Review Category : Top Stories

Houdeshell Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charges

4/27/2016 – 5:11 pm

An Arlington man pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of a two-year-old Findlay boy. The Courier reports that 28-year-old Brent Houdeshell entered the plea Wednesday before Hancock County Common Pleas Magistrate Robroy Crow via video connection with the Hancock County jail. Houdeshell has been charged with causing the death of Breydon Ferrell.

The charges came after the death of Breydon Ferrell, 2, on March 31. Findlay police were dispatched to 2030 Breckenridge Road, Apt. 3, on a report of an unresponsive child. It was reported that the child had fallen out of his crib, police said.

Houdeshell faces charges of murder, endangering children and tampering with evidence. Crow set Houdeshell’s bond at $537,500. Houdeshell will appear for a pretrial hearing on May 13th.

More: The Courier

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American Airlines Aircraft Returns to Seattle Airport After Bird Strike

amana images/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — A Dallas-bound American Airlines aircraft was struck by a bird Wednesday afternoon after taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and at the pilot’s discretion, the Airbus 321 returned to the airport about 30 minutes after taking off.

In a statement, American Airlines said, “American Airlines 2310, from Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), returned to SeaTac due to a bird strike, which struck the nose of the aircraft. The Airbus A321, with 150 passengers and six crew, landed safely and taxied to the gate.”

According to LiveATC.net, the pilot told air traffic controllers, “looks like we hit some birds after takeoff, we’re gonna need to go back and have the airplane looked at.”

The flight was scheduled to leave at 3:15 p.m., but departed at 3:36, according to FlightAware.com.

American Airlines added, “Our maintenance team is currently evaluating the aircraft. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and are working to get them to Texas as soon as possible.”

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport also confirmed that the dent in the nose of the plane seen in the above photo was indeed caused by the bird strike.

Bird Strike: AA 2310 from Seattle to DFW had to return to Seattle after bird strike. Plane just landed. pic.twitter.com/NiKUxDsIKp

— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) April 27, 2016

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Trailblazer Becomes Army’s First Female Infantry Officer

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT BENNING, Ga.) — Already a trailblazer, Army Captain Kristen Griest became the Army’s first female infantry officer when, on Monday, the Army approved her request to transfer from the military police unit she had been serving in.

Griest became well-known last year after she became one of the first three women to successfully complete the Army’s elite Ranger School course.

“Like any other officer, male or female, that wants to transfer their branch, she took the opportunity and applied for an exception to the Army policy to transfer her branch from Military Police to Infantry,” said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman at Fort Benning, Georgia. Purtiman confirmed to ABC News that Griest’s transfer request was approved by the Army on Monday and she became immediately eligible to serve in an Army infantry unit.

After successfully completing Ranger School last year, Griest returned to service at her home base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The participation of women in the Ranger School course was part of the Army’s research into whether women should be integrated into combat units. The other military services also conducted similar programs that were presented to Defense Secretary Ash Carter last fall.

In December, Carter ordered the military services to open up all combat specialties and branches to women, and since then, they have been implementing plans to do so.

Two weeks ago, the Army announced that 22 newly commissioned female officers from the U.S. Military Academy, college ROTC programs and Officer Candidate School had volunteered to serve in combat infantry and armor units. They are expected to join those units in 2017 after successfully completing the necessary training and requirements.

At the time, the Army said it was seeking applications from female officers already on active duty interested in transferring into infantry or Army units. An announcement was expected by the end of June as to how many transfer requests had been accepted.

On Thursday, Griest will graduate from the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning. Passing the two-month leadership course is a pre-requisite for holding a command position. But Purtiman said other female officers from other Army branches have graduated from the course in the past.

Griest initially entered the course as a military police officer, but with the Army’s approval of her transfer, her completion of the course will make her eligible for a command position in an infantry unit. Captains typically command companies consisting of between 100 and 150 soldiers.

Last August, Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first women to graduate from Ranger School. Two months later, Army Reservist Maj. Lisa Jaster became the third woman to successfully complete the demanding course.

Griest’s next assignment is not being disclosed.

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Baltimore Police Shoot Teen Holding ‘What Looked Like a Firearm’

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — A 13-year-old boy shot by Baltimore police Wednesday was holding “what looked like a firearm,” police said.

Two police officers in Baltimore saw the teen with what they thought was a semi-automatic gun, according to the Baltimore Police Department. After the officers identified themselves, the boy allegedly took off running, never dropping the apparent weapon, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday.

One of the officers then shot the 13-year-old. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries and will survive, Davis said. The police officer and the 13-year-old have not been identified.

The boy’s mother told police that he left the house with a BB gun in his hand, Davis said, describing it as a “dead-on ringer” for a semi-automatic pistol.

The police commissioner said that gun arrests are up by 60 percent so far this year in Baltimore and that the police department is “tasked with identifying people who pose a threat” to the community.

