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Tuesday
Apr182017

DREAMer deported as Homeland Security disputes circumstances

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A 23-year-old undocumented immigrant who had been protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy has been deported to Mexico, according to court documents and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records.

The deportation, the man's lawyers said, is the first of its kind under the administration of President Donald Trump.

According to court documents submitted by his attorneys, Juan Manuel Montes was "arrested, detained, and physically removed" from the United States in the middle of the night on or about Feb. 18, 2017, after he was approached by a Customs and Border Patrol agent while walking down the street in Calexico, California, on his way home after seeing a friend.

However, according to DHS, there is no record of that encounter.

Homeland Security officials said he was arrested and detained by U.S. Border Patrol on Feb. 19 after admitting to agents that he illegally entered the U.S. Montes was repatriated to Mexico on Feb. 20, according to DHS records.

Montes' attorneys include the Feb. 19 incident in their lawsuit, writing that Montes "hid for about a half hour after crossing into the United States, but when he saw CBP officers he feared for his safety and turned himself in."

During his arrest interview, he never mentioned that he had received DACA status, according to DHS. However, even if Montes had informed agents of his DACA status, "he had violated the conditions of his status by breaking continuous residency in the United States by leaving and then reentering the U.S. illegally," the DHS said.

Court documents note that the status of DACA recipients is terminated if the individual leaves the U.S. without receiving official permission, a rule known as "advance parole."

"After a detailed records search," DHS determined that Montes was approved for DACA starting in 2014 and had a DACA expiration date of Jan. 25, 2018. DHS initially said that his status had expired in 2015.

Attorneys for Montes filed a lawsuit asking the government to provide information about Montes’ encounters with CBP officers.

Montes' defense claims he was given no explanation for his removal. He had lived in the U.S. since he was nine years old and his attorneys reported that he received a renewal of his DACA status and work authorization in 2016 which was not set to expire until 2018.

"Not a single piece of documentation or verbal explanation of what happened to him [was provided]," said attorney Nora Preciado of the National Immigration Law Center, which is representing Montes. Preciado said the lawsuit was filed to determine "what happened" in February and that they are unable to move forward without additional information.

The DACA policy, launched by the Obama administration in 2012, protects persons -- often called "DREAMers" -- brought into the U.S. as children from deportation and provides them with the right to work legally.

Since the launch of his presidential campaign, Trump has promised to end undocumented immigration into the country, but has wavered on the particulars of the DACA policy. The president has said both that DACA is "one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a President," while also noting that "DREAMers shouldn't be very worried."

"I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody," Trump said in an interview with ABC News' David Muir in January, adding, "We'll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks."

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about Montes' case.

"I think there is, the situation is evolving right now. There is a lot of things being looked at in terms of the circumstances surrounding that," Spicer said.

Washington, D.C., lawmakers spoke out about Montes' deportation on Tuesday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the administration's stance was "an indiscriminate deportation dragnet of appalling inhumanity."

"The Trump administration is terrorizing patriotic young people who want nothing more than to live, work and contribute to the country they love -- the only home they’ve ever known," Pelosi said in a statement. "The Trump administration's cruelty toward the DREAMers disgraces our values as a nation. Shame on them."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly promised him "that no one with DACA would lose this protection unless they violated the terms of DACA."

"I intend to hold him to this commitment," said Durbin.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, an outspoken proponent of stronger restrictions on immigration, shared his thoughts on Montes' deportation on Twitter, toasting "Border Patrol" with a picture of a beer mug and writing, "This one's for you."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr182017

Cleveland Facebook murder suspect shot, killed himself after pursuit: Police

Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND) -- Steve Stephens, the suspect in the Cleveland, Ohio, Facebook killing, shot and killed himself after a brief pursuit in Erie County, Pennsylvania, this morning, the Pennsylvania State Police said.

Stephens allegedly killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland Sunday afternoon and later posted a video of the killing on Facebook, according to police.

Stephens, who was considered armed and dangerous, had been on the run since Sunday. The manhunt was nationwide and billboards around the country have been plastered with Stephens' photo.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, Pennsylvania State Police received a tip that the vehicle police were looking for in connection to Stephens was in a McDonald’s parking lot near Erie, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles northeast of Cleveland, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference this morning.

It was a McDonald's employee who called police after recognizing Stephens while he went through the drive-thru this morning, ABC affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.

The fast food chain confirmed that the employee alerted police to Stephens, applauding the crew members in a statement to ABC News.

"We applaud the crew members at this McDonald’s restaurant who recognized the suspect and did the right thing by quickly alerting the authorities of his location," a spokesperson for McDonald's said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s loved ones and all of those impacted by this horrific crime."

Officers responded and the driver of the car fled, leading police on a roughly two-mile pursuit, police said.

Police used a PIT maneuver –- a law enforcement technique used to stop fleeing cars -- to disable Stephens’ car, the Pennsylvania State Police said, and “as the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head."

Stephens was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

"We're grateful this ended," Williams said, adding, "We would have preferred it not ended this way. There are a lot of questions for the family and the city in general that they would have had for Steve as to why this transpired."

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

The Pennsylvania State Police said this afternoon it is not clear if Stephens had been in the Erie area since Sunday.

On Sunday night Erie police said that a ping from Stephens’ phone was detected on the east side of Erie County, though Stephens wasn't sighted in the area until Tuesday.

"We searched that area initially on Sunday when we got that ping in that area," Williams said Tuesday. "We were in a process today of going back and doing a more thorough search of that area."

Police do not know if anyone was harboring Stephens, Williams said.

"There are a lot of places to hide" in the Erie area, Williams added. "There are a lot of remote areas, a lot of woods, farms, barns, things like that. So until we can get our investigators up there to confer with the officers, look in the vehicle itself, track back some people that may have seen him along the way today, we won't actually know where he was."

Stephens claimed to have committed multiple homicides, according to police, but no additional victims have been found.

Godwin's daughter, Tonya Godwin Baines, told ABC News Monday that the video "forever will be in my mind because I saw the fear in my father's eyes."

Baines said it "feels like our heart is just ripped out of our chest. For somebody to brutally murder my father like that is unbelievable."

Baines said her father was the epitome of a family man who "would give you the shirt off his back."

"He taught us about God, he taught us love, forgiveness. Just to know that I will never ever hear my father's voice again is devastating," Baines said.

"We can never replace him," she added, crying. "A part of us died with him."

Her sister, Debbie Godwin, told ABC News, "I truly can say I don't even feel any animosity against the guy that killed my father.

"I'm glad that my parents taught us to love people and to forgive even when they do us wrong," she said. "My dad would be the kind of person that would say, 'You gotta forgive.'"

At a news conference this morning Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson thanked the Godwin family "for their leadership" and "showing us the way in this situation."

Jackson said the family "demonstrated even in this tragedy ... that they have forgiven and that they have come together."

"They’ve asked us as a community to forgive and to begin to heal," Jackson said. "Because what happened on Easter Sunday was traumatic."

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.


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Tuesday
Apr182017

Pentagon begins Nuclear Posture Review

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon has begun a Nuclear Posture Review that will guide the strategy for the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons programs and modernization of the nuclear triad over the next decade. The new review will also factor in the current geopolitical reality of frayed relationships with Russia and China that were not present during the last review conducted in 2010.

"The Nuclear Posture Review is a legislatively-mandated review that establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years," reads the Defense Department's website for the review.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 that, among other things, directed the Pentagon to conduct the Nuclear Posture Review this year.

According to a Pentagon statement issued Monday, the review will "ensure the U.S. nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, effective, reliable and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies."

How many nuclear weapons does the U.S. have?

The review will be led by Bob Work, the deputy defense secretary, and Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and include other agencies, in particular the Energy Department, which is responsible for American's nuclear weapons stockpile.

A final report is expected to be presented to Trump by the end of the year.

The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review for the first time prioritized the prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. It also defined steps for strengthening existing non-proliferation norms, the securing of nuclear materials around the globe and holding accountable states and nonstate actors involved in proliferation.

According to a Defense Department fact sheet the U.S. also affirmed it would "not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations."

"The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners," the fact sheet adds.

That earlier review was also conducted at a time when diplomatic relations with Russia were much better than they are now. Relations soured in early 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, provided military troops to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and moved Russian troops into Syria to support the Assad regime.

Last week, Trump characterized the state of U.S. and Russian relations as possibly being "at an all-time low".

The 2010 review also aligned a reduction in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile with the New START Treaty with Russia.

Under that treaty, the U.S. and Russia have committed to reduce their deployed nuclear weapons stockpiles to 1,550 by February 2018. That is the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia.

The United States currently has 1,411 deployed warheads and Russia has 1,765. The higher number of Russian warheads is attributed to an ongoing modernization program.

While Russia has abided by the New START Treaty, the U.S. has accused it of violating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by deploying a new nuclear-capable land-based cruise missile.

Current tensions in Asia with North Korea and China will also likely factor into the new review. Since 2010, North Korea has made significant strides in its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program that have the stated goal of placing a nuclear warhead atop a long-range missile capable of reaching the American mainland.

"The president has made clear that he will not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons," Lt. General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

The security relationship with China has also deteriorated with its territorial claims in the South China Sea, where it has built military-capable facilities on seven artificial islands.

The review will likely also have to take into account the Pentagon's planned modernization program of its nuclear triad: strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons, ICBMs and submarine-launched ICBMs.

While the Pentagon has undergone a modernization process to keep these decades-old systems viable, it has plans to replace each leg of the triad in the coming decades.

The initial phase of modernization over the next decade could cost $400 billion beginning in 2021, according to initial estimates. With additional work needed after that, there estimates that the modernization of the nuclear triad could cost $1 trillion.

But the replacements for the Air Force's 450 Minuteman III missiles, a new long-range strategic Air Force bomber and a replacement the Navy's submarine ballistic missile fleet are still at least a decade away from becoming a reality.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr182017

Suspect in custody after sheriff's deputy shot dead in Oklahoma

iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- A man is in custody after he allegedly shot and killed a sheriff's deputy in Oklahoma and fled the scene earlier Tuesday, police said.

Authorities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, were searching for the alleged gunman, 45-year-old Nathan Aaron Leforce, who allegedly stole a car and fled after shooting Logan County sheriff's deputy David Wade earlier today, police said.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the Logan Co Sheriff's Office & to the family of Deputy Wade," the Oklahoma City Police tweeted. "His sacrifice will not be forgotten."

 

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Tuesday
Apr182017

Fishing crew rescues stranded kayakers off the California coast

Rocky Lee(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) -- Two kayakers have a California fishing crew to thank for reeling them in.

According to ABC affiliate KEYT-TV, two kayakers on Sunday were drifting miles off the coast of Goleta, 15 miles west of Santa Barbara.

The Stardust Sportfishing crew threw a life ring to the man and the woman who were barely treading water and were not wearing life jackets.

As seen in the video, a kayak is floating in the distance behind the two.

"They put the guy on first," Jason Diamond, one of the owners of the Stardust, told KEYT-TV on Monday. "He was exhausted, bobbing to the point where his head was going under."

Once on board, the man and woman continuously thanked the fishing crew for saving their lives.

"We do these drills all the time," said Diamond. "That was just a good textbook save. Those guys did a great job."

It is unknown at this time why the two people were stranded or what happened to the kayak.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr182017

Cleveland Facebook killing reported in emotional 911 call: 'He’s dead ... Lord have mercy'

Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND) -- "He’s dead ... He’s lying there. Lord have mercy. Oh, my God," a distraught-sounding Cleveland woman said to a 911 operator after she heard a gunshot and saw a man dead outside.

The woman dialed 911 Sunday afternoon in Cleveland after murder suspect Steve Stephens allegedly gunned down 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. and later posted a video of the killing on Facebook, according to police.

In another 911 call that day, a man reported: "Someone in front of my house has been shot ... He’s unconscious, he’s dead."

Stephens has been on the run since Sunday, and there have been no credible sightings of him, authorities said. The manhunt for Stephens, who is considered armed and dangerous, is now nationwide.

Stephens claimed to have committed multiple homicides, according to police, but no additional victims have been found.

Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference this morning that authorities have received close to 400 tips and are following up on each one. He said calls have come in from as far away as Texas. Billboards around the country have been plastered with Stephens' photo.

Williams urged people who may have seen Stephens to call 911, and anyone with information on the suspect to call the FBI's tip line.

Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland Division, said, "Someone out there has a key piece of information that can help us resolve this matter. They just might not know it.” If in doubt, he said, call.

Facebook on Monday released a timeline of events connected to the suspect, according to its records:

11:09 a.m. PDT — First video, of intent to murder, uploaded. Not reported to Facebook.
11:11 a.m. PDT — Second video, of shooting, uploaded.
11:22 a.m. PDT — Suspect confesses to murder while using Live, is live for 5 minutes.
11:27 a.m. PDT — Live ends, and Live video is first reported shortly after.
12:59 p.m. PDT — Video of shooting is first reported.
1:22 p.m. PDT — Suspect’s account disabled; all videos no longer visible to public.
A Facebook executive on Monday said the company is reviewing some of its practices in light of the incident.

"It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for," Facebook VP of Global Operations Justin Osofsky said Monday. "As a result of this terrible series of events, we are reviewing our reporting flows to be sure people can report videos and other material that violates our standards as easily and quickly as possible."

Godwin's daughter, Tonya Godwin Baines, told ABC News the video "forever will be in my mind because I saw the fear in my father's eyes."

Baines said it "feels like our heart is just ripped out of our chest. For somebody to brutally murder my father like that is unbelievable."

Baines said her father was the epitome of a family man who "would give you the shirt off his back."

"He taught us about God, he taught us love, forgiveness. Just to know that I will never ever hear my father's voice again is devastating," Baines said.

"We can never replace him," she added, crying. "A part of us died with him."

Her sister, Debbie Godwin, told ABC News, "I truly can say I don't even feel any animosity against the guy that killed my father.

"I'm glad that my parents taught us to love people and to forgive even when they do us wrong," she said. "My dad would be the kind of person that would say, 'You gotta forgive.'"

"I want him to get help," Debbie Godwin said of the suspected gunman.

Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson at a news conference this morning thanked the Godwin family "for their leadership" and "showing us the way in this situation."

Jackson said the family "demonstrated even in this tragedy ... that they have forgiven and that they have come together ... they’ve asked us as a community to forgive and to begin to heal. Because what happened on Easter Sunday was traumatic."

Jackson also said the clergy has "asked us to communicate to Steve Stephens that they are available to him" if he needs to talk.

Angela Smalls, who said Robert Godwin is the father of two of her children, is pleading for Stephens to turn himself in.

"He took my kids’ father from them and you’re still breathing out here? My babies are hurting," a tearful Smalls said, according to ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland. "Let them get some peace. Just turn yourself in, please."

Stephens visited the Sherwin Shooting Sports shooting range in Eastlake, Ohio last summer, a representative of the business told ABC News. Stephens had a concealed carry permit, police said, according to WEWS.

Police said Monday that authorities don’t have any reason to believe Stephens is not still driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary tag E363630.

A reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

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Tuesday
Apr182017

Crews search for 2 hikers swept away in Grand Canyon creek

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Investigators are continuing their search today for two missing hikers who were swept away in a Grand Canyon creek on Saturday.

Holding out hope for a successful rescue, officials said the pair are "equipped and have the knowledge to survive."

Jackson Standefer, 14, and his step-grandmother Lou-Ann Merrell, 62, were hiking with friends and family when the two were swept away by fast-moving water while crossing a creek in a remote area of the Grand Canyon, according to the National Park Service.

The two were "last seen crossing Tapeats Creek below the confluence with Thunder River when they lost footing and were swept down Tapeats Creek," the National Park Service said in a statement on Sunday.

"This particular kind of incident is extremely rare," Matt Vandzura the chief ranger at Grand Canyon National Park said. "That two people would be washed away in a creek crossing is something that is almost unheard of in our local memory of Grand Canyon incidents," he added.

Merrell is the wife of Randy Merrell, the co-founder of the popular hiking boots company Merrell. Standefer, an eighth grader from Tennessee, was visiting the area with his family when the incident took place.

"They were well provisioned for a multi-day trip," Vandzura said. "The both were reported to have food and water in their backpacks. We believe they are equipped and have the knowledge to survive."

Mark McOmie, Jackson's uncle, has posted on Facebook about the situation and the conditions as well as updates regarding rescue efforts.

McOmie told the AP that the Merrells were avid hikers that know the area well. "If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she's got the skills needed to get them through it. The odds aren't great. But given their skills and knowledge of the area, that will probably lead to the best possible outcome."

Authorities have sent out search and rescue teams as well as drones to survey the area for any articles that could belong to the missing pair.

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Tuesday
Apr182017

Man accused of stealing more than 100 cellphones at Coachella

File Photo iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tech-savvy concert-goers helped police locate a New York man who allegedly stole more than 100 cellphones at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival over the weekend, authorities said.

The Indio Police Department in California said it arrested Reinaldo De Jesus Henao on Friday after several attendees activated their "Find my iPhone" app and followed the suspect around the festival venue until authorities were able to detain him.

Police said Henao, 36, was arrested with a backpack containing more than 100 mobile phones, which were believed to have been stolen from the concert site, located east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs.

Several of the devices were returned to the victims and the rest were reported to the venue’s lost and found site, according to police.

Henao was arrested on charges of grand theft and possession of stolen property, police said.

He was booked at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Center in Banning, California, and released on a $10,000 bail, according to inmate records.

Henao is scheduled to appear in court on May 26, according to inmate records.

The event is one of the most anticipated music festivals of the year and it's known to attract well-known stars.

Celebrities, including Katy Perry, Halsey, A$AP Ferg, Kylie Jenner, Amber Rose, Paris Hilton and Odell Beckham Jr., were all spotted at the festival over the weekend.

The three-day festival, held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, attracted an estimated 125,000 attendees per day, according to ABC’s Southern California affiliate KABC.

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Tuesday
Apr182017

South Carolina family gets Easter surprise with 9-foot gator

File Photo Thinkstock(MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.) -- Many people expect to find sweet treats of chocolate and jellybeans on Easter morning, but one family in South Carolina woke up to a much different surprise.

Peter Cottontail didn’t coming knocking on the door of Steve and Susie Polston’s back porch -- instead, it was a 9-foot alligator.

Describing the noise that first drew her from bed, Susie Polston told ABC station WCIV, “It sounded like aluminum rubbing up against aluminum.”

One glass door was all that separated Susie and her husband Steve from the large reptile.

According to the Polstons, the intruding gator broke through a locked door before settling among patio furniture on their porch.

“We were in disbelief that he actually made his way up the stairs, because we didn’t know alligators would climb stairs,” Susie said.

Responding wildlife specialists spent hours unsuccessfully trying to move the alligator into outdoor territory.

Deemed too much of a threat to handle by the South Carolina Depart of Natural Resources, the alligator was eventually killed.

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Tuesday
Apr182017

Florida judge teaches yoga at her courthouse: 'It’s for their own good'

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) --  This story gives a whole new meaning to being judged during yoga class.

Florida Judge Eleni Derke teaches yoga on the lawn of the Duval County courthouse in Jacksonville as a way to help everyone de-stress.

“About two years ago the president of the Jacksonville Bar Association asked me to head up the health committee, and I thought, ‘What better way to stay healthy than to do yoga?’ So I started teaching yoga on the lawn every first Friday of every month,” Derke said on “Good Morning America” after removing her judicial robe to reveal her yoga clothes underneath.

“Right now we’re just getting members of the legal community but the class is open to everybody because, you know, at the courthouse, people need yoga. High-stress situations,” she said with a laugh.

Derke, who rules on misdemeanor crimes and civil lawsuits, said she even gets her jurors involved to keep them invigorated and awake during long trials.

“When you have a lengthy trial, those poor guys, they just sit in those chairs for so many hours,” she said. “I don’t make them, but I usually just say, 'Why don’t we all just stand up? Inhale the arms overhead. Take a deep breath in and exhale them back down.' That energizes them. No falling asleep on my watch.

“It’s for their own good,” the judge added.

Derke said yoga is a great relaxation method for everyone to de-stress, but that it’s “especially” beneficial to “the legal communities.”

“You know, yoga is the best form of stress release and by definition, the legal community is an adversarial system. So it’s just made for a high-stress situation,” she explained. “These attorneys, they’re in the courtroom, they’re warriors in there, so they come out here and then they’re warriors on their mat. We get them to de-stress, they can re-focus, and then they can go back and do their jobs just right.”

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