Review Category : National News

Investigation Closed on Ex-NFL Player’s Boating Accident, 16-Hour Swim

@AndySlater(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — Officials have closed an investigation into the boating accident that forced former National Football League player Robert Konrad to swim about 16 hours to shore.

An incident report released by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission details Konrad’s account given to law enforcement after he reached shore early on Jan. 8, including an estimate that his boat’s damages would cost $70,000.

The Bahamian government notified the U.S. Coast Guard that it found Konrad’s vessel in Grand Bahamas around Dead Man’s Reef on Jan. 9, according to the incident report.

Konrad, 38, who played for the Miami Dolphins from 1999 to 2004, told emergency responders that he’d fallen off his boat around 1 p.m. on Jan. 7 as it continued on autopilot toward the Bahamas.

Konrad told authorities he was taking his vessel from Boca Raton, Florida, to Riviera Beach in the Bahamas for “routine maintenance,” according to the report.

“Konrad decided he would recreational fish as he cruised to Riviera Beach,” the report said.

A police video shows Konrad as he sat huddled in a police car in Palm Beach, Florida, shivering under a blanket with the heat cranked all the way up in the early hours of Jan. 8.

Authorities met with Konrad and his attorney, William Rafferty, on Jan. 14 at Good Samaritan Hospital to record a witness statement. They met again on Jan. 29 at Mariner Marine in Riviera Beach to photograph the damage to the boat. A staff member at the business estimated the damage at $70,000.

The law enforcement report lists damage to his boat, including damaged windows, gear cases on both motors and the bottom gel coat and fiberglass.

Konrad later recounted his ordeal for the media, saying he “prayed to God” after falling from his 38-foot boat as he was trying to reel in a fish just as a large wave hit.

“I shouldn’t be here,” Konrad told reporters.

He described the frustration of seeing Coast Guard helicopters that didn’t spot him. He faced darkness, 10-foot waves and 25-mile-per-hour winds while his boat moved away on autopilot. Despite being bitten by jellyfish and seeing a shark circle him, he kept swimming.

Once he reached shore, he said it was “bittersweet” because he couldn’t walk.

“I had hypothermia and my body was shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t realize it was five in the morning,” he said.

Konrad and his attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

NC District Will Have Saturday School to Make Up for Missed Days

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A North Carolina school district will be in session on Saturday and parents aren’t too happy.

The Gaston County school district made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and on its website:

“Gaston County Schools will use Saturday, February 28 as an inclement weather makeup day. Students will attend school on Saturday, February 28 for a half day to make up the day missed on Tuesday, February 24. School will begin at the regular time. Dismissal for elementary schools will be at 11:30 a.m. Dismissal for middle schools and high schools will be at 12:00 noon. Breakfast and lunch will be served on Saturday.”

Some parents are outraged, citing the four-day notice and inability to change weekend plans.

“Would you please tell me what the students who work on Saturdays and can not work on any other day because crammed enough with school weekdays. GOOD JOB GASTON COUNTY SCHOOLS,” wrote one commenter.

“This is absolutely ridiculous! What are those of us who have things we can’t get out of supposed to do? This was not well thought out. I guess we will have two unnecessary absences. Also, what about the teenagers who have weekend jobs?” wrote another.

According to the school district’s inclement weather policy on its website, “the Board of Education reserves the right to use early release days and Saturdays as make-up days.”

Some parents aren’t upset though, citing that they’d rather have the kids go to school on Saturday than have a day of the upcoming spring break.

One mom can’t wait for Saturday: “Lol well I’m not here to complain like some of yall!! I’m happy that they are using alternate days!! Woo hooo Saturday school means more mommy free time!!! Thanks GCS.”

A phone call to the Gaston County school district communications department was not immediately returned.

Other school districts around the country are figuring out ways to make up lost days without having students come in on the weekend.

One district — Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia — will add six minutes of instruction per day for its high school students to make up for the schools being closed from Feb. 17 through Feb. 20.

In Boston, which has been slammed by winter weather, public schools will use days previously designated as holidays to make up time. On March 17, Evacuation Day, school will be in session. Bunker Hill Day, June 17, may also be added to the school year.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

NC District Will Have Saturday School to Make Up for Missed Days

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A North Carolina school district will be in session on Saturday and parents aren’t too happy.

The Gaston County school district made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and on its website:

“Gaston County Schools will use Saturday, February 28 as an inclement weather makeup day. Students will attend school on Saturday, February 28 for a half day to make up the day missed on Tuesday, February 24. School will begin at the regular time. Dismissal for elementary schools will be at 11:30 a.m. Dismissal for middle schools and high schools will be at 12:00 noon. Breakfast and lunch will be served on Saturday.”

Some parents are outraged, citing the four-day notice and inability to change weekend plans.

“Would you please tell me what the students who work on Saturdays and can not work on any other day because crammed enough with school weekdays. GOOD JOB GASTON COUNTY SCHOOLS,” wrote one commenter.

“This is absolutely ridiculous! What are those of us who have things we can’t get out of supposed to do? This was not well thought out. I guess we will have two unnecessary absences. Also, what about the teenagers who have weekend jobs?” wrote another.

According to the school district’s inclement weather policy on its website, “the Board of Education reserves the right to use early release days and Saturdays as make-up days.”

Some parents aren’t upset though, citing that they’d rather have the kids go to school on Saturday than have a day of the upcoming spring break.

One mom can’t wait for Saturday: “Lol well I’m not here to complain like some of yall!! I’m happy that they are using alternate days!! Woo hooo Saturday school means more mommy free time!!! Thanks GCS.”

A phone call to the Gaston County school district communications department was not immediately returned.

Other school districts around the country are figuring out ways to make up lost days without having students come in on the weekend.

One district — Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia — will add six minutes of instruction per day for its high school students to make up for the schools being closed from Feb. 17 through Feb. 20.

In Boston, which has been slammed by winter weather, public schools will use days previously designated as holidays to make up time. On March 17, Evacuation Day, school will be in session. Bunker Hill Day, June 17, may also be added to the school year.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Maraschino Cherry Tycoon: The Secret Drug Lair New York City Police Uncovered

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In a scene reminiscent of the show Breaking Bad, New York City investigators raided the business of one of the nation’s largest processors of maraschino cherries — only to find that his Brooklyn factory also served as a marijuana growing operation, authorities said.

Investigators returned to the factory Wednesday in the Red Hook section, a day after the owner shot and killed himself as authorities raided it.

There’s a good chance the cherry atop your sundae or at the bottom of your Manhattan is from Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, a family business founded in 1948 that now appears to have also hosted what sources described to ABC News as a large-scale, elaborate marijuana growing operation.

A team of city and state environmental regulators, along with prosecutors from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, had been at the company for several hours Tuesday investigating a complaint of illegal chemical dumping in the waters off Red Hook, prosecutors said.

At first owner Arthur Mondella, 57, cooperated with the search. Then, as investigators discovered “flimsy shelving and a faint smell of marijuana,” a source briefed on the investigation said, Mondella became vague.

It’s #NationalCherryMonth make sure to eat Dell’s Maraschino Cherries! pic.twitter.com/fxIBnJIX6j

— Dell’s Cherries (@DellsCherries) February 17, 2015

When a team member said, “Well we’re going to get a warrant to get behind this wall” that’s when Mondella “excused himself to his private bathroom where he apparently shot himself and died at a local hospital,” a statement from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said.

Prior to the gunshot, a source said Mondella yelled to his sister who had been standing outside the bathroom: “Take care of my kids.”

About 80 pounds of marijuana were recovered in three huge bags. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was also found on the property, authorities said.

Several luxury cars were also recovered, including a Rolls-Royce, a Porsche and Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Mondella has a couple prior arrests, but they are sealed. A previous 2011 arrest for assaulting his second wife at their former Brighton Beach home had been dropped, authorities said.

Dell’s Maraschino Cherries had recently undergone a $5 million makeover of its Red Hook plant, which employs a dozen people.

The investigation into environmental crimes continues though it remains unclear whether anyone would now face charges.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Four Wesleyan Students Arrested on Drug Charges Due in Court

Left to right: Rama Agha Al Kakib, 20, Andrew Olson, 20, Eric Lonergan, 21, and Zachary Kramer, 21. (Middletown Police)(MIDDLETOWN, Conn.) — Three of the four Wesleyan University students arrested on drug charges after a rash of overdoses are expected to be in court Wednesday.

The Middletown Police Department in Connecticut announced that Eric Lonergan, 21, Andrew Olson, 20, Zachary Kramer, 21, and Rama Agha Al Kakib, 20, were arrested on various drug charges on Tuesday, and four search and seizure warrants were executed around campus in an effort to obtain unspecified evidence. The four face various drug possession charges, and Olson is charged with sale of hallucinogen.

The arrest announcement comes days after 11 people were hospitalized because of suspected overdoses related to the drug MDMA, also known as “Molly.”

Lonergan, Kramer and Agha Al Nakib, were due in Middletown Superior Court Wednesday for their arraignment hearings, according to Middletown Police. Olson is expected to appear in court next month.

The court clerk for Middletown Superior Court said the four had not yet entered pleas or filed paperwork identifying their lawyers.

All four students have been suspended by Wesleyan pending a formal hearing.

Middletown Police Chief William McKenna told reporters Tuesday that the doses that caused the hospitalizations likely “had a mixture of designer drug chemicals.”

Wesleyan University President Michael Roth said in a statement the university takes drug use seriously and is cooperating with authorities.

“We will do everything we can to make our community as safe as possible,” Roth said.

Lonergan faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and 16 counts of illegal obtaining or supplying of drugs, police said. Olson faces a charge of sale of a hallucinogen, two counts of possession of hallucinogen and marijuana possession charges. Kramer faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a regulated substance and possession of marijuana less than 1/2 ounce. Al Kakib faces three counts of possession of a controlled substance, as well as possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

MDMA, known as Molly or ecstasy depending on what form it’s taken in, has been causing an increase in emergency room visits, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

ER visits related to complications from taking MDMA increased from 11,287 in 2005 to 22,498 in 2011, according to the agency’s 2013 report.

Most batches of Molly are actually synthetic drugs that are an atom or two off from pure MDMA, Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman Joseph Moses told ABC News. The result can be batches that are even more dangerous than pure MDMA.

“Kids are being used as guinea pigs,” he said in an earlier interview. “The manufacturer didn’t go through clinical trials, the person who orders and repackages it doesn’t know what it’s gonna do to somebody, and the user didn’t know what it was going to do to them.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Four Wesleyan Students Arrested on Drug Charges Due in Court

Left to right: Rama Agha Al Kakib, 20, Andrew Olson, 20, Eric Lonergan, 21, and Zachary Kramer, 21. (Middletown Police)(MIDDLETOWN, Conn.) — Three of the four Wesleyan University students arrested on drug charges after a rash of overdoses are expected to be in court Wednesday.

The Middletown Police Department in Connecticut announced that Eric Lonergan, 21, Andrew Olson, 20, Zachary Kramer, 21, and Rama Agha Al Kakib, 20, were arrested on various drug charges on Tuesday, and four search and seizure warrants were executed around campus in an effort to obtain unspecified evidence. The four face various drug possession charges, and Olson is charged with sale of hallucinogen.

The arrest announcement comes days after 11 people were hospitalized because of suspected overdoses related to the drug MDMA, also known as “Molly.”

Lonergan, Kramer and Agha Al Nakib, were due in Middletown Superior Court Wednesday for their arraignment hearings, according to Middletown Police. Olson is expected to appear in court next month.

The court clerk for Middletown Superior Court said the four had not yet entered pleas or filed paperwork identifying their lawyers.

All four students have been suspended by Wesleyan pending a formal hearing.

Middletown Police Chief William McKenna told reporters Tuesday that the doses that caused the hospitalizations likely “had a mixture of designer drug chemicals.”

Wesleyan University President Michael Roth said in a statement the university takes drug use seriously and is cooperating with authorities.

“We will do everything we can to make our community as safe as possible,” Roth said.

Lonergan faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and 16 counts of illegal obtaining or supplying of drugs, police said. Olson faces a charge of sale of a hallucinogen, two counts of possession of hallucinogen and marijuana possession charges. Kramer faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a regulated substance and possession of marijuana less than 1/2 ounce. Al Kakib faces three counts of possession of a controlled substance, as well as possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

MDMA, known as Molly or ecstasy depending on what form it’s taken in, has been causing an increase in emergency room visits, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

ER visits related to complications from taking MDMA increased from 11,287 in 2005 to 22,498 in 2011, according to the agency’s 2013 report.

Most batches of Molly are actually synthetic drugs that are an atom or two off from pure MDMA, Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman Joseph Moses told ABC News. The result can be batches that are even more dangerous than pure MDMA.

“Kids are being used as guinea pigs,” he said in an earlier interview. “The manufacturer didn’t go through clinical trials, the person who orders and repackages it doesn’t know what it’s gonna do to somebody, and the user didn’t know what it was going to do to them.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Four Wesleyan Students Arrested in MDMA Overdoses

fotokon/iStock/Thinkstock(MIDDLETOWN, Conn.) — Four Wesleyan University students have been arrested in connection with a rash of MDMA overdoses at the Connecticut school that sent 11 people to the hospital, two in critical condition.

