What Happened?! Stories 1 to 25 of 93  
7/2/2013

Wife's remains found in wall, 27 years after her now deceased husband reported her missing
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — A skeleton found walled-up in a dead man's junk-filled basement has been identified as the man's wife, a first-grade teacher whom he reported missing more than 27 years ago. James Nichols died of natural causes in December at the age of 82. Police found his body after neighbors said they hadn't seen him for days. With no relatives coming forward to claim the body or deal with the estate, county officials buried the IBM retiree and hired a contractor to clean out the house, which was stuffed with hoarded items and trash. On Friday, the contractor found the skeleton sealed in a plastic container behind a false wall. The Dutchess County medical examiner's office identified the remains Monday as those of JoAnn Nichols, based on dental records. Dr. Kari Reiber says the 55-year-old woman died from a blow to the head. Police say the cold case ...
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4/22/2013
Pizza cook who called in airplane bomb threat against rival gets prison time
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia pizza cook who called in a bogus airplane threat to get back at a romantic rival over a Facebook photo has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Kenneth Smith must also send written apologies to 38 passengers who watched as armed agents stormed the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport last fall. The 26-year-old Smith says he was angered over a compromising photo of his girlfriend that rival Christopher Shell had posted. So Smith called authorities to report that Shell had explosives on a flight en route to Dallas. U.S. Judge Gene Pratter told Smith he should spend more time looking in the mirror, and less looking at Facebook. Defense lawyer William Brennan says his client understands the terror he caused - but had no terrorist intentions.  
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4/15/2013
84-year-old woman accused of trying to hire hit man to kill Houston-area prosecutor
According to the Houston Chronicle: An 84-year-old woman jailed in Montgomery County on an unrelated charge has been accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill a Montgomery County assistant district attorney and to injury the district attorney, officials said. Dorothy Clark Canfield is charged with solicitation of capital murder and solicitation to commit aggravated assault on a public servant, said Brett Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney. Ligon said Canfield was an inmate at the county jail when she allegedly told other inmates she wanted to hire someone to kill Assistant District Attorney Robert Freyer, who is prosecuting an unrelated case for which she had originally been jailed. She also allegedly said she wanted Ligon injured severely enough to put him in the hospital for two to three weeks. Ligon said an informant told authorities about the request and an investigation into the case began in early April. ...
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4/11/2013
Grad student charged with making bomb threats to avoid teaching class
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A University of Pittsburgh graduate student was charged this week with making bomb threats to a campus building to get out of teaching a class. Nancy Bruni, 34, of New Kensington told Pitt police that she has anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder and had recently ended her health insurance, forcing her to go off of her medication. Campus police wrote in a criminal complaint that Ms. Bruni said her anxiety was heightened March 20 and she didn't feel as if she could properly teach the Health and Illness course she was overseeing, so she searched for a way to cancel it. Pitt police received a call shortly before 5 p.m. March 20 from a woman who said, "This is kind of strange, but I received a message on my phone that two explosions were going to go off tonight at Posvar, one at 6:30 and ...
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4/2/2013
Judge sets bond at $1 million for Atlanta educators involved in conspiracy to cheat
ATLANTA (AP) - Lawyers for some of the 35 defendants in Atlanta's school cheating scandal say their bonds are unreasonably high. Hurl Taylor, who represents test coordinator Donald Bullock, says his client's $1 million bond amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Bullock was among the first defendants to surrender at the Fulton County Jail early Tuesday. All 35 defendants must turn themselves in Tuesday. Five had done so as of noon. Warren Fortson, who represents testing coordinator Theresia Copeland, described her as a 56-year-old grandmother. Fortson says her $1 million bond is unnecessary. In a chaotic scene outside the jail Tuesday morning, the lawyers said it wasn't clear when their clients would be able to request lower bonds. The educators are named in a 65-count indictment that alleges a broad conspiracy involving cheating on standardized tests in Atlanta Public Schools.
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3/26/2013
Gun advocates criticize former astronaut after dog kills baby sea lion
LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Some gun advocates have been quick to criticize former astronaut Mark Kelly, after an incident involving his daughter's dog over the weekend. Kelly, the husband of wounded former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has been campaigning for gun controls, including background checks for gun buyers. On Saturday, Kelly's daughter was walking her dog on a California beach when the dog bolted, ripping the leash from her hand and fatally attacking a beached baby sea lion. Video showed Kelly's daughter and two other women struggling for several minutes to pull the dog off the sea lion. Kelly then arrived and shook the dog's head until it released the mammal, which later died. Laguna police said they wouldn't file charges because the dog had been leashed and was legally on the beach. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also says it doesn't expect to take legal action. Marine animals ...
