Mass. man convicted of racially-motivated killings

A Massachusetts man who once appeared in court with a swastika scratched on his forehead has been convicted of two killings authorities say were racially-motivated. Twenty-six-year-old Keith Luke of Brockton displayed no emotion as he listened to the guilty verdicts for the fatal shootings of 20-year-old Selma Goncalves and 79-year-old Arlindo Goncalves. The two were of Cape Verdean descent. They were not related. Luke was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Continue Reading

Wildfire sparked near power stations north of Los Angeles

A fast-growing wildfire was burning Thursday night near power stations and utility lines north of Los Angeles and homes in a mountain community were being evacuated, officials said. The fire in the Angeles National Forest surged to 500 acres after burning for about three hours, the U.S. Forest Service said, sending out big clouds of black smoke amid temperatures in the high 80s and winds gusting at more than 20 mph. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was helping residents evacuate in the community of Green Valley. It was not clear how many homes are threatened, but about 1,000 people live in the area. Both Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said the fire was threatening their facilities and they were monitoring the blaze for potential outages, though none had been reported. Continue Reading

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Iowa Crime Victims Mobile App

Iowa crime victims can now keep tabs on jail and prison inmates using a new mobile app. The app is called VINEMobile. It lets victims anonymously monitor inmates in Iowa correctional facilities and some county jails. Another handy tool with the app are the notifications when an inmates custody status changes due to transfer or release. The app is available for Android and Apple devices. Continue Reading

American soldier to plead guilty to Afghan massacre, sources tell AP

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was “crazed” and “broken” when he slipped away from his remote southern Afghanistan outpost and attacked mud-walled compounds in two slumbering villages nearby. Next week, Bales will recount what happened next — the slaughter of 16 villagers in one of the worst atrocities of the Afghanistan war. He’ll give specific details in open court as he pleads guilty to the massacre to avoid being put to death. His attorney, John Henry Browne, told The Associated Press that although his client’s state of mind should be considered in sentencing, it didn’t rise to the level of a legal insanity defense. Continue Reading

Woman arrested after calling police on her pimp

A woman has been charged with prostitution in Connecticut after calling police to complain about how she was being treated by a pimp. Police say they did not find the pimp when they arrived at a Super 8 Motel in West Haven on Sunday, but they did find 35-year-old Jennifer Lowery with a man they describe as a customer. Police charged Lowery with prostitution and 60-year-old Ricard Burford of New Haven with patronizing a prostitute. Police say Lowery told them she thought it would take police longer to show up, so she decided to conduct some business while waiting. Attempts to reach the pair for comment Thursday morning were unsuccessful. Continue Reading

Man who knew Boston bombing suspect was reportedly unarmed when shot

A Chechen man who was fatally shot by an FBI agent last week during questioning about one of the Boston bombing suspects was reportedly unarmed. One law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Washington Post on Wednesday that Ibragim Todashev, 27, lunged at an agent and overturned a table prior to being shot. The official said Todashev did not have a gun or a knife, echoing a second law enforcement official with knowledge of the ongoing investigation. At the time of the May 22 shooting, Todashev was being interviewed about his possible connection to a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Continue Reading

US economy grew 2.4 percent in first quarter

The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.4 percent annual rate from January through March, slightly slower than initially estimated. Consumer spending was stronger than first thought, but businesses restocked more slowly and state and local government spending cuts were deeper. The Commerce Department says economic growth in the first quarter was only marginally below the 2.5 percent rate originally estimated. That’s still much faster than the 0.4 percent growth during the October-December quarter. Economists believe growth is slowing to around a 2 percent rate in the April-June quarter, as the economy adjusts to federal spending cuts, higher taxes and further global weakness. Continue Reading

Signed contracts to buy US homes at 3-year high

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three years. The increase points to further strength in home sales in the coming months. The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 0.3 percent to 106. That’s the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer tax credit inflated sales. Signed contracts have jumped 10.3 percent in the past 12 months. Continue Reading

IA Dog Shooter Gets Probation, 2-Year Suspended Sentence

 ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) _ A 57-year-old western Iowa man who fatally shot a dog has
been given a year of probation and a two-year suspended prison sentence.  
 Station KJAN  reports that Charles Cutler, of Marne, was sentenced on Tuesday. He was convicted in April of misdemeanor animal abuse.  
 Authorities say Cutler used a shotgun to blast a 1-year-old chocolate Labrador
retriever named Wrigley. The dog belonged to Stacey Ernat, a teacher from Denver
who had stopped in Marne with her boyfriend to visit her boyfriend’s brother on
Dec. Continue Reading

10 Years After Striking, Chicago Hotel Workers are Back

CHICAGO (AP) _ Workers at a downtown Chicago hotel are making an
“unconditional” offer to return to work after spending nearly a decade walking
a picket line.  
Hotel attorney Peter Andjelkovich says he didn’t know the
offer was coming until union president Henry Tamarin gave him a letter Wednesday
saying that the Congress Hotel’s striking workers had decided to abandon their
walkout.  
 He says if the hotel accepts the deal, the workers would return under the terms
of the contract that expired a year before the June 2003 strike.  
 If the union’s offer is accepted, many questions remain. That includes how many
of the 130 workers on a list of striking employees are still available to return
and how many jobs remain after the hotel hired replacement workers. Continue Reading