SEARCH

Thursday
Apr142011

COO of Air Traffic Organization Resigns Over Sleeping Controllers

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Following reports that a third air traffic controller was caught sleeping on the job,  the chief operating officer of the Air Traffic Organization announced Thursday he was resigning from his position.

Randy Babbitt, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, accepted Hank Krakowski's resignation and said David Grizzle, the FAA's chief counsel, will step in temporarily to fill the spot.

Babbitt added that a nationwide search will be conducted to appoint a new, permanent COO for the ATO, which is responsible for operating the country's air traffic control system.

The resignation comes amid news that an air traffic controller reportedly nodded off Wednesday morning while a plane carrying a critically ill patient was trying to land at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada.  The controller, who was out of communication for approximately 16 minutes, was suspended while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates the incident.

The latest incident marks the third time in less than two months that an air traffic controller has been caught sleeping on the job.

Last month at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, a controller on his fourth consecutive overnight shift left the radio tower silent after apparently falling asleep.  Two commercial airliners were forced to land on their own.

In February, a controller in Knoxville, Tennessee went to sleep on the job during a midnight shift.  Sources told ABC News that the controller made a bed on the floor of the control tower with couch pillows.

In response to Wednesday's incident, the FAA and the Department of Transportation announced that additional air traffic controllers would be immediately added on the midnight shift at 27 control towers that currently have only one person working overnights -- including Reno. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

Texas Man Claims He Fathered Children with Teacher

ABC News(HOUSTON) -- A judge has allowed a 20-year-old man to see the two daughters that he allegedly fathered with his high school teacher.

Bradman Moore claims he began having sex with Anne Lynn Montgomery when he was a 15-year-old freshman at Sharpstown High School in Houston. Montgomery, then 30 years old, was the school's dance instructor and Moore was on the school's dance team.

Moore said that they started having sex in 2006, and had their first daughter about a year after that. Another daughter soon followed, he said, adding that he transferred to another high school, moved in with Montgomery and helped raise the children.

But Montgomery filed a protective order against Moore on behalf of herself and her children, claiming that Moore physically abused her. The two were in court on Monday.

He has denied the allegations, but the restraining order was granted.

"She wants it to be where there's a restraining order for my children, but I've never hurt my children. I've never harmed my children," Moore told ABC News' Houston affiliate KTRK TV.

"It's an amazing feeling," he said of the judge's decision to allow him to see his daughters. "The children are my only concern, that is my concern, they are my children."

He told KTRK that he came forward with his story out of fear that he wouldn't be able to see his children, but now Houston police are investigating the relationship.

Investigators took DNA samples from Moore and have begun a statutory rape investigation.

Moore said he found out he wasn't the only student to have had a relationship with Montgomery.

"There was a total of 6 students including myself, she had improper relationships with," he said.

When KTRK asked Montgomery whether she had had sex with Moore or other students, one of her attorneys replied that they had no comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

Yale University Limits Access to Power Equipment After Student Death

Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Yale University has moved to limit undergraduate students' access to power equipment after the death of senior Michele Dufault in a campus machine shop early Wednesday morning.

"This is a true tragedy," Yale President Richard C. Levin said in a statement.  "Last night, Michele's hair got caught in a lathe as she worked on a project in the student machine shop in the Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.  Her body was found by other students who had been working in the building.  They called the police, who responded immediately."

Dufault, of Scituate, Massachusetts, was an astronomy and physics major who was expected to graduate with a bachelor's of science degree this spring.  The state medical examiner's office said Dufault died from "accidental asphyxia by neck compression."

Levin said even though the university has programs to train students before they use power equipment, he initiated a "thorough review of the safety policies and practices of laboratories, machine shops, and other facilities with power equipment that is accessed and operated by undergraduates."

"Until the review is completed, Yale College will limit undergraduate access to facilities with power equipment to hours that will be specified by the end of the week; monitors will be present at these times in all such locations," the statement continued.

The Yale chemistry department's website says it has a state-of-the-art machine shop to allow students to construct or modify research instrumentation.  Access is strictly limited to those who have completed the shop course.  The laboratory was closed Wednesday, with all classes and labs in the building cancelled.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

Florida Father Arrested After Seen Encouraging Son to Fight in Video

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.) -- A Florida father has been banned from seeing his children after a video made the rounds on the Internet showing him encouraging his son to beat another boy.

In the video, Philip Struthers, 41, is seen egging his 16-year-old son on as he fights another teenage boy over a girl.

"Knock him out, Jake!...Punch his eyes out!  Slam his head on the ground," Struthers is heard saying in the clip.

Authorities say the father made no attempt to break up the fight.  They arrested him Tuesday and charged him with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Struthers was released from a Hillsborough County jail on Wednesday after posting bond.  A judge ordered him to stay away from anyone younger than 18, including his son and the other teen in the fight, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

North Dakota Residents Asked to Evacuate Due to Possible Dam Break

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock (file photo)(BURLINGTON, N.D.) -- As a dam gets closer towards breaking in North Dakota, people living near the Des Lacs River have been asked to evacuate their homes ahead of possible flooding.

But some are choosing to brush off the warning.

"Some people are sticking it out.  And some people left.  I'd say [Wednesday night] it was like 50-50," said Burlington Police Chief Keith Crabb.

About 200 residents of Burlington were asked to leave the area.  Crabb said the evacuation wasn't mandatory, but a "request evacuation."

"We requested for their safety to leave the area," he said.

The dam was built back in the 1930s and is made of clay, dirt and rock, Crabb noted.  He said it has "three holes in it right now that are kind of eroding," and, should it fail, the dam would add about three feet of water to the already swollen Des Lacs River.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

US Charges Somali Hostage Negotiator with Piracy

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that a man identified by Somali pirates as the person responsible for negotiating the ransom of four U.S. citizens held hostage on the high seas and then killed last February, has been indicted on piracy and kidnapping charges.

The justice department says Mohammad Shibin was apprehended in Somalia and transferred to the United States to stand trial.

Federal officials say Shibin was not among the 14 Somalia pirates who boarded the yacht with the four Americans, but instead worked behind the scenes to see how much cash could be extorted for their release.

Neil McBride, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced that the arrest marks "the first time the U.S. government has captured and charged an alleged pirate in the leadership role -- a hostage negotiator who operated in Somalia.”

While the U.S military was attempting to negotiate the release of the four hostages -- Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay and Robert Campbell Riggle -- the pirates on board the yacht shot and killed them.  The U.S. took the Somali pirates into custody following the shooting.

Shibin was indicted on March 8 in Virginia and appeared in federal court Wednesday.  The piracy and kidnapping charges each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Baseball Field Named for Youngest Tucson Shooting Victim, Christina-Taylor Green

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The field where Christina-Taylor Green once played baseball and dreamed of becoming the first female major leaguer now bears her name and the statue of an angel.

On April 1, Little League's opening day, parents and children gathered to celebrate Christina-Taylor's life and the renaming of Field 1 for her.

Christina-Taylor, age 9, was shot in the chest Jan. 8 outside a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store. She was attending an informal town hall meeting for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when alleged gunman Jared Loughner opened fire. She was the youngest of six people killed.

Her teammates in the Canyon Del Oro Little League, just northwest of Tucson, said that although it felt good to play baseball again, they missed her.

One of two girls on the team, Christina-Taylor would challenge a coach to a footrace and win; throw long from third base; and sing Beyonce songs in the field. Mae Sinclair, now the team's only female player, said Christina-Taylor showed the boys how to play baseball.

"She would catch balls and she would stand up to the boys even if they say she's a girl, she's not allowed to play," Mae said.

With the support of her father, John Green, a top scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Christina-Taylor aspired to be the first woman in the major leagues.

"I said, 'There aren't any [female Major League Baseball players] right now but that doesn't mean there can't be in the future,'" he said.

Her mother, Roxanna Green, said nothing prepares a parent for a child's death. "It was the worst day of my life," she said. "It was terrible."

Dallas Green, Christina-Taylor's grandfather and a former Philadelphia Phillies manager, said the family suffered through rough times. "It just hurt like, you just couldn't believe it," he said. "I mean you just couldn't believe that it could happen to her."

For Mae, Christina-Taylor's example lives on and inspires. "She goes, 'You know what, Daddy? I think I want to follow in Christina's steps and be that first woman baseball player,'" said her father, Lance Sinclair.

"She was one of my best friends," Mae said. "She was a great baseball player."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Mafia Don Turns Public Snitch in Mob First

(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in American organized crime history, a former Mafia don testified in open court against his successor, becoming the highest-ranking gangster to break the mob's sacred code of silence on the stand.

"Vinny told me that he had killed him," Joseph "Big Joey" Massino told a Brooklyn court Tuesday, referring to an alleged jailhouse confession by Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano. Basciano, the head of the secretive Bonanno family, is accused of ordering the murder of an associate that had fallen out of favor in 2004. He is already serving a life sentence from a previous conviction.

Massino said that in 2005 Basciano told him he killed gangster Randolph Pizzolo because Basciano said Pizzolo was "a scumbag, a rat, a troublemaker, a bad kid."

Though Massino continued his testimony Wednesday, one official familiar with the case told ABC News his colorful testimony has already been helpful to the prosecution.

In addition to fingering Basciano, the 68-year-old Massino candidly answered the prosecutor's questions about his time at the head of the family.

As a boss, Massino said he was responsible for spotting talent -- whether in killing or in racketeering -- in the mob ranks and promoting and demoting captains.

"Some people, they kill. Some people, they earn.... It takes all kinds of meat to make a good sauce," Massino said. He said that he was known as "The Ear" because his men would never say his name aloud, out of suspicion of FBI surveillance, and would instead touch their ear to refer to him.

Massino said he joined the family business in 1977. He is serving two life terms after a 2004 conviction for multiple murders, including ordering the payback killing of the mobster who brought famed undercover FBI agent Donnie Brasco into the mob in the 1980s.

Basciano's lawyer, George Goltzer, told the court in his opening statement Basciano did not order the killing for which he is accused, but falsely admitted doing so to protect a friend. Goltzer also warned against taking Massino and others slated to testify against Basciano at their word.

"The United States government needs to make deals with the devil," Goltzer said. "You don't have to accept what they say."

Massino, who has cooperated with investigators since his 2004 conviction but had never taken the stand against a boss, said he knew he was violating the mob's sacred code of silence, or "omerta."

"Once a bullet leaves that gun, you never talk about it," Massino told the court.

Massino testified that he had worn a wire for federal investigators when talking to Basciano in prison.

Despite his high rank, Massino was flipped "just like anyone else," according to former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett.

"You make a case against someone and then you flip them," Garrett said. "I think that he's probably decided that [cooperating is] the only way to save himself from spending the rest of his life in prison."

Massino said in court that he hoped his cooperation could get him a reduced sentence.

"One day, maybe I'll see a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Massino's breach of omerta is hardly the first.

When the FBI rounded up more than 125 suspected mobsters in January, investigators said the death of omerta was integral to the operation.

Those cases were "the cumulative result of years of investigative work, including the development of key cooperating witnesses -- a trend that has definitely been tipping in favor of law enforcement," Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York Division, said at the time.

To mob experts, the rampant snitching is just another symptom of a mafia that's well past its prime.

"Most people's perception of traditional organized crime, from The Godfather to The Sopranos, that's an era that has passed," Garrett said.

After the January arrests, author and mob expert George Anastasia told ABC News law enforcement has beaten the mob down.

"Thirty or 40 years ago, organized crime, La Cosa Nostra, was a major player in the underworld. Their impact was greater, they made more money and the public payed a bigger price for what they were doing... As they've gotten hit again and again and again with indictments and prosecutions and as they've turned on one another, their influence has deteriorated and they don't have the same kind of impact they used to have," Anastasia said. "They just don't have the power."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Michelle Obama Drops by Baby Shower for Expectant Military Mothers-To-Be

The White House(JACKSONVILLE, N.C.) -- First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden attended a baby shower Wednesday for 40 pregnant Marine wives and their guests at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Bearing White House gifts -- monogrammed onesies and blankets for each expectant mother -- Mrs. Obama relayed her own struggles as a first-time mother.‪ ‬

“As a new mom, there are just an array of things that run through your head:  ‘What's this kid going to be like?  Will I get my shape back?  Will I ever sleep again?  What's a onesie? How does it work?’”

The first lady said that eventually the moms will learn that babies are resilient and that the community will help them.

“It’s nice to have a supportive community around you, especially new moms; to have other moms who have been there, because we all get through it.  They don't break.  I’ve come to know that babies are really resilient.  But it always helps to have a community around you."

The event Wednesday follows Tuesday’s launch of the administration’s national public awareness campaign, spearheaded by Mrs. Obama and Biden, to honor and support the nation’s military families.

Mrs. Obama said that events like a joint baby shower for all the new moms – who are without their husbands while they are deployed – shows that they are not really alone. She noted additionally the added stress that an expectant mother has being a military wife.

The first lady said that through their campaign they hope to help make the whole country gather around these mothers -- not just when they are expecting, but for years to come.

Martha Stewart, who led moms through a creative scrapbooking demonstration before the first and second lady arrived, donated white canvas bags full of creative scrapbooking paraphernalia.

‪Mrs. Obama said she enjoyed “every minute” of her pregnancy and hopes that these women will too. ‬

‪Later ‬Wednesday,‪ Mrs. Obama and Biden will visit the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, Texas, and will hold a military families event at Coors Field in Denver, Colo‬.‪, with Jessica Simpson.‬

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Barry Bonds Found Guilty of Obstruction of Justice

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A jury determined Wednesday that former baseball player Barry Bonds is guilty on one of four charges, but they were deadlocked on the other three charges.

Bonds, found guilty on one charge of obstruction of justice, was also charged with three counts of lying to a grand jury.

Prosecutors in the case tried to prove that Bonds -- a former player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants who holds the record for the most career home runs -- lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he said that he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

The obstruction of justice charge arose from Bonds' unwillingness to cooperate in the government's federal steroid investigation into the former Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio