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Wednesday
Jul202011

Dismembered Brooklyn Boy Was Drugged, Smothered

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BROOKYLN, N.Y.) -- The Brooklyn boy who was murdered and dismembered last week after being abducted on the street was given a cocktail of drugs and then was smothered, the New York City medical examiner said Wednesday.

Leiby Kletzky, 8, had traces of a muscle relaxant, cyclobenzaprine; an antipsychotic drug, quetiapine; pain medication, and Tylenol in his blood, an autopsy showed. He died from suffocation after being smothered. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

His accused killer, Levi Aron, told police he smothered Leiby with a towel before dismembering the boy's body. Leiby died on July 13, the medical examiner found.

An indictment is expected shortly in the death of Kletzky, who disappeared when he was walking home from camp in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was the first time his mother allowed him to walk home alone. His mother planned to meet the boy halfway, but the boy missed a turn and got lost. He asked Aron for help and was not seen again after security cameras spotted the boy walking with Aron towards his car.

The boy's dismembered body was found two days later. Body parts were found in Aron's freezer in the nearby neighborhood of Kensington.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Shark Attacks Child Off North Carolina Coast

Ablestock.com(OCRACOKE, N.C.) -- A 6-year-old girl is in critical condition after being attacked by a shark on a North Carolina beach Tuesday evening.

The child was swimming with her father in shallow water when she was bitten on the right leg and part of her foot, according to Kenny Ballance of the National Park Service for Cape Hatteras.

The child was swimming on a boogie board in about a foot of water.

Hyde County EMS, the National Park Service and the Ocracoke Fire Department responded to a call at Ramp 72 on Ocracoke Island.

"The Ocracoke EMS and another park ranger, Shane Bryant, [were] on the scene right away," Ballance said. "The rescue squad began working on the little girl when ranger Bryant arrived. It was apparent that she was bitten below the knee in the foot area is the report."

Pitt Memorial Hospital flew a helicopter into Ocracoke Beach and flew the child to the hospital in Greenville.

"We were told she was in stable condition, then we called this morning to learn she's in critical condition," Ballance said.

Authorities said the last shark attack in Cape Hatteras was a fatal one.

"The last shark attack in Cape Hatteras was in 2004 and that was in one of the villages north of us here," Ballance said. "... the guy was bitten in a major artery and he bleed to death before we were able to get to him."

Ocracoke Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The entire island is owned by the U.S. National Park Service, except for the village.

A 10-year-old girl was attacked by a shark earlier this month in North Topsail Beach in North Carolina. Cassidy Cartwright of Erie, Pa., like the 6-year-old victim, was also playing on a body board and was wading knee-deep in only 3.5 feet of water.

Biologist Andy Dehart told ABC News earlier this month that the murky water around the North Carolina shore is often to blame for unprovoked shark attacks in this area.

The Florida Museum of Natural History keeps an international shark attack file, which was last updated in January. It shows 41 unprovoked shark attacks from 1935 to 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Mom Drives Off with Suspected Burglar in Family Car

Comstock/Photodisc/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Shannon Carter knew suspected burglars were on the loose in her neighborhood, but she didn't expect to find one stowed away in the trunk of her car.

"It was like out of the horror movies," Carter told ABC News Sacramento, Calif., affiliate News10.

The Sacramento mom took her kids to the movies Tuesday morning and returned home around noon to find officers and K-9 units from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department searching her neighborhood, according to News10. A neighbor told her suspected burglars were thought to be lurking in the area.

Carter went inside the house to pack lunches to take to the park and recalls leaving the garage open for a few minutes before closing it and locking the doors. She piled her kids and a neighborhood child into her seven-person SUV and drove to Elk Grove Park.

"All of a sudden, I look behind and this guy's head comes popping up," Carter said. "It was so freaky. [He] pops up out of the back of the car and my kids are screaming their heads off."

Carter said the suspect repeatedly said, "I'm not going to hurt you, I promise," which she said was comforting in the moment. Carter said the young man told her he had gotten into a fight at school and was just trying to get away.

Carter described him as between the ages of 16 and 18 with a sandy-colored buzz cut.
The man got out of the car and began to run off before stopping to apologize for scaring the children and asked Carter not to call the police. Carter saw him run across the street and ask to use a cellphone from a group of teenagers. After not being able to reach whoever he was calling, he took off.

After he fled, Carter immediately called 911. By the time police arrived, though, the suspect was long gone and has not yet been located.

The Sacramento Sherriff's Department was searching Carter's neighborhood after they responded to a nearby call for a burglary in progress. A neighbor saw two males break the window of a house and enter, but the two men ran away before police could catch them. A three-hour search was unsuccessful and the authorities expanded the perimeter of the search to include Carter's neighborhood.

While no definitive connection has been made between the burglar and the man in the car, Sacramento Sheriff's Department spokesman Jason Ramos said it is "very conceivable" that the teenager in Carter's car was one of the two suspects who broke into a nearby home.

"Her description of the guy is consistent with one of the people responsible for the burglary," Ramos said. "There's a good possibility that this is one of the guys that got away from us."

Ramos said the man did not show any signs of injury, according to Carter, so his story about getting in a fight "didn't jive." Ramos said the man was probably "not the most sophisticated, seasoned criminal" and was likely panicked about how he would get away.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Alleged Fort Hood Shooter to Be Arraigned

U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The Army psychiatrist accused of the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood that left over a dozen people dead will be back in a Texas courtroom Wednesday for his arraignment.

U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the terror attack. Hasan was found to have links to Yemen-based Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, the former imam at the Virginia mosque where Nadal once worshipped, who became a leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He ranks among the world's most-wanted terrorists.

After the attack, Awlaki confirmed the findings of an FBI investigation that showed the two men had been in contact before the shooting. Al-Awlaki said he'd advised the alleged shooter, calling him a "hero" for his actions. 

During Wednesday's court appearance -- Hasan's first since the Army announced two weeks ago that he would face the death penalty if convicted -- the circuit judge assigned to the military base will advise Hasan of his rights and the charges against him, and then ask the 40-year-old to enter a plea.  This will be done only as a formality since, under military law, Hasan cannot plead not guilty in a death penalty case.

The judge may also set a trial date at Wednesday's arraignment.  The defense has asked that it start in March.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Vermont Inn Sued over Refusal to Host Gay Wedding

Spike Mafford/Thinkstock(LYNDONVILLE, Vt.) -- The Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont bills itself as a "vacation sanctuary" where the welcome mat is rolled out even for the family dog.  The inn, nestled in the mountains on 570 acres, was voted Best Family Resort by Yankee magazine in 2010 and has enjoyed positive reviews in travel publications and websites that range from National Geographic Traveler to Trip Advisor.

But according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, that warm Wildflower welcome doesn't extend to gay couples.

Court documents filed in Vermont Superior Court claim that when Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley, a lesbian couple, tried to book their wedding reception at the Wildflower, they were told via email that innkeepers Mary and Jim O'Reilly "do not host gay receptions" because of their "personal feelings."

According to Dan Barrett, an attorney with the Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, that puts the O'Reillys in violation of the law.

"We believe this is a straightforward violation.  Businesses open to the general public must serve all customers...They cannot turn people away based on sexual orientation.  That section of the law has been on the books in Vermont since 1992," Barrett says.

Linsley, 34, and Baker, 31, became engaged last October.  The two wanted to hold their wedding in Vermont because, said Linsley, "we both have come here for years, and we had a strong connection to it personally."

Mother of one of the brides, Channie Peters set about trying to find a place to hold a wedding reception.  With help from the Vermont Convention Bureau, Peters received an email from the meetings and events director of the Wildflower Inn that read, in part, "the Wildflower Inn would be the perfect location..." and continued, "You could not offer a better "destination wedding" location for your guests."

But when Peters mentioned there would be a "bride and bride" instead of a "bride and groom," she received an email with the subject line: "I have bad news," and that's when the O'Reilly's alleged policy against holding gay receptions at their inn came to light.

Calls to the O'Reilly's home in Vermont were not returned, and a woman who answered the phone at the Wildflower Inn said she could not comment on the lawsuit.  The inn updated its website on Wednesday to say it is "no longer hosting weddings or special events."

The lawsuit's allegations are particularly jarring, given that Vermont is known as one of the most liberal states in the country.  The Green Mountain State has allowed civil unions between same sex couples since 2000, and gay marriage has been legal since 2009.

The O'Reillys have 20 days to file a response to the allegations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

First Lady to Promote Outreach to Homeless Vets on TV Show

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama will tape her first appearance on network reality TV this week as a guest star in ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The White House says Mrs. Obama will travel on Thursday to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she will roll up her sleeves and help expand a community resource center for homeless female veterans located just outside the gates of Ft. Bragg.

The first lady’s participation is framed as part of the “Joining Forces” initiative she began with Dr. Jill Biden to provide support and recognition to military veterans and their families.

George Verschoor, executive producer of Extreme Makeover, said Mrs. Obama will work specifically on a new greenhouse and a children’s playhouse at the center, the Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House.  She is also expected to participate in a special project to honor the center’s founder, Barbara Marshall, a 15-year Navy veteran, he said.

“When the first lady first saw this story, she was so moved by Barbara Marshall and the work she’s doing,” Verschoor said.  “The first lady has said she not only wants to do something for the whole house… but she also wanted to do something personal for Barbara.”

Marshall, a former chaplain, has served hundreds of women veterans since opening the center a little over a year ago, Verschoor said, but her center is only able to provide living accommodations to five women at a time.

“Her problem is the house is so small,” he said.  “So that’s what we’re doing this week: expanding the capacity of the house and to all of her resources so she can help even more.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.

Mrs. Obama, no stranger to the television limelight, has previously appeared on PBS’ Sesame Street, Nickelodeon’s iCarly, Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and a mix of daytime TV talk shows and late-night comedy.

Her appearance on Extreme Makeover, which will air in October, follows a similar one by former first lady Laura Bush, who was featured in a 2005 episode taped at a Biloxi, Mississippi home damaged by Hurricane Katrina. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick Endorses Animal Cruelty Legislation

Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick endorsed new legislation that would make both observing and enabling a minor to watch animal fighting events criminal offenses.

Congress is the latest stop on Vick’s redemption tour, begun in the wake of his 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to dogfighting charges in 2007.

“Throughout my time in prison, I told myself that I wanted to be a part of the solution, not the problem,” Vick said in a hushed voice. “Dog fighting is inhumane, it's illegal, it's a federal felony and it's a felony in every state now.  We have an opportunity to create meaningful change.”

Though it was Vick’s first trip supporting legislation in Washington, D.C., it was not the first time his name had been thrown around the Capitol.

At the height of Vick’s infamy in 2007, then-Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd compared dogfighters to the most serious of criminals on the Senate floor.

Back then, Byrd “declared that he has seen one execution in his life -- a man put to death in the electric chair. "It’s not a beautiful thing," he said. "I could say I could witness another one if it involves (long pause) this cruel, sadistic, cannibalistic, business of training these vulnerable creatures to kill.’"

Tuesday’s reception of Vick was much warmer. Congressman Jim Moran, D-Va., complimented Vick as being in “tremendous shape.”

“This is a story of redemption; it's a story of leadership,” Moran said. “It's a story of deciding to do good and making a really substantive, consequential difference in the lives of a whole lot of people and certainly among animals that otherwise would be mistreated. Michael's leading the way to get these animals adopted and treated properly.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Former Harvard Ethics Student Charged with Hacking MIT Computer

Photos.com/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A Harvard University student has been charged with hacking into Massachusetts Institute of Technology computers and stealing more than four million scholarly articles, book reviews and other content from an academic database.

The federal indictment alleges that Aaron Swartz, 24, of Cambridge, Mass., broke into a restricted computer wiring closet in an MIT basement to access the school's network without permission. He then allegedly downloaded the articles from JSTOR, a nonprofit database for scholarly journals.

Swartz has been charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer.

"Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. "It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away."

When MIT and JSTOR noticed the unusual activity, they tried to block Swartz's computers, but he allegedly found other ways to access the database.

Swartz is well known in the technology community as an online activist and programmer. He is the founder of Demand Progress, a nonprofit political action group that works for policy change.

Swartz also co-founded Reddit, a social news site now owned by Conde Nast. He was most recently a fellow at Harvard's Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption.

"This makes no sense," Swartz's colleague, Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal, said in a statement. "It's like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library."

Segal claims that JSTOR settled its issues with Swartz privately and asked the government not to prosecute. A letter of support for Swartz posted on the Demand Progress website garnered more than 15,000 supporters in less than three hours.

Swartz was arrested Tuesday after turning himself in. He appeared in court the same day with his parents and was released on a $100,000 bail.

If convicted, Swartz faces up to 35 years in jail and a $1 million fine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Hammer Murder: Fla. Teen Charged as Adult Can't Get Death Penalty

St. Lucie Sheriff's Office(PORT SAINT LUCIE, Fla.) -- The Florida teen accused of killing his parents with a hammer and then partying with his friends was charged Tuesday as an adult but is not eligible for the death penalty because of his age, prosecutors say.

Life in prison without parole is "the only viable option that remains on the table for him," said chief assistant state attorney Thomas Bakkedahl. "While it may not be satisfying to me, that's all we've got."

Tyler Hadley, 17, was charged Tuesday with two counts of second-degree murder, which will keep him in jail while the state attorney's office assembles a grand jury, the only way to prosecute Hadley for first-degree murder. In Florida, first-degree murder carries two punishments: the death penalty for people 18 or older, or life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors made the decision to seek first-degree murder charges against Hadley after seeing the damage done to the bodies of Hadley's parents during the medical examiner's autopsy.

Jurors will likely meet in August, Bakkedahl said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

One Couple, Two Retirements: Baby Boomers Spending Time Apart During Retirement

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- For many couples, marriage may have meant till death do us part, but for others, the parting is coming in retirement. Staying together but spending time apart is fast becoming a trend for retired baby boomers.

"I can't foresee wanting to spend 24 hours straight with someone," said Susan Ross, a retired teacher, who has been married to her husband, Jim, for 31 years.

While Jim stays at home in a suburb of Austin, Texas, and pursues his passions by working at a museum and biking, Susan can be gone for weeks volunteering in Honduras or days helping underprivileged children in San Antonio.

"We are both pretty independent people, and so it really helps us to have our own interests as well as things we do together," Susan told ABC News.

Dorian Mintzer, author of The Couple's Retirement Puzzle, said it's important for couples to openly discuss their desires and goals for retirement, even if it leads to spending more time away from each other. "I do think more pursuits will be done separately," said Mintzer. "We're going to see more living together but apart."

Susan said many of her friends are tired of being with their husbands all day, every day.

Jim has no question he and Susan made the right decision. "I see how happy it makes her," said Jim. "Why would you not want to do that?"

Living together apart is something women push more than men, perhaps reflecting the power they've gained in the past 40 years. "It's a different generation of women that want to have a voice," said Mintzer. "It's no longer just adjusting to the husband's retirement.'"

John Chatfield had planned on retiring to Maine with his wife, Jane. "I have always loved the beautiful scenery," John told ABC News. "We had our first conversations about retiring in Maine sometime before we were married."

But a funny thing happened on the way to full-time existence in vacationland. His wife didn't like it. "I got through the first winter and I felt, 'All right, I can do this.' But that's a sense of a person stranded who says...'I can hold on,'" she said. "People tend to eat supper around 5:30 and go to bed at 8:30. My life isn't over yet!"

One winter after spending time in Cambridge, Mass., caring for her mother, Jane decided to make Cambridge her winter home.

"I realized John was ready to accept my being away for that period," said Jane. "The Charles River, Cambridge, all those young ponytails bobbing up and down as they stay in shape. The rowers on the river, that's gorgeous."

Both say the separation has enriched their relationship; having the courage to pursue different dreams has strengthened their bond.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio