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Monday
May092011

Georgia Woman Dressed Like Man, Shot Daughter-In-Law

Left, Joanna Hayes. Right, composite sketch of killer of Heather Strube (Courtesy of Gwinnett County Detention Center)(SNELLVILLE, Ga.) -- Heather Strube was in a bitter custody dispute with her husband Steven in April 2009 when she was confronted by a "man" in a Georgia parking lot who put a gun to her head and shot her.

That man, prosecutors allege, was Heather Strube's mother-in-law, Joanna Hayes, disguised in a wig and moustache. And on Monday, Steven Strube was scheduled to testify in his mother's murder trial.

Heather and Steven Strube were battling in court over custody of their 18-month-old son, Carson, at the time of the murder. The couple agreed to meet in the parking lot of a Target store in Snellville, Ga., on April 26, 2009 so Steven could hand over Carson to Heather. After the handover, Steven drove away and Heather strapped the boy into a car seat when the gunman arrived at Heather Strube's car, put a gun to her head and shot her. The boy was unharmed.

Prosecutors allege Hayes donned a disguise and shot Strube because she didn't want her daughter-in-law to have custody of her grandson. Hayes' defense team denies her involvement in the murder.

Testimony and evidence has thus far implicated Hayes. Former co-worker Paul Pinzino told the court that Hayes had spoken of plotting the perfect murder. To hide evidence of the crime, Hayes allegedly told Pinzino she would melt the gun. Police have never found the murder weapon used to gun down Heather Strube.

Nearly eight months after the crime, Hayes was arrested and charged with murder in December of 2009.
Snellville police said that surveillance video revealed that the killer wore a wig and fake mustache, ABC News affiliate WSB-TV reported. Surveillance video shows what looks like a man wearing khaki pants with a shirt tucked into the pants.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Continental Flight Diverted After Passenger Tries to Open Door Mid-Air

John Foxx/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- A Continental Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in St. Louis Sunday afternoon after a passenger on board tried to open a door while the plane was in mid-air.

According to officials at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, the disruptive passenger, a 34-year-old male from Burbank, Illinois, made his way to the front of the aircraft, saying he had to get off the plane.  Two passengers and a crew member restrained him while the flight landed and authorities boarded the aircraft.

The passenger was taken into custody and is being questioned.

Continental Flight 546 was heading to Chicago from Houston.  It was later cleared to continue its flight.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Mississippi River Floods Cause More Evacuations in Tennessee

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- The Mississippi River is expected to rise to historic levels this week, leaving thousands of families from Arkansas to Tennessee with no option other than to abandon their homes.

As of Monday morning, the Mississippi River has risen to 47.6 feet and is expected to crest at 48 feet later in the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Previously, the Army Corp of Engineers expected the river to rise to a record level of 48 feet early Tuesday morning -- the record crest in 1937 was 48.7 feet.

Wary of such dangers, Memphis, Tennessee Mayor A C Wharton warned residents in low-lying areas to evacuate.

"Right now, it seems flooding is mostly related to uninhabited areas, but as the waters of the Wolf, the Loosahatchie, and Nonconnah Creek could rise with additional rainfall, we must alert nearby residents to the dangers," Wharton said.

Memphis officials said on Sunday that around 1,300 families have been told to evacuate their homes, and 370 people are already staying in shelters.

Northwestern Tennessee was deemed safe from floods Sunday, but the high rivers forced cities and counties south along the Mississippi River to close roads.

"We got at least 91 locations according to the engineers that we need to check out and from there we have to make a decision on which ones have to be closed," Shelby County, Tennessee, official Percy Sheldon said.

Beale Street, the historic birthplace of the blues, is now filled with several feet of water.  Farmlands and key historic areas have also been swallowed up by the deep waters, and the city could continue to have to deal with extensive flooding.

In Louisiana, officials, residents and volunteers made advanced preparations, like piling up sandbags, and will now wait to see if their state's network of levees withstands waters that are expected to reach 25 feet deep and spill over seven parishes.

As of Sunday morning, the National Weather Service reported moderate flooding near Red River Landing and Baton Rouge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Leopard Mauls 7-Year-Old Boy on School Trip

John Foxx/Stockbyte(WICHITA, Kan.) -- A child on a school field trip to a Wichita zoo was mauled by a leopard after the child got too close to the big cat's enclosure and was grabbed by the animal.

Two visitors who saw the attack jumped over the railing around the animal's cage and kicked the leopard in the head until it released the seven-year-old boy.

The first-grader had apparently climbed over the railing and approached the cat's thin metal mesh enclosure. The cat sprang.

"This little boy was facing away from the cage and the leopard had his head...in his paws, and it was trying to bite through the wire," said Stephanie Terribilini, a zoo visitor who witnessed the mauling.

John Delgado jumped in to save the boy.

He was "just somebody's kid," Delgado said. "I couldn't let that happen. It was sad."

The boy is listed in fair condition. He suffered deep scratches on his face and neck as a result of the attack.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Experts: Osama Bin Laden Tapes Show His 'Pathetic' Side

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. government is running a full court press to prevent Osama bin Laden from becoming a hallowed martyr by using what are essentially out-takes of videos made by bin Laden to paint him instead as a vain, pathetic old man, experts said Monday.

Of the five videos made public by the White House this weekend, perhaps the most remarkable shows bin Laden huddled under a blanket, watching himself on television with a remote control in his hand, changing the channels whenever he sees pictures of president Obama.

"He's always been very careful about controlling his image and here he was nurturing his image, watching himself on television in what was the most revealing, most human, least controlled moment of his entire career," Lawrence Wright, Osama bin Laden expert and author of The Looming Tower, said.

The outtakes reveal bin Laden's fully gray beard, apparently dyed jet black for his on-camera appearances, set behind four different makeshift backgrounds.

"[This is] just a guy who wants to be seen, who wants to be known," Wright said.  "Very pathetic in a way."

In another sequence, there are technical difficulties, as a light goes out and the world's most wanted terrorist loses his concentration.

The release of the videos are "part of the U.S. government's effort to discredit him after his death so... he doesn't become a martyr in the eyes of the Arab youth," said former White House counterterrorism official and ABC News consultant Richard Clarke.

But while the outtake video may be embarrassing, there's nothing funny about the other, much more sinister material gathered in bin Laden's compound, revealing a level of plotting and activity from here that has surprised U.S. officials.

"He was engaged not just in being a symbolic leader of al-Qaeda, but he was involved in the strategic and operational leadership," National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said on ABC News' This Week With Christiane Amanpour.

Experts said the question of who will replace bin Laden is an important one, with some actually hoping it will be his controversial deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"Zawahiri is a very polarizing figure," Wright said.  "He ran his own terrorist organization al Jihad into the ground and we should only be so lucky that he would take over al Qaeda." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Police Hope to Resume Search for Man Missing in Wilderness

Comstock/Thinkstock(RENO, Nev.) -- Authorities hope to begin searching again for the husband of a Canadian woman who was found alive Friday after surviving nearly seven weeks alone in the Nevada wilderness.

Albert and Rita Chretien's van became hopelessly stuck in the mud miles from any major road in mid-March. On March 22, after days being stuck, Albert decided to go to find help.

Despite a search of three states and more than 3,000 square miles, there is still no sign of him. Authorities hope to resume the search Monday if weather permits.

Rita Chretien was found Friday by hunters. She had lost 30 pounds and doctors said she was days from death.

At a press conference Sunday, the couple's son said Rita Chretien rationed the bits of food she had and drank melted snow to survive. The 57-year-old Chretien built a fire pit near the van, but it was too wet to start a blaze. She huddled in her van, stuffing pages of an old phone book in the window cracks to keep the frigid air out. She spent those 48 days reading her Bible and other books.

The couple's journey began on March 19, when they left their home in British Columbia for a 1,200 mile road trip to Las Vegas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Al Qaeda Documents Raise Concerns About Rail Safety

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With the revelation that al Qaeda was considering targeting U.S. rail lines, transportation officials and experts are concerned that not enough is being done to ensure that train travel is safe.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said on Sunday that there should even be a "do not ride" list for Amtrak, similar to the no-fly lists that are part of the airline security effort.

Train bombings overseas, such as those that occurred in Madrid and London, are evidence of what terrorists are capable of, but the documents found in last week's raid on Osama bin Laden's compound indicated that the more likely mode of attack would be on the rails themselves, rather than a terrorist trying to get on a train with a bomb.  By tampering with the rails, the intelligence indicated, al Qaeda was hoping to send a whole train tumbling off a bridge or into a valley.

With so much of the train lines running through the wide open spaces in the U.S., there could be attractive terrorist targets.  Forty percent of the rail lines in the country have no automatic monitoring systems.  Those lines are supposed to be inspected at least twice a week, but that still can leave long stretches of track unwatched for long stretches of time.

There are 140,000 miles of freight and passenger track in the United States, not counting subway systems and light rail, as well as 3,100 train and transit stations.  There were more than four billion passenger rail trips last year from commuters rushing to work, students heading to school and families on vacation.

On any one day, 78,000 people ride Amtrak, 660,000 step on the elevated trains in Chicago, and eight million ride the New York City subway system.

In recent years, anti-terrorism deterrents have been introduced, such as additional bomb detection equipment and new vapor wake detection dogs trained to smell every possible component of explosives, which the Department of Transportation announced in late October.

A most recent record to step up the nation's rail security was seen in July when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano launched the first phase of the agency's "See Something, Say Something" campaign, requesting the public play a role in pointing out potential railway threats.

The effort is part of a series of events called Operation Rail Safe, which includes local, state and federal efforts to increase occasional security presence onboard trains, canine sweeps, and random passenger bag inspections at unannounced locations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Jury Selection to Begin in Casey Anthony Trial

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Jury selection in the Casey Anthony trial is scheduled to begin Monday, but court officials aren't saying where the trial of the Florida woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter will be held.

ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV in Orlando, Florida reported Sunday that three sources in the Pinellas County Court system said the trial will likely take place at the Pinellas County Courthouse.

Pinellas County Clerk of the Court Ken Burke declined to comment, telling WFTS-TV only, "We have been directed to refer all inquiries to the Orange County Courts."  He told the television station he believes Orange County Circuit Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. contacted all the major courts in Florida to ask them to refer all inquiries to the Orlando Court.

Anthony, 25, is accused of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony, who was two when she disappeared in June 2008.  Anthony has pleaded not guilty.

Caylee's disappearance wasn't reported until July 2008, when Anthony told police she had not seen Caylee in nearly a month, since dropping her off with a babysitter.

Anthony was arrested and charged with murder in October 2008.

Her daughter's skeletal remains were found in December less than a mile from the home she and her mother shared with the toddler's grandparents.  The little girl's death was ruled a homicide of undetermined means.

The "guilt phase" of Anthony's trial is scheduled to begin May 16.  If Anthony is found guilty, the penalty phase would immediately follow.

Lawyers for Casey Anthony are trying to convince a judge that the mom suspected of killing her daughter Caylee was not properly read her rights and that key statements by Anthony should be thrown out of her upcoming trial.

Among the remarks that could be at risk are Anthony's statement to Florida police that her missing daughter was with a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzales.  Police eventually determined that Anthony did not know a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzales.

Losing key testimony of this kind could make it difficult for prosecutors to get the conviction of first-degree murder -- and the death penalty -- that they are seeking.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May082011

Delta Flight Diverted Due to Security Concern

Delta Air Lines (File)(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A Delta Air Lines flight headed from Detroit to San Diego on Sunday was forced to land in Albuquerque, New Mexico after officials say a potential security threat arose onboard.

A law enforcement official told ABC News that Delta flight 1706 was on the way to San Diego, when a flight attendant discovered a note with the word “bomb” written on it. Authorities say out of an abundance of caution, the plane was diverted to Albuquerque International Sunport, where investigators will likely sweep the aircraft and examine the note for fingerprints.

Delta Air Lines issued a statement saying the flight, which was carrying 137 passengers and six crew members, had landed safely and that the airline was cooperating with authorities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May082011

Dozens Injured in N.J. Train Crash

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(HOBOKEN, N.J.) -- Over 30 people were injured when a train crashed into an abutment in the Hoboken section of New Jersey Sunday morning.

Officials say the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train was carrying about 70 people when the crash occurred around 9 a.m. The train reportedly struck an abutment at a platform and sent those onboard tumbling, according to ABC News’ New York affiliate WABC-TV.

PATH officials say 33 people suffered minor injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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