Review Category : National News

Beagle Wins Best in Show at Westminster

Dave Kotinsky/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — And the winner of the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show is Miss P, a four-year-old beagle from British Columbia, Canada.

The new canine champ is now the toast of the dog world, having bested an impressive field Tuesday night at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden.

PHOTOS: THE 2015 KENNEL CLUB DOG SHOW

A Skye Terrier named Good Time Charlie took Reserve Best in Show honors for runner-up.

Miss P, whose registered name is “Tashtins Lookin for Trouble,” is a descendant of Uno, the only other beagle to win Best in Show at Westminster, way back in 2008.

Miss P will enjoy a meal at Sardi’s restaurant Wednesday as is tradition for Westminster’s Best of Show.

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Kid Geniuses Win Top Prize Designing a City of the Future

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Meet Michigan middle school brainaics Abbi Dayton, Emma Scharfenberg, Leah Schroeder and Emily Abramczyk: their team placed first nationally Tuesday after spending over 200 hours since last fall designing a futuristic city.

Theirs was just one team out of 37 regions, including a region from China, which competed in the largest middle school engineering contest, the annual Future City Competition.

Over a weekend-long series of competitive events that brought 400 excited middle schoolers and their families to Washington, D.C., the teams that made an earlier preliminary cut were whittled down to five finalists.

On Tuesday the top groups went head-to-head in front of a panel of judges made up of professionals specializing in different facets of urban agricultural planning, including Sam Kass, the former senior White House policy nutrition policy director and executive director of Let’s Move.

The students designed their virtual cities using SimCity software and then built small-scale models. The girls decided to create their fictional futuristic metropolis in Haiti that they called “Lekol-la-fre” with a Mardi Gras color scheme.

“We wanted to show what urban agricultural could do to a devastated country,” said Schroeder.

Forced to use only recycled materials for their city models, the girls had to get creative, using unconventional items like lipstick tubes and SIM cards from old cellphones.

The young girls were not expecting to get the first-place trophy, and winning left them “speechless” and with “happy shock.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Abramczyk said. “I can’t believe we actually won.”

As winners, the students will receive a coveted trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, along with $7,500 for their school’s STEM program.

The girls from Michigan’s St. John Lutheran School, the school that also took home the first-prize win in the competition last year, were excited to experience the camp, even if space exploration fell outside their area of interest.

“I’ve never been into this space stuff but I am excited to see what’s going to happen,” said Schroeder.

“I love space,” Dayton added excitedly.

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Police Say ‘Road Rage’ Victim Went Looking for Suspect Before Deadly Encounter

Courtesy Meyers family(LAS VEGAS) — A woman fatally shot after an apparent “road rage” incident went looking for the suspect with her armed son, police said Tuesday, and was likely not followed home immediately after the road encounter as was previously thought.

Police now believe it was only after Tammy Meyers and her 22-year-old son went out and found the suspects Thursday that they were apparently followed home, said Lt. Ray Steiber, who is in charge of the homicide section at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

“There was a volley of rounds fired from that vehicle,” Steiber said, adding that the son then returned fire.

“All indications…are that this unknown person had fired shots first,” Steiber said.

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening outside Walter Johnson Junior High School, where Meyers was giving her 15-year-old daughter a driving lesson in the parking lot. “I did what I had to do to protect my family. And I’d do it for anyone I love,” said the 22-year-old son who fired at the car, Brandon Meyers.

The daughter, 15, told the 75 or so people at the vigil: “I was in the car with her. There’s so much I can say about my mom. My mom was protecting me that night and she was doing what any mom would do. She was my everything, my best friend. She did everything she could possibly do to protect me and I love her so much.”

Meyers, 44, died Saturday at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

Steiber said the homicide section took over the case from the violent crimes section after Meyers died, and is still reviewing the timeline and other aspects of the case. He said the adjusted timeline was heavily based upon the accounts of the daughter and son who were in the car with Meyers that night.

“What I think everybody wants is an accurate timeline and an accurate depiction of what occurred,” Steiber said.

Police now believe there was no collision, as had been previously reported, before Meyers and her daughter were verbally confronted by the “road rage” suspect.

Instead, Steiber said, after Meyers and her 15-year-old daughter completed a late-night driving lesson in a school parking lot, Meyers took over driving duties and was headed home. Once on the road, a four-door silver or grey sedan pulled up aggressively behind Meyers’ car and then tried to pass, prompting Meyers’ daughter to reach over and honk the horn.

