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Tuesday
Jun202017

OJ Simpson 'hopeful' about upcoming parole hearing, friend says

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- O.J. Simpson is holding out hope as he prepares to face a parole board in Nevada that could set him free, according to a friend.

"He's hopeful. He's not going to try and retry the case," Simpson’s friend, Tom Scotto, told ABC News. "He's done all positive things in prison for the prison and bringing everybody together."

Simpson was convicted in 2008 on armed robbery and kidnapping charges stemming from his attempt in 2007 to recover memorabilia from two sports collectibles dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room. He was sentenced to a 33-year prison term.

Simpson contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him. His bid for a new trial in the case was rejected in 2013, but he was granted parole that same year on some of the charges, based on good behavior. He was not released from prison at that time, since his prison sentences were set to run consecutively. Simpson had to wait until this year to appear again before the parole board.

The Nevada Department of Corrections will announce on Tuesday the July hearing date when commissioners will meet and decide Simpson’s future.

ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams said Simpson's high profile could hurt his case for parole.

"If you look at what happened in 2013 you would say, ‘Same factors are going to be applied here, except for the crime itself, you would think that he’s got a pretty good shot,'" Abrams said Tuesday on ABC News' Good Morning America. "Except the fact that he’s O.J. Simpson has just got to play into this in some shape or form."

"If he wasn’t O.J. Simpson, his chances would be quite good," Abrams said, adding that the seven parole board commissioners look at 11 factors in deciding on parole, including the crime itself and the inmate's behavior in prison, gender and age.

Scotto, who says he talks to Simpson weekly, said the former NFL star has spoken to him about the life he envisions if he is freed.

"He wants to just keep a low profile, be with his kids, be with his family, play golf," Scotto said. "It's one of his main things."

Simpson, who will turn 70 in July, was acquitted more than 20 years ago of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

A civil jury later ordered Simpson to pay $33.5 million in damages after finding him liable for wrongful death in the double murder.

Simpson’s murder trial was brought back into the spotlight last year with the FX miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story that featured Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson. The so-called "trial of the century" was also featured in an ESPN documentary, Made in America, that won an Oscar.

If Simpson is granted parole next month, he would be released in October. If not, commissioners will decide the date of the next parole board meeting, which could be as far away as five years.

Goldman's family told ABC News earlier this year they cannot bear the idea of Simpson as a free man.

"Disgust," Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, said when asked what it would look like to him if Simpson was paroled.

Added Goldman's sister, Kim Goldman, "He committed a horrible heinous crime, and I have no feeling except rot in hell."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun202017

Family and friends mourn, remember pregnant woman shot dead by Seattle police

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Family and friends of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four who was shot and killed by police officers last week, will gather in Seattle on Tuesday evening in memory of the slain woman.

Lyles, 30, was fatally shot in her Seattle apartment at around 10 a.m. Sunday after she called the police to report a break-in at her home, according to authorities. The officers said Lyles confronted them with a knife when they arrived, according to authorities.

Police released an audio recording in connection with the killing on Monday. In it, an officer is heard saying “Get back! Get back!" before a woman responds "Do it! Do it!" An officer radios "We need help!" and the police yell "Get back!" again three more times before five gunshots are heard.

"The officers immediately performed first aid while the Seattle Fire Department responded, but the fire department declared the woman deceased once they arrived,” according to a police statement. "There were several children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured."

Lyles’ family told reporters on Sunday that she suffered from mental health issues and appeared to be having a breakdown of some sort when she called the police for help. They also questioned why other non-lethal methods weren’t used to de-escalate the situation.

"She was asking them for help with her domestic violence and they wasn't giving her none. That's why the mental breakdown started coming into play," her sister, Monika Williams, said while speaking at a gathering for Lyles on Sunday.

She said her sister had been arrested earlier this month, with a weapon in her hand, after getting into a confrontation with her child's father.

"The officers need to pay for what they did," Williams said. "Even if my sister had a knife in her hand, she weighs like nothing, even if she's soaking wet. There's no way you could've taken a taser and taken her down? There's no way you could've taken a baton and knocked the knife out of her hand?"

Lyles’ death has garnered the attention of activists in the Washington state area, with many saying that the killing was racially motivated. Lyles was black and the two Seattle Police Department officers who responded to the scene were white, according to the Seattle Times.

The Seattle Police Department has not confirmed the identities of the officers or their races.

One of the involved officers was an 11-year veteran of the force and the other was "newer," according to Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson. They have both been placed on administrative leave as the department investigates the incident, Jamieson said in a statement.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has promised a full investigation of the shooting, which he referred to as "a tragedy for all involved." A GoFundMe campaign, intended to raise money for Lyles’ children, has already raised more than $53,000-- far exceeding its $5,000 goal.

More than 400 people are scheduled to attend Tuesday’s event -- called Speak Up Speak Out -- to “stand in solidarity” with Lyles’ family, according to the event’s Facebook page.

 Lisa Ganser of Olympia, Washington, said she plans to attend the event because she wants to show "love for Charleena -- a black loved one murdered by police.”

“Coming together is good ... it builds the movement,” Ganser said in an interview with ABC News early Tuesday. “Showing up is important to grieve as a community and support each other.”

Ganser, who noted that she had never met Lyles, said she was also diagnosed with a mental illness.

"[C]ops need to stop killing people with disabilities,” Ganser said.

The fatal shooting comes as Seattle Police Department deals with a 2012 "consent decree," which called for federal oversight of department’s policies and practices.

The decree was put in place after a Department of Justice investigation concluded that Seattle officers escalated situations, and used unnecessary or excessive force, when arresting individuals for minor offenses, according to a 2011 federal report.

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Tuesday
Jun202017

Dust storm leads to fatal 25-car pileup near AZ, NM border

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Several people were killed in a massive pileup near the border of Arizona and New Mexico on Monday, according to authorities, who attributed the crash to a dust storm.

The New Mexico State Police Department said 25 vehicles -- including 18 commercial motor vehicles and seven passengers vehicles -- were involved in the crash, resulting in multiple fatalities, and injuries, ABC affiliate KVIA reported.

They did not confirm the exact number of deaths or injuries.

Officials with the New Mexico State Police said the fatal crash was caused by a dust storm that brought high winds and limited visibility to the area.

The crash happened on Interstate 10 West. The highway is closed for about 60 miles, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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Monday
Jun192017

Otto Warmbier, American student detained in North Korea for 17 months, dies

Xinhua/Lu Rui via Getty Images(CINCINNATI, Ohio) -- Otto Warmbier, the American student who was imprisoned in North Korea for more than 17 months and was returned home to Ohio last week, has died, his family said Monday.

"It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home," his family said in part in a statement. "Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20 p.m."

Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said last week that Warmbier, 22, was suffering from injuries related to cardiopulmonary arrest and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness. Scans showed extensive loss in all regions of Warmbier's brain, doctors said.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was medically evacuated from North Korea and flown to Cincinnati late last Tuesday. He was then transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

On Monday, the family paid tribute to Warmbier in their emotional statement.

"It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost -- future time that won’t be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds," the family's statement continues. "But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person. You can tell from the outpouring of emotion from the communities that he touched -- Wyoming, Ohio, and the University of Virginia to name just two -- that the love for Otto went well beyond his immediate family."

The statement also thanked "the wonderful professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who did everything they could for Otto."

"When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands. He looked very uncomfortable -- almost anguished. Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed -- he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that."

In a statement, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called Warmbier a "promising young man."

"He was kind, generous and accomplished," Portman said. "He had all the talent you could ever ask for and a bright future ahead of him. His passing today is a loss for Ohio and for all of us. Jane and I are lifting up the Warmbier family in our prayers at this difficult time, and we are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of this remarkable young Ohioan."

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Monday
Jun192017

Police say road rage incident led to the death of Virginia Muslim teen

The Fairfax County Police Department(STERLING, Va.) -- Virginia police believe a road rage incident led to the death of the 17-year-old Muslim girl whose body was found near a mosque, officials said in a press conference Monday evening.

The body found in a Virginia pond Sunday has been identified as 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston, Virginia, officials confirmed Monday. Hassanen went missing earlier in the day Sunday after she and her friends left a mosque, according to police.

Fairfax County police confirmed Monday that they are not investigating the case as a hate crime.

"Based on the information our detectives have at this point, there is no indication that this was a hate-bias motivated-related crime," police said. "If that changes as the investigation progresses, we would certainly pursue that aspect."

Julie Parker, director of media relations for Fairfax County police, said in Monday's press conference that the incident started early Sunday around 3:40 a.m. local time when a group of about 15 teens were walking in Fairfax County to get some food after participating at an overnight event at the ADAMS center (All Dulles Area Muslim Society). Parker said detectives believe the suspect drove up to the teens when a male teen on a bike started arguing with him.

The suspect, who has been identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, then drove up on a curb and the group of teens ran, said Parker. She added that detectives believe Torrres became enraged from the argument when he got out of his car and began chasing the group with a bat. He caught Hassanen and hit her with the bat before taking her in his car to a second unidentified location in Loudon County, said Parker.

Hassanen, whose body was found in a pond around 3 p.m. Sunday in Sterling, Virginia, died from blunt force trauma to the upper body, Parker said.

Fairfax County police arrested Torres, 22, of Sterling around 5:15 a.m. and charged him with murder in connection with the case. Torres was arraigned Monday morning and held without bail, according to an official at the Fairfax County courthouse. It is unclear if he entered a plea and it was not immediately made clear whether he had obtained an attorney.

 

 

Police said they looked into whether the killing was a hate crime, but said they found no indication “that this was a bias incident.” Officials do believe Torres acted alone, and are not looking to arrest any other suspects.

ICE said in a statement Monday that they have filed a detainer on Torres, a citizen of El Salvador, for potential deportation as he is believed to be in the U.S. illegally.

The ADAMS center in Sterling, where the teens are believed to have been attending an overnight event, released a statement in regards to Hassanen's death.

“We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event,” the center said in a statement. “It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth.”

The center said it would have licensed counselors on site Monday to help the community cope with the loss.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring urged the public to show "love and support" for the ADAMS center and the Muslim community.

 

 

"The unspeakable murder in Sterling feels like an assault on our entire community. Love and respect must overcome hate," Herring said in a tweet Sunday. "This breaks my heart. @ADAMSCenter_ has always welcomed me like family. Let's surround community w/ love & support."

Parker said the investigation of the case is ongoing and said the case may be prosecuted in Loudon County instead of Fairfax County because of elements of the crime and where they occurred.

Deputy Chief Tom Ryan expressed his condolences to the 17-year-old's family and reiterated Fairfax County's support for the Muslim community during Monday's press conference.

"I can assure you that while justice will not bring Nabrah Hassanen back justice, will be done," said Ryan.

A community vigil will be held on Wednesday, June 21 by the South Lake Muslim Students Association in honor of Hassanen's death.

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Monday
Jun192017

Police identify 3 Virginia officers who took fire responding to the congressional shooting

Alex Wong/Getty Images(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) -- The police chief in Alexandria, Virginia described the minute-by-minute heroism of three local police officers who arrived at the site of the shooting at Wednesday’s congressional baseball practice.

The three Alexandria officers were named as Officer Kevin Jobe, Officer Nicole Battaglia, and Officer Alexander Jensen. The trio assisted the plainclothes Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner, Henry Cabrera, and David Bailey in neutralizing the shooter James T. Hodgkinson at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park.

Chief of Police Michael Brown gave a tick-tock of Wednesday morning’s shooting, saying that the first call came into their dispatch at 7:08 a.m. from a resident near the baseball field. At 7:11 a.m. Officer Jobe, a 16-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, arrived on scene and advanced on foot — without cover — towards the gunfight, taking up position near the plainclothes Capitol Police officers.

Brown said the shooter was backed away from the third base line towards home plate by the advances of the officers at the scene.

Officers Battaglia and Jensen immediately faced fire from the shooter when they arrived. Battaglia jumped out of her car and moved towards the firefight to the point that she was “pinned down in the parking lot with a barrage of weapon fire from the shooter,” according to Chief Brown.

“That act alone, in my opinion diverted the attention of the shooter away from the other officers allowing them to get themselves into position to deal with the situation that took place,” Brown said.

Around the same time, Jensen used his police cruiser for cover and his departmental rifle to engage the suspect.

Chief Brown said the scene was neutralized at 7:14am — just 4 minutes after the first 911 call was made.

“I could not be more proud of the officers of the Alexandria police department that showed up that day,” Brown added.

Jensen and Battaglia have been with the Alexandria police less than two years. None of the three Alexandria officers were injured in the shooting.

Five people, including the shooter Hodgkinson, were shot during Wednesday morning's ambush on the Republican members' morning baseball practice. As of Monday, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R- Louisiana) is expected to undergo additional surgeries and remains hospitalized. Lobbyist Matt Mika remains in critical condition.

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Monday
Jun192017

FDNY gives two-wheel surprise to boy impaled by his bike

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City boy who suffered a wound after he was impaled by his bicycle handlebars has received a gift from the firefighters who came to his aid.

Tyreis Morris took a spill near his home in Laurelton, Queens, last Saturday and emergency responders arrived to the scene within minutes.

Firefighters from Ladder 158, Engine 311 found Tyreis with a portion of his bike jammed into his thigh, but the 9-year-old didn’t seem bothered.

"He was cool as a cucumber. He was very, very smooth," firefighter Brian Martin told ABC station WABC-TV in New York.

Tyreis’s mom credits the firefighters for her son’s unusually calm demeanor.

"They did a beautiful job. A team effort," Donna Morris told WABC-TV. "Everybody was pitching in and they were making him comfortable."

Her son required two stitches and on Tuesday he returned home to a surprise.

With his original wheels damaged during the rescue, the group of responding firefighters decided to go beyond the call of duty and buy him a new bicycle. The generosity wasn’t lost on Tyreis.

"I think they’re very nice, very generous and they deserve a million dollars each," the grateful boy said.

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Monday
Jun192017

Severe weather expected to affect 60 million Americans Monday

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Nearly 60 million Americans could be affected by severe weather Monday as widespread storms head for major Northeast cities and record-breaking heat continues in the West Coast.

Damaging winds, large hail, brief tornadoes and flash flooding are possible from North Carolina to Maine. The storms are expected to intensify as they move from the western Appalachian Mountains toward the East Coast.

New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Hartford and Albany could experience the worst of the storms, which are expected to arrive Monday afternoon. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued through 8 p.m. for portions of the Northeast.

The Northeast could also see flash flooding.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued until 8 p.m. for portions of the Northeast.

Meanwhile, potentially record-breaking heat is expected in the West Coast for the next several days. Areas near Phoenix could hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit Monday afternoon. Temperatures in Las Vegas will reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.

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Sunday
Jun182017

Police arrest three in double murder of Maryland teens

iStock/Thinkstock(GERMANTOWN, Md.) -- Three people have been arrested and charged with the murder of two Maryland teens who were killed the night before their high school graduation, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger announced Saturday night.

The suspects were identified as Jose Canales-Yanez, 25; Roger Garcia, 19; and Edgar Garcia-Gaona, 24. Garcia and Garcia-Gaona are brothers, Manger said.


Each suspect is being charged with two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. It is unclear if they have lawyers.

Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, were found shot dead the night of June 5 in a parked car on a residential street in Montgomery Village, about 23 miles north of Washington, D.C., police said. They were set to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown the next day.

One teen was shot 10 times, while the other was shot four times, Capt. Darren Francke, director of the Major Crimes Division at the Montgomery County Police Department, said at a press conference Friday. More than 30 casings from multiple guns were found at the scene, police said.

Manger said police learned from friends of Najjar that he was rumored to have robbed Canales-Yanez's girlfriend last December, and was killed in retaliation. He added that he remains "unsure right now if there was a motive to kill Ziberov as well, or if he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

At what would have been their graduation ceremony, a moment of silence was held for the slain teenagers. The principal said he planned to deliver the teenagers' diplomas to their parents.

The police investigation is ongoing.

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Sunday
Jun182017

Deck collapses at Montana lodge, injuring more than 25

Somers/Lakeside Fire Department(LAKESIDE, Montana) -- Approximately 25 people were injured, some critically, after a deck collapsed at a lodge in northwest Montana Saturday afternoon, the local fire department said.

The incident occurred at Glacier Camp in Lakeside, a "Christ-centered" retreat location, according to its Twitter bio.

Fourteen people were taken to local hospitals, Lake County Sheriff Don Bell told ABC affiliate KFBB-TV. Medical personnel classify the severity of injuries in green, yellow and red stages, with red being the most critical. Bell said some of those injured were in the red category.

Those injured were attending a memorial service at Glacier Camp's Spruce Lodge when the balcony on the second floor collapsed, according to KFBB-TV.

Eyewitnesses said the deck felt "spongy" on one side and then collapsed.

On its website, Glacier Camp wrote, "This afternoon, we had a major accident at camp. Please join us in praying for the injured and their families. We are grateful to all of the EMTs/paramedics, fire departments and first responders who came to our aid. We ask for your prayers for all involved. We will not have camp in session this week."

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