Daughter, Two Others Charged in Fatal Attack of Michigan Parents

Paul Skinner, of Yale, Mich., was killed defending his wife, Mara, when two intruders broke into their home and attacked them as they slept, police said. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(YALE, Mich.) -- A Michigan couple's 17-year-old adopted daughter and two other people were charged Sunday in connection to Friday's brutal attack on the couple. Police are still investigating the incident that left the father dead and the mother in critical condition, according to officials.

Jonathan Aaron Kurtz, 18, James Leslie Preston, 18, and Tia Marie-Mitchell Skinner, 17, where charged with open murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, according to Sgt. Daniel Drake of the Michigan State Police.

Paul and Mara Skinner were in bed around midnight Thursday when two people in Halloween masks broke into their Yale home through a bedroom window and began stabbing them as they slept, police said. Paul Skinner, 47, was able to rouse himself to fight with the attackers, and was eventually able to drive them out of the house.

The couple's son, who was sleeping in the basement at the time of the attack, heard the commotion as his father was fighting the attackers out of the house and came to help, but too late, police said. Skinner's son tried to revive him, but was unable to.

Mara Skinner, a 44-year-old junior high school teacher, was stabbed more than 20 times, but was expected to recover, police said.

Michigan State Police Det. Pat Young said the Skinners had disapproved of a relationship their adopted daughter, who is their niece, was having, and that "may have been a factor" in the attack.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Madoff Belongings Bring Big Bucks at Auction

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- People who lost money to convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff may take some consolation from the fact that he is in prison, and perhaps even more from the result of a government auction held this weekend in New York.

The highest priced item was a 10.5 carat diamond ring worn by his wife, Ruth Madoff, which brought in a half-million dollars.  One of Bernard Madoff's "Moon Phase" Rolex watches, expected to bring in $60,000, sold for $67,000.  Ten pairs of used designer shoes brought in $900.

The proceeds of the auctions go to the victims of his scams.  The government-run sales have brought in millions, but it's a small fraction of the billions he was convicted of swindling from thousands of clients.

One more sale is planned to auction off the contents from his former Florida home.

Madoff is spending life in prison in North Carolina.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Pre-Winter Storm Buries Parts of Midwest

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/KSTP-TV Minneapolis(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Parts of the Midwest are breaking out the snow blowers to dig out from one of the heaviest pre-Thanksgiving snow storms in years.

The storm, which brought nearly a foot of snow in some areas of Minnesota, is being blamed for more than 400 traffic accidents and two deaths in Wisconsin.

The last time a November storm hit the Midwest this hard was 1991.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Woman Killed When SUV Crashes Through Window

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WLS-TV Chicago(CHICAGO) -- A woman was crushed and killed when an SUV crashed through the window of her first floor garden apartment while she and her husband slept. Police said they believe that the teenage driver was drunk at the time of the crash.

Josefina Prospero, 48, of Bolingbrook, Ill. and her husband Juan Nicolas Bernal, were asleep at 2:30 a.m. Saturday when the 2002 Chevrolet SUV crashed through their window. Prospero was pronounced dead at the scene, while Bernal suffered minor cuts and bruises, and was able to make a statement at the police department.

According to Prospero's brother, who was in the apartment at the time, the unidentified 17-year-old driver attempted to flee the scene after the accident, but was restrained by some of the neighbors who also heard the accident.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Proposal Rejected, Man Attempts to Run Down Girlfriend

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PICO RIVERA, Calif.) -- A California man's rage at having his marriage proposal rejected by his girlfriend almost turned deadly this week when he tried to mow her down with his car.

Mario Francisco Hernandez, 22, showed up at a Burger Stop restaurant in Pico Rivera, Calif., this week with flowers and "Will you marry me?" written on his car. His girlfriend apparently said no.

After approaching the 21-year-old mother of his two children, Hernandez then returned with his 1987 Toyota Supra and, according to Det. Gabriel Ramirez of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, "tried to run over the female with the vehicle."

Witnesses reported that the car blew out two tires after jumping the curb and barely missed a pedestrian.

Det. Ramirez, who knows the couple, said that they have been through hard times. The couple has two children, a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter, and with low income, the family has been living with Hernandez's parents.

Hernandez will be arraigned Monday. He faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Alleged 9-11 Mastermind Won't Soon Face US Trial, Report Says

Photo Courtesy - FBI/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks is expected to remain in military detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without going to trial, as once planned.

The Washington Post reports that administration officials now believe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed cannot be put on trial in federal court in New York City until at least after the 2012 presidential election because of fierce opposition from members of congress and local officials.

The U.S. this week said it was "close to a decision" regarding the timing and location of the trial.

"The process is an ongoing one, we are working to make a determination about the placement of that trial," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Following Holder’s comment, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., released a statement voicing his concern, saying, "the trial should not and will not be in New York."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Feds Target Computer 'Cookies,' 'Beacons' as Affront to Privacy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government is pushing on several fronts to limit those increasingly powerful tracking bugs -- so-called "cookies" or "beacons" -- that lurk on computers and follow consumers around the Internet. For all the brutal partisan fighting of recent months, there is a growing consensus in Washington that the web-monitoring cookies installed in people's computers by most commercial websites are a major problem. But to what extent the solution requires new laws and more regulation is an open question.

