Energy, “Atomic Man” died 11 years later of causes unrelated to the accident.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Everything You Need to Know About Hurricane Arthur and July Fourth

NOAA NWS Naional Hurricane Center(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Arthur strengthened overnight as it loomed offshore and threatened to ruin holiday plans along the East Coast.

The category 1 storm is expected to become more intense as it travels over the water towards the shore and could become a category 2 hurricane with winds over 100 mph by Friday morning, ABC News’ meteorologist Max Golembo said.

Here’s what you should know about the storm and how it’s going to affect your Independence Day fireworks and fun:

Who’s getting hit?

North Carolina, mostly. The hurricane is expected to swipe the state’s coast early Friday before moving toward New England. Several fireworks shows in North Carolina have been canceled.

It will likely become a Category 2 hurricane on Friday.

The hurricane will bring heavy winds and rain, strong rip currents and storm surges up to five feet near the Outer Banks.

The storm is also bearing down on parts of South Carolina, but should clear up by Friday.

What about the Northeast?

Parts of the Northeast saw heavy rains overnight, but in New York and Washington, D.C., the skies should clear in time for fireworks.

Macy’s annual fireworks show above the East River is still scheduled for Friday night, but the Tri-state area will see rain during the day, so cancel your beach plans.

There’s only a small chance of rain on July 4 in Washington, D.C. and the National Mall Independence Day Celebration is also still scheduled to happen.

Boston will likely see rain on Friday. The city moved its annual Pops Fourth of July fireworks show to Thursday, in an effort to beat the bad weather.

Can fireworks go off in the rain?

Yes, and they often do. The problem is actually wind, said Julie Heckman of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

“Winds can affect the fallout zone, meaning it can blow debris and smoke in the direction that we don’t want,” she said.

Rain alone isn’t enough of a reason to cancel a fireworks show, but event organizers might consider rescheduling if they think people won’t show up, Heckman said.

“That will be a deciding factor,” she said. “The one thing we’re fortunate about with this Fourth of July falling on a Friday is that there is some flexibility. Event organizers are going to discuss what their options are. It’s possible shows could be postponed to the 5th or 6th or even the 7th of July.”

What about the rest of the weekend?

Sunny skies are ahead as most areas will see sun on Saturday.

Hurricane Arthur might be raining on some Friday plans, but the entire weekend isn’t lost.

North and South Carolina will see “the worst of this hurricane” Thursday and Thursday night, ABC meteorologist Ginger Zee said. But after that, a cold front will start to push the rain away.

“It’s a miss for most of the East Coast,” she said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Australia-Bound Qantas Flight Floods, Returns to Los Angeles

Scott Barbour/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — A Qantas flight heading from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia was forced to return to Los Angeles International Airport after a pipe burst, sending water running through the aircraft, according to airline officials and passengers.

Video captured on passengers’ cellphones shows water steadily pouring from the ceiling and flowing down the stairs and in the aisles of the double-decker Airbus A380.

The flight had departed Los Angeles at about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday for a planned 15-hour journey. It returned to LAX about an hour later.

Ken Cross described his fellow passengers’ reactions.

“People started jumping up and yelling because all of this water started coming down basically in the middle of the aircraft,” he told ABC News station KABC, adding: “Yeah, you couldn’t keep going for 15 hours like that.”

Passengers were put up at a hotel and other flight arrangements were made.

Community star Yvette Nicole Brown was among those on board. The actress tweeted: “River running through the aisles.”

The crew suspended food service and shut down the entertainment system, with a steward announcing to passengers: “Due to the lack of power, we have switched off for safety reasons…”

In a statement posted on its website, Qantas wrote that its onboard crew “did everything they could to help customers, including moving them to unaffected areas and providing spare blankets so they could stay dry.”

No one was hurt. The airline is still trying to determine the cause of the incident.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Before Boston Attack, Alleged Bomber Posed with Black Flag of Jihad

FBI(BOSTON) — Months before the 2013 terror attack on the Boston Marathon, accused bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev posed in front of a black flag often associated with jihad with a fellow worshiper at a Boston-area mosque, according to a FBI report obtained by ABC News.

The FBI report, which did not include the photo, describes Tsarnaev and his friend Khairullozhon Matanov as “seated in front of a black flag with a sword and a shadada phrase,” referring to the Muslim statement of faith, and adds that the photo was taken “at the mosque.” Similar flags have become symbols of jihad, used by al Qaeda and al Qaeda-linked extremist groups.