The sedan then stopped in front of Meyers’ car and someone got out, Steiber said.

“From the information that we had gathered at this point, we don’t believe that Ms. Meyers or her daughter ever said anything to the person or persons they were involved in the road rage incident with,” Steiber added.

“Meyers sped past the male…and she continued on her way,” he said. “Mrs. Meyers is scared, she’s upset.”

Once home, Meyers asked her daughter to fetch the 22-year-old son, who armed himself and joined Tammy Meyers in the car, Steiber said. The pair went looking for the “road rage” suspect and found him, before losing track of him again, Steiber said.

The suspect has been described by police as a white male, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds. He has “dirty blonde hair worn in a spiked style and has hazel or blue eyes,” police have said.

“We have not yet identified a suspect pertaining to this murder,” Steiber added on Tuesday.

After losing track of the suspect, Meyers and her son returned home again, Steiber said — but soon the suspect vehicle pulled up, gunfire erupted and Meyers was fatally wounded.

Police began receiving calls about the shooting incident at 11:22 p.m., Steiber said.

One of Meyers’ four children spoke with ABC News, expressing shock after her death.

“We’re not used to waking up and not seeing our mom,” Matt Meyers, 19, told ABC News.

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“American Sniper” Trial: Suspect’s Mom Says Son Was Paranoid After Marine Service

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — The mother of accused “American Sniper” killer Eddie Ray Routh described in court on Tuesday how her “good kid” became paranoid after his Marine service.

Jodi Routh was the second defense witness called to the stand in Texas on Tuesday and gave the most thorough portrait to date of her son’s early life. She said he got “fair grades” as a youngster and played on his high school football team.

“His dad took him hunting and taught him about firearms,” she said, which is something he and famed sniper Chris Kyle, whom Routh is accused of killing in 2013, had in common.

The defense launched into its case Tuesday by showing the host of long rifles found at the crime scene, a shooting range, including Kyle’s personalized gun that had “American Sniper” written on the handle.

Jodi Routh noted that her son changed after he returned from the Marines after having served in Iraq and Haiti. During the humanitarian mission in Haiti, she said he “helped clean up bodies from beaches.”

She said he was “not happy-go-lucky” when he came back. “Sometimes he wasn’t able to express how he was feeling,” she said.

Jodi Routh said her son admitted himself to a veterans’ hospital for three days in 2011 after trying to kill himself with a gun.

She was the one who made the connection with Kyle, and when she said her son had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the famed sniper allegedly said he would love to help because he had suffered from PTSD as well.

Defense calls Routh’s mother to stand. She says mental health issues surfaced after military service #snipertrial pic.twitter.com/3Qr29NtcBL

— Sebastian Robertson (@wfaasebastian) February 17, 2015

Chris Kyle gave Jodi a hug and said he would do everything in his power to help her son. #heartbreaking

— Ali Ehrlich (@ehrlichABC) February 17, 2015

She testified that her daughter was the one to tell her that her son had allegedly killed the two men, but she made a phone call to see whether it was a mistake.

“I had Chris Kyle’s number in my phone and dialed that number praying to God he would answer,” Jodi Routh said in court on Tuesday.

The prosecution rested its case early Tuesday afternoon against Routh after just five days.

Tuesday morning’s session included footage of Routh inside the back of the police car being shown in a Texas court, where he was seen acting restless and talking about his mental state.

Lancaster police Officer Flavio Salazar testified about how he drove Routh after he was arrested in the slayings of Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013.

Routh appeared panicked and the officer told him to “take a deep breath,” as seen in the video shown Tuesday in the Erath County courthouse.

Video of Routh in backseat of cop car being played for the jury #SniperTrial pic.twitter.com/4pAruTV8G6

— Ali Ehrlich (@ehrlichABC) February 17, 2015

At one point, Salazar tries to calm him by saying, “I was in Iraq too, man.”

The video shows Routh moving around in the back seat and at times lying down, prompting Salazar to ask whether he was alright.

“I’ve been so paranoid and schizophrenic all day,” Routh replies. “I don’t know if I’m insane or what’s going on in the world right now.”

Routh faces life in prison if he is found guilty of murder charges. He has entered a not guilty plea and his defense team will be arguing that he was insane at the time of the shooting.

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“American Sniper” Trial: Suspect’s Mom Says Son Was Paranoid After Marine Service

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — The mother of accused “American Sniper” killer Eddie Ray Routh described in court on Tuesday how her “good kid” became paranoid after his Marine service.

Jodi Routh was the second defense witness called to the stand in Texas on Tuesday and gave the most thorough portrait to date of her son’s early life. She said he got “fair grades” as a youngster and played on his high school football team.

“His dad took him hunting and taught him about firearms,” she said, which is something he and famed sniper Chris Kyle, whom Routh is accused of killing in 2013, had in common.

The defense launched into its case Tuesday by showing the host of long rifles found at the crime scene, a shooting range, including Kyle’s personalized gun that had “American Sniper” written on the handle.

Jodi Routh noted that her son changed after he returned from the Marines after having served in Iraq and Haiti. During the humanitarian mission in Haiti, she said he “helped clean up bodies from beaches.”

She said he was “not happy-go-lucky” when he came back. “Sometimes he wasn’t able to express how he was feeling,” she said.

Jodi Routh said her son admitted himself to a veterans’ hospital for three days in 2011 after trying to kill himself with a gun.

She was the one who made the connection with Kyle, and when she said her son had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the famed sniper allegedly said he would love to help because he had suffered from PTSD as well.

Defense calls Routh’s mother to stand. She says mental health issues surfaced after military service #snipertrial pic.twitter.com/3Qr29NtcBL

— Sebastian Robertson (@wfaasebastian) February 17, 2015

Chris Kyle gave Jodi a hug and said he would do everything in his power to help her son. #heartbreaking

— Ali Ehrlich (@ehrlichABC) February 17, 2015

She testified that her daughter was the one to tell her that her son had allegedly killed the two men, but she made a phone call to see whether it was a mistake.

“I had Chris Kyle’s number in my phone and dialed that number praying to God he would answer,” Jodi Routh said in court on Tuesday.

The prosecution rested its case early Tuesday afternoon against Routh after just five days.

Tuesday morning’s session included footage of Routh inside the back of the police car being shown in a Texas court, where he was seen acting restless and talking about his mental state.

Lancaster police Officer Flavio Salazar testified about how he drove Routh after he was arrested in the slayings of Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013.

Routh appeared panicked and the officer told him to “take a deep breath,” as seen in the video shown Tuesday in the Erath County courthouse.

Video of Routh in backseat of cop car being played for the jury #SniperTrial pic.twitter.com/4pAruTV8G6

— Ali Ehrlich (@ehrlichABC) February 17, 2015

At one point, Salazar tries to calm him by saying, “I was in Iraq too, man.”

The video shows Routh moving around in the back seat and at times lying down, prompting Salazar to ask whether he was alright.

“I’ve been so paranoid and schizophrenic all day,” Routh replies. “I don’t know if I’m insane or what’s going on in the world right now.”

Routh faces life in prison if he is found guilty of murder charges. He has entered a not guilty plea and his defense team will be arguing that he was insane at the time of the shooting.

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DC Residents Snowball Their Way Through Federal Shutdown

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Despite the frigid and hazardous conditions that shut down federal offices, snowballers in Washington, D.C., geared up Tuesday for the first organized snowball fight of the season.

The Washington DC Snowball Fight Association (yes, that’s a thing) created an event on its Facebook page late Monday night inviting the district’s snowballers to a “benevolent snowball battle” at Meridian Hill Park for the first time since last March.

Hundreds of D.C. residents showed up at 11 a.m. this morning, taking advantage of the snow that has blanketed the nation’s capital.

To top it off, there’s even a costume contest for the “craziest looking snowball fighter,” where the winner gets a $75 gift card from James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar.

Here’s a look at the best moments from the D.C. snowball fight:

why tho

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Guardrail Maker Fires Back on Crash Test Controversy

Law Enforcement Officials(NEW YORK) — Trinity Industries, the manufacturer of an embattled guardrail system blamed in lawsuits for dismemberment and deaths, has blasted allegations that the final of eight recent crash tests, caught on tape by a local ABC News station, was a “clear failure.”

An affidavit filed by Trinity expert witness Malcolm Ray hits back against recent comments that a test of the ET-Plus guardrail head demonstrated an impact that would have caused severe injury to a driver.

The guardrail got a “pass” grade on the first four of eight government-requested tests and appeared to sail through the next three as well, but civil engineer and accident expert Brian Coon declared the eighth appeared to be a “clear failure” in an affidavit filed earlier this month.