“No police officer in Baltimore wants to shoot a 13-year-old,” he said.

Davis said it’s common for people to arm themselves with “replica handguns” for the purpose of committing crimes.

“He had every opportunity to drop the gun,” Davis said of the 13-year-old. “He had every opportunity to stop, put his hands in the air … and follow the instructions of a police officer.”

Davis could not comment on how many shots were fired by the police officer.

The shooting comes a little more than a year after the anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died a week after he fell into a coma while being transported by a police van in Baltimore.

The investigation is ongoing, Davis said.

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12-year-old Girl Finishes Half Marathon She Never Signed Up For

iStock/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — A 12-year-old Rochester, New York girl accidentally entered a half-marathon race that spanned 13 miles — and finished.

LeeAdianez Rodriguez-Espada was running late for the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge on April 24. She went to the starting line and began to run, thinking she had arrived just in the nick of time to start a 5-kilometer, or 3.1 mile, race – the one she actually trained for over the last two months.

After realizing the race was going on longer than she expected, mile after mile, LeeAndianez asked a fellow runner what was going on. That’s when she understood that she was running in the wrong race.

“She decided, ‘You know what, I’m in already,'” her mom, Brendalee Espada, told ABC News. “‘I’m going to finish it.'”

But when Espada did not see her daughter at the finish line of the 5K race, she was in sheer panic. LeeAdianez ran her first 5K last year in 40 to 50 minutes, so Espada was expecting her in about the same time. When an hour came and went, then an hour and 45 minutes, without any sign of her, fear set in.

Some people suggested to Espada that a young runner probably hadn’t yet crossed the finish line.

“I said, ‘No, something is wrong, my daughter is not in the 5K.'” She frantically asked the race timekeepers and some of LeeAdianez’ friends to help her find the girl. No one said they had seen her.

“I started crying,” Espada said. “I got scared. I got confused.”

The police were notified and the search began for LeeAdianez. But all along, she was there, trying to keep pace with the other runners of the half marathon, most of whom were adults who were experienced runners and had trained extensively.

“I was crying all over,” Espada said. “It was really scary.”

When the sixth grader was spotted, she decided she had come too far to stop. She wanted to finish the race. When she reached the finish line, her mom was there — eager, scared and proud to see her daughter.

“I ran to her and hugged her, and I was crying and she was like, ‘Mommy, are you okay?'” Espada said. “It’s a miracle that she was able to finish it.”

LeeAdianez crossed the finish line of the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge half-marathon in two hours and 43 minutes. She received a medal for her participation.

“I am amazed that she was able to finish without proper training,” Espada added. “I was in shock. I was surprised.”

Espada said she and LeeAdianez have both signed up for a 5K, not a half-marathon, in May.

“I am running with her and I told her she will have to keep up with me because I am out of shape,” Espada laughed.

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Hancock County Teen Reported Missing

4/27/2016 – 12:57 pm

A Hancock County teenager has been missing and authorities are looking for her. Hancock Jobs & Family Services reports that the teen, 16-year-old Alyssa Hope Neal has been missing from her foster home since April 14th. Neal is described as having long dark brown hair, hazel eyes, she is about 5’6″ and weighs around 200 pounds. She has nose, lip and ear piercings but no visible tattoos.

Neal was previously in a foster home in the Lima area and has been listed on the National Missing and Exploited Children’s website as well. Anyone with any information about her is asked to call 1-800-THE-LOST or contact the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office. A picture of Neal can be also found above.

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JetBlue Pilot Arrested for Allegedly Flying Drunk

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A JetBlue pilot is due in court Wednesday, arrested after allegedly flying while under the influence of alcohol.

Dennis Murphy had already piloted two flights between Orlando and JFK International Airport in New York when he was selected for random alcohol testing on April 21, 2015, according to a complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York last week.

According to the breath alcohol technician, Murphy’s “face was red and he was chewing gum rapidly” on the way to the testing office, the complaint said. After allegedly blowing an 0.111 and a 0.091, he asserted the results “must have been caused by the gum.”

Murphy, who had been hired by JetBlue only three months prior, also questioned why he was being tested so soon after his start date, according to the complaint.

His co-pilot later told agents he’d observed Murphy “drinking an unknown beverage from a cup before and during” both flights, which carried a combined 270 passengers. The co-pilot said he’d also noticed Murphy taking a bathroom break, according to the complaint.

The maximum penalty, if convicted, is 15 years.

JetBlue immediately removed him from flight status, and Murphy later submitted his resignation.

“JetBlue has a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy,” the airline said in a statement. “Following last year’s incident, the crewmember was removed from duty and is no longer employed at JetBlue.”

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Officer-Involved Shooting of Corey Jones to Go Before Grand Jury

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The case against a Palm Beach Gardens police officer accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old church musician Corey Jones will go before a grand jury, Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Wednesday.

The grand jury will hear the case before June 30, he said. The criminal investigation into Jones’ death will continue in the meantime.

On Oct. 19, Jones was stranded with car troubles on I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens around 3:15 a.m. when Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja pulled up in an unmarked car to “investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle,” police said.

When Raja, who was in plainclothes, exited his vehicle, he was confronted by an armed subject, police said in a statement.

“As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm resulting in the death of the subject, Corey Jones,” the statement read.

A gun was recovered on the ground outside Jones’ car, police said. Jones had purchased the gun three days before the shooting. The box it was purchased in was found inside his car.

Raja was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting.

Authorities have interviewed about 230 people in the investigation, Aronberg said, because the shooting happened on a stretch of highway with several hotels and businesses nearby.

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FBI Will Not Seek White House Review over iPhone Hack

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The FBI has announced it will not pursue a White House review over whether the U.S. government should tell Apple how it hacked into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“The FBI assesses that it cannot submit the method to the [review process],” Amy Hess, the FBI’s executive assistant director for science and technology, said in a statement Wednesday. “The FBI purchased the [hacking] method from an outside party so that we could unlock the San Bernardino device. We did not, however, purchase the rights to technical details about how the method functions, or the nature and extent of any vulnerability upon which the method may rely in order to operate. As a result, currently we do not have enough technical information about any vulnerability that would permit any meaningful review under the [review] process.”

The FBI’s conclusion means Apple will not be told about the specific vulnerability found on the device or the so-called “tool” used to help the FBI break into it.

Earlier this month, after the device was successfully opened, a senior Apple executive insisted the iPhone “continues to be one of the safest products on the market,” predicting the vulnerability found “will have a short shelf life.”

Speaking in Washington on Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey said deciding whether to review sharing information with Apple “involves answering a key question, which is: What do we know about the vulnerability, and — given that — is the [review] process implicated?”

He continued: “The threshold is: Are we aware of a vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don’t have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability that it would implicate the process? We’re really close to sorting it out.”

Last month, federal prosecutors abandoned efforts to compel Apple to help them unlock the iPhone 5c left behind by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, launched a deadly assault on Dec. 2, 2015, killing 14 of Farook’s coworkers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California. The Justice Department dropped the case after a private company found what Comey has called “a solution” and “a tool” for cracking into the phone.

Three weeks ago, Comey expressed concern that notifying Apple about the exploited flaw could potentially hamper efforts to access other iPhones in future cases.

“We’re having discussions within the government now about, ‘OK, so should we tell Apple what the flaw is that was found?’ That’s an interesting conversation because if we tell Apple, they fix it, and then we’re back where we started from,” Comey said at the time. “We may end up there, we just haven’t decided yet.”

Now that the FBI has made a decision, the agency has informed relevant officials that it will not be submitting the matter to the White House’s Vulnerabilities Equities Process, or VEP.

In announcing the FBI’s decision, Hess indicated her agency had balanced “the pros and cons” of disclosing the iPhone’s vulnerability to Apple, adding that a White House review “requires significant technical insight into a vulnerability” and “cannot perform its function without sufficient detail about the nature and extent of a vulnerability.”

In her statement, Hess noted the “the extraordinary nature of this particular case” and “the intense public interest in it.”

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Ex-Cop Confesses to Killing Wife in 911 Call

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — A 57-year-old Ohio man, who confessed in a chilling 911 call that he shot his wife to death, is now behind bars.

Jeff Hawkins, a 12-year veteran of the Chicago police force, called 911 Monday afternoon from his home and calmly confessed to dispatchers that he “shot and killed” his wife, Jo Ann Hawkins.

When asked if he was still armed, Hawkins said: “[My gun] is on the sink. I’m not a threat to anybody. I’m a former police officer. I’m not sure what happened.”

During the course of the call, Hawkins finally broke down when asked to explain what happened, saying, “I came home, she was here…she just wouldn’t talk to me and she kept saying ‘talk to my lawyer’ and I don’t know it just happened it just happened I never. I never wanted to do anything.”

Hawkins surrendered to police and was booked on one count of murder. Authorities found Jo Ann, 59, shot to death in the home. Hawkins’ bond was set at $3 million.

“We’ve been scared in the past,” the victim’s son, Bo Hart, told ABC News affiliate WCPO. “I had an off-and-on relationship with my mom in the past because of him, and we know what he’s capable of.”

Hawkins has not yet entered a plea, but his attorney asked for “the public to see the facts…before jumping to a conclusion.”

“This is an anomaly on his record,” the attorney said. “He has absolutely nothing whatsoever with any violent conduct. He’s never been in trouble.”

This was not the first 911 call Hawkins made. Two days prior to the shooting, he called asking for a welfare check on his wife. He said he was out of town and received a notice that “a lot” of money was missing from the family account.

If convicted, Hawkins faces 15 years to life in prison.

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