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Wednesday
Mar092011

Navy Sailor Faces Discharge for Falling Asleep With Another Man

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- A Navy petty officer facing discharge for falling asleep in bed with another male sailor last month says his ouster is motivated by homophobia, not a legitimate crime, a claim that has some gay rights advocates worried about life after "don't ask don't tell."

Stephen Jones, 21, a student at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina, says he and friend Brian McGee inadvertently fell asleep together while watching the Vampire Diaries on a computer in his quarters Feb. 6.

Jones was wearing pajama pants and a white t-shirt, laying on top of the covers; McGee was in boxer shorts under the blanket on Jones' twin bed, according to both men's account of the situation.

When Jones' roommate, Tyler Berube, walked in shortly after midnight, the sailors woke up, got dressed and went back to their rooms.  Several days later, however, Jones and McGee were cited with dereliction of duty for "willfully failing to exhibit professional conduct in his room," according to the Navy report specifying the charges.

McGee accepted the charge and received docked pay.  But when Jones refused to accept a penalty, instead hoping for a court martial to prove his innocence, he was ordered separated from the Navy for good.

While there was no evidence of homosexual conduct presented in the statements given by the three men to military investigators, Jones and his civilian attorney Gary Meyers believe homophobic suspicions were motivation for the charge.

"The roommate is concerned about what he sees, even though he sees nothing," Meyers said.  "And his statement doesn't indicate he saw anything.  Two men woke up and they left the room.  It's a bizarre overreaction."

Meyers contends that because the command had too little evidence to start an investigation under "don't ask, don't tell," which is still technically military policy, it used a subterfuge to achieve the same result.

"I asked several times about what was unprofessional about what I did, and every time they said it's just unprofessional.  Period," said Jones, who is appealing the decision.

"Guys are always playing video games, watching movies, in other people's quarters," Jones said.  "Brian and I hung out on a regular basis.  Curfew was 2 a.m.  We woke up between 12 and 12:30, and were back in our rooms before 1.  I have never been in trouble ever in all of my life."

A copy of the Navy's investigative report confirms that Berube discovered the two men asleep in bed, well before the 2 a.m. curfew Feb. 6, but does not detail how Jones or McGee may have exhibited unprofessional behavior.

A spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Training Command did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment but told the Washington Post, which first reported on the case, that "the determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

Space Shuttle Discovery Heading Back to Earth

NASA(HOUSTON) -- Space shuttle Discovery's final flight is about to reach its conclusion.

On Wednesday, the shuttle with the most missions of any other craft in the fleet is due to arrive back at Florida's Kennedy Space Center just before noon.  Once Discovery lands, it will eventually head to a museum.

Before leaving the International Space Station Tuesday, astronauts declared the shuttle was fit for return after finding no problems with the heat shield.

Discovery's final mission was actually extended from 11 days to 13 so that the Discovery crew could make some needed repairs and provide an extra room on the ISS.

Back on Earth, NASA's pre-flight mission management team chairman, LeRoy Cain, praised the crew, saying, "The entire space shuttle system just performed outstanding on this entire mission."

Discovery has flown the equivalent of 365 days during its 27-year career, spanning some 150 million miles.

Space shuttle Endeavour is due to launch on April 19, while Atlantis will fly the last shuttle mission on June 28.  From that point on, astronauts who want to go to and from the ISS will need to ride Russia's Soyuz space capsules.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Woman Beaten Into a Coma in Parking Lot Rage

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City man faces felony assault charges after he punched an 100-pound woman who was standing in a parking lot space he wanted. Lana Rosas, 25, was saving the space for her boyfriend. Now she's in a coma.

"Nobody would think anything would happen that would go this far," said Oscar Fuller, the alleged attacker, to reporters.

Fuller said the evidence would prove he acted in self-defense.

"She hit first...and just like we know there are cameras everywhere inside New York City," said Fuller.

Rosas is still in the hospital. Doctors have removed part of her skull to reduce the brain swelling.

"I am very, very sorry for the situation she is going through right now, and I am hoping for a speedy recovery," said Fuller.

Fuller left the scene before paramedics arrived but said he didn't realize Rosas was so badly hurt when he left the scene.

Fuller is free on $100,000 bail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

US Marshal Dies in St. Louis Shootout; 37th Law Officer Killed This Year

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- A U.S. marshal has died after being shot in the head during a St. Louis gun battle, the Marshals Service said Tuesday night. The marshal, 48-year-old Deputy John Perry, was part of a team trying to arrest a man on charges of drug possession and assaulting a law enforcement officer.

The agency said Perry died at 7 p.m. at Saint Louis University Hospital. He had been with the U.S. Marshals Service for almost 10 years.

A second marshal was wounded, along with a St. Louis city police officer.

The gunman, who was killed in the standoff, was identified by federal officials as Carlos Boles, 36, who had served a 10-year prison term for a 1992 assault.

Boles was arrested again in October 2010 and charged with possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer.

"Our deputies and law enforcement partners face danger every day in the pursuit of justice for the citizens of this great nation," said Stacia Hylton, the director of the Marshals Service. "Our people and our partners are well trained and prepared, but it is impossible to predict when a wanted individual will make a fateful choice that results in the loss of life or injury.

"When that happens, and the life lost is a law enforcement officer or other public servant, it is an immeasurable tragedy felt by all," said Hylton in a statement. "Today, unfortunately, we again feel that pain. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fallen deputy as well as the injured and their families."

The officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant at Boles' home when he opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol.

When authorities arrived at the suspect's home, he told them, "I'm only going out in a body bag," ABC News radio affiliate KTRS reported.

Three children were taken by from the home before shots were fired.

"Two Deputy U.S. Marshals and one task force officer from the Eastern District of Missouri were serving an arrest warrant this morning at a residence in St. Louis when they were involved in a shooting – all three were struck by gunfire and have been taken to a local hospital," Jeff Carter, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals said in a statement immediately after the shooting.

The shootings are the latest in a string of police casualties this year. Thirty-seven law enforcement officials have been killed in the line of duty nationally since Jan. 1. That's more than were killed in all of 2010. Of the 2011 deaths, five were federal agents, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Victim's Dad Vows to Murder Child Killer Michael Woodmansee If He Gets Out

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- Michael Woodmansee was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1983 for the killing of five-year-old Jason Foreman.

Rhode Island police, who spent years searching for Foreman's body, eventually found the boy's shellacked skull and bones in Woodmansee's South Kingston home. Woodmansee later confessed to the murder.

To the fury of Foreman's father, Woodmansee, who is now 52, is set to be released from prison in August, 12 years before his prison sentence is complete. He is getting out early for good behavior. The prospect of an early release has enraged John Foreman, Jason's father.

"I will kill him if he is released," John Foreman told a radio interviewer at ABC News radio affiliate WPRO in Providence this week. "The man is a monster."

Jason's mother, Joice, died in 2000.

The early release is "shocking," Superior Court Judge Susan E. McGuirl told the Providence Journal. McGuirl was a state prosecutor in 1983 and agreed to the plea deal that avoided a trial, which could have handed Woodmansee a life sentence.

"Certainly there would not have been any anticipation of him getting out in 28 years," McGuirl told the paper.

"All of those involved knew that the defendant would be released at some time," a statement from McGuirl read in part. "We discussed with the Foreman family the defendant's possible release on parole or good time. We did not anticipate due to the condition of the defendant that he would be able to earn the maximum good-time credit."

Foreman told WPRO, "He should have gotten a life sentence, but stupidly I allowed a plea bargain to go so I wouldn't have to put up with the agony of hearing all the evidence at the time."

The details of the Woodmansee case are gruesome. According to police reports, in the spring of 1975 Woodmansee, then 16, lured Jason Foreman into his house, where he stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife. Woodmansee, who lived up the street from the Foreman home, placed the body in a plastic bag and took it into the basement, eventually wrapping the remains in a rug and burying them in a trunk. Despite one of the largest search details in Rhode Island history, encompassing hundreds of volunteers from several states, years would pass before Foreman's body was found.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Mar082011

Anchovy Carcasses Blanket Los Angeles Harbor

ABC News(REDONDO BEACH, Calif.) -- Hold the anchovies! Especially in Redondo Beach, California.

Millions of the dead fish are floating in the King Harbor Marina there, causing a stink and leaving city officials and authorities scratching their heads -- and holding their noses.

California Fish and Game officials say they believe the fish are mostly anchovies and sardines. They were treating the fish deaths as a hazardous waste situation and conducting a massive cleanup effort.

Debbie Talbot of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors said the incident could be caused by a red tide bloom, in which massive amounts of plankton suck the oxygen from the water.

Residents said they were not aware of any issues that might have led to the massive fish kill.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Two US Marshals, Officer Shot in St. Louis

Thinkstock Images/Comstock(ST. LOUIS) -- Two U.S. Marshals and a St. Louis city officer were shot Tuesday morning while attempting to serve a warrant in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis.

The suspect with whom the officers exchanged fire was shot and killed at the scene.

Officers approached the residence just before 7 a.m., when they were confronted by the suspect, who, according to witnesses, told the marshals "I’m only going out in a body bag."

Shots were fired, with one U.S. Marshal struck in the head and critically injured. The second marshal was also hit, but his condition was not immediately known. All three men were rushed to area hospitals. The police officer who was hit was struck in his bulletproof vest and suffered a graze wound to the shoulder, as well as injuries from a fall.

Three children -- reportedly the suspect's niece and two nephews -- were safely taken out of the home before any shots were fired.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Burglar Calls 911 on Homeowner, Locks Himself in Bathroom 

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- A man called 911 to say there was a burglary in progress and he wanted police to come protect him. The caller, however, was the alleged burglar.

Timothy James Chapek, 24, had allegedly broken into a home in Portland, Ore., and was taking a shower in the burgled house when the homeowner returned and caught him at 7:07 p.m. Monday, according to police.

The homeowner, accompanied by his two German Shepherds, asked Chapek why he was in the home, police said. Chapek quickly locked himself in the bathroom and called 911.

The homeowner, who police are not identifying, also called 911 to report the intruder.

It's unclear if Chapek was intoxicated at the time.

Chapek, who has an extensive criminal record for non-violent crimes, was booked into the Multnomah County Jail Monday night and was released Tuesday. He will be charged with a misdemeanor for criminal trespassing, police said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Few Schools Request Obama Commencement Speech

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When the White House announced its "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge" last month, officials expected to be deluged with hundreds, if not thousands, of applications from students asking President Obama to speak at their graduation ceremonies.

After all, for the 2010 Commencement Challenge, more than 1,000 schools applied for the honor. Kalamazaoo Central High school ultimately won.

This year the response was underwhelming. Just three days before the original Feb. 25 deadline, the White House had received only 14 applications.

Whether the poor showing was due to poor publicity, underachieving students, weak school administrators, or a lack of enthusiasm for President Obama, this sad state of affairs is one that the White House does not particularly want to discuss.

"We're pleased by the quality applications that are coming in," said White House spokeswoman Gannet Tseggai, "and the president looks forward to encouraging young people to graduate from high school and pursue college and careers."

Officials have extended the deadline to this Friday, March 11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Body of US College Student Missing in Spain Found

ABC News(MADRID) -- The body of Austin Bice, a U.S. exchange student who went missing late last month in Spain, was found in a river in Madrid Tuesday, according to Spanish police.

The 22-year-old's body was discovered in the Manzanares River, close to the nightclub where he was last seen on Feb. 26.  No signs of foul play were seen on the body.  The cause of Bice's death is still not known.

Bice, an international business major at San Diego State University, went to Madrid in mid-January to spend the semester studying at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

He posted on his blog that he planned to attend a concert the night he disappeared.  Friends say that Bice left them outside of the nightclub that was hosting the concert to walk to his host family's home.

Initial reports said that Bice was denied entrance into the club because he was too drunk.  Friends and family have strongly denied that claim.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio