National News

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — A man prosecutors said baked and took cookies to the home of a 97-year-old bedridden woman before killing her and her adult son and setting fire to their eastern Pennsylvania home has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Drew Rose, 39, of Bethlehem pleaded guilty Friday in Northampton County Court of Common Pleas to criminal homicide, burglary, arson and robbery in the January 2019 slayings of Virginia Houck and 61-year-old Roger Houck in Palmer Township. Prosecutors earlier announced plans to seek capital punishment but took the death penalty off the table as part of the plea agreement.

Authorities said Houck, son of a former caretaker of Virginia Houck, needed rent money and hatched a scheme to rob the woman. Police say his ex-girlfriend told a grand jury that Rose arrived at the house with the cookies and told her son he was a family friend who had worked for his mother, but once inside, ordered the man to buy items online for him and have them shipped to the residence.

When Roger Houck refused, prosecutors allege, Rose assaulted and strangled him, fleeing with $280. Prosecutors allege that he returned in the early morning hours, tied up the woman and threw her down the basement steps before setting the home on fire. A coroner said Virginia Houck was found still bound and died of smoke inhalation and burns, while her son, also bound at the feet, died of “homicidal violence.”

“This is one of the most monstrously evil cases I have ever witnessed,” said District Attorney Terry Houck, who is not related to the victims.

Although the plea agreement spares Rose the possibility of a death sentence, the prosecutor pointed out that Pennsylvania hasn't carried out a death sentence in decades. He said he “didn’t want to depreciate one iota what these people went through before they died."

Judge Jennifer Sletvold sentenced Rose to two consecutive life terms without parole plus 9 1/2 to 60 years, saying he had “demonstrated layer upon layer of human depravity."

“You took their lives in the most violent, inhumane and despicable way," she said.

“You could have stopped and found your soul, and found your humanity, and you never did," she added. "You never showed an ounce of remorse for those people.”

Stephanie Redding, who considered Virginia Houck her grandmother — Houck took in Redding’s father after his parents died — called her “one of the most amazing people God has put on this earth.” A devout Catholic, Virginia Houck would tell her family to forgive and pray for Rose, something Redding said they were still struggling to do.

“That’s the kind of person she was ... I don’t know how long that takes,” Redding said.

Rose told the court it was hard to accept his actions that day, but that he regrets all of it, lehighvalleylive.com reported. He said he wasn't taking the plea deal to avoid the death penalty but to spare his daughter the trauma of having to testify.

“I just don’t have two lives to give, I have one life,” he said. “I know I'm never getting out.”

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NEW YORK (AP) — Two men strode up to a crowd outside a barbershop in the New York City borough of Queens and opened fire, wounding 10 people before fleeing on mopeds, police said Sunday morning.

The shooting in the borough's Corona neighborhood took place just before 11 p.m. Saturday. The eight men and two women, who range in age from 19 to 72, were all hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. The most seriously injured victim suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

Police said the two gunmen arrived at the scene on foot, but left by jumping on the backs of two mopeds driven by two other men. All four were wearing hooded sweatshirts, police said.

Three of those shot were known members of the Trinitarios, a Dominican street gang, and were the intended targets, Essig said. A party was in progress at a restaurant a few doors down from the barbershop at the time of the shooting, he added.

"This was a brazen, coordinated attack, for lack of a better word," Essig said. “This is unacceptable, and it has to stop.”

No one was in custody as of Sunday morning, and police said they would be releasing still photos and video from the scene.

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Pollution response teams on Saturday worked to contain oil that was discharged after demolition crews finished cutting away the sixth of eight sections of a giant cargo ship that tipped over off the Georgia coast nearly two years ago.

The oil could affect the water and beaches around St. Simons and Jekyll islands, Georgia Coastal Health District spokesperson Sally Silbermann said.

“We have all assets deployed and are moving quickly to contain any dense oil which migrated beyond the (Environmental Protection Barrier) with the shifting tides,” Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems said in a statement Saturday evening. “Our people have trained and equipment is prepared to ensure the protection of the people and environment of St. Simons Sound.”

The sixth section of the cargo ship was separated late Friday, said Michael Himes, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard Unified Command. On Saturday, a pilot steered the sixth section away from the rest of the Golden Ray’s half-submerged wreckage, The Brunswick News reported.

That leaves just one more cut before the dwindling remains are completely removed.

The 3,695-metric-ton (4,073 U.S. tons) mass of steel is hanging suspended by tension wire from the arching rafters of the 255-foot-tall (85-yard-tall) VB 10,000. The VB 10,000 and its load sit inside the 1-mile-perimeter environmental protection barrier that surrounds the salvage site.

The Golden Ray, carrying more than 1,400 vehicles, overturned after leaving the Port of Brunswick along the Georgia coast on Sept. 8, 2019. Harbor pilot Jonathan Tennant and about two dozen crew members on board were rescued and survived.

The removal of Section 6 will leave about 153.5 feet of shipwreck still in the St. Simons Sound. Section 6 is bound for a dismantling site on the East River in Brunswick, where it will join the 3,640-ton Section 3. Each of the four remaining sections will be cut up into about a dozen smaller pieces at the location, loaded onto a barge and transported to the Modern American Recycling Services facility in Gibson, Louisiana.

Maritime engineers suspect these four middle sections suffered the brunt of any structural damage when the Golden Ray overturned on its port side Sept. 8, 2019, while heading out to sea with its cargo. The four outer sections were all transported via barge whole and directly to the MARS facility on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Cutting to remove Section 6 started July 22.

The Unified Command advises mariners to steer clear of the perimeter safety zone, which has been increased from 150 yards to 200 yards.

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COLFAX, La. (AP) — A Zydeco musician was shot in the back while performing at an event in central Louisiana, his wife said in a statement posted early Saturday on Facebook.

Chris Ardoin was performing as the Friday headliner at Zydeco Bike Fest when he was shot, his wife, Kerri, posted on his official Facebook page.

“Yes, unfortunately tonight he did get shot in the back on his right side while on stage,” she wrote. “Doctors said thankfully he’s a built guy. The bullet didn’t penetrate his lung and stopped near his ribs. We are currently in the hospital. Please keep him in your prayers and will update you all later!!! Thanks.”

The shooting happened in Colfax at Louisiana Mudfest, an ATV and mudding park, The Advocate reported.

Ardoin was slated as the Friday headliner, with Lil Nate and the Zydeco Big Timers scheduled to perform Saturday night. Lil Nate posted on Facebook on Saturday that his group had canceled their performance.

The Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that they responded to the park after receiving reports of multiple people shooting into a crowd. They said two people were struck by the gunfire and suffered moderate injuries, including a 14-year-old child.

The sheriff's office said hundreds of vehicles tried to leave at once as people fled in panic.

Two people armed with guns were arrested but their identities have not been released and police have not said whether they are accused in the shootings that injured Ardoin and the teenager.

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The bodies of 19 people exhumed from a Tulsa cemetery during a search for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre were reburied during a closed ceremony, despite objections from protesters outside the cemetery.

“This is totally disgusting and disrespectful that those are our family members and we're outside the gate instead of inside that gate where they are,” Celi Butler Davis, who said she is a descendant of a massacre victim, told KTUL-TV.

Others protesting Friday's reburial called for a criminal investigation.

“The found remains — a skull with a bullet hole — that seems like you're just beginning to get somewhere" in investigating the deaths, state Rep. Regina Goodwin told KJRH-TV.

Forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield has said a bullet was found with one set of remains that had trauma to the body, including to the head.

Stubblefield said none of the remains have been confirmed as massacre victims, although forensic and DNA evidence has been collected.

“We are not done, we have not stopped,” Stubblefield told the crowd, saying a public report on the findings is likely during the fall.

Some protesters also wanted the reburial postponed, but city spokesperson Michelle Brooks told the Tulsa World that an interment plan was required in order to receive approval to exhume the remains.

“All on-site forensic analysis, documentation and DNA sampling from the remains are complete, but the DNA matching with potential descendants could take years,” Brooks said.

“Work to identify descendants and establish a permanent memorial will proceed in the future,” Brooks said.

Searches of two more areas, a second cemetery and a park are planned.

___

For more AP coverage of the Tulsa Race Massacre anniversary, go to https://apnews.com/hub/tulsa-race-massacre

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — A Lynchburg judge has upheld most of a lawsuit Liberty University filed against its former leader, Jerry Falwell Jr., after an acrimonious parting last year. The lawsuit survived its first round of legal challenges Friday as Falwell's attorneys argued motions seeking its dismissal before Lynchburg Circuit Judge Fred Watson, The News & Advance reported.

Falwell’s departure from the evangelical school in Virginia founded by his father came after Giancarlo Granda, a younger business partner of the Falwell family, said he had a yearslong sexual relationship with Falwell’s wife, Becki Falwell, and that Jerry Falwell participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur. Falwell denied the report. Falwell has alleged Granda extorted the family, which Granda denied.

Liberty claims Falwell crafted a “well-resourced exit strategy” from his role as president and chancellor at the school in the form of a lucrative 2019 employment agreement while withholding damaging information about the personal scandal that exploded into public view the following year. The agreement included a raise, which Falwell has said amounