March 27, 2013 Reuters
MARIANNA, Florida - Florida officials said on Wednesday they will seek federal money for a forensic investigation into unmarked graves on the grounds of a shuttered state reform school for boys that has been the target of numerous allegations of abuse and mysterious deaths of children.
Dozens of unmarked graves have been uncovered at the Dozier School in the Florida Panhandle city of Marianna and investigators are trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths, which experts say probably occurred between 1914 and 1952.
"We really don't know exactly how many, or who they are," said Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida with a scroll-like map of spots where her ground-piercing radar spotted signs of human remains.
The Dozier School was legend among adolescents for about 100 years in Florida, as the state's major reform school, until it was closed in 2011.
Several years ago, former students told horror stories of sexual abuse and frequent beatings in a mausoleum-like building dubbed the "White House" where nine barren cubicles held boys accused of rules infractions.
Some died under unknown circumstances, according to relatives.
March 26, 2013 ABC News
Today's ruling by Italy's Supreme Court ordering a new murder trial for Amanda Knox guarantees the legal drama will drag on for several more years and will be expensive.
It also raises the possibility that if Knox is found guilty and that verdict is upheld by Italy's Supreme Court, Knox could eventually face a request to extradite her and put her back in prison.
An extradition request would likely turn on whether being prosecuted again after being exonerated constitutes double jeopardy. Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 after a lengthy and controversial trial for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison while Sollecito got 25. That verdict was tossed out in 2011 by an appeals court that blasted the prosecution's handling of critical DNA evidence and the case in general.
March 23, 2013 CBS News
NEW YORK — The man who spent 23 years in prison before being cleared of the 1990 murder of a rabbi suffered a heart attack on his second day of freedom Friday.
An attorney for David Ranta told The New York Times that the former inmate had a serious heart attack Friday night and was being treated at a local hospital.
A judge vacated the conviction of the 58-year-old on Thursday afternoon after a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the cold-blooded shooting of the Brooklyn rabbi.
“I’m overwhelmed. I feel like I’m under water, swimming. Like I said from the beginning, I had nothing to do with this case,” Ranta said after leaving state court in Brooklyn.
Ranta was found guilty of murdering Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, who was shot on Feb. 8, 1990 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The murder happened on Clymer Avenue as a suspect tried to rob a diamond courier, who escaped unharmed.
Brooklyn prosecutors had recently concluded that Ranta was innocent in the death of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, who was killed by a bandit fleeing a botched robbery.
Werzberger was getting into his car when the suspect then grabbed him, shot him in the forehead, jumped in Werzberger’s car and drove away.
Though no physical evidence linked Ranta to the crime, a jury convicted him based on witness testimony and circumstantial evidence. Ranta fit the wanted man’s description of being blond and athletic.
March 21, 2013 Associated Press
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A northern Indiana woman who was pulled off of a city bus and fatally shot along a busy street had recently obtained a protective order against her ex-boyfriend — the man police say killed her.
Court documents show that Jacqueline Bouvier Hardy, 49, had filed for a protective order Tuesday against Kenneth Knight, but the Journal Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/15uGtb1 ) it did not appear Knight had been served with a copy.
Police said Hardy was fatally shot by Knight about 8 a.m. Wednesday along a busy street in Fort Wayne. A school official said children waiting at school bus stops were among the witnesses to Hardy's slaying.
Fort Wayne police snipers fatally shot Knight, 45, Wednesday afternoon after he held a 3-year-old boy hostage in a nearby home following Hardy's killing. Knight was not related to the child, who was unharmed in the assault.
March 19, 2013 Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Three alleged members of a violent American Indian gang known for terrorizing people in the Upper Midwest were convicted Tuesday in what authorities called one of the largest gang cases to come out of Indian Country.
An alleged leader of the Native Mob, 34-year-old Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, was found guilty on several charges including the most serious one he faced, racketeering conspiracy. But he was acquitted on an attempted murder charge that stemmed from the shooting of another man that prosecutors said McArthur ordered.
Two alleged gang "soldiers" — Anthony Francis Cree, 26, and William Earl Morris, 25 — were both convicted of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, in addition to other charges. Morris was the only defendant cleared of racketeering, a charge often used by prosecutors to target mobsters and organized crime.
A sentencing date has not yet been set, but all three men face a maximum of between 20 years and life in prison, according to the U.S. attorney's office. The men were the only defendants who didn't accept plea deals after 25 people were originally charged in a 57-count indictment.
March 19, 2013 Good Morning America
Arabo Babakhani thought his roommate at University of Central Florida was just a quiet loner until James Oliver Seevakumaran aimed a gun at him Monday in what was intended to be the beginning of a yet another school massacre.
"I just thought he kept to himself a lot and, I don't know, I just thought he was a quiet introverted person. The only time he made solid eye contact with me was when he was pointing the gun at me," Babakhani said.
Babakhani slammed the bathroom door and called 911. The quick response of police derailed Seevakumaran's plans. He shot and killed himself, leaving behind an arsenal that included homemade bombs, and writings that showed how meticulously he planned his attack.
Babakhani's recounted his close call with the university's Knightly News newspaper.
"As he was like raising the gun, he didn't get it all the way up, as he was raising the gun I slammed the door on him before he could pop anything off," Babakhani told the university's Knightly News newspaper.
Babakhani told the 911 dispatcher that his roommate had a gun and was pointing it at him, threatening to shoot, according to the university.
March 19, 2013 Reuters
CHARDON, Ohio - An Ohio teenager wearing a T-shirt with "killer" scrawled on it gave a profane statement and made an obscene gesture in court as he was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Tuesday for killing three students in a school shooting rampage last year.
T.J. Lane, 18, also wounded three students in the attack in a high school cafeteria in Chardon, a small town east of Cleveland, leaving one paralyzed from the waist down.
Lane's attack in February 2012 was one of several mass shootings in the United States last year, including a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut December.
Lane sat facing the families of the children he shot and gave a brief profane statement. He then made an obscene gesture directed at the families before Geauga County Judge David Fuhry imposed the sentence.
Lane had pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him on February 26, a day before the one-year anniversary of his attack. He was charged as an adult, but because he was 17 at the time of the rampage he was ineligible for the death penalty.
Fuhry said Lane lacked remorse and examinations showed he had feigned mental illness. A bright student set to graduate from high school early, Lane instead long planned, prepared for, and then executed the attack, he said.