Former CIA Officer Arrested for Leaking Classified Information

Photo Courtesy - CIA[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- A former CIA officer was arrested Thursday on charges he illegally disclosed national defense information and obstructed justice, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, 43, of O’Fallon, Mo., was charged in a 10-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Dec. 22, 2010, and unsealed Thursday.  The indictment charges Sterling with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice.  Sterling was arrested Thursday in St. Louis.

According to the indictment, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002.  From November 1998 through May 2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program designed to conduct intelligence activities related to the weapons capabilities of certain countries, including Country A.  During that same time frame, he was also the operations officer assigned to handle a human asset associated with that program.  According to the indictment, Sterling was reassigned in May 2000, at which time he was no longer authorized to receive or possess classified documents concerning the program or the individual.

In connection with his employment, the indictment alleges that Sterling, who is a lawyer, signed various security, secrecy and non-disclosure agreements in which he agreed never to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, acknowledged that classified information was the property of the CIA, and also acknowledged that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could constitute a criminal offense. 

According to the indictment, these agreements also set forth the proper procedures to follow if Sterling had concerns that the CIA had engaged in any “unlawful or improper” conduct that implicated classified information.  These procedures permit such concerns to be addressed while still protecting the classified nature of the information.  The media, according to the indictment, was not an authorized party to receive such classified information under such circumstances.

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Dad Can't Watch as Court Plays His Video of Son's Uzi Tragedy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WESTFIELD, Mass.) -- A Connecticut doctor closed his eyes today when a court played a video that he filmed of his eight-year-old son shooting a powerful Uzi submachine gun that recoiled and shot the boy in the head, killing him.

The mother of eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj left the room in tears.

The 2008 tragedy occurred in Massachusetts when Christopher was handed a 9mm Micro Uzi submachine gun to fire during a gun expo he attended with his family. Former Pelham police chief Edward Fleury, who organized the event, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.

The nightmarish scene had been videotaped by the boy's father, Dr. Charles Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., who was on the stand when the video was played. He closed his eyes as the video as shown.

People in the courtroom gasped as the shots rang out, clearly showing the moment when the boy starts to fire, but is unable to handle the gun's strong recoil. The automatic weapon keeps firing as the gun barrel rears up and shoots Christopher in the right side of the head.

The father testified earlier that he was videotaping his son firing the gun when the boy disappeared from the viewfinder.

Video was also shown of Christopher's 11-year-old brother Colin firing the gun before it was handed to him. Other children were also firing automatic weapons at the expo.

Gary Hobaica, a friend of the victim's father, testified in the morning. He said the father, Charles Bizilj, selected the machine guns and ammunition for his children to fire. The group had been viewing people shoot machine guns for several hours and it appeared safe, Hobaica said.

Fleury's attorney, Rosemary Curran Scapicchio, told ABC News that it was a difficult day in court, describing the court room as packed and very tense.

"You're always going to be distraught when you have to look at that video," she said. "You can't help but feel sadness for the family and for the poor boy when you watch it. I think that the video that was unnecessary and inflammatory."

Scapicchio maintains, however, that the former police chief did nothing illegal and should not be held responsible. She pointed out that Christopher's father and dozens of event volunteers had multiple opportunities to intervene and did nothing.

Also awaiting trial on involuntary manslaughter charges are Carl Giuffre of Hartford and Domenico Spano of New Milford who supplied the guns. They have pleaded not guilty.

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Hoffman Pleads Guilty in Gruesome Ohio Killings and Abduction

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MOUNT VERNON, Ohio) -- An Ohio man pleaded guilty Thursday to killing three people, stuffing their bodies in a hollow tree, and kidnapping and raping a 13-year-old girl. He was promptly given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Matthew Hoffman, 30, was confronted during his sentencing Thursday by his 13-year-old victim and Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher read a statement the girl wrote.

"This has changed my whole life and my family's life, too," the girl wrote.

"This is so sickening, Matthew, to know you even had the guts to do this to a family," her statement said.

She also told Hoffman that she was no longer afraid of him.

"I believe (the victim) isn't afraid of Hoffman anymore, if she says so. I was glad she got to see him go to prison today," Thatcher told ABC News Thursday in an interview after the sentencing.

The girl had been previously identified, but now that it is apparent that she was a sex crime victim, her name is being withheld.

