Arrest made in NY fire that killed dad, 3 kids

Authorities have charged an upstate New York man with starting the house fire that killed a father and three of his young children and left a fourth child in critical condition. Schenectady police Lt. Mark McCracken said Friday 27-year-old Robert Butler of Saratoga Springs was arraigned in Schenectady City Court on a first-degree arson charge and was jailed without bail. McCracken said Butler was known to the family. He’s charged with setting fire to the Schenectady residence early Thursday morning. The family lived in the second-floor apartment. Continue Reading

Washington school closes because of nice weather

In sun-deprived Washington state, the promise of nice spring weather has prompted a small private school to give students a day off to enjoy the sunshine. Friday will be a “sun day” of sorts for 205 students at Bellingham Christian School in Bellingham, Wash. Principal Bob Sampson announced the day off on the school’s site. Sampson says he wanted to give students a chance to enjoy the weather and re-energize. He says he surveyed parents and floated the idea with the school board before canceling school. Continue Reading

Defense set for closing arguments in Arias trial

Jodi Arias’ defense attorneys were set to present closing arguments Friday in the murder case that has become a tabloid and cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex and lies and has attracted spectators from around the country who line up as early as 2 a.m. for a chance to score a few open seats in the courtroom. Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of her one-time boyfriend at his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the attack on Travis Alexander after he wanted to end their relationship and prepared for a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias initially denied any involvement then later blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed him in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex. Continue Reading

Angered daughter speaks out after mom's 11 year absence

The teenage daughter of a woman who just revealed she abandoned her family 11 years ago said Thursday the disclosure has angered her and she is not eager to restart their relationship. Morgan Heist, who learned last week Brenda Heist had surfaced in the Florida Keys, said the news has made her recall with bitterness the years of mourning she endured when she assumed her mother was dead and feared she’d been murdered. “I ached every birthday, every Christmas,” said 19-year-old Morgan Heist, a freshman at a community college outside Philadelphia. “My heart just ached. I wasn’t mad at her. Continue Reading

Boston Marathon bombs built in attacker's home, sources say

Authorities suspect the Tsarnaev brothers built the explosives used to attack the Boston Marathon in the older brother’s home and chose the prestigious race as a “target of opportunity,” sources tell Fox News. The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly assembled at least four types of improvised explosive devices in the home Tamerlan shared with wife Katherine Russell, sources tell Fox News. Typically, in cases of homegrown terror, only one type of explosive is constructed. Additionally, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators the building of the bombs came together more quickly than expected, according to sources. The brothers reportedly had planned to set off the explosives on July 4, but changed their plans when the bombs were finished early. Continue Reading

Remains of Boston Marathon bombing suspect claimed

The body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was the subject of a massive manhunt and died in a gunbattle with police, was claimed on Thursday. Department of Public Safety spokesman Terrel Harris said a funeral home retained by Tsarnaev’s family picked up the 26-year-old’s remains. He had no more information. The medical examiner determined Tsarnaev’s cause of death on Monday, but officials said it wouldn’t become public until his remains were released and a death certificate was filed. It was unclear on Thursday evening whether the death certificate had been filed. Continue Reading

Ex-FLDS leader set to be paroled from Texas prison

A former polygamist leader sentenced last year to a decade in prison is to be released on parole next week. Wendell Loy Nielsen was convicted in March 2012 on three counts of bigamy. Texas prison spokesman Jason Clark said Thursday that Nielsen became eligible for parole last month after having served a quarter of his sentence. This was calculated by adding together the time he had already served in jail, plus time received for good behavior and credit for working while in prison. The 72-year-old Nielsen is set to be released Wednesday from the Robertson Unit in Abilene. Continue Reading

Officials: No breakthrough yet in Texas explosion

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

San Diego students suspended for 'twerking' video

Dozens of students at a San Diego high school have been suspended for making a suggestive “twerking” dance video. U-T San Diego ( ) 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