The FBI had been warned by Russian intelligence in 2011 that Tsarnaev may have become radicalized, but the bureau dropped its inquiry months before the photo was taken because they said it “did not find any terrorism activity.”

The black flag picture is part of the evidence prosecutors said Matanov deleted from his computer to obstruct the investigation into the bombings, which in turn led to the arrest of the Kyrgyzstani national last month on federal charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held without bail.

The FBI report says the alarming photograph was taken on Eid-Al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, the highest of Muslim holidays, but does not say exactly when. A source familiar with the investigation told ABC News it was taken during the August 2012 celebration. The FBI report does not identify the mosque where the photograph was taken.

Tsarnaev and Matanov prayed at a mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the FBI report says, but Yusufi Vali, the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Boston that opened the mosque, told ABC News there were no reports of the black flag of jihad being at the 2012 Eid holiday, or at any other time. Tsarnaev had been asked to leave the Cambridge mosque after he disrupted services later that same year.

“Without doubt there is no symbol of violence or terrorism at the [Cambridge] center,” said Vali. “I can confidently say that we preach moderation in line with more American values.”

The Islamic Society of Boston opened its first mosque in 1994 on Prospect Street in Cambridge in a former Knights of Columbus building. A larger $15.6 million Roxbury mosque opened in 2009. Because of its size, high holidays, like Eid, are celebrated there, Vali said.

Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev began to pray at the Cambridge mosque, which he did more frequently than his younger brother and alleged Boston bombing co-conspirator Dzhokhar, the Islamic Society of Boston over the years had had a small number of run-ins with alleged would-be violent extremists.

The Islamic Society of Boston was founded by Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges related to his “activities…with nations and organizations that have ties to terrorism” — including a link to an assassination plot targeting Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz, according to the Department of Justice. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. To this day, the FBI lists Alamoudi’s prosecution as a “Major Terrorism Case” on its website.

Tarek Mehanna, 31, was a pharmaceutical student at a Massachusetts college where his father worked as a professor, and lived with his parents in upscale Sudbury, where his mother ran a state-licensed day care center out of her home. He was convicted in 2012 of supporting al Qaeda and conspiring to kill Americans. Before that, Mehanna had visited the Cambridge center for prayers and lectures, in addition to visiting mosques in other parts of the state, Vali said.

After the Boston bombing, investigators found a Tarek Mehanna prayer card tucked into a Russian dictionary in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Cambridge apartment, according to court documents.

Mehanna’s alleged accomplice, Ahmad Abousamra, also occasionally prayed at the Cambridge mosque. He had graduated from the prestigious Catholic high school Xavier with honors and his father, Dr. Abdul Abousamra, was a respected endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital before moving to Detroit and was the president of The Islamic Center of New England, according to The Boston Globe.

After being interviewed by agents from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Abousamra was able to slip out of the country in 2006, according to the bureau. He was indicted in 2009 and last December, he was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List with a $50,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

Perhaps most controversial of the group, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui also prayed at the Prospect Street mosque while she earned a scientific doctorate degree at MIT. She eventually moved overseas with her husband and two children. She was detained in 2008 after Afghan officials found her in possession of handwritten notes that referred to a “mass casualty attack” along with a specific list of targets like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

As military intelligence officials and FBI agents questioned her at a police compound in Afghanistan, prosecutors said, she grabbed an assault rifle from a U.S. serviceman and opened fire on her interrogators while saying “Death to America,” according to the reported testimony of witnesses. No one was killed in the sudden attack. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 on federal terrorism charges and sentenced to 86 years in prison.

Director Vali insisted that all were “infrequent” worshippers at the Cambridge center, as were the Tsarnaev brothers, and they also worshipped at other mosques. Their affiliation with the Islamic Society of Boston should not cast aspersions on either the Cambridge center or the larger Roxbury mosque, where some 1,200 worship every week, Vali said.

“When the [Boston] bombings happened initially, like most Bostonians, we were all traumatized and scared. We were devastated that these people were part of city and part of our mosque,” he said.

The mosque was also where Matanov met Ibragim Todashev, a suspect in a mysterious triple murder elsewhere in Massachusetts, the FBI report says.

On Sept. 11, 2011, the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, the bodies of three young men were discovered with their throats slit and covered in marijuana in a home in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Todashev, a suspect in the case, lived with Matanov at the time of the murders, according to FBI reports, and later moved to Florida. This May, Todashev was killed in his Orlando, Florida home by a FBI agent after he allegedly attacked the officer. The FBI says Todashev was on the verge of signing a statement that implicated himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the triple murder. The same month, ABC News reported investigators had developed “mounting evidence,” bolstered by “forensic hits,” that pointed to the possible involvement of the Tsarnaev brothers in the grisly unsolved murders.

Matanov’s immigration attorney, Paul Glickman, said that his client was cooperative with the FBI during multiple interrogations over the past year and answered all of the bureau’s questions about the night of the Waltham murders.

“Mr. Matanov was cooperative multiple times,” Glickman told ABC News. “I have no idea why he has been arrested now.”

Glickman refused to comment on the specifics of his client’s interviews with the FBI, including at least one that took place at his Boston office, according to the reports.

Matanov and Todashev have not been implicated in the Boston bombing, but Matanov did have dinner with the Tsarnaev brothers the day of the Boston bombing and texted Tamerlan roughly 40 minutes after the deadly blasts, prosecutors said. He was also in touch with Todashev in Florida after the attack, the report states.

Edward Hayden, who represents Matanov on the current obstruction charges, said his client is a hardworking immigrant with dreams of bringing his family to the United States, not a radical.

“Being friends with someone is not an indication of terrorist activities,” he said. The FBI report obtained by ABC News notes that Matanov told investigators he consciously avoided discussing extremism with the Tsarnaevs.

The Islamic Society of Boston said too that terrorism is not in line with the mosque’s values. Vali pointed out that mosque leaders volunteered to try and negotiate with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused bomber who survived the police shootout that took his older brother’s life and who was on the run for hours before being captured.

“Since the bombing what we are intentionally trying to do at that Cambridge center is to push the right vision of Islam, in a stronger way…contributing positively to our community,” Vali said. “That’s what we are about.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Before Boston Attack, Alleged Bomber Posed with Black Flag of Jihad

FBI(BOSTON) — Months before the 2013 terror attack on the Boston Marathon, accused bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev posed in front of a black flag often associated with jihad with a fellow worshiper at a Boston-area mosque, according to a FBI report obtained by ABC News.

The FBI report, which did not include the photo, describes Tsarnaev and his friend Khairullozhon Matanov as “seated in front of a black flag with a sword and a shadada phrase,” referring to the Muslim statement of faith, and adds that the photo was taken “at the mosque.” Similar flags have become symbols of jihad, used by al Qaeda and al Qaeda-linked extremist groups.

The FBI had been warned by Russian intelligence in 2011 that Tsarnaev may have become radicalized, but the bureau dropped its inquiry months before the photo was taken because they said it “did not find any terrorism activity.”

The black flag picture is part of the evidence prosecutors said Matanov deleted from his computer to obstruct the investigation into the bombings, which in turn led to the arrest of the Kyrgyzstani national last month on federal charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held without bail.

The FBI report says the alarming photograph was taken on Eid-Al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, the highest of Muslim holidays, but does not say exactly when. A source familiar with the investigation told ABC News it was taken during the August 2012 celebration. The FBI report does not identify the mosque where the photograph was taken.

Tsarnaev and Matanov prayed at a mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the FBI report says, but Yusufi Vali, the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Boston that opened the mosque, told ABC News there were no reports of the black flag of jihad being at the 2012 Eid holiday, or at any other time. Tsarnaev had been asked to leave the Cambridge mosque after he disrupted services later that same year.

“Without doubt there is no symbol of violence or terrorism at the [Cambridge] center,” said Vali. “I can confidently say that we preach moderation in line with more American values.”

The Islamic Society of Boston opened its first mosque in 1994 on Prospect Street in Cambridge in a former Knights of Columbus building. A larger $15.6 million Roxbury mosque opened in 2009. Because of its size, high holidays, like Eid, are celebrated there, Vali said.

Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev began to pray at the Cambridge mosque, which he did more frequently than his younger brother and alleged Boston bombing co-conspirator Dzhokhar, the Islamic Society of Boston over the years had had a small number of run-ins with alleged would-be violent extremists.

The Islamic Society of Boston was founded by Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges related to his “activities…with nations and organizations that have ties to terrorism” — including a link to an assassination plot targeting Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz, according to the Department of Justice. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. To this day, the FBI lists Alamoudi’s prosecution as a “Major Terrorism Case” on its website.

Tarek Mehanna, 31, was a pharmaceutical student at a Massachusetts college where his father worked as a professor, and lived with his parents in upscale Sudbury, where his mother ran a state-licensed day care center out of her home. He was convicted in 2012 of supporting al Qaeda and conspiring to kill Americans. Before that, Mehanna had visited the Cambridge center for prayers and lectures, in addition to visiting mosques in other parts of the state, Vali said.

After the Boston bombing, investigators found a Tarek Mehanna prayer card tucked into a Russian dictionary in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Cambridge apartment, according to court documents.

Mehanna’s alleged accomplice, Ahmad Abousamra, also occasionally prayed at the Cambridge mosque. He had graduated from the prestigious Catholic high school Xavier with honors and his father, Dr. Abdul Abousamra, was a respected endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital before moving to Detroit and was the president of The Islamic Center of New England, according to The Boston Globe.

After being interviewed by agents from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Abousamra was able to slip out of the country in 2006, according to the bureau. He was indicted in 2009 and last December, he was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List with a $50,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

Perhaps most controversial of the group, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui also prayed at the Prospect Street mosque while she earned a scientific doctorate degree at MIT. She eventually moved overseas with her husband and two children. She was detained in 2008 after Afghan officials found her in possession of handwritten notes that referred to a “mass casualty attack” along with a specific list of targets like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

As military intelligence officials and FBI agents questioned her at a police compound in Afghanistan, prosecutors said, she grabbed an assault rifle from a U.S. serviceman and opened fire on her interrogators while saying “Death to America,” according to the reported testimony of witnesses. No one was killed in the sudden attack. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 on federal terrorism charges and sentenced to 86 years in prison.

Director Vali insisted that all were “infrequent” worshippers at the Cambridge center, as were the Tsarnaev brothers, and they also worshipped at other mosques. Their affiliation with the Islamic Society of Boston should not cast aspersions on either the Cambridge center or the larger Roxbury mosque, where some 1,200 worship every week, Vali said.

“When the [Boston] bombings happened initially, like most Bostonians, we were all traumatized and scared. We were devastated that these people were part of city and part of our mosque,” he said.

The mosque was also where Matanov met Ibragim Todashev, a suspect in a mysterious triple murder elsewhere in Massachusetts, the FBI report says.

On Sept. 11, 2011, the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, the bodies of three young men were discovered with their throats slit and covered in marijuana in a home in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Todashev, a suspect in the case, lived with Matanov at the time of the murders, according to FBI reports, and later moved to Florida. This May, Todashev was killed in his Orlando, Florida home by a FBI agent after he allegedly attacked the officer. The FBI says Todashev was on the verge of signing a statement that implicated himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the triple murder. The same month, ABC News reported investigators had developed “mounting evidence,” bolstered by “forensic hits,” that pointed to the possible involvement of the Tsarnaev brothers in the grisly unsolved murders.

Matanov’s immigration attorney, Paul Glickman, said that his client was cooperative with the FBI during multiple interrogations over the past year and answered all of the bureau’s questions about the night of the Waltham murders.

“Mr. Matanov was cooperative multiple times,” Glickman told ABC News. “I have no idea why he has been arrested now.”

Glickman refused to comment on the specifics of his client’s interviews with the FBI, including at least one that took place at his Boston office, according to the reports.

Matanov and Todashev have not been implicated in the Boston bombing, but Matanov did have dinner with the Tsarnaev brothers the day of the Boston bombing and texted Tamerlan roughly 40 minutes after the deadly blasts, prosecutors said. He was also in touch with Todashev in Florida after the attack, the report states.

Edward Hayden, who represents Matanov on the current obstruction charges, said his client is a hardworking immigrant with dreams of bringing his family to the United States, not a radical.

“Being friends with someone is not an indication of terrorist activities,” he said. The FBI report obtained by ABC News notes that Matanov told investigators he consciously avoided discussing extremism with the Tsarnaevs.

The Islamic Society of Boston said too that terrorism is not in line with the mosque’s values. Vali pointed out that mosque leaders volunteered to try and negotiate with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused bomber who survived the police shootout that took his older brother’s life and who was on the run for hours before being captured.

“Since the bombing what we are intentionally trying to do at that Cambridge center is to push the right vision of Islam, in a stronger way…contributing positively to our community,” Vali said. “That’s what we are about.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

California Mayor Explains Reason for Immigrant Blockade

John Moore/Getty Images(MURRIETA, Calif.) — Murrieta, California, Mayor Alan Long has become a hero to the anti-immigration movement by encouraging protesters to block buses filled with migrants from Central America from reaching the local U.S. Border Patrol station for processing.

According to Long, he and other city residents are incensed that the Department of Homeland Security has told them nothing about the operation other than that busloads of about 140 undocumented immigrants would be arriving every 72 hours.

Long commented that “All our information is coming from a local border patrol office and at very last minute moment’s notice. We believe what they are telling us: they are coming here to be processed. After that there are a lot of gaps.”

The mayor says that no one knows what happens after the migrants, many of them women and children, are registered. Protesters believe that a sizeable number who cross over the border into Texas are either criminals or disease-ridden.

Since U.S. Border Patrol officials in Texas are overwhelmed by more than 50,000 people entering the U.S. illegally this year, Long says the federal government is trying to unload the immigrants onto other communities, Murrieta included.

Long emphasizes that he and others have nothing personally against people seeking a better life in the U.S. What they object to is “the process by which they are getting here and that’s what needs to be fixed.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Authorities to Justify Murder Charge in Georgia Boy’s Hot SUV Death

Cobb County Sheriff’s Office(MARIETTA, Ga.) — A Georgia father accused in the hot-car death of his 22-month-old son will head to court Thursday, with authorities expected to outline their reasons for charging the man with murder.

A judge will decide a probable cause hearing whether the case against Justin Ross Harris can proceed.

Harris, 33, told police that he forgot to drop his 22-month-old son Cooper off at daycare before heading to work June 18. Cooper remained strapped in his child seat for hours. The temperature outside reached 90 degrees.

Harris placed an object in the SUV at lunch time that day and then returned to his office, disregarding the boy in the back seat, according to a police warrant.

Driving home from work later, he pulled over his SUV in a shopping center parking lot, distraught.

The official cause of death was hyperthermia — overheating of the body. Harris has pleaded not guilty.

In the days after Cooper’s death, Harris drew online support from people who believe he simply made a tragic mistake and should have the charges dropped against him because he has already suffered enough. But authorities hinted that there was more to the story.

“I understand that tragic accidents similar to this one do occur and in most cases the parent simply made a mistake that cost them the life of their child,” Cobb County Chief of Police John Houser said in a statement released last week. “This investigation, although similar in nature to others, must be weighed on its own merit and the facts that led our detectives to charge the father must be presented at the appropriate time during the judicial process.”

Some of those allegations emerged in an arrest warrant, with authorities accusing the father, as well as his wife, Leanna Harris, of searching the Internet for information on child heatstroke inside cars before their son’s death.

Leanna Harris has not been charged with a crime.

Atlanta defense attorney Steve Sadow said the timing of those Internet searches is important.

“If it was done 24 hours or 48 hours before the incident; that’s too coincidental,” Sadow said. “If it was done weeks in advance, it could have been on the news or the Internet about the death of another child.”

HLN host Nancy Grace said the web searches stand out to her. “If they were done months or a year ago, that could be concerned parents trying to learn how to keep a baby safe,” she said. “But the closer it gets to Cooper’s death, the more suspicious it looks.”

ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams expects many details to emerge at Thursday’s hearing.

“I think prosecutors want the public to hear what they have to eliminate sympathy and those people who say he’s a grieving father who forgot his child,” Abrams said.

In addition to the murder charge, Abrams said the prosecutors made an interesting decision to reduce a child cruelty charge from first- to second-degree. First-degree child cruelty requires intent, while a second-degree charge entails reckless behavior, Abrams said.

“They may not be able to prove he was trying to kill the child, but they have a strong case that he was reckless,” Abrams said.

Friends and family celebrated Cooper’s life Saturday. While Harris was not allowed to attend, he made an emotional phone call using a speakerphone from the Cobb County Jail, according to ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

He tearfully thanked the mourners for their support.

Leanna Harris also spoke, calling her husband a great father and saying she’ll miss their son forever.

Relatives say no one loved and worshipped the boy more than his father.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

California Mayor Explains Reason for Immigrant Blockade

John Moore/Getty Images(MURRIETA, Calif.) — Murrieta, California, Mayor Alan Long has become a hero to the anti-immigration movement by encouraging protesters to block buses filled with migrants from Central America from reaching the local U.S. Border Patrol station for processing.

According to Long, he and other city residents are incensed that the Department of Homeland Security has told them nothing about the operation other than that busloads of about 140 undocumented immigrants would be arriving every 72 hours.

Long commented that “All our information is coming from a local border patrol office and at very last minute moment’s notice. We believe what they are telling us: they are coming here to be processed. After that there are a lot of gaps.”

The mayor says that no one knows what happens after the migrants, many of them women and children, are registered. Protesters believe that a sizeable number who cross over the border into Texas are either criminals or disease-ridden.

