A man released last year from prison after serving a decade for armed robbery is now charged with two counts of murder, accused of shooting two women during a rural South Carolina crime spree, authorities said Friday. Jeffery Eady, 31, of the Oakdale community in Clarendon County, is also wanted for questioning in the disappearance of a third woman who searchers continued looking for on Friday, authorities said. Eady is thought to have fled to central Georgia, said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon. Eady is charged with murder in the death of 37-year-old Crystal Johnson of Adams Run, according to a warrant issued in Charleston County. The mother of three was shot Thursday in the rural convenience store where she worked part time. Continue Reading
The FBI is confirming that the lethal poison ricin was on a letter sent to Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington state earlier this month. Authorities had said Thursday that three ricin-tainted, hand-addressed letters postmarked May 13 in Spokane were mailed to President Barack Obama, a federal judge in Spokane and a post office in that city. The FBI had said a fourth letter that was also postmarked May 13 in Spokane and sent to the nearby Air Force base was being analyzed. Agency spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said Friday that testing shows there was ricin on that mailing. A 37-year-old man accused of sending one of the letters, containing ricin and a death threat to U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle, was arrested May 22. Continue Reading
Newly released recordings show a six-day bunker hostage standoff in Alabama began with a school bus driver stubbornly refusing to hand over children as hostages despite threats from the gunman. The gunman shot the drive to death moments later. It started the drama that ended with FBI agents storming the underground shelter to free a 5-year-old boy unharmed. ABC News reported Friday on audio recordings from the standoff. The FBI confirms the recordings but declined to immediately release the material to The Associated Press. Continue Reading
What should a tourist do if arrested in Mexico and accused of carrying drugs? By several accounts, Phoenix-area resident Yanira Maldonado did everything right when federal police said they found 12 pounds of marijuana under her bus seat, setting off a weeklong drama that ended with her release from jail after a court found the allegations were unsubstantiated. The steps authorities say you should take: NOTIFY YOUR CONSULATE If you don’t have your consulate’s phone number — and you should — U.S. authorities say to insist that you be put you in touch. Consulates can reach family and friends and provide a list of attorneys. The U.S. State Department has a free online service to register your travel plans and better help in an emergency. Continue Reading
U-S Representitive Bruce Braley, who serves Iowa’s 1st Congressional district, has launched a website today that’s goal it to help eastern Iowans affected by flooding. The page is braley.house.gov/flood-resources. Iowans can use this site to request assistance from Braley’s staff and help navigate resources that may be available. Braley is traveling throughout eastern Iowa today to view the damage, flood preparations, and meet with emergency management officials. Continue Reading
ALFRED, Maine (AP) — A Zumba fitness instructor who pleaded guilty to using her Maine studio as a front for prostitution is going to jail, bringing to an end a scandal featuring sex videos, adultery and exhibitionism.
Alexis Wright was sentenced Friday under a plea agreement to 10 months in jail for 20 counts including prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion and theft by deception. Afterward, she was led from the courtroom by a court officer. The 30-year-old Wright was accused of conspiring with an insurance business owner to run a prostitution business in which she videotaped clients without their knowledge and kept detailed records over an 18-month period indicating she made $150,000 tax-free while collecting welfare. Under the agreement, prosecutors will seek restitution of $57,280. Continue Reading
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is urging Congress to prevent an increase in student loan rates.
Obama says rising college costs hold back — quote — “our entire middle class.” Obama appeared with college students Friday in the Rose Garden. It’s the beginning of a public campaign by the president to temporarily extend current student loan rates — or find a compromise to avoid a rate increase on July 1. Obama says the country cannot saddle young people with more debt just as they start out in life. Continue Reading
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Forecasters are warning that parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri are likely to see more powerful storms today, with large hail and tornadoes possible.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center says the areas at greatest risk include Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Joplin, Mo., where a tornado killed at least 158 people in 2011. Flooding also is a concern in parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois through Sunday. The region was strafed by storms again yesterday, with up to a dozen tornadoes touching down in mostly rural parts of Arkansas, as well as one in Illinois and three in Oklahoma. National Weather Service teams are surveying the aftermath in Arkansas but say it could take days to confirm whether tornadoes struck. Continue Reading
NEW HARTFORD, Iowa (AP) — Emergency management officials have told residents of New Hartford to be prepared to evacuate as water begins to run over the top of a gravel road that serves as a levee protecting the northeast Iowa community. Ridge Avenue holds back Beaver Creek on the west side of town. Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management spokesman John Benson says there’s a considerable amount of water pushing on the road and some has begun flowing over the top. The creek was at 13.1 feet Thursday afternoon and is expected to rise to 13.4 later in the day before subsiding. The 500 residents of New Hartford have been told to prepare to evacuate if the levee breaks. Continue Reading
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has rejected a plan pushed by the House to solve the state’s pension crisis.
The proposal pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan failed Thursday evening, with 16 voting “yes” and 42 voting “no.” The vote left lawmakers without a solution to the pension issue with only one day left before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment. The House-backed plan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems.
But Senate Democrats prefer a plan by Senate President John Cullerton which offers employees a choice of benefits to forgo. Continue Reading