The indictment and Thursday's hearing cleared up some of the mystery around the gruesome crime. It had been speculated that Hoffman had targeted the family in order to kidnap the girl, but the carnage was the result of a burglary gone horribly wrong.

"Hoffman did not target this family. He chose to burglarize the house because he saw that he could enter through an open garage door. We believe he burglarized another house in the county entering through an open garage door," Thatcher said.

The indictment states that Hoffman, an unemployed ex-tree trimmer with a rap sheet, was attempting to burglarize the home of Tina Herrmann, 32, on Nov. 10.

He was surprised by the family and then stabbed Hermann to death along with her son, Kody Maynard, 11, and a family friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41. He also killed the family dog.

In the home was Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter who Hoffman kidnapped, and brought to his residence where he raped her, the indictment states.

"For whatever reason, he chose to spare (the girl) and thank God he did," Thatcher said after the court hearing Thursday, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The prosecutor also said that Hoffman, when confronted by evidence of his crime, agreed to tell police where he stashed the bodies and plead guilty if he was spared the death penalty. Officials had previously said they would never have found the bodies if Hoffman hadn't directed them to the precise location.

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John Edwards Not in Elizabeth Edwards' Will

Photo Courtesy - AmericanProgress dot org(HILLSBOROUGH, N.C.) -- Elizabeth Edwards, estranged wife of John Edwards, did not include the former U.S. senator in her will, reports Raleigh's News & Observer.

Elizabeth Edwards, who died Dec. 7 after a six-year battle with breast cancer, named her eldest daughter, Cate Edwards, as executor of her estate in the document.

Edwards separated from her husband John Edwards after he fathered a child from a widely reported extramarital affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter.

According to the News & Observer, the will states that Edwards' possessions would be left to her three children with John Edwards.

"All of my furniture, furnishings, household goods, jewelry, china, silverware and personal effects and any automobiles owned by me at the time of my death, I give and bequeath to my children," her last will and testament states.

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Boy Accused of Killing Mom Could Be Released at 21

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HOLMES COUNTY, Ohio) -- Ohio prosecutors are considering whether to seek a classification that would ensure that a 10-year-old Ohio boy accused of killing his mom could be kept in prison beyond the age of 21 if they believe it is necessary.

The prosecutor's office will soon determine if they will seek to have the boy, who will not be tried as an adult, declared as a serious youth offender.

That determination opens the possibility that the 10-year-old boy could be assigned an adult sentence if convicted. That sentence would come into play at the completion of his juvenile sentence if he has infractions during his time in juvenile detention.

Without that designation, the boy would have to be released upon his 21st birthday, even if convicted of murder.

"You have to keep it in perspective. It's not like I have 10-year-old homicides every day. To say that this is not unique would not be correct," said Sean Warner, Holmes County juvenile assistant prosecutor. "I still have information coming in and I'm reviewing the file now."

The boy allegedly shot and killed his 46-year-old mother Deborah McVay on Sunday night. An argument over firewood may have triggered a heated argument that resulted in the death, police have said. McVay was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head in the family's modest home -- an apartment converted from a two-car garage -- in Big Prairie.

Authorities found four weapons in the boy's bedroom, including the .22 caliber rifle found on his bed which is believed to be the murder weapon. Two other .22 caliber rifles were mounted to the wall and a 12-gauge shotgun was also on the boy's bed.

The prosecutor's office has 20 days from this past Monday's court hearing to decide whether they will move to classify him as a serious youth offender. Determining factors include whether he has previously been through the juvenile detention system or a history of violent crimes, or whether a crime is so violent that the serious youth offender classification is necessary.

"Because of what happened, even though a person hasn't been through the system, you want to give the court the option to have more means to deal with them in the future," said Steve Knowling, prosecutor for Holmes County.

"And if we don't do that, the court would lose jurisdiction when he is 21 and we would have no options available at that point," Knowling said.

The boy's attorney, Andy Hyde, was not able to be reached for comment, despite numerous attempts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


RSA Commends DOT Action on Limiting Speed of Commercial Vehicles

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Road Safe America is commending a U.S. Department of Transportation decision to limit the speed of heavy commercial vehicles to 68 mph.

Based on a petition filed by RSA along with the American Trucking Association in 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filed a Grant Decision on the recommendation.

"Although it has taken a long time, and this action does not end the discussion, a key rule that safety advocates believe will save hundreds – maybe thousands - of American lives annually is closer to reality," said Steve Owings, co-founder and president of RSA.  “Based on what we have seen, we anticipate quick action in moving on to a rule.”