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3/21/2013
No charges to be filed against man who opened fire on two teens
MAYPEARL, Texas (AP) - A Texas sheriff says he does not expect any charges will be filed against a man who opened fire on two heavily armed Oklahoma teenagers during an attempted home invasion on his ranch. Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown said Thursday that officials think both teens died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. But Brown said that the homeowner struck one of the teens. Brown said the bodies of 17-year-old Kenneth Chaffin and 18-year-old Dillon King - both of Bethel Acres, Okla. - have been sent for autopsies. The teens had driven hundreds of miles in a stolen pickup to the small town of Maypearl, south of Dallas, when they exchanged gunfire with the property owner on Wednesday afternoon.
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3/8/2013
Repeat drunk driver convicted of killing two teens sues restaurants and friend who served him
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A repeat drunken driver who was convicted in a crash that killed two teenagers is suing his drinking buddy and two New Mexico restaurants that served him alcohol. The Albuquerque Journal reports that James Ruiz filed a lawsuit Wednesday and is seeking monetary damages from the former drinking buddy and Applebee's and the Blue Corn Cafe in Santa Fe. According to the lawsuit filed by Ruiz without a lawyer, the restaurants and his friend caused Ruiz "emotional distress" when they served him booze in 2010. Ruiz says he was convicted as a result of a chain of events that were set in motion by the drinking buddy and the restaurants. Ruiz was out on bond on his fifth DWI arrest when the fatal crash took place three years ago. Police say Ruiz rammed his truck into a car and killed two teenage sisters from the ...
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2/11/2013
Cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico
 HOUSTON (AP) -- Passengers aboard a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico had limited access to hot coffee, food and bathrooms on Monday as they waited for two tugboats to arrive to tow them to Mexico, Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement. The Carnival Triumph has been floating aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early Sunday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the statement said. The ship, which left Galveston, Texas, on Thursday and was scheduled to return there Monday, will instead be towed to Progreso, Mexico, and the 3,143 passengers on board will fly back to the United States. There are also 1,086 crew members aboard the ship. They are to arrive in Mexico ...
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2/8/2013
Homeless man's dog saves the day
TUMWATER, Wash. (AP) - It's the kind of thing Lassie did. A Tumwater, Wash., police detective says an ailing homeless man attached a note seeking help to his dog's harness and sent the animal out in hopes someone would read the message. Detective Jen Kolb tells Seattle's KIRO-TV (http://is.gd/EhVhBQ ) that a woman walking her dog along railroad tracks on Wednesday spotted the dog with the note that read, "Send Help. No Joke. Cannot walk." It also said, "Medicine not working. Need doctor." The note was unsigned, but police eventually found the man's camp. Kolb says the man was immobile and was afraid he was going to die, so he sent his dog, Buddy, for help. KIRO reports the man was treated at an Olympia hospital and released. --- Information from: KIRO-TV, htthttp://www.kirotv.com/index.html  
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2/7/2013
Family sues Disneyland, over racist white "Rabbit"
SAN DIEGO - It's a memorable part of parenthood -- when your child gets to meet their favorite character at an amusement park. But a family in San Diego says they were robbed of that special moment because a Disneyland employee was racist. This family has been battling with Disney since last August because they say the amusement park employee was racist -- and now they just want to make sure no other children go through this. "I was going to hug him but he turned his back," said 6-year-old Jason Black. "How'd that make you feel?" "Sad," replied Jason. The 6-year-old was shunned by his favorite character from Alice in Wonderland. All he wanted was a hug -- and his older brother Elijah just wanted to hold the rabbit's hand. "The rabbit was turning his back on him like he didn't event want to touch him, I went up ...
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2/6/2013
Houston woman blamed in death of 49ers' relatives
by KHOU.com staff WWL-TV LAPLACE, La. -- The two people who were killed in a fiery crash in Louisiana early Monday were reportedly the aunt and uncle of a San Francisco 49ers player.   Nechole Thomas, of Houston, crashed into the victims'  vehicle near LaPlace, killing both of them, according to investigators.  "Alice and bryan young my aunt and uncle was killed on Monday at 5 am after the super bowl by a drunk," said a post on  Delanie Walker's Twitter and Instagram accounts. He added another saying that he'll miss them, but they are in a better place. The Youngs had driven to Louisiana to watch Walker play in the Super Bowl and were heading back home. State Police said their investigation is continuing and that they are waiting for autopsies to confirm the identities. Thomas,  26, was driving "at a high rate of speed" on I-10 westbound when she ...
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2/5/2013
Teens lose fingers during school tug-of-war
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Two teenagers whose fingers were severed during a tug-of-war game at a Southern California school are awake and alert after undergoing surgery. Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Sacca says the boy and girl have stable vital signs Tuesday and their parents are at their bedsides. But she is not able to say whether doctors were able to reattach their fingers. Authorities say the students were taking part in a lunchtime game at suburban South El Monte High School on Monday and had wrapped their hands around the rope when it snapped, amputating their fingers. Authorities say the students lost four fingers each on their right hands and the girl also lost the thumb on her left hand. The school district plans to review its policies regarding tug-of-war games.
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2/4/2013
Six-year old girl crashes car in effort to see dad
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh police say a determined 6-year-old girl didn't hurt anyone when she crashed her mother's car while trying to drive across town to visit her father. Police haven't released the name of the girl whose mother was reportedly still sleeping when the girl took the woman's car keys about 9 a.m. Sunday. Police Sgt. Jerry Parker tells reporters the little girl is tall for her age, but adds: "How she knew how to operate a car, your guess is as good as mine." Police say the girl hit two parked vehicles, pushing one of them into a third, before hitting a utility pole. Police and the girl's father arrived to take her home after the accident. Police are still investigating but haven't said if anyone will face charges.
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2/1/2013
Masked men terrorize family, Taser 4-year-old girl
HOUSTON (AP) - Investigators seek clues leading to at least four masked men who abducted a Houston-area man and took him to his home, where they terrorized his family during an attempted robbery. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says the man was grabbed early Thursday at the ranch where he worked near Lynchburg, about 20 miles east of Houston. Sheriff's Sgt. Mario Alvarado says they took the man to his home nearby, tied up his wife and 23-year-old son and demanded money. The man said he had no cash on hand, so he and his son were beaten and a Taser was used on everyone there, including a 4-year-old child. Deputies say two intruders took the man away in his pickup truck while the others fled on foot. The man escaped.  
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1/31/2013
Assistant DA shot to death outside Kaufman County Courthouse
A manhunt is underway for two suspects after an assistant district attorney was gunned down Thursday outside a courthouse in Kaufman, Texas. The prosecutor was shot five times around 9 a.m. local time outside the Kaufman County Courthouse, ambushed while getting out of his car, KDFW-TV is reporting. Sheriff David Byrnes said the killing was an attack on the criminal justice system."This is the next level (of crime)," he said. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that "authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA's caseload say he had been heavily involved in the investigation of members of the Aryan Brotherhood." A probe is underway to determine if the shooting is connected to that investigation, the Morning News says. The victim was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The identity has not been released because his family hasn't been notified, Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said. Security officers and deputies closed ...
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1/30/2013
Calling someone a "real tool" is protected speech
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Supreme Court says a man's online post calling a doctor "a real tool" is protected speech. The high court on Wednesday dismissed a case by Duluth neurologist David McKee, who took offense when a patient's son posted critical remarks about him on some rate-your-doctor websites. Those included a claim that a nurse called the doctor "a real tool." The justices say the comments posted by Dennis Laurion don't add up to defamation. They say referring to someone as "a real tool" is a protected statement of opinion that can't be the basis of a defamation claim. They also say it doesn't matter whether the unnamed nurse actually exists. The decision reverses a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that would have let the doctor's lawsuit proceed to trial.  
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1/29/2013
DNA clears former police captain of wife's murder
(AP) A former Ohio police captain who has spent nearly 15 years in prison in his ex-wife's killing was exonerated Tuesday by a judge who said that new DNA tests proved his innocence and that no reasonable jury that saw the test results would have convicted him. Doug Prade should be set free because the new DNA results are "clear and convincing," said Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter in Akron. Hunter could have ordered a new trial for the 66-year-old Prade, or found that the DNA results weren't strong enough and allowed his conviction and sentence of life in prison to stand. Prade's attorney, Carrie Wood, said when she called Prade to give him the news, he broke down in tears and couldn't speak for a while. "This was a very humble and thankful Doug," said Wood, who works for the Cincinnati-based Ohio Innocence Project and ...
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1/28/2013
First US soldier to lose all four limbs in Iraq war gets double-arm transplant
(AP) The first soldier to survive after losing all four limbs in the Iraq war has received a double-arm transplant. Brendan Marrocco had the operation on Dec. 18 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, his father said Monday. The 26-year-old Marrocco, who is from New York City, was injured by a roadside bomb in 2009. He also received bone marrow from the same dead donor who supplied his new arms. That novel approach is aimed at helping his body accept the new limbs with minimal medication to prevent rejection. The military is sponsoring operations like these to help wounded troops. About 300 have lost arms or hands in the wars. "He was the first quad amputee to survive" from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there have been four others since then, said Brendan Marrocco's father, Alex Marrocco. "He was really excited to get new arms." The Marroccos want ...
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1/25/2013
Court sets aside half of convictions against Casey Anthony
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida appellate court on Friday set aside two of the four convictions Casey Anthony faced for lying to detectives during the investigation into her missing 2-year-old daughter. Judges on the 5th District Court of Appeals agreed with Anthony's attorneys that two of the charges constituted double jeopardy, or being convicted or punished more than once for the same crime. "We cannot conclude that the Legislature intended to authorize separate punishment for each false statement made during a single interview," the judges said in their ruling.  Anthony was acquitted of killing Caylee in 2011. Jurors convicted her of four counts of lying to detectives, and her attorneys appealed those convictions. Anthony was sentenced to time served for the misdemeanors. She was sentenced to a year of probation after her release from jail for an unrelated case. Her whereabouts have been kept secret since she was released ...
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1/24/2013
Alleged drunk driver causes 15 crashes across two counties
SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Police in the Atlanta area say a 70-year-old driver caused 15 crashes that left one person dead and another critically injured. Gwinnett County Police say in a news release that Michael O. Snider of Stone Mountain left a trail of wreckage Wednesday night on streets in two counties in northern Atlanta's suburbs. Snider was apprehended after slamming into a restaurant in Snellville. Jail records do not show whether he has an attorney. He has been charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving. Police say Snider is suspected of causing five wrecks in DeKalb County and 10 more in Gwinnett County. The fatal crash, which happened just before the restaurant was rammed, involved a chain-reaction collision that killed 69-year-old Mintiwab Woldeyhans of Loganville.
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1/23/2013
Mother faces manslaughter charges after 3-year-old twins left alone die in fire
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh-area woman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes for allegedly leaving her 3-year-old twins alone before they died in a fire, while she was trying to retrieve marijuana stolen by her 15-year-old daughter. The attorney for 32-year-old Dalawna Berran-Lett says he's still reviewing the charges filed Tuesday against the North Braddock woman, who remains in shock from burying her twins on Saturday. The boys, Ky'heir (KY'-heer) and Dy'heir (DY'-heer) Arthur, died in the Jan. 4 fire. Investigators believe the boys started the fire while trying to cook something while Berran-Lett was gone for about 15 minutes trying to retrieve her marijuana. Investigators say the boys nearly started a fire trying to cook ribs in December when they were left alone by Berran-Lett for about 20 minutes.  
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1/22/2013
Woman gets 85 years in prison for the dehydration death of stepson
A Dallas woman convicted in the dehydration death of her 10-year-old stepson has been sentenced to 85 years in prison. Tina Marie Alberson was convicted Friday of injury to a child, a second-degree felony, in the July 2011 death of Jonathan James. The boy was denied water for days during record-high temperatures. Alberson was sentenced Tuesday. The 44-year-old stepmother had faced up to life in prison because of a previous felony conviction. Alberson, who testified in her own defense, told jurors that she limited Jonathan's water intake a few times as punishment for misbehaving, but saw no sign that he was in medical distress. The boy's twin brother testified that Jonathan repeatedly asked for water and pretended to use the bathroom so he could sneak a drink from the faucet.  
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1/17/2013
Boy testifies about abuse by stepmother that led to twin's dehydration death
DALLAS (AP) - The 12-year-old brother of a boy who died of dehydration says he was too scared to stop his stepmother from withholding water from him in the middle of the summer. The Dallas Morning News reports (http://bit.ly/VMQak2 ) that the fraternal twin brother of Jonathan James testified Thursday at the trial of 44-year-old Tina Marie Alberson. She is charged with felony injury to a child in Jonathan's 2011 death and faces up to life in prison if convicted. Joseph James says he tried to sneak Jonathan some water from a bathroom faucet, but Alberson caught him and ordered him out. He says he thought his brother was suffering but was too scared of his stepmother. Authorities say Jonathan was being punished for wetting the bed and other supposed problems.  
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1/16/2013
Father of 7-year-old fatally shot outside gun store won't face charges
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A district attorney has decided not to file criminal charges against a man in the accidental fatal shooting of his 7-year-old son outside a western Pennsylvania gun store. Mercer County District Attorney Robert Kochems announced he wouldn't charge Joseph Loughrey, 44, of Jefferson Township, with carrying a firearm without a license. Kochems said he considered the charge, a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison, because Loughrey's gun was loaded when he put it in his truck moments before the gun fired on Dec. 8, killing his son, Craig. The boy had been buckling himself into his safety seat in his father's truck when the handgun, which was placed on the truck's console, fired as Joseph Loughrey got into the front seat, police said. Loughrey had removed the magazine from the pistol but didn't realize there was still a round in the chamber when he ...
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