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Friday
Aug182017

Woman hits $1.6M slot jackpot at Vegas airport

Ingram Publishing(PARADISE, Nev.) -- A California woman made the most of her time spent waiting at McCarran International Airport Tuesday by scoring more than a million dollars, according to the airport's Facebook page.

A woman identified by the airport as Sandra A. from Dublin, California, tried her luck on the Wheel of Fortune slot machine in the airport's C concourse.

Her gamble paid off when she hit the jackpot, winning more than $1.6 million, according to the airport.

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Friday
Aug182017

Mother of woman killed in Charlottesville has 'no interest' in speaking with Trump

ABC News(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- The mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, said she has "no interest" in speaking with President Donald Trump in the wake of her daughter's death.

"I understand that President Trump wants to speak with me; I've heard from his press secretary and a few other people. And it's not that I'm trying to be calloused. It's that I have no interest in speaking to politicians just to hear them say, 'I'm sorry,'" Susan Bro said in an interview Thursday with ABC News. "If I felt like that's all they wanted to say, that would be different, but I feel like I'm wanted to be used for political agendas and I'm resistant to that."

Bro thanked Trump in a statement on Monday for "those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred," but said on Friday in an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America that her opinion changed after she had time to watch news coverage of the Charlottesville protests after laying her 32-year-old daughter to rest on Wednesday.

"I hadn’t really watched the news until last night, and I’m not talking to the president now, after what he said," Bro said, adding that she "saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters" with "the KKK and the white supremacists."

She continued, "You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m not forgiving for that."

When asked Friday if there was anything she would want to say to Trump, Bro said, "Think before you speak."

Many have criticized Trump's response to Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally, which was attended by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, and turned deadly after a car plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others. In a news conference Tuesday in Trump Tower, Trump reiterated that "both sides" were to blame for the violence.

Bro told ABC News on Thursday that she has "heard it said that there was violence on both sides, that everybody was hurting everybody."

"I wasn't there that day, but I will tell you that I'm pretty sure that's the only person that ran people down with a car, so that level of violence didn't take place on both sides. That did not happen," she said.

"I've heard it said that the murder of my daughter was part of making America great," Bro added. "The blood on the streets -- is that what made America great? Attacking innocent people with a vehicle -- is that what made America great?"

When asked if she had sympathy for the cause of the white nationalists, Bro said, "I don't know what their cause is. I haven't heard what's bothering them."

Bro clarified Friday on Good Morning America that her daughter, a paralegal who lived in Charlottesville, was not part of any organized group protesting in her hometown, saying, "She was part of a group of human beings who cared to protest."

"I'm honestly a little embarrassed to say that part of the reason Heather got so much attention is because she's white, and she stood up for black people," Bro told ABC News on Thursday. "Isn't that a shame? That a white person standing up for a black person caused all this excitement? That should be an everyday thing. That should be a norm."

Bro said she is now dedicating herself to "forward Heather's mission."

"A lot of people are already aware of injustice. It's not that they're not aware; it's that they won't do anything about it," Bro said on Thursday. "'I'm afraid, I'm afraid' -- that's what I keep hearing, and that's what the murder of my daughter and the injury of several others was intended to do -- was to make people afraid."

"But if we live in fear, then they've won," she said, calling on people to "get involved" when they witness injustices.

"Heather was not a politician, but she was interested in changing people," Bro said. "My focus is not on politics; my focus is on human beings and on how we as human beings can fix problems."

Bro did not allow politicians to speak at the memorial service for Heyer on Wednesday, which was attended by more than 1,000 people.



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Friday
Aug182017

Attorneys for former FBI agent, daughter convicted of murder allege juror misconduct

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON, N.C.) -- Attorneys for former FBI agent Tom Martens and his 33-year-old daughter, Molly Martens Corbett, who were found guilty of second-degree murder last week, are attempting to have the convictions set aside because of alleged juror misconduct, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

A jury of nine women and three men delivered the verdict after less than four hours of deliberation, concluding that the father and daughter intentionally and unlawfully killed Corbett's husband, 39-year-old Irishman Jason Corbett, beating him to death with a child’s baseball bat and a paving stone at the Corbett home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in August 2015.

The pair claimed self-defense and defense of others in Corbett’s death. During the three-and-a-half-week trial, Tom Martens took the witness stand, telling jurors he was staying at his daughter’s home when he was woken up by noises upstairs. Martens testified that he found his son-in-law, Jason Corbett, with his hands around his daughter’s neck, threatening to kill her.

Defense attorneys now claim in a motion, filed Wednesday in a Davidson County court, that “voluntary press interviews,” including one with ABC News Correspondent Linzie Janis, a post-verdict press conference by the jury foreman and “social media posts” of certain jurors reveal misconduct.

The motion alleges that the press interviews and social media posts show that the jurors were discussing the case among themselves both “prior to closing arguments and during deliberations, both inside and outside the courthouse,” despite explicitly and repeatedly being instructed not to do so by the judge.

The motion states that the jury foreman, Tom Aamland, made a statement during a press conference after the trial that he and his fellow jurors had “private conversations” that indicated how jurors were leaning in their decision ahead of the jury deliberation period.

Defense attorneys Walter C. Holton and David Freedman also allege that Aamland and one of the other jurors met in a parked vehicle for 10 to 15 minutes during deliberations. The attorneys are asking for a hearing to explore the content of that and all other “private conversations.”

The motion filed on behalf of Martens and Molly Martens Corbett accused the jury of forming opinions about Corbett’s character and mental health despite the fact that she never took the stand, allegedly violating her Sixth Amendment right to trial by a fair and impartial jury. The motion quotes juror Nancy Perez in her interview with Janis for ABC News' 20/20 in which she said, “I think Molly is a person that has not been ever held accountable for any actions whatsoever. I think Molly was Daddy’s princess, just like every girl in Daddy’s eyes. I feel like Molly was very manipulative.”

The motion also describes what one of the jurors told 20/20 they believed happened the night of the murder. “Molly was the aggressor, striking her husband first with the paving stone while he was asleep in bed,” the motion states. The defense attorneys call that belief a direct contradiction to the court’s finding that there was no evidence of Molly Corbett's being the aggressor.

The state has 10 days to respond to the motion. Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank tells ABC News, “We do not believe the motion, under our law, has any merit. We are preparing a response to be filed next week.”

Molly Martens Corbett and Tom Martens were each sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.

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Thursday
Aug172017

Young woman recounts weeks-long survival in Alabama wilderness

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A missing woman thought to be dead emerged from the woods after 28 days, naked and visibly sick, but still alive.

Lisa Theris was last seen on July 18 and her family feared the worst.

Yet last Saturday. a woman driving down a country road outside of Union Springs, Alabama, spotted her and called police 911 dispatchers.

"I just passed a road and there's a lady that, she came out of the woods naked and she's been sick. She's been in the woods for three weeks," the caller told 911 dispatchers.

Police thought the young woman had lost about 40 pounds and noted she had suffered deep cuts, bug bites, poison ivy stings and sunburn.

Theris told ABC News that she survived on eating berries, mushrooms and drinking puddles of water.

"If it rained I'd have to like squeeze the water out of my hair and drink it," Theris, a former waitress and radiology student, said.

"She went on, "It was all about finding the road or finding a person. I couldn't even hear any cars the whole time I was out there until the end."

Theris said she found a large walking stick in the forest that she said helped her make it out of the wilderness.

How the young woman ended up lost in the first place remains unclear. Neither Theris nor police have provided an explanation for how she got stuck in the woods, but officials said she was with two men she had recently met.

"When asked if she thought she was drugged, Theris responded, "It would make sense, but I'm not sure."

"I think I heard that may be so," her father, William Theris, added.

Theris admitted that around the time she went missing, she was supposed to appear in court on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. That case was dropped last Thursday when the court presumed she had died.

Police told ABC News they believe Theris survived in the woods, but say there's a lot more to her story.

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Thursday
Aug172017

Navy to relieve USS Fitzgerald leadership for mistakes that led to deadly collision

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy relieved the USS Fitzgerald's commanding officer, executive officer and senior enlisted sailor for mistakes that lead to a deadly crash with a merchant ship on June 17.

Seven U.S. sailors lost their lives when the Navy destroyer collided with a Philippine flagged container ship in the middle of the night off the coast of Japan. The accident was called "avoidable," and both ships "demonstrated poor seamanship," according to a release by the Navy.

The Navy announced Thursday that the commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet intended to relieve Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Cmdr. Sean Babbitt and Master Chief Petty Officer Brice Baldwin for loss of trust and confidence in their ability to lead in those positions.

They are among a dozen of the ship's crew who will face administrative action for their role in the collision. The investigation into what caused the crash continues, but it has so far determined that there was "plenty of evidence to determine that serious mistakes were made" by members of the crew, said Admiral William Moran, vice chief of staff of the Navy.

Because the investigation is ongoing, he could not say if the Fitzgerald was "solely responsible" for the collision with the ACX Crystal.

The Navy's 7th Fleet issued a statement late Thursday after the command team was relieved, further specifying each of the men's role in the crash. Benson was relieved "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead," according to the release. Babbitt and Baldwin "contributed to the lack of watch stander preparedness and readiness that was evident in the events leading up to the collision."

The Navy also said "several" junior officers were relieved of duties due to "poor seamanship and flawed teamwork as bridge and combat information center watch standers."

The Navy released a report detailing the harrowing moments immediately following the ship's collision.

It took 90 seconds for one of the Fitzgerald's sleeping quarters to completely flood, leaving the 35 sailors sleeping there little time to try to escape.

As the water quickly rose, two sailors who had been helping others up a ladder eventually had to climb out of the compartment, according to the report. They reached their hands back down through the hatch where they were able to pull out two more sailors.

Twenty-eight survived, while seven others drowned.

The captain’s quarters also took a direct hit, fully destroying the room and trapping the captain in debris. The ship's crew had to use sledgehammers, a kettle bell and their own bodies to force their way into his quarters, according to the report.

"A junior officer and two chief petty officers removed debris from in front of the door and crawled into the cabin," the Navy's report reads. "The skin of the ship and outer bulkhead were gone, and the night sky could be seen through the hanging wires and ripped steel. The rescue team tied themselves together with a belt in order to create a makeshift harness as they retrieved the [commanding officer], who was hanging from the side of the ship."

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Thursday
Aug172017

Confederate symbols across US highlight nation's divided past 

Ty Wright/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Echoes of the Confederacy are scattered across the U.S. in the form of hundreds of symbols that are a reminder of the nation's divided past.

Last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a rally by white nationalists, including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members, over plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue ended in the death of a counter-protester, has again put a renewed spotlight on America's Confederate monuments, with many leaders increasingly calling for their removal.

As of 2016, approximately 1,500 Confederate symbols, which include everything from monuments, statues and flags to public schools, military bases and highways named for Confederate leaders, exist on public land from the South up to Massachusetts, according to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Of these symbols, 718 are Confederate monuments or statues in public places.

Many were constructed in honor of the Confederacy almost immediately after the Civil War, but a number were dedicated much later, the study said. Two periods saw an especially notable rise in monument dedications: between 1900 to the 1920s, when states were enacting Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan was reawakened, and between 1950 to 1960, when segregationists clashed with civil rights activists during the Civil Rights Movement.

Those who say Confederate symbols should be removed from public grounds contend that they are racial flashpoints that glorify slavery, while supporters say Confederate symbols are meaningful relics of Southern heritage and history.

President Donald Trump fanned the flames of the debate this past week when he questioned the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, saying it would be “changing history.”

“You’re changing culture,” Trump said during the news conference at Trump Tower Tuesday.

Asked whether statues of Lee should remain in place in the U.S., the president said the situation was one that should be handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on the location of the monument. "I would say that's up to a local town, community, or the federal government, depending on where it is located," he said.

One of Lee's descendants, Robert E. Lee V, suggested this week it would be better for Confederate symbols to be displayed in a museum.

"Eventually, someone is going to have to make a decision, and if that's the local lawmaker, so be it. But we have to be able to have that conversation without all of the hatred and the violence. And if they choose to take those statues down, fine," Lee V, 54, told CNN.

"Maybe it's appropriate to have them in museums or to put them in some sort of historical context in that regard," he said.

The vast majority of Confederate monuments are in the southern states, and the state with the most monuments was Virginia, which had 223 as of 2016, the study said. Virginia was followed by Texas with 178, Georgia with 174 and North Carolina with 140 as of 2016, the study said.

Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida round out the top 10, the study said.

But Confederate symbols can also be found further north in states including New York, Iowa and Pennsylvania, which were all Union states during the Civil War.

A hundred and nine public schools in the U.S. are named for Confederate icons such as Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. Most of these schools are in former Confederate states, but some are in California and Massachusetts, which were also Union states during the Civil War.

The U.S. also has 80 counties and cities named for Confederates as of 2016, the study said.
Confederate symbols have been a source of contention for years, and the debate returned to the forefront in June 2015, after nine black parishioners were shot and killed by avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof maintained a website on which he posted "a manuscript and photographs expressing his racist beliefs," according to the federal indictment against him. In the manuscript, he used racial slurs and decried integration and the photos include one of Roof holding a Confederate flag, the indictment states. Roof was sentenced to death earlier this year.

The shooting prompted South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its State Capitol on July 10, 2015.

Shortly after last Saturday's violence in Charlottesville, four Confederate monuments were removed under cover of darkness in Baltimore, Maryland. The next morning, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she felt it was important to move quickly and quietly because of "the climate of this nation."

And Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Tuesday that he is asking the State House Trust to remove from State House grounds the statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the 1856 Supreme Court ruling that denied citizenship to African-Americans.

"As I said at my inauguration, Maryland has always been a state of middle temperament, which is a guiding principle of our administration. While we cannot hide from our history, nor should we, the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history," Hogan said.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said this week he plans to introduce a bill to remove a dozen Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

And in Durham, North Carolina, some individuals took matters into their own hands, removing a Confederate soldier statue that's been in front of the city's courthouse since 1924. Protesters looped a rope around the statue, which depicts a Confederate soldier wielding a muzzle rifle and lugging a canteen and bedroll and is dedicated "in memory of the boys who wore gray," and yanked the soldier from its concrete perch. While dragging it to the ground, the angry demonstrators stomped on the statue repeatedly.

But in Charleston, South Carolina, the mayor says he won't try to remove any of the Confederate monuments in his city, according to The Post and Courier. Instead, Mayor John Tecklenburg said Wednesday he suggests adding context through plaques and new language.

"The whole story of our history needs to be told," Tecklenburg said, according to The Post and Courier. "I intend to be complete and truthful about our history and add context and add to the story instead of taking away."

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Thursday
Aug172017

Science-loving sisters will work with NASA during total solar eclipse

Yeung Family(SEATTLE) -- Two sisters from Seattle, Washington, are turning their family science project into the opportunity of a lifetime: working with NASA during the historic total solar eclipse.

Rebecca and Kimberly Yeung are participating in NASA’s Eclipse Ballooning project in conjunction with the University of Montana on Aug. 21. Rebecca, 12, and Kimberly, 10, built their own balloon craft that they will launch from Casper, Wyoming, into the eclipse's path of totality. The craft will carry samples of bacteria that will help them collect data and photos to be shared with NASA.

"We're working directly and launching with the Montana Space Grant [Consortium], which is sponsored by NASA," Rebecca Yeung told "Good Morning America" Thursday. "We're going to be attaching some microbes to our [craft] and NASA is going to analyze that, because the stratosphere [of Earth] is very similar to the atmosphere on Mars."

The sisters will use a balloon-powered Loki Lego launcher in their experiment, Kimberly Yeung said. Their balloon is one of five that will be launched during the eclipse to collect data for NASA.

"We were looking for a family project to do and we just saw this and decided to do a project like it," she added.

NASA isn't the first major agency to recognize the sisters for their scientific work -- President Obama invited the duo to the White House's science fair.

"When Dad got the call, it was the day before April Fool’s Day, and they said something like, 'Hi, it's the White House speaking,'" Rebecca said, adding that her father told the caller, "April Fool’s Day is tomorrow."

But it wasn't a joke, and the sisters attended the fair in 2016.

Kimberly Yeung said she wants to turn her love of science into a career someday.

"I want to be a robotic engineer," she told "GMA."

While Rebecca said she isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up, the 12-year-old shared her advice for other girls interested in science.

"I would say don't give up because even if some people tell you, 'You can't do this, or it's going to be too hard,' just keep on going and persevere," she said. "Even if something goes wrong, which will happen, just keep on trying."

The girls traveled with their dad from Seattle to Wyoming to see the eclipse and launch their project. They plan to share their experience and results with other science fans on their personal blog.

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Thursday
Aug172017

Teen who vanished in 2007 will finally be laid to rest after remains identified

iStock/Thinkstock(BELTON, Mo.) -- The family of Kara Kopetsky, a 17-year-old who vanished 10 years ago, is finally able to lay her to rest now that her remains have been found and identified.

The Belton, Missouri, police and the Kopetsky family told ABC News on Wednesday that remains found in a rural area south of Kansas City, Missouri, in April have been identified as Kopetsky.

"It's been a long 10 years, a long four months," Kopetsky’s mother, Rhonda Beckford, told ABC News on Thursday. "The remains were found, and we finally can bring her home and bury her and put her to rest.”

"We're so thankful that Kara's not missing anymore, that she's been found," Beckford added. "Of course it's not the way that you want her story to end. Her life was stolen from her when she was 17."
Kopetsky’s remains were one of two sets found in April in the same area. The other set of remains were earlier identified as Jessica Runions, 21, another local young woman who disappeared in 2016.

No arrests have been made in connection with either disappearance, but Kopetsky’s ex-boyfriend, Kylr Yust, has been connected to both women.

According to Belton police reports, Kopetsky had filed a protective order against Yust days before she went missing in Kansas City in May 2007. In her protective order obtained by ABC News, Kopetsky wrote Yust had kidnapped, restrained and choked her. She wrote she was “unsure of what [Yust] will do next because the abuse has gotten worse over time.”

"Kara was a wonderful girl," Beckford said. "She felt like everybody deserved a friend. She was loyal to her friends, and she loved her friends and her family. ... She will be truly missed for the rest of our lives."

Yust was and remains a person of interest in Kopetsky's case, the Belton police said.

Nine years after Kopetsky vanished, Runions was reported missing by her mother and boyfriend on the night of Sept. 9, 2016. Early in the morning on Sept. 10, Runions' car was found burned in a desolate, wooded area, police said. But Runions was nowhere to be found.

Runions' family says friends told them Runions was last seen giving Yust -- her boyfriend’s longtime friend -- a ride home from a party.

After police found the vehicle, Yust was arrested, accused of setting Runions' car on fire. He has been charged with “knowingly burning” a vehicle and has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Runions' mother told ABC News that she did not know Yust and researched his name online. Through her search, she discovered Yust was connected to Kopetsky's case. She said she then reached out to Kopetsky’s mother.

“People don't really know what it's like to have missing children," Runions' mother, Jamie Runions, said -- but Kopetsky's family helped her. "It's nice to talk to people that understand.”

“We’re stronger as a team,” Jamie Runions said. “We’ve become a family.”

Meanwhile, Yust is awaiting trial for “knowingly burning” Jessica Runions’ vehicle.

His attorney, Molly Hastings, told ABC News on Thursday there is "no change of circumstance related to his pending case," stressing that "he has one pending case at this time" and the rest is just "speculation."

In a statement to ABC News in April on the discovery of Jessica Runions' remains, Hastings said, "Despite developments made over the course of the past week, Mr. Yust remains charged with only one count of knowingly burning a vehicle. He has pled not guilty to that offense, and the defense will continue to prepare for trial in that case."

She continued, “There are too many unknown factors to comment further, but I can assert that Kylr has not been charged with any further crimes.”


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Thursday
Aug172017

Candlelight vigil marches through Charlottesville

ABCNews.com(CHARLOTTESVILLE, N.C.) -- Hundreds of people flooded the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia on Wednesday night in a peaceful, candlelight vigil for the victims of Saturday's violence surrounding a white nationalist rally.


Heyer, 32, was killed on Saturday afternoon when a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters who had come to Charlottesville to rally against the "Unite the Right" group. Nineteen others were injured in the car-ramming. Two police officers also died when their helicopter crashed while observing the violence on the ground.

Police arrested 20-year-old James Alex Fields and charged him with second-degree murder for the death of Heyer.

A memorial service was held Wednesday for Heyer, who worked as a paralegal in Charlottesville. Over a thousand attendees packed the Paramount Theater in town, including Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

There was also a rally held in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. The march, dubbed "Philly is Charlottesville" by organizers according to ABC6 in Philadelphia, marched down Broad Street and into Center City. About 2,000 people attended the rally, according to ABC affiliate WPVI.

"It's shameful that our president hasn't denounced what happened, 100 percent," participant Kate Sunbeen told WPVI. "So we are here to say, we don't support that."

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Thursday
Aug172017

No Powerball winner, jackpot now grows to $510 million

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The numbers for the $432.5 million Powerball jackpot were drawn Wednesday night -- but there was no winning ticket.

The estimated jackpot has now jumped to $510 million. The numbers will be drawn Saturday night.

The numbers drawn were 9, 15, 43, 60, 64. The Powerball is 4.


The odds of winning are only one in 292.2 million.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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