The decision will require that speed-limiting devices be set at 68 mph on all heavy commercial vehicles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


State Revenues Drop, Spending on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SUITLAND, Md.) -- State government revenue dropped in 2009 while state spending increased, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The overall state government revenue declined to $1.1 trillion in 2009, a 30.8-percent drop from $1.6 trillion in 2008. 

Total taxes collected made up the largest portion of revenue at $715.1 billion, an 8.5-percent decline from 2008.

Although state governments saw a decline in revenue, they spent three percent more than 2008 with $1.5 trillion in total state expenditures in 2009. Top expenditures included education, public welfare and public hospitals and health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Son of Omaha Police Detective Shoots Principal and Assistant Principal, Turns Gun on Himself

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OMAHA, Neb.) -- A high school student and son of a police detective shot two school officials at Millard South High School in Omaha Wednesday and then shot himself, police said.

The shooter was identified as 17-year-old Robert Butler Jr., son of Omaha Police Det. Robert Butler. He was a senior at the school.

The two people wounded in the shooting were the principal, Curtis Case, and an assistant principal, Vicki Kaspar. Kaspar later died. Case is in stable but serious condition at Creighton University Hospital, according to the hospital.

Butler's body was found in a red Honda about a mile from the school. Police said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to, Butler had posted an update to his Facebook page that read:

"Everybody that used to know me I'm sry but Omaha changed me and (expletive) me up. and the school I attend is even worse ur gonna here about the evil (expletive) I did but that (expletive) school drove me to this. I wont u guys to remember me for who I was b4 this ik. I greatly affected the lives of the families ruined but I'm sorry. goodbye."

No other students were wounded during the shooting.

A recorded message from the school said that students are safe and police are in control of the school.

Other schools in the district were also dismissed.

The high school sits on the west side of Omaha, within city limits, and has about 2,100 students.

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Armed Fugitive in Custody after Standoff with Police at Phoenix Mall

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- An armed fugitive turned himself into police after a three-hour standoff Wednesday at a Phoenix-area mall that started with an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and U.S. Marshals.

A man believed to be Daniel Munoz Perez, 25, walked out of a Baja Fresh near Chandler Fashion Center with his shirt off and immediately was surrounded by SWAT members with their guns pointed at him. The man was handcuffed and taken into custody.

It's not known whether the suspect took hostages at the Mexican restaurant, but two employees reportedly walked out of the restaurant after he did. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Authorities put the Chandler Fashion Center on lockdown at around noon when undercover officers exchanged gunfire with a man believed to be Perez, a fugitive who has been on the lam since last month.

"U.S. Marshals task force members attempted to arrest Daniel Perez, who is wanted for aggravated assault for shooting at an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer last month," Jeff Carter from the United States Marshals Service said. "The store is being locked down and the mall evacuated."

Perez was arrested Dec. 10 for the shooting of the DPS officer, but mistakenly was released out of the Pinal County Jail on Dec. 16.

Armed police officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests searched the mall and a nearby strip mall for Perez. Some of the officers were using dogs to search the mall.

U.S. Marshals confronted the suspect near the Sears store when gunfire was exchanged, sparking the standoff, ABC affiliate KNXV reported. The suspect then fled into the Sears store and eventually across Chandler Boulevard to the Baja Fresh.

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New Video Evidence Shows Dead Ex-Presidential Aide Disoriented

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (NEWARK, Del.) -- New video evidence in the death of Washington defense expert John Wheeler shows a man who was disoriented and disheveled.

The video, released by police Wednesday morning, shows Wheeler wandering around an office building lobby in downtown Wilmington, Del., holding a shoe in one hand and limping slightly.

Newark, Del., Police Lt. Mark Farrall said Wednesday that Wheeler refused help from several people who approached him as he wandered around the Nemours Building as late as 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30.

Wheeler's body was found the following day, New Year's Eve, in a load of trash dumped at the Cherry Island landfill. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.

Police say the trash truck that dumped the body provided the first leads in the case. They traced the truck's route and it lead them back to a dumpster pickup route in nearby Newark.

Investigators say they have yet to determine the location where Wheeler died, but are hoping that the dumpsters may hold some forensic clues. Police said Monday they don't know where he was killed, why he was killed, or who may have killed him. Investigators continue to scour the landfill for leads.

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