Since U.S. Border Patrol officials in Texas are overwhelmed by more than 50,000 people entering the U.S. illegally this year, Long says the federal government is trying to unload the immigrants onto other communities, Murrieta included.

Long emphasizes that he and others have nothing personally against people seeking a better life in the U.S. What they object to is “the process by which they are getting here and that’s what needs to be fixed.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Arthur Takes Aim at Carolinas After Reaching Hurricane Strength

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(CAPE HATTERAS, N.C.) — Arthur is officially a hurricane, the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, with some coastal residents forced to evacuate and the first rain bands reaching South Carolina.

The storm system — experiencing sustained winds of 75 miles per hour — was centered about 340 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C. at 5 a.m., and is moving north at about 9 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane warning is stretching through most of North Carolina into the Virginia Beach area, with a tropical storm warning in effect for South Carolina, southern North Carolina, and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Mandatory evacuations will be underway this morning for Hatteras Island, N.C., with a state of emergency for the state’s coastal areas.

Arthur is expected to bring pounding rains and heavy winds, with 3 to 5 foot storm surges expected and up to four inches of rain in affected areas. Heavy rain should also fall along the I-95 corridor as the storm’s tropical moisture interacts with a cold front.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Denver Teen Charged with Supporting ISIS

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(DENVER) — A 19-year-old suburban Denver woman met an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighter online, fell in love, vowed to go to Syria to fight and was arrested by the FBI as she tried to go overseas, U.S. authorities said.

Shannon Maureen Conley, of Arvada, Colorado, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, ISIS, after agents arrested her at Denver International Airport on April 8 as she tried to board a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, according to a U.S. criminal complaint and a supporting affidavit. She allegedly had connecting flights to Istanbul, Turkey, and then to Adana, Turkey, just a few hours’ drive from the Syrian border.

Conley, licensed as a certified nurse’s aide in Colorado, according to the affidavit, told investigators that she hoped to meet her online suitor in Syria and reside with him near the Turkish border as his wife and a camp nurse. Her parents told investigators her suitor was a 32-year-old Tunisian man, whose name is redacted in the documents.

“When Conley told the suitor she wants to provide his camp with medical services and training, he told her that was good because they needed more nurses,” the affidavit read. “Conley stated that she was aware that her plans were potentially illegal and she could possibly get arrested, and therefore she has no intention to return to the U.S.”

“Conley mentioned an incident where an individual was arrested for attempting to go fight in Syria. She told [investigators] there was nothing they could do to change her mind and that she was still going, although she admitted, ‘I know things can go terribly wrong.’ When asked if she would engage in actual combat on the battlefield, Conley said, ‘If it was absolutely necessary, then yes. I wouldn’t like it…but I would do it,’” according to the affidavit.

Earlier, Conley had told an FBI agent in December that she “joined the U.S. Army Explorers (USAE) to be trained in U.S. military tactics and in firearms,” according to court papers.

“She said she intended to use that training to go overseas to wage jihad,” the affidavit added. “She also intended to train Islamic Jihadi fighters in U.S. military tactics. She previously wanted to serve in the U.S. military but no longer wanted to because she felt the military would not accept her due to her religious beliefs and her wearing of a hijab and niqab.”

Conley first came to the attention of investigators in November after she was reported behaving suspiciously at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, the scene of a 2007 shooting incident, according to the affidavit.

Officials repeatedly and openly seemed to try to dissuade Conley from acting out on her stated aims to join ISIS, which subsequently gained a higher profile in the U.S. media for military victories against the government of Iraq. Officials even enlisted Conley’s parents, who were described as opposing Conley’s plans to travel to the Mideast and her desire to marry her Tunisian suitor.

The April 9 court documents were unsealed Wednesday after an order by a federal judge, according to Jeff Dorschner of the local U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“There was a detention hearing where we argued she was a danger to the community and a risk for flight, so she was ordered held without bond pending the resolution of the case,” Dorschner said. “Since then, there was some litigation. We are currently in the motions phase….No trial date has yet been scheduled and she remains in custody.”

Dorschner said federal officials did not oppose the release of a redacted version of the documents.

“At the time of her arrest, there was an active criminal investigation…[so] the records remained sealed,” Dorschner said. “The investigation is…at a point where the redacted documents won’t compromise it.”

Shannon Conley’s father, John Conley, told ABC News, “At this time we have no comment.”

Her public defender, Robert Pepin, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →