Plane Crash 911 Calls: ‘It Flew Right Into the Freakin’ Mountain’

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz.) -- Witnesses to a small plane crash in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains reacted with disbelief and horror as the aircraft flew straight into the rugged terrain, killing all six people on board.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Department on Monday released the 911 calls placed moments after the crash.

“We were just watching it and it flew right into the freakin’ mountain,” the first caller said. “It looked like they flew…like they didn’t know Ship Rock was there.”

The caller, a resident who seemed familiar with the rugged terrain, continued to describe the plane as exploding as soon as it hit the mountains.

“We were watching it fly over and it burst into fire,” he said. “Oh my god.”

Following the first call, the Pinal County sheriff’s dispatcher received numerous others, but explained to the worried residents that units were already en route to the scene.

The plane crashed into the face of the Superstition Mountains at around 5 p.m. Wednesday shortly after takeoff. The victims of the fiery crash included Shawn Perry, 39, of Safford, Ariz., who was flying his three young children: Morgan, 9; Logan, 8; and Luke, 6. The children lived with their mother Karen in Canyon, Ariz., and were traveling with their father to spend Thanksgiving with him in Safford, Ariz.

The other two adults on board were identified as Russel Hardy, 31, who was the co-owner of the Rockwell AC69 twin-engine plane, and Joseph Hardwick, 22, a mechanic who was engaged to be married on Dec. 16.

Since the fiery crash, rescuers searched for remains of victims and pieces of the plane. Yet in the past few days, officials say people have attempted to climb to the crash site and one person even dropped off a bone fragment at the ranger’s station.

“For some reason, beyond what we can understand, there’s people that want to go up there,” sheriff’s department spokesman Elias Johnson said. “We don’t need that, everything we need off the mountain we got off the mountain.

“There’s just no way to close down that upper portion,” Johnson said. “We’ve had several people ask us about how to get up there, and we’re not helping anyone by giving them directions.”

The investigator’s preliminary report is expected to be released within days.


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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Real Estate Mogul Charged with Shoplifting

Elizabeth Burks/Getty Images for Bloomingdale's(CHICAGO) -- A top executive at a high-profile Chicago real estate firm is accused of shoplifting three designer neckties from Bloomingdale’s on Black Friday.

Michael J. Sato, 44, was charged with retail theft for allegedly stealing three Burberry ties from the Michigan Avenue department store. The ties sold for $145 each.

According to court documents, a store security guard said he watched Sato tuck two of the pricey ties into the pocket of his coat, and put a third into a shopping bag he was carrying. Sato then allegedly walked past the cash registers and was stopped in the exit vestibule by security.

Sato’s lawyer told the Chicago Sun-Times it was all a misunderstanding in the chaos of Black Friday’s shopping crush.

“It was just a mistake. It was busy,” defense attorney Jon Erickson said. “He had his kids with him, it was crowded.”

Erickson called Sato a “highly respected” member of the community who did not intend to take the merchandise.

According to his company’s website, Sato is a president of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, and is one of “Chicago’s top producing realtors, with over $400 million career sales volume.”

At his court appearance, Erickson told the judge that Sato had no criminal record. Sato is scheduled to return to court next month. He was released on his own recognizance. Neither he nor his attorney returned phone calls Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tweeting Kansas Teen Gets Apology from Gov. Brownback

ABC News(PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan.) -- A Kansas teen who refused to apologize to Gov. Sam Brownback for an insulting tweet got an apology Monday from the governor himself for his staff’s “over-reaction.”

An unpleasant tweet by Emma Sullivan, 18, was flagged by Brownback’s staff last week. The teen was told by her principal at Shawnee Mission East High School to apologize, but she refused. The national brouhaha has led her Twitter following to soar from 60 to more than 10,000.

“My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms,” Brownback said in a statement.

Sullivan, however, told ABC News she was disappointed that the governor’s office didn’t contact her directly and issue a broader apology.

“My school is owed an apology because his staff put pressure on our school and I don’t think that’s appropriate,” she said. “I think that of course their apology is trying to cover up their negative actions. Just because you say you support free speech doesn’t mean you support it. Saying sorry doesn’t mean it goes away.”

Confronted with a stubborn teenager who insisted on her right to free speech, the school district earlier Monday dropped its request that Sullivan write an apology and said it will leave that decision up to her. The district also fought back against accusations that it was stifling her freedom of speech.

“The district acknowledges a student’s right to freedom of speech and expression is constitutionally protected. The district has not censored Miss Sullivan nor infringed upon her freedom of speech,” said a statement. “She is not required to write a letter of apology to the Governor. Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved.”

The trouble for Sullivan began last Monday when she tweeted from a youth event at which Brownback gave a speech.

“Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot,” she tweeted.

Sullivan neither met Brownback in person, nor did she tell him he sucked. The tweet was spurred by a discussion she was having with a friend, talking about what they would tell Brownback if they were to meet him.

“The tweet was for her audience at the time,” said Olivia Sullivan, 19. “It was a complete joke between her and her friends.”

Not so to Brownback’s office. His team, which monitors comments on Facebook and Twitter containing the governor’s name, reported Sullivan’s tweet to Youth in Government, the program’s organizer.

“That wasn’t respectful,” Brownback’s communications director Sherriene Jones-Sontag said. “It was important for the organization to be aware of the comments their students were making.”

The group in turn reported the incident to Sullivan’s high school. Its principal Karl Krawitz scolded Sullivan and said she should write an apology to Brownback, the Youth in Government program and the district’s social studies coordinator, among others.

But the teen said she was not sorry.

“I’ve decided not to write the letter but I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard! #goingstrong,” Sullivan tweeted Sunday.

Sullivan’s family stood behind her decision, and blamed the governor’s office for “wasting their time.”

The spat has made Emma Sullivan a Twitter star. She’s received an overwhelming amount of support, says sister Olivia, and her Twitter followers have jumped to more than 10,000, more than double that of Brownback’s. She had only 60 followers last Monday.

The unlikely matchup sparked national debate and heated criticism.

“Speaking as a taxpayer in Kansas, I’m more than a little annoyed that my government has cut funding for the arts and other programs, but apparently thinks it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars to have the governor’s office troll the Twitter feeds of high school kids to make sure they’re not saying anything mean about him,” wrote Alex Knapp, social media editor at Forbes. “I’m also annoyed that the schools think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars to punish students for what they say on their private Twitter feeds. The whole exercise is absurd.”

Liberals accused Brownback’s team and the principal for stifling free speech.

“It’s troubling that Brownback’s staff is so thin skinned that they felt the need to call down the government’s wrath on a high school student who had the audacity to criticize the governor,” reads a blog from ThinkProgress. “There’s no question that the high school principal violated Sullivan’s First Amendment rights. Although public school students’ right to free speech is not unlimited, schools are generally only allowed to discipline students for speech that is disruptive to the school’s learning environment.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syracuse Fires Assistant Coach Bernie Fine Amid Abuse Allegations

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Syracuse University announced Sunday evening it has fired assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine, who has been accused by three men of sexually molesting them when they were boys.

"At the direction of Chancellor [Nancy] Cantor, Bernie Fine's employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately," university spokesman Kevin Quinn announced.

Fine, 65, had been an assistant coach at Syracuse for 36 years, the longest active streak at one school among Division I assistant coaches.  He has called the allegations "patently false."

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said Sunday night he supported the university's decision to fire the man who has been his assistant for 35 years.

"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling," the Hall of Fame coach said in a statement released Sunday evening.  "I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged.  I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight."

He said the allegations should "be fully investigated."

Boeheim, who had called one of the accusers "a liar" for suggesting he knew that his long-time assistant was allegedly abusing young boys, apologized for that "insensitive" remark and said that anyone with information should "be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found."

"I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse," he said.

The firing comes the same day that ESPN released tapes of one of Fine's accusers discussing what happened with the assistant coach's wife.

Bobby Davis was a seventh grader helping out around the Syracuse basketball court when he claims the abuse began.  Now 39, he says he made a recording in October 2002 of a phone call with Fine's wife, Laurie.  He says he did so so his allegations of molestation against Bernie Fine would be taken seriously.

"I know everything that went on, you know.  I know everything that went on with him," the woman identified as Laurie Fine tells Davis.  "Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues...And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted."

Davis gave a copy of the tape to ESPN and recently to police.  ESPN says a voice expert confirms the woman's voice on the audiotape matches Laurie Fine's.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy LA Protesters Defy Deadline to Vacate

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Occupy protesters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia stayed on past deadlines to vacate their respective encampments as officials backed away from plans to eject the tent cities that have sprung up to call attention to what the group calls economic injustices.

In Los Angeles, the crowd was estimated between 1,000-2,000 demonstrators just after midnight PT. Many of those people were sightseers, and as the night wore on, the crowd diminished.

Protesters have been camped out near City Hall for almost two months. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered the protesters to vacate by midnight last night, but police announced overnight that they would not clear the park where protesters have set up about 485 tents.

Police did request that the crowd move off the street and onto the sidewalk so as not to block the morning rush hour traffic. Protesters ignored police requests, and at least four were arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Protests were mainly peaceful, and no injuries were reported.

Around 5 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear pushed people back onto the sidewalk. There was a standoff for about an hour to see if people would try to move onto the street, but they did not.

Hundreds of protesters still remain with their tents and belongings, carrying signs and chanting, making it clear that they have no intention of moving out of the park any time soon. Police Chief Charlie Beck said that authorities expect to eventually make arrests, according to ABC News affiliate KABC.

Occupy L.A. protesters said they'll be moving to the Ports of Los Angeles Dec. 12, KABC reported.

On the East Coast, a similar deadline was set by city officials for Occupy Philadelphia protesters to vacate the encampment where they have been staying for almost two months. But the deadline passed peacefully on Sunday night, as protesters held a meeting and police did not order them to leave.

In New York City two weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg managed to clear Zuccotti Park of a large group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had moved in for two months with camping equipment, tarps and tents. The protesters have been allowed back but their numbers have fallen since they can't enter with their gear.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Judge Who Beat Daughter Sought Suspension, Lawyer Says

Hillary Adams speaking with ABC News(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) -- A prominent Texas judge who was placed on leave while the court investigates the circumstances surrounding a video of him beating his daughter with a belt and cursing at her proposed the suspension himself, his lawyer said.

Judge William Adams and the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct filed a joint motion to temporarily suspend his official duties as presiding judge during the course of the investigation.  The Texas Supreme Court approved the motion last Tuesday, Nov. 22.

Adams had already taken immediate voluntary leave upon learning that the video of "a family disciplinary event" had been made public, his lawyer William Dudley of Corpus Christi, Texas, said in a statement Sunday.

"The agreed temporary suspension is neither a fault sanction imposed by the Texas Supreme Court following an adversarial hearing, a finding of fault or wrongdoing by the commission, or admission of fault or wrongdoing by Judge Adams," Dudley said.

The suspension will allow the commission to "investigate allegations in a complete and yet expedient manner," he said.

After the video went viral on the Internet earlier this month, Adams said that he was merely disciplining his child and did nothing wrong.

"No, in my mind I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing.  And I did lose my temper, but I've since apologized," he Adams told KZTV.

Hillary Adams, the daughter who is seen being beaten in the video, secretly recorded the beating seven years ago and recently uploaded it to YouTube on Oct. 27.  The video was then posted on Reddit, a link-sharing website, where it racked up millions of views and incited anger among viewers.

"I just wanted somebody to see it and tell me, 'No, Hillary this wasn't right and I'm glad you were able to grow up and move on past this' and 'No, your dad wasn't right,'" Hillary Adams told ABC News' Chris Cuomo.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ohio Craigslist Killings: Mother Says Teen Son Is Innocent

Comstock/Thinkstock(AKRON, Ohio) -- The mother of the teenage boy arrested in connection with what has been dubbed the "Craiglist killings" in Ohio claims that her son was manipulated by the 52-year-old pastor with whom he was arrested on suspicion of multiple murders.

Brogan Rafferty, a 16-year-old high school junior from a suburb outside of Akron, Ohio, was arrested on alleged attempted murder charges for his involvement in a plot to lure multiple men to remote rural areas via a help wanted ad posted on the online classified ad site Craigslist, and killing them.

His mother, Yvette Rafferty, told ABC's Good Morning America on Monday that her son "made a bad decision hanging around the wrong person" when he began spending time with Rich Beasley, who is also a suspect in the murders.

"Brogan looked up to Chaplain Rich Beasley," she said.  "For 10 years now he's been taking the church and Bible studies...I know one thing, my son told me that he didn't do it.  And I believe it.  There is a monster here.  But it's not my son."

"I believe he put his trust in someone in...he's a very smart kid but sometimes when you're not seeing the whole picture, you just believe...that that person is gonna lead you in the right way," the boy's mother told ABC News.

Beasley, who worked as an unpaid chaplain, was arrested on Nov. 16 along with Brogan Rafferty when authorities discovered at least three bodies buried in shallow graves in Ohio.  An online posting advertising a job working on an Ohio cattle farm is being eyed as a common link in the deaths.

The victims that responded to the online ad were told to bring all of their belongings, as they would also be living on the farm, which does not exist. Police said they believe robbery was the motive in the three murders and one attempted murder.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Frosty the Snowman' Arrested at Maryland Parade

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A Chestertown, Md., man was arrested during a Christmas parade on Saturday, accused of scuffling with police and kicking at a police dog while dressed as Frosty the Snowman, according to Maryland's The Star Democrat.

Kevin Michael Walsh, 52, allegedly became agitated when a dog-handling officer tried to escort him away from the crowd, according to Sergeant John A. Dolgos.

Walsh says that he has dressed as Frosty in the parade for the last ten years and claims that he was wrongfully arrested. He says an officer “hassled” him after he commented on the police dog’s presence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Older Craigslist Killings Suspect Was a 'Mentor' to Arrested Teen

Giorgio Fochesato/Vetta/Getty Images(AKRON, Ohio) -- The mother of one of the suspects in the Craigslist killings said her son has a "caring heart" and even served as a mentor to the high school student who was arrested with him in connection with three murders and one attempted murder.

Richard Beasley, 52, who worked as an unpaid chaplain, was arrested on Nov. 16, along with Brogan Rafferty, 16, for allegedly luring victims through a job advertisement that was posted on Craigslist seeking extra help working on an Ohio cattle farm.

Victims were told to bring all of their belongings, as they would also be living on the farm, which does not exist.

"In my wildest dreams, I just couldn't imagine him harming someone," Carol Beasley said of her son.

Beasley, who has known Rafferty since the teen was 8 years old, said her son tried to help the boy, who she said had difficulty in school following his parents' divorce.

"Richard tried to mentor him, get him into history," she said, adding that Rafferty is "a really nice kid."

She said the boy and her son would go fishing, play video games and deliver food to the needy, according to ABC affiliate WEWS.

Although her son had previously spent time in jail and had been arrested on charges of aggravated trafficking in drugs and compelling prostitution, Carol Beasley said he was adamant he would never go back.

"Although he did a lot of types of things, it seems that he worked with people on the border—drug addicts, street people—I just don't know if he crossed over the line or what happened," she said.

Despite being a mentor and working with his church, Richard Beasley was struggling financially, his mother said.

Police said they believe robbery was the motive in the three murders and one attempted murder.

"I've lived long enough to know that you have to be prepared for anything," Beasley said. "I'm just praying they've got the wrong people."

Rafferty is being held at the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center, and Beasley is in custody at the Summit County Jail on a $1 million bond.

A judge has imposed a gag order so that no further information about the case could be released.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Penn State Victim, Mother Watched Vigil Anonymously

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(LOCK HAVEN, Penn.) -- Fifty people of all ages gathered Saturday to support Penn State’s alleged child sex abuse victims, unaware that “Victim 1,” as the high school boy was identified in a grand jury presentment, was inside a parked car a short distance away watching them.

The mother of the high school boy who said he was abused by Jerry Sandusky, told ABC News that she and her son watched the vigil Saturday night in Lock Haven, Pa., after hearing about it online and that it “meant a lot to him and his family.”

Victim 1, who according to his testimony, was 11 or 12 years old when he was first sexually abused by the 67-year-old former defensive assistant coach, endured such intense bullying following Sandusky’s arrest that he had to withdraw from his school.

The boy’s mother, who spoke exclusively to Good Morning America, said students at her son’s high school blamed him for triggering the sex abuse scandal that led to the firing of Joe Paterno, the beloved head coach who oversaw the university’s Nittany Lions football team for 46 years.

Paterno’s attorney, J. Sedgwick Sollers, told ABC News the former coach was saddened to hear about the bullying.

“Coach Paterno strongly condemns harassment or bullying of any kind, and he asks anyone who truly cares about Penn State to conduct themselves honorably and with respect for others,” Sollers said.

According to the grand jury report, Victim 1 suffered sexual abuse while he would stay overnight at Sandusky’s home in a bedroom in the coach’s finished basement and at least once other time in his school gymnasium, where Sandusky would volunteer. The boy originally met Sandusky through The Second Mile program for at-risk youth, which was founded by the coach.

The boy’s mother first alerted authorities of her suspicions in 2009, kicking off a two-year investigation that culminated in the arrest of the former coach on 40 counts of child sexual assault.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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