Jury foreman says Arias testimony didn't help her

The jury foreman in Jodi Arias’ murder trial says the 18 days she spent on the witness stand didn’t do her any good. William Zervakos says the jury began the case presuming innocence, but Arias told many contradictory stories while testifying, some of it during a prosecutor’s aggressive cross-examination. Zervakos was interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, a day after the judge declared a mistrial when the jury couldn’t decide whether to sentence her to death or to life in prison. The jury previously convicted Arias of first-degree murder in the killing of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Zervakos says he believed Alexander mentally and verbally abused Arias. Continue Reading

Explosion Near Hospital Sends Smoke over Kabul

 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ An explosion has sent smoke rising over the heart of
Afghanistan’s capital. The strong blast was felt several kilometers (miles)
away.  
 An Associated Press cameraman who witnessed Friday’s blast said it was near a
hospital for the National Security Directorate, the state intelligence service. He said the blast collapsed a building wall, but was not clear if there were any
casualties. Police quickly cordoned off the area, which also houses buildings
used by international aid agencies. Continue Reading

President Obama Will Speak at Naval Academy Today

 WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama is off to the U.S. Naval Academy today
where he’ll speak to newly commissioned officers.  
 
The remarks come a day after Obama laid out his counterterrorism vision.  
 The academy says 16 presidents have addressed graduates and Obama is the sixth
president to do so twice. His first address there was four years ago.  
 Yesterday at the National Defense University, Obama defended his controversial
drone strikes program and renewed his push to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
detention facility. Continue Reading

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Bridge Collapses in Washington State as Truck Hits Overhead Span

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) _ The Washington State Patrol chief says the Interstate 5 bridge collapse into the Skagit  River at Mount Vernon was caused by an oversize truck. Chief John Batiste told an overnight news conference that the truck hit an overhead span. The truck made it off the bridge and the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. Two other vehicles went into the water Thursday evening as the bridge collapsed. Continue Reading

Madigan-Backed Concealed Carry Bill Goes to Full House

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois legislation allowing public possession of
concealed guns has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It was a compromise
backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.  
 The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It
comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for
Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons. Continue Reading

Kathlynn_Shepard

Blood Found and Search Continues for Dayton Girl, 15

DAYTON, Iowa (AP) _ Law enforcement officials and volunteers are continuing to
search for a 15-year-old Iowa girl who was kidnapped, even though the chances of
finding her alive have diminished.  
 Division of Criminal Investigation agent Bill Kietzman said 10-member teams
will search today in an expanded area of central Iowa for Kathlynn Shepard.  
 Police say 42-year-old Michael Klunder convinced Kathlynn and a 12-year-old
friend to get into his truck while they were walking home from school. They say
he took them to a hog confinement building, where their hands were tied with zip
ties. The 12-year-old broke free and ran through the woods to safety. Continue Reading

QC Man to Face Homicide Charge in Death of 23-Year Old

 DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) _ A Davenport man has been charged with vehicular
homicide, eight months after a crash that killed a 23-year-old man.  
The Quad-City Times reports that 44-year-old Dale Lee
Varner was arrested Thursday night. He is being held at the Scott County Jail.  
 A Scott County grand jury this week charged Varner with two felonies _ homicide
by vehicle and voluntary manslaughter. The grand jury also handed down an
aggravated misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter against Varner. Continue Reading

RI education board approves arming university cops

State education officials have approved allowing the University of Rhode Island to arm its campus police officers. The state’s Board of Education voted Thursday evening at a meeting at the URI campus. The proposal would leave it to URI officials to decide whether to arm the university’s police force. Right now, Rhode Island is the only state that prohibits public higher education police officers from carrying firearms. Calls to change that policy got a boost after URI police responded to reports of a gunman in a university building last month. No gun or shooter was found, but supporters of the legislation say the incident highlighted a critical security weakness. Continue Reading

Defense releases photos, texts of Trayvon Martin

Data released Thursday by the defense from slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin’s cellphone includes texts with a friend about fighting, smoking pot and being forced to move out of his mother’s house because of trouble at school, as well as photos of a gun and what looks to be a potted marijuana plant. A hearing next week will decide if the information can be used at the trial for George Zimmerman, who is charged with fatally shooting the unarmed 17-year-old last year during a confrontation at a gated community in Sanford. Prosecutors want the negative evidence omitted, but Zimmerman’s defense attorney said if they try to portray his client as the antagonist and Martin as the victim, he wants to show the jury that Martin has talked about fighting before. “If they had suggested that Trayvon is nonviolent and that George is the aggressor, I think that makes evidence of the fighting he has been involved with in the past relevant,” said Mark O’Mara. Zimmerman, 29, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense and his trial starts next month. Continue Reading