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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Sunday
Oct192014

Police in Missing UVA Student Case Search Rural Area Where Remains Found

iStock/Thinkstock(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va.) -- Police investigating the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham searched a wooded and sparsely populated area a day after human remains were found there.

On Sunday forensic teams searched along a road in southern Albemarle County, Virginia, that runs near the vacant home where the remains were discovered. Investigators also interviewed residents in the area.

A team of searchers on Saturday found a skull, bones and a pair of tight, dark-colored pants in a dried-up creek bed behind the home. The pants are similar to a pair Graham, 18, was wearing the night she disappeared.

According to Lt. Carver of the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department, a vertebrate bone found among the remains matched the length of a tall person's body. Graham was 5 feet and 11 inches tall.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said that forensic testing would be done and the remains transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond.

The remains have not yet been identified.

Graham disappeared on September 13 and was last seen with Matthew at a bar near the University of Virginia campus, according to police. He was arrested in September and charged with abduction with the intent to defile, or sexually assault, Graham. He is being held without bond.

"It is my understanding that the remains found on the abandoned property in southern Albemarle County have been sent to the medical examiner for positive identification," Jim Camblos, Matthew's attorney, said in a statement Sunday.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen Matthew or any suspicious activity in the area to come forward.


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Sunday
Oct192014

Coaches Suspended in NJ High School Football Hazing Scandal

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Football coaches who also teach at the New Jersey high school embroiled in a hazing scandal have been suspended with pay from both positions, according to an official briefed on the situation.

Among the teachers suspended at Sayreville War Memorial High School were five with tenure, reportedly including head football coach George Najjar.

The suspensions were expected to be discussed Tuesday evening at the district's next school board meeting.

Several of the seven football players at the school accused in the hazing scandal appeared in court Tuesday, the beginning of legal proceedings as investigators try to determine the depths of the alleged abuse.

Seven players -- ranging in age from 15 to 17 -- face charges stemming from the alleged hazing. Three students face sex-crime various charges, and others face charges including aggravated sexual assault to conspiracy and criminal restraint.

They were charged after four victims were allegedly held against their will in four separate incidents, while the defendants improperly touched them in a sexual manner.

The seven suspects have all been suspended from school, with the football season canceled indefinitely amid the hazing investigation.

It is unclear if the teens are being held, or if they are back with their parents. Authorities with the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office have not announced whether they intend to charge any of them as adults.


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Sunday
Oct192014

Jurors in Polo Mogul John Goodman's Retrial Won't See Cars Involved in Fatal Crash

iStock/Thinkstock(WELLINGTON, Fla.) -- Neither of the cars at the center of Florida polo mogul John Goodman's DUI manslaughter case will be seen by jurors during his retrial.

The Palm Beach Attorney's Office ordered the release of the $200,000 Bentley driven by Goodman and the Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson after Goodman was convicted in the first trial. The two cars were to be crushed.

Goodman was speeding when he crashed into Wilson's car in Wellington, Florida, sending it into a canal, prosecutors allege. Wilson, 23, drowned.

Palm Beach Homicide Detective Troy Snelgrove testified earlier this week that Goodman appeared inebriated in the hours after the crash. Goodman had watery eyes, slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol, he said.

Goodman was not driving while drunk, his lawyers said, but had a drink after the crash to calm his nerves. Goodman has also said the brakes malfunctioned before the crash.

Since the jurors are unaware that this is a retrial, they have been told the Bentley was released after thorough testing.

"His car was a crucial piece of evidence in the first case," said ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. "This is a much better case for the defense this time around."

Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in 2012 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but the conviction was thrown out when a mistrial was declared because of juror misconduct.

If convicted again, Goodman faces 16 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.


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Sunday
Oct192014

Escaped Inmate Eludes Cops After Traffic Stop

iStock/Thinkstock(SHELBY, N.C.) -- Police were hunting Sunday for a North Carolina man who escaped from prison after five attempts and has so far evaded capture, despite being sought by as many as 45 officers.

Police were conducting an air and ground search for Hoyle Mincey, an inmate at the Wateree Correctional Institution in Shelby, N.C.

Mincey was on the run for a week when he was spotted Saturday morning driving an allegedly stolen van and pulled over by police. But Mincey evaded capture and ran into a wooded area, police told ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C.

Mincey is supposed to be serving a sentence for a burglary conviction.

This is his fifth attempt at escaping prison, according to WSOC.

Police said that although Mincey is not considered violent, anyone who thinks they see him should still be cautious.

"Nothing in his history is violent, but people do things in desperate times," Shelby Police Chief Jeffrey Ledford said. "Don't engage him. Smile, wave, go back inside (and) call us."

Mincey has tattoos of a snake, dagger, Joker, Vicon, lion's heart, wizard and eagle. His left ring finger is amputated.


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Sunday
Oct192014

Remains Found in Search for Missing UVA Student Hannah Graham

Charlottesville Police Department(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Remains have been found in the search for Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student who went missing on Sept. 13, Virginia police said.

Police have not confirmed that the remains, which where found behind a vacant home, are those of Graham. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said forensic testing would be done before they could be positively identified.

"Right now we have the discovery of human remains and a great deal of work ahead of us," said Col. Steve Sellers, the chief of the Albemarle County Police Department, which is now taking over the investigation. "We cannot and we will not jump to any conclusions regarding today's discovery, so I ask for the public's patience as we move forward and pursue what is now a new, ongoing death investigation."

He said the remains were found at approximately noon Saturday, when a team of volunteers with the Chesterfield County, Va., Sheriff's Office was searching an abandoned property along Old Lynchburg Road in southern Albemarle County.

Albemarle County Police, City of Charlottesville Police and Virginia State Police spent the afternoon preserving the scene and processing evidence, police said.

The remains will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination, autopsy and identification.

The 18-year-old sophomore disappeared in the early morning hours of Sept. 13 and was last seen with a man who police said was Jesse Matthew, who was arrested last month and eventually charged with abduction with intent to defile.

Police found surveillance footage and witnesses who allegedly saw the pair at a bar together. 

Matthew went to the Charlottesville police a week after Graham disappeared, but left before speaking to investigators and allegedly sped off in a car, driving erratically.

Police issued a warrant for his arrest on a reckless driving charge, and named him a suspect in the case.

Four days later, a sheriff's deputy in Galveston took Matthew into custody after receiving a tip from a woman who spotted him there.

Since his arrest, Virginia State Police have said they have found "a new forensic link" between the 2009 murder of Morgan Harrington and Matthew, and police in other jurisdictions around the state began looking into possible links between Matthew and open cases they had.

Christopher Newport University made public a "criminal incident information" report that stated Jesse Matthew was investigated for an alleged sexual assault on campus that occurred Sept. 7, 2003.

The report said the alleged sexual assault took place on the school's campus and was investigated by university police. No injuries were reported in connection to the alleged assault, and the report does not indicate whether any criminal charges were filed.


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Sunday
Oct192014

Mother of 5 Convicted of Killing Son Will Face New Capital Murder Trial

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Texas prosecutor has announced his intention to retry Hannah Overton, who has spent the last seven years in prison for the 2006 salt poisoning death of her adopted son.

The devout Christian was convicted in 2007 of killing her 4-year-old adopted son, Andrew Burd, and sentenced to life in prison. Her family and attorneys have been fighting for her release ever since and just last month, the state appellate court overturned that conviction.

Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said in a news release Saturday that he would retry Overton on the original charge of capital murder and that "no jury, no trial judge and no appellate court has ever found that defendant Hannah Overton is not responsible for the death of Andrew Burd."

Overton's attorney, Cynthia Orr, said that when she read those words she was "outraged."

"I think it is clearly unprofessional," Orr told ABC News. "The presumption of innocence is something prosecutors should hold dear because that is what the entire system of justice hinges on."

When Orr delivered the news to her client in prison, she said that Overton's reaction was "calm but confident she will be vindicated and looks forward to the opportunity to clear her name."

Her husband, Larry Overton, told ABC News on Sunday that after he learned of the DA's decision he was "disappointed."

"I had hoped that Mark Skurka would look at the lack of evidence in the case and allow our family to heal from our son's death and my children to have their mother back without wasting time," he said. "This is the same unfortunate and misguided conduct that the DA in Nueces County seems incapable of correcting."

Skurka also had the option to retry Overton on lesser charges, offer a plea deal or dismiss the case. It is unclear whether he will try the case himself or assign a new prosecutor.

The original prosecutor, Sandra Eastwood, was terminated for reasons unrelated to this case years after the trial concluded. Overton has accused Eastwood of acting unethically in her case, something Eastwood has denied repeatedly.

The appellate court did not rule specifically on Overton's claims of prosecutorial misconduct, saying that she deserved a new trial on claims of ineffective counsel.

However, three of the judges issued a concurring opinion saying the proceedings in the case were "problematic from the beginning" and cited both issues involving Eastwood, as well as Overton's trial attorneys, who failed to call a salt poisoning expert to the stand.

At Overton's original trial in 2007, the prosecution portrayed her as a mother who had lost control. Frustrated with a naughty child, prosecutors said, she tried to punish him with seasoning mixed in water.

The defense presented the jury with a medical mystery. They speculated Burd might have had pica, an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive appetite, and that he accidentally poisoned himself by consuming a fatal amount of sodium.

Witnesses outside the home said they had seen Burd's bizarre habits, too. The day he died, Overton said she found him in the kitchen pantry but could not determine what he had consumed, if anything.

To find Overton guilty, jurors had to believe either of two scenarios: that she force-fed Burd salt knowing it would kill him or that she neglected to get medical help fast enough. They convicted her based on the latter argument, that she did not seek help quickly enough.

Overton told 20/20 in 2008 that she did not regret trying to adopt Burd.

"I wouldn't take that away," she said at the time. "He had brothers and sisters and a mommy and daddy, what he called his forever family, because we had to go through a lot of pain since then. It's not fair to him. Or to us."


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Sunday
Oct192014

Video Catches Thief Stealing Giant, Inflatable Halloween Cat from Texas Home

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- A thief was caught on camera stealing a giant, inflatable Halloween cat from the front lawn of a Texas home last week.

The homeowner's surveillance footage shows the man walk up to a home in the San Antonio suburb of Laredo in the middle of the night, according to police. Video shows him turn off the fan that fills the cat with air and then crawl over the ornament until it is deflated.

The video ends with the man gathering the cat's floppy arms and legs, which are twice his size, and walking away with it.

Anyone with information on this cat-napper is asked to call police at 956-795-2800.


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Sunday
Oct192014

New Mexico Zoo Searching for Tasmanian Devil Killer

iStock/Thinkstock(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A murder at a New Mexico zoo has taken the life of a Tasmanian devil, an endangered species threatened with extinction.

Police are searching for an unidentified assailant they believe killed Jasper the Tasmanian devil, who was found dead in his cage at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo earlier this week.

Jasper was found lying in his cage in a pool of blood, his skull cracked, zoo officials told ABC News' Albuquerque affiliate KOAT-TV.

Police say they believe Jasper died of blunt force trauma to the head. A piece of asphalt that did not belong there was found inside his cage.

It is unclear when Jasper was killed, officials said.

No suspects have been identified, but police do think Jasper was killed intentionally, according to a police report obtained by KOAT-TV.

Jasper and three other Tasmanian devils arrived in Albuquerque this past December on loan from Australia, the TV station reported.


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Saturday
Oct182014

New Cop Killing Suspect Sighting Has 'High Credibility'

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(POCONO SUMMIT, Pa.) -- A new possible sighting of suspected cop-killer Eric Frein has Pennsylvania police re-focusing their search, more than a month after the manhunt began.

Frein, 31, is accused of ambushing state police in early September, killing one and wounding another. Since then, police say he has been hiding in the woods of the Pocono Mountains.

"Overnight we had a sighting for which we are assigning a high level of credibility," Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said on Saturday. "It was reported in the area of the Pocono Mountain East High School. The individual's description was consistent with Frein and he was observed carrying a rifle."


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The woman who saw the man said that his face was "covered with mud," so a positive identification could not be made, but she was about 15 to 20 feet from him.

After learning of the new possible sighting, police shifted the search area, he said.

"I think we've kept a tremendous amount of pressure on him and I think that likely had some bearing on where he's at now, assuming that it is him," Bivens said.

Frein attended Pocono East High School and worked at Camp Minsi, which is also in the vicinity, Bevins said.

Investigators are also analyzing blood found on the back porch of a home near Cresco. They are not sure if the blood is related to the investigation and expect the test results to come back late this evening.

State police say the weather is working in their favor, because as leaves continue to fall, there is a better aerial view from choppers and planes.

Police have been searching the woods, focusing on the border of Pike and Monroe counties, since after the shooting at the Blooming Grove police barracks on Sept. 12.

Frein, from nearby Canadensis, has been spotted several times, but always evaded police capture because of the thick terrain. He's a self-trained survivalist and war reenactor who focused on Eastern European militaries and weapons.

Police found Frein's Jeep in a swamp shortly after the shooting. They have also found two pipe bombs, an AK-47, food, ammunition, clothing and other supplies in the search.


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Saturday
Oct182014

Manslaughter Trial for Polo Mogul John Goodman Could Hinge on Bartender's Testimony

iStock/Thinkstock(WELLINGTON, Fla.) -- Florida polo mogul John Goodman ordered over a dozen drinks in the hours before a fatal car crash in 2010, a bartender testified during his retrial.

Goodman was convicted in 2012 and ordered to serve a 16-year sentence, which was later thrown out due to juror misconduct. He's accused of vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.

The bartender who said she served Goodman, Catherine Lewter, testified that he ordered over a dozen shots and drinks in the hours before the crash. She told the court that Goodman spent $272 on 18 drinks at the bar.

When asked what Goodman first did when he walked into the bar, Lewis said he ordered "ten shots of our best tequila."

Goodman's attorney argued most of the drinks were for Goodman's friends and not his client. Lewter testified she saw him drink only the three drinks she served him

Goodman crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson, 23, sending the car into a canal in Wellington, Florida. Wilson, a recent college grad, drowned in the canal.

According to prosecutors, Goodman's blood alcohol level was 0.177 - more than twice the legal limit - three hours after the crash.

Criminal investigator Troy Snelgrove testified that Goodman appeared inebriated hours after the crash, saying he had watery eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.

Goodman’s defense team has argued that the polo mogul only drank after the crash to calm his nerves. He has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Goodman could face the same 16-year prison sentence he was ordered to serve at the end of the first trial.


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