In helicopter video shot by ABC News affiliate KSAT-TV in San Antonio, the small crash test vehicle can be seen significantly damaged on the driver’s side upon impact in the eighth test.

Although the guardrail does not appear to pierce the cabin of the car – the alleged recurring problem described by victims – the door is clearly crushed inward.

Coon wrote that the guardrail “buckled and began violently penetrating the occupant compartment” and claimed the impact “not only could have caused disabling injuries, but showed a propensity to penetrate the vehicle and cause devastating injuries.” Coon had previously testified against the safety of the guardrail in a lawsuit in Texas.

Malcom Ray, another accident expert and Trinity’s expert witness, shot back in his own filing late Monday, calling Coon’s assessment “premature, scientifically unsound and irresponsible.” Ray said Coon’s comments are also unreliable as the evaluation was made based on video shot by local media and not by official testing data, which has not yet been made public.

Accusing Coon of “confusing penetration with deformation,” Ray, who was present for the testing, writes, “Dr. Coon cannot make such an assessment since he could not even see the interior of the vehicle, the position of the (crash test) dummy or the location or magnitude of the interior deformation from the news media footage he relies upon. Nor did he review any crash test data.”

The tests were conducted by Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, where an ABC News producer was present at each of the closed crash tests as a media pool representative.

Results of the first four tests were released earlier this month, with federal officials giving the ET-Plus a “pass” grade. The results of the last four tests are currently being analyzed and expected to be released in the coming weeks, but controversy has now dogged the eighth and final test, which was conducted on Jan. 27.

The Federal Highway Administration has maintained that the crash test results will not be the final steps in determining the fate of the ET-Plus and that the agency plans to address other safety questions that have been raised about the embattled highway device.

The popular guardrail system, found on highways across the country, has been blamed for gruesome injuries and deaths after it was modified years ago without the knowledge of federal and state officials. More than half of U.S. states have stopped installing the guardrail, pending the outcome of the tests.

An ABC News 20/20 investigation in September looked into allegations from crash victims that the modified guardrail end terminal could malfunction when struck from the front by their vehicles. Rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact as designed, the modified, 4-inch guardrails “locked up” and speared straight through the cars, severing the motorists’ limbs in some cases. The ABC News investigation discovered that in a company email, a Trinity Industries employee noted that the modification would save $2 per guardrail – approximately $50,000 per year.

Eight crash tests of the modified, 4-inch ET-Plus were requested by the Federal Highway Administration late last year after a federal jury in a whistle-blower case found Trinity had defrauded the government by not disclosing those earlier changes. The company was ordered to pay $175 million in damages – a figure expected to triple by statutory mandate. Trinity indicated it plans to appeal the decision.

Both Ray and Coon testified in that federal case, Ray on behalf of Trinity Industries and Coon on behalf of the plaintiffs, led by Joshua Harman, a one-time competitor of Trinity’s who brought the 5-inch to 4-inch modification issue to light with the government.

Harman told ABC News that all eyes will be on the results of the eighth test: “If they classify that as a pass then they may as well say the Titanic did not sink.”

Trinity has said as the data from the final test has not been fully analyzed, it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment or speculate. But company officials say the “pass” results of the first four tests “validate” the company’s “long standing position” that if installed and maintained correctly on the highway, the ET-Plus will perform as intended. The company says it remains confident in the performance of its product.

The Federal Highway Administration has made the crash test video from the first four tests available for viewing on its website, found here.

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‘Road Rage’ Shooting Victim Vigil to Be Held at Driving Lesson Site

The Meyers Family(LAS VEGAS) — The family of a woman who was fatally shot after an apparent “road rage” incident is planning a vigil Tuesday evening where she was teaching her daughter how to drive.

The candlelight vigil for Tammy Meyers will take place at 7 p.m. local time outside Walter Johnson Junior High School, where Meyers was giving her 15-year old daughter a driving lesson in the parking lot, according to the family. A school official said she had no details about the vigil.

One of Meyers’ four children spoke with ABC News, expressing shock after her death.

“We’re not used to waking up and not seeing our mom,” Matt Meyers, 19, told ABC News.

Tammy Meyers, a nurse who was shot outside her house Thursday after what police said was a “road range incident with another vehicle,” died Saturday in University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said on Sunday that detectives are “doing everything they can to find the suspect or suspects.”

Meyers was involved in a confrontation with another vehicle when she was on the way home from giving her daughter a driving lesson Thursday, police said.

“There was a verbal confrontation between the victim and the other male driver,” read a police statement on Saturday.

The other vehicle followed her home, and when she got out of her car, police said, someone started shooting.

Meyers’ 15-year-old daughter ran into the house before the shooting and did not witness the incident. Police said one of her brothers came out of the house and fired back at the other vehicle.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that some time later, the suspect vehicle appeared on the street, multiple shots were fired, and the victim was struck by one round,” the police statement from Saturday read.

One of the occupants of the vehicle is described as a white male, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds.

He has “dirty blonde hair worn in a spiked style and has hazel or blue eyes,” police said.

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“American Sniper” Trial: New Footage Inside Police Car Shown

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — Footage showing accused “American Sniper” killer Eddie Ray Routh in the back seat of a police car was shown Tuesday morning in a Texas court.

Lancaster police officer Flavio Salazar said Routh was more relaxed once he was inside the car after he was arrested in the slayings of Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield, on Feb. 2, 2013.

After that, however, Routh appeared more panicked and the officer told him to “take a deep breath,” as seen on the video shown Tuesday in the Erath County courthouse.

At one point, Salazar tries to calm him by saying, “I was in Iraq too man.”

Video of Routh in backseat of cop car being played for the jury #SniperTrial pic.twitter.com/4pAruTV8G6

— Ali Ehrlich (@ehrlichABC) February 17, 2015

Earlier in Tuesday’s testimony, Routh’s drug use was discussed as the prosecution went through some of what is expected to be its final witnesses.

Routh’s defense team asked, and was denied, a mistrial because vials that were submitted into evidence earlier in the trial were actually from the crime lab and not from Routh’s house.

A forensics expert testified Tuesday morning that no methamphetamine or PCP was found at Routh’s house, and the prosecution later clarified that marijuana was the only drug found at Routh’s home.

Texas Department of Public Safety forensic scientist Amber Moss was then called to the stand to testify about the blood found on Routh’s cowboy boots.

Moss said she was able to confirm that the boots entered into evidence Monday were worn at the gun range where the shooting took place. She went on to say that there was only a one in a 189.7 quintillion (18 zeros) chance that the blood did not belong to Chad Littlefield.

Routh faces life in prison if he is found guilty of murder charges. He has entered a not guilty plea and his defense team will be arguing that he was insane at the time of the shooting.

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Prosecution Shows Video of Aaron Hernandez Dismantling Cellphone

iStock/Thinkstock(FALL RIVER, Mass.) — As testimony resumed Tuesday in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, prosecutors played a police surveillance video of the former NFL player dismantling his phone.

Just before playing the video, Detective Michael Elliot of the North Attleboro Police Department testified that a few hours after Hernandez left the police station, he saw the former New England Patriots tight end from the closed-circuit camera sitting in his lawyer’s car, breaking down his cellphone.

Hernandez, 25, is accused of orchestrating Lloyd’s murder in 2013.

The video shows Hernandez in the car’s passenger seat taking apart one phone in his lap while talking on another phone.

Prosecutors claim Hernandez used the phone to call co-defendant Ernest Wallace.

The defense had fought to keep the surveillance video from being brought into evidence, but Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh ruled this past Friday that Hernandez had no expectation of privacy while inside a parked car in a public lot.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mark Archambault, who had installed the home theater system in Hernandez’s home, was also on the stand. He said he returned to the athlete’s house in May 2013 to install six digital cameras and set up a security system.

Archambault said Hernandez asked how to shut off the camera in the basement because he didn’t want his fiancé to see him hanging out with his friends.

North Attleboro police officer John Grim also took the stand for cross-examination.

But defense attorney James Sultan tried to point out discrepancies in the 150-page police report as he showed Grim’s hand-drawn diagram of the crime scene, with a stick figure representing Lloyd’s body.

On re-direct, prosecutor William McCauley used the photo of Lloyd’s body and asked Grim to clarify details — an effort to raise questions in the jury’s minds about the thoroughness of the police investigation.

According to Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg, on June 17, 2013, Hernandez told Lloyd “he was going to come out to his house.”

Hernandez was driving when he and two other men picked up Lloyd from his home and brought him to the industrial park, near the Patriots’ home at Gillette Stadium, according to prosecutors.

“Odin Lloyd was shot six times,” Bomberg has told the jury.

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