Major Winter Storm to Slam the Midwest Then Move East

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A major winter storm is set to hit parts of the Midwest and Northeast, delivering a significant amount of snow that could affect travel across the country to start the week.

The developing winter storm first moved through the southern and central Plains on Saturday, bringing a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain to the region.

Winter Storm Warnings, Watches, and Advisories were in effect on Saturday from the central Plains to New England in anticipation of the winter storm on the way.

The upcoming storm was expected to strengthen Saturday evening with a large area of heavy snow developing across the central Plains, and eventually through the Midwest Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The heaviest snow is expected to fall generally along and north of Interstate 80, with a wintry mix and rain expected for areas south of there.

On Sunday morning, heavy snow is forecast to be falling from Des Moines, Iowa, to Chicago and as far east as Detroit and Cleveland.

By Sunday evening, the snow will continue to fall from Chicago to Cleveland and begin to move into the Northeast. A wintry mix and areas of heavy rain are expected further south from Indianapolis to the northern Tennessee Valley.

Current snowfall forecasts from the ABC Weather Team call for accumulations of 8-12 inches from central Iowa through the northern Ohio Valley by Monday morning. Isolated amounts over a foot are possible, focusing on areas east of Chicago through northern Ohio.

The storm will then continue to track east Sunday night and into Monday morning impacting a large stretch of the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C to coastal Maine.

From Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, mixing with rain and sleet will lead to lower snow totals. However from New York City up to Boston, significant amounts of snow with an icy and dangerous Monday morning commute expected.

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Video Captures Coast Guard Rescue After Pinterest Investor's Boat Hits Stormy Seas

hdecumont/iStock/Thinkstock(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) -- Video captured the U.S. Coast Guard rescuing a millionaire Pinterest investor and four other crew members after their $2.5 million catamaran malfunctioned.

The incident happened about 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina on Friday afternoon.

Video of the rescue shows the crew members - including Brian Cohen, a Pinterest investor - being plucked from the churning water via helicopter.

"There was 40 knot winds and 13 foot seas and they took a wave over their bow that appeared to be a little bit too much for their boat and the mast split in half," said Coast Guard Officer First Class Allen Facenda.

The boat - dubbed "The Rainmaker" - was profiled by Forbes last year.

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How Aaron Hernandez Will Be Spending Super Bowl Sunday

Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(FALL RIVER, Mass.) -- Aaron Hernandez helped lead the New England Patriots into the 2011 Super Bowl, but this weekend, the former NFL standout won't even be allowed to watch his teammates take on the Seattle Seahawks on TV, ABC News has learned.

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson told ABC News that Hernandez is back where he started shortly after his arrest on June 26, 2013, when he was accused of the murder of his one-time friend Odin Lloyd: a 70-square-foot solitary confinement cell in the Special Management Unit in the jail at North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

He cannot watch television, have a radio, or even read newspapers there. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

"His classification has not changed since the last time he was here," Hodgson said. "He remains under the same restrictions that he was last time he was here."

Those conditions have been the subject of complaints by Hernandez. In a motion filed last year, his defense attorneys successfully requested that Hernandez be moved from the North Dartmouth jail run by Hodgson to a lockup in Boston, saying he had been "subjected to unreasonable restrictions" imposed by the Bristol County Sheriff.

After a jailhouse fight, Hernandez's lawyers also said he felt unsafe, and a judge allowed the move to the Nashua Street jail in Boston. He returned to Bristol County earlier this month for the duration of his ongoing trial in connection with the execution-style murder of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who was dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister.

Hernandez -- who had a $40 million contract as a tight end but was cut by the Patriots just hours after his arrest in Lloyd's slaying -- could get life in prison if convicted. Hernandez is also set to be tried in Boston for a 2012 double murder that took place while he was still playing for the Patriots.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in that case.

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Super Bowl 2015: Seahawks Super-Fan Decks Out Home, Proposes to Girlfriend

Ashtin Fitzwater(CHANDLER, Ariz.) -- Ashtin Fitzwater just may be the Seattle Seahawks' biggest fan.

A few days after painting his girlfriend's mother's house in the team's colors -- neon green and blue -- he then proposed to his girlfriend Melissa of eight years on the lawn he spray-painted with the team's logo.

"She and I both huge fans, and after doing something so big with painting the house, I had to make my move now," Fitzwater told ABC News on Friday after attending a Seahawks pep rally. "She had no idea. She was completely in shock."

Of course, she said yes.

The Seahawks-themed proposal happened this past Tuesday in front of the house in Chandler, Arizona. Fitzwater was born and raised in Washington, the team's home state, but he moved to the Southwest for college and has lived there ever since.

The colorful house features a large "12" sprawled on the roof, referring to "The 12th Man," a phrase used to describe the Seahawks' most loyal fans.

Other players' jersey numbers are showcased on the garage door.

"We painted a logo for last year's Super Bowl," Fitzwater said. "But we wanted to do something bigger this year, so it was only logical that we painted the house."

The paint job took around eight hours and was finished this past Sunday, he said.

The house, which sticks out in a sea of beige, clay-colored iconic Southwestern homes, is welcomed by his neighbors.

"I have a [Denver] Broncos fan to the right of the house, and a [Arizona] Cardinals to the left, but my neighbors all love me," Fitzwater said. "I help them out all the time, and they're on board with it. None of their teams are in, so they're rooting for me."

He added he's in total shock about how much attention he's gotten in the past week.

"This is the best week of my life!" Fitzwater said.

It could only get better for him should his team beat the New England Patriots.

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Girl Gets Private Party After Mom Barred From Father-Daughter Dance

Shawna Steeves(LAWSON, Mo.) -- Shawna Steeves' 8-year-old daughter, Meghan, will get a dance of her own after the single mom said local PTO officials stood firm on a ruling that she could not be her daughter's date at a father-daughter dance.

According to Steeves, the president of the PTO said the group would stick to a "no moms allowed" policy for the Feb. 6 dance at Southwest Elementary School in Lawson, Missouri.

"One option they gave was that they [the PTO] would find a male substitute to take her, which was out of the question," Steeves said. "She told me that she didn't want to make kids feel like outcasts. But where did my daughter fit in all of this? They didn't even offer me a chaperone position."

Steeves told ABC News that she initially thought she could go to the dance after the school principal gave her the OK to accompany her daughter.

"She was really excited," Steeves said. "She said, 'Mommy, I want you to take me.' I thought, 'OK, cool,' but the flyer said, 'No moms allowed,' and her dad is not in her life."

"One week later, we bought a dress," Steeves added. "The next morning, I got a call from the principal, who told me that I wasn't allowed to attend because of the PTO [Parent Teacher Organization]."

The principal of Southwest Elementary School referred calls to the district superintendent, Roger Schmitz, who said the decision on who could attend the father-daughter dance rested with the PTO because it was running the event.

A community service organization saw coverage of Steeves' dispute with the school and offered to organize a separate dance.

"It's open to all the students and they can bring any adult role model they wish," said Antonio DeLaCruz, a member of Missouri Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association and organizer of "Meghan's Dance."

"Of course, she's the driving force," DeLaCruz added, "but there's other kids in her situation that want to attend school functions like the father-daughter dance and they can't."

PTO president Kacey Collier did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

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Deflate-Gate: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Speaks Out Ahead of Super Bowl

Digital Vision(PHOENIX) -- The NFL is conducting a "thorough and objective investigation" into the "deflate-gate" controversy, league commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday.

Following accusations that the New England Patriots used under-inflated balls during the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago, Goodell said the NFL is focusing on two questions: "Why were some footballs used in the game that were not in compliance with the rules, and was this result of a deliberate action?"

"We take seriously anything that potentially impacts the integrity of the game," Goodell said in his State of the League speech, ahead of the Super Bowl game between the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. "I want to emphasize, we have made no judgement on these points. And we will not compromise the investigation by engaging in speculation."

Goodell confirmed the footballs were tested at halftime of the AFC championship game.

Once the investigation is complete, the results will be shared publicly, according to Goodell.

Goodell was also asked about Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's comments at Media Day on Tuesday, during which the player repetitively said, "I am just here so I won't get fined."

"Marshawn understands the importance of the Super Bowl," Goodell said. "I've been very clear that when you're in the NFL you have an obligation to the fans."

"It is part of your job. And there are things we all have to do in our jobs that we may not necessarily want to do," he added.

"It may not be at the top of his list. Everyone else is cooperating and doing their part. It is our obligation," Goodell said. "It comes with the territory. It comes with the privilege of playing."

Looking to the off season, Goodell said the league will focus is on player safety, including establishing a Chief Medical Officer position to oversee medical-related policies.

Goodell said he expects to have the position "in place very soon."

Goodell added that concussions were down 25 percent this season, continuing a three-year trend.

The league also aims to bring more awareness to domestic violence and sexual assault, Goodell said.

This past Thursday was the first meeting of the new League Conduct Committee to review the personal conduct policy, of which Goodell said "raises the standards for all of us" by emphasizing ongoing education, prevention and support services.

"We want to make a difference, not just internally but externally."

Looking back on this season, Goodell said the league is in a better place than it was in August.

"We obviously as an organization have gone through adversity," he said, but noted that "the NFL is made up of good and caring people."

"It's been a tough year but a year of progress," Goodell said.

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Defense Wants Vanderbilt Rape Trial Verdict Thrown Out over Juror

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The defense team for Brandon Vandenburg, one of the former Vanderbilt University football players who was convicted this week of raping a female classmate, is now trying to get the verdict thrown out after discovering one of the jurors did not disclose he or she was a sexual assault victim.

ABC News has confirmed that the juror in question, whom ABC News has decided not to identify, was a victim of statutory rape 15 years ago, and his or her attacker was sentenced to 12 months in jail and 60 months of probation for the crime, but the juror never revealed that information during the jury selection process.

In a statement to ABC News, the attorney for the juror said that the "past situation has zero similarity to the facts presented within the Vanderbilt trial...nor did the past situation have any impact upon deliberations or decision-making in this case."

Vandenburg's defense said it now plans to file a motion to have the verdict vacated, which, if granted, means the judge could declare a mistrial, and the guilty verdict could be overturned.

On Tuesday, the jury took just three hours to decide Vandenburg and another former Vanderbilt football player, Cory Batey, were each guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg was also found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography after prosecutors claimed he recorded the sexual assault on his phone, shared it with friends and then tried to cover it up.

Vandenburg and Batey were scheduled to be sentenced on March 6.

The graphic sexual assault case played out in a Nashville, Tennessee courtroom over 12 days, as prosecutors presented surveillance video they said showed Vandenburg carrying the victim into his dorm, accompanied by Batey and two other former players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie. Jurors also had to watch cellphone video that prosecutors claimed Vandenburg recorded as the sexual assault went on in his dorm room in 2013.

Prosecutors said the victim, a 21-year-old former neuroscience major and dance team member at the university, was drunk and passed out when the incident occurred.

The defense argued that the young men were not guilty of rape, but rather of making a mistake.

Banks and McKenzie also face rape and sexual battery charges, but have not yet gone to trial. They have pleaded not guilty.

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Aaron Hernandez Trial: Victim's Girlfriend Says Hernandez, Odin Lloyd Were in 'Beginning Stages' of Friendship

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(FALL RIVER, Mass.) -- New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and Odin Lloyd were in the "beginning stages of a friendship" at the time of Lloyd's murder, the victim's former girlfriend said on the stand today.

It was Shaneah Jenkins, 23, who introduced Lloyd, 27, to Hernandez, she said.

Hernandez, who dated Jenkins' sister, is charged with orchestrating Llyod's murder.

Friday’s testimony from Jenkins, now a second-year criminal law student at New England Law School, contradicts the defense team's assertion during opening statements that the two men were good friends.

Lloyd and Hernandez "would hang out and smoke" marijuana in the basement of Hernandez's Massachusetts home, Jenkins said, confirming that Lloyd had rolled joints in her presence.

In opening statements, prosecutors said Hernandez's DNA is on a joint he shared with Lloyd.  

When asked if she knew of any time Lloyd and Hernandez were together without her, Jenkins said, "just the one I was made aware of the weekend he was murdered."

Emotions ran high as Lloyd's relatives sat through testimony on Friday from the captain of the North Attleboro Fire Department, who responded to the 911 call after the body of the semi-pro football player was found after being shot six times.

Capt. John White told the jury he "saw a gentleman laying on the ground" and saw "no breathing" as he walked towards him.

A member of Lloyd's family walked out as White described condition of the body. Other relatives were seen grabbing tissues.

"This person was laying on their back, face up," White told the jury. "He had no pulse. He was cold to the touch. He was very stiff. You couldn't move his jaw, couldn't move his arms."

White pronounced Lloyd dead at the scene. He said he noticed shell casings around the body and blood coming from the right side of the body.

When graphic photos appeared on screen, Judge Susan Garsh paused and reminded jurors of their purpose.

"These photographs are being introduced solely for the purpose so you can see the position of the body or any visible wounds," Garsh said. "Please put aside any emotions or sympathy they may generate."

The first witness today was William Cambio, who saw Lloyd's body. Cambio works near the North Attleboro industrial park where Lloyd's body was discovered.

Another man who saw Lloyd is David Swithers, president of Advanced Electronic Design, the company to which a high school student ran initially after discovering the body.

"I saw an African-American male," Swithers said. "There were flies around his nostrils."

Prosecutors said in opening arguments Thursday that Lloyd's murder was preceded by a text message from Hernandez, now 25.

On June 17, 2013, Hernandez "told Odin Lloyd he was going to come out to his house that night," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg told the court.

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 told the jury.

Hernandez's defense attorney, Michael Fee, in the defense's opening statement, declared Hernandez "an innocent man" and said the prosecution's account of events was "just a story and it's not true.”

"Aaron Hernandez did not murder his friend Odin Lloyd," Fee told the jury, claiming investigators prematurely zeroed in on Hernandez to the exclusion of other suspects.

"You come with an open mind," Fee said. "Give us a chance to show you the truth."

Next week, jurors are scheduled to see Hernandez's house, Lloyd's house and other locations relevant to the case.

As Hernandez's trial gathers steam, his former team, the Patriots, will play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Hernandez caught Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's last Super Bowl touchdown pass in the team's 2012 loss to the New York Giants.

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Study: Fighting Terrorism Enriching, But Obsessive ‘Dark Side’ Infects Life

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- “You can’t go back to the way you were before.”

That understated phrase summed up how dozens of counter-terrorism professionals described the toll – physical, psychological and emotional – that working for years in the life and death race against terrorists takes on daily life in the post-9/11 era, according to a study recently published on the CIA's website.

The study, Counterterrorism Professionals Reflect on Their Work, paints a harrowing picture of the counterterrorism [CT] professional who, while feeling intensely rewarded by the importance of their work, can become wholly consumed by it, and become paranoid and cynical about the world around them – unable to enjoy “normal” lives in the rare cases they can pry themselves from the job.

“[My wife] pulled me back from the brink of becoming obsessed, and not in a good way, with the terrorists [his team was tracking],” an unidentified CT worker said in the study. “There was a whole world out there that was lost to me, for a while, because all I could think about was [the terrorists]. She used some very unflattering words to describe what I was like, told me I was a complete a*****e, but she was right. It was my wakeup call.”

“There is a distinct price” of doing the work and an unavoidable “loss of innocence,” others said.

Last month the CIA published the study, conducted by clinical psychologist Ursula Wilder for the Brookings Institution, in its public Studies in Intelligence collection. Wilder said she interviewed 57 CT professionals, from spies to diplomats, analysts to soldiers, emergency workers to journalists, and found that no matter what the specific job is, “one pays a price for daily, direct engagement with evil.”

Those she interviewed talk about being completely lost in their work and neglecting even personal upkeep. Some, many of them intelligence analysts, discussed intense guilt they felt about terrorist attacks they were unable to stop and others became unusually paranoid about the next one around the corner.

“[A CT professional] mentioned being at a sporting event and not being able to ‘get into it’ – and being frightened and unsettled by both intrusive thoughts of how bombs in the crowd would be an effective terror strike and also by his general alienation from the fun and horseplay of the young family members around him,” the study says. “One summed this up by saying: ‘So much came to seem trivial to me, but I realized life is enjoyed in the precious trivial moments, which for a while were lost on me.’”

One of the groups that has been most profoundly affected are what Wilder calls “field professionals” – spies, military and law enforcement personnel, emergency personnel and NGO workers, among others, who work on the ground.

“Field work can be fun – irrespective of the grim contents of terrorism. It can bring a sense of adventure, of experimentation and spontaneous diversion with the unexpected – and, from time to time, crackpot humor,” the study says. “The negatives of field work were equally salient, occasionally reflected in the ‘thousand-yard stares’ of those who have seen the horror, touched the carnage, heard the cries of victims and families, and have smelled the stench of terrorist strikes, none of which can ever be expunged.”

Some field professionals said field work can become “’addictive,’ but not in a good way."

“For some haunted professionals it has become the only place they feel truly at home, because they crave the excitement or because every place else seems alien and tame,” Wilder says.

For all the negatives, however, Wilder reported the dozens of CT personnel agreed that their work was extremely rewarding because, as one put it, “I felt like I had a bit part in an international passion play that the whole world was watching.”

They also “came to better appreciate the precious and fragile nature of life and of life’s small pleasures because of the terrible, destructive nature of terrorism,” the study says.

For some, facing evil head on led to a new understanding of themselves.

“When you do this type of work, you have to work out for yourself why people can be so evil and also so good,” one said. “We are all human right? So you need to think through your personal philosophy about responsibility, right and wrong. There are no easy answers, but everyone in [CT work] is forced eventually to [address these issues] and hard though it was, I am glad I was forced to. I’m a deeper person, maybe a better one.”

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Aaron Hernandez Trial Judge’s Stern Warning About the Super Bowl

iStock/Thinkstock(FALL RIVER, Mass.) -- As the judge wrapped up day two of the Aaron Hernandez murder trial on Friday, she gave the jurors an unusual warning in recognition of the fact that this high-profile case involving a former NFL player was unfolding in advance of a weekend that isn't like any other during the football season.

"I am not going to forbid you from watching this Super Bowl on Sunday, if that's something that's really important to you," Judge Susan Garsh told the 18 jurors.

"But I am going to ask you to be especially vigilant if you're watching the game with friends or family or any third party, just have your antenna -- just be really, really vigilant. You have to avoid anything that has anything to do with this case or Mr. Hernandez," she said. "If you hear that word, you got to walk out of the room, distance yourself, immediately stop people, and if his name or this case is mention on the television screen or computer, just walk away."

New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, now 25, is accused of killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, on June 17, 2013.

As Hernandez's trial gathers steam, his former team, the Patriots, will play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

"It’s vitally important that you know how long it took us to get a group of 18 fair and partial jurors, and it’s very, very important that you avoid being exposed to any outside influences," Garsh added. "As I've told you before, it just would not be fair to anyone involved in this case so please, if you feel you must watch the game, take every precaution to avoid being exposed to any outside influence to this case."

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