The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing one possible approach: creating something akin to the "Do Not Call" list for telemarketers that would let consumers choose to forbid companies from spying on their online movements. An FTC official said the agency was looking into "whether it's even doable technologically." That approach would require an act of Congress.

The Commerce Department is preparing to open another front, putting the finishing touches on a government-wide plan that would create a new Privacy Policy Office. As outlined in a speech last month by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling, the new office would bring Internet companies to the table with government agencies and privacy advocates to develop "voluntary but enforceable codes of conduct."

The White House already has created a new task force -- the Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy -- with the stated goal "of fostering consensus in legislative, regulatory, and international Internet policy realms." The group will help implement the Commerce Department's plan that has been in the works for seven months.

But some privacy advocates question whether Commerce is committed to consumer protection.

"Having Commerce involved with the privacy issue is the digital fox running the data collection hen house," said Jeff Chester, CEO of the Center for Digital Democracy. "Commerce is not a pro-consumer agency. It works on behalf of business interests. I have real concerns about the direction Commerce wants to go."

Chester plans to meet soon with the new White House task force to share his view that the Federal Trade Commission should be the lead agency in the online privacy fight.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Family Loses Home to Foreclosure, Neighbors Bring Them In

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PHOENIX) -- After Michael Toczko lost his job in June as a stock broker near Phoenix, he and his family watched their home fall into foreclosure. Toczko and his wife, Kristin Hailstone, swallowed their pride and knocked on their neighbors' doors to tell them the news.

"We went to everyone and apologized for hurting their home values. We wanted them to know that we'd done the best that we could, truly, and everyone was just so gracious and all they cared about was keeping our family safe," Hailstone said.

One family did more than keep the Toczkos safe. Liz and Joe Larger, a few doors down, took them in.

"Losing a house is a big thing, but it's just stuff. It's not important...We're together, we're a family and we're enjoying each other and that's what's really important," Joe Larger said.

Today, the Toczkos pitch in with what rent they can afford and together, the two families are a kind of experiment in generosity. The Toczkos' and the Largers' decision to consolidate their family homes is becoming less and less unusual. In the cul-de-sac where they live, three of the five homes have two families per address.

Phoenix is a hotspot for foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac, in the third quarter of this year, one out of every 69 homes in the area went up for auction.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Gates Launches Investigation of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Review Leak

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images | Congressional Quarterly(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates is condemning Thursday’s leak to the Washington Post of the results of the Pentagon’s review of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military and has ordered an investigation to find out who leaked details to the paper.

The Washington Post reported that 70 percent of the respondents believed that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would not have much an effect. 

In a statement released by the Pentagon Friday night, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates is “very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release.”

To that end, Gates not only “strongly condemns” the leak, but he has “directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of department policy and his specific instruction.”

The group’s work has been closely held since Gates tasked the body with reviewing how the Defense Department would implement a repeal of the DADT law.  Gates intended to preserve the integrity of the review given how politically charged the idea of repealing the law has become. 

In his statement, Morrell said the group’s work remained private since then, but "anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of the process."

The final report still will be presented to Gates on Dec. 1 as originally intended.

According to Friday’s statement, the full report will be made public shortly thereafter.

“Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents,” said Morrell.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Missing Ohio Family Prompts College Lockdown, Search

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio police are searching for four missing people, including two children, whose alarming disappearance prompted an Ohio college to go on lockdown overnight as police warned of a "potentially dangerous person in the vicinity."

Tina Herrmann, 32, was reported missing by her boyfriend Wednesday. When she did not show up for work at a Dairy Queen Thursday, her co-workers went to her home looking for her and soon after called the police, Knox County Sheriff David Barber told WBNS-TV.

"Thursday, Tina did not show up at work; she works at the local Dairy Queen in Mount Vernon," Barber said. "A co-worker came out and met deputies out here. Her truck was gone."

Also missing are Herrmann's two children, 13-year-old Sarah Maynard and 10-year-old Kody Maynard, as well as a friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41. "When [Herrmann's co-worker] went in, she saw some things out of place," the sheriff told WBNS.

He said a search of the home revealed it to be in "unusual condition" for a place where woman and children lived, but did not specify what that meant.

Herrmann's ex-husband Larry Maynard told WBNS-TV that a co-worker went inside the home and saw blood and things out of place before calling police.

Spring's car was found outside Herrmann's home Thursday. Herrmann's pickup truck was at the home Wednesday when the boyfriend reported her missing, Barber said, but it was found abandoned Thursday night at nearby Kenyon College.

Police alerted the college that they believed the car may have been left there by a person involved in the group's disappearance.

The college sent out an e-mail to students Thursday night, alerting them that "local law enforcement advised of a potentially dangerous person in the vicinity."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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