The four were taken into custody Tuesday evening, according to the Middletown Police Department.

All of the people who were hospitalized are believed to have taken MDMA, otherwise known as “Molly,” but the batch they took most likely “had a mixture of designer drug chemicals,” Middletown Police Chief William McKenna said Tuesday night.

The four students were all being held pending bail hearings, and their first court dates are scheduled for March 3, McKenna said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

FBI Releases Video of ‘Black Hat Bandits’ Robbing Bank

FBI(NEW YORK) — The FBI released a video Tuesday it says shows the so-called “Black Hat Bandits” in action robbing a bank.

The pair has robbed seven banks in Virginia and Maryland in the last two months, according to the FBI.

They received their name because they don black hats, winter coats, sunglasses and some kind of facial disguise — like a ski mask or a fake beard — during the robberies.

The video released on Tuesday shows the two robbing a bank in Arnold, Maryland, on Jan. 30, the FBI said.

Their most recent robberies happened on Feb. 18 when they hit two banks within 40 minutes of each other in Virginia.

The robbers have become increasingly violent, the FBI says, “most recently holding a gun to a customer’s head and jumping teller counters in attempts to gain access [to] bank vaults.”

Based on their tactics, the FBI believes the robbers either have military or police training.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

“American Sniper” Trial: How Jurors Reached Their Guilty Verdict

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Six of the jurors who found a former Marine guilty of murdering famed Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield said they believe Eddie Ray Routh knew the difference between right and wrong when he pulled the trigger on Feb. 2, 2013.

The jurors — speaking exclusively Wednesday to ABC News — said they spent time going over the facts in the case before reaching the verdict, which comes with a sentence of life in prison. Juror Barrett Hutchinson said the jurors ruled out the possibility that Routh was insane at the time of the shooting, a possibility discussed by mental health experts during the trial.

“Without a doubt,” Hutchinson told ABC News, when asked if Routh knew right from wrong. “He knew the consequences of pulling the trigger the first time.”

After fatally shooting Littlefield, Routh then shot Kyle before leading police on a chase.

Routh pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his attorneys argued that the former Marine had mental disorders and was in the grips of psychosis at the time of the gun range shootings.

Under Texas law, even if a person was suffering from a mental illness, they can be found guilty as long as they understood that what they did was wrong.

Christina Yeager said she and her fellow jurors wondered whether Routh was faking the depths of his psychosis at the time of the shooting.

“I know a lot of us came in this jury questioning that, but evidence showed there was a real definite pattern there, when it came to his earlier convictions,” Yeager said, discussing Routh’s pattern of drug or alcohol abuse, followed by police trouble and claims of post-traumatic stress disorder.

While many of the jurors avoided reading Kyle’s book or watching the blockbuster movie that it inspired, Hutchinson admitted that he watched the film, and said that it helped him understand Kyle’s role as a Navy SEAL.

“You just put that to the side, and take in the facts and make your own judgment. I put [movie details] out of my mind, and looked at Chris as a person, looked at Chad as a person, looked at Eddie as a person,” said Hutchinson, who did not specify when he saw the film.

The jury consisted of 10 women and two men, and was tasked with choosing from three possible decisions: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. State prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in the case.

The trial lasted for nine days, and jurors deliberated for more than two hours before reaching the verdict.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

“American Sniper” Trial: Verdict Reached in Double Murder Case

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — A Texas jury has reached a verdict at the trial of a former Marine accused of murdering famed Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield.

The verdict, which has not yet been revealed, will be read Tuesday evening.

Eddie Ray Routh has been on trial for the February 2013 murders of Kyle and Littlefield at a Texas gun range.

The judge instructed the jury of 10 women and two men that they were to consider three possible decisions: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.

State prosecutors have made it clear that they would not be seeking the death penalty in the case, and while the sentence for murder is life in prison, Routh’s sentence officially will come at a later court hearing.

Routh pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his attorneys have argued that the former Marine had mental disorders and was in the grips of psychosis when he fatally shot Kyle and Littlefield during a trip to a gun range on Feb. 2, 2013.

During the 9-day trial, the prosecution and the defense have presented dueling testimony from mental health experts about whether Routh was insane when he committed the murders.

Under Texas law, even if a person was suffering from a mental illness, they can be found guilty as long as they understood that what they did was wrong.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →