Investigators working to figure out what caused a massive, deadly fertilizer plant explosion in Texas have talked to more than 370 people and received more than 200 tips as they continue to search for a breakthrough. Two weeks after the April 17 blast that killed at least 14 people, agents compare their work to solving a puzzle or completing an archaeological dig. “We’re trying to find the critical piece,” said Chris Connealy, the state fire marshal, on Thursday. Their work is complex for several reasons: the magnitude of the blast at West Fertilizer, which knocked out windows and rooftops all over the tiny town of West and registered as a small earthquake; the deaths of 10 first responders and two others who volunteered to help; and the spread of debris as far as two miles away. Agents are using digital mapping of the plant, rakes, shovels and front-end loaders to sift through dirt and rubble over an approximately 15-acre site. Continue Reading
Dozens of students at a San Diego high school have been suspended for making a suggestive “twerking” dance video. U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/11YKwvH ) reports the students from Scripps Ranch High School might not be able to attend prom or walk during commencement ceremonies. School board member Kevin Beiser says he was told that 31 students were suspended. Other reports say 33 students were suspended this week, including the student who shot the video. The video was shot and edited on school property. Continue Reading
The new judge presiding over the James “Whitey” Bulger case has granted prosecutors’ motion to bar the reputed Boston mobster from arguing immunity at trial. Judge Denise Caspar on Thursday upheld a decision by the case’s previous judge, who was removed because of the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. Caspar ruled “any alleged immunity agreement … is a bar to prosecution to be determined by the court and not a defense to the crimes charged.” Bulger’s lawyers argued they should be able to present a trial defense claiming that a now-dead law enforcement official gave Bulger immunity from prosecution. Continue Reading
A Long Island man faces charges after an alleged violent confrontation over an expired free ice cream coupon, MyFoxNY.com reports. William Hotz, 59, of Valley Stream, went into a Carvel on Dutch Broadway on Wednesday and ordered a $3.50 ice cream cone, Nassau County police say. Police say after receiving his cone, Hotz gave the 55-year-old woman working at the counter a “one free ice cream cone” coupon. The woman told Hotz that his coupon was expired and he would need to pay for it, the report said. Hotz decided to leave instead of paying. Continue Reading
The Roseville police dog partially paralyzed by a criminal has died at age 11. Officer John Jorgensen says his K-9 partner, Major, was euthanized this week at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center after contracting a bladder infection and pneumonia. Jorgensen says Major, a German shepherd, had an active law enforcement career. He had pots broken over his head, was punched and kicked by suspects and nearly drowned chasing a man into a lake. In 2010, a burglary suspect repeatedly stabbed the dog, leaving him paralyzed in his hind quarters. Continue Reading
A suburban Boston community college has established a scholarship in memory of a marathon bombing victim. MassBay Community College announced Wednesday that the scholarship would go to a business major from Massachusetts in honor of Krystle Campbell. The 29-year-old earned a degree in business administration from the Wellesley school in 2005. The Medford native and Arlington resident was one of three people killed by the April 15 bombings at the marathon’s finish line. She was there to watch a friend run. Continue Reading
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has approved a refined gambling expansion plan adding five new casinos including one in Chicago.
Senators voted 32-20 Wednesday, shortly after a key committee approved it. Lawmakers have twice approved similar plans, but Gov. Pat Quinn rejected them. He said he wanted more ethical safeguards. Continue Reading
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has approved a measure that would require people convicted of certain aggravated misdemeanors to submit DNA samples for a federal databank.
Lawmakers passed the bill Wednesday, 29 to 20. It now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad. Under the proposal, adults convicted of crimes like aggravated misdemeanor assault and theft would submit a DNA sample. Currently, only convicted felons and sexual offenders must submit samples. Continue Reading
Police have arrested a man accused of fatally shooting an Alabama woman while she held her 10-day old son. Authorities say 20-year-old Corderious Domini McClellan is charged with capital murder in the death of 24-year-old Sherri Williams. Officials say the man surrendered to police Tuesday night and will be held in the Jefferson County jail without bond. Authorities say Williams was standing in the doorway of her apartment in Gate City when she was hit by a stray bullet Monday. The baby boy was not injured and Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials have said two men at a nearby store got into a fight and the argument escalated to gunfire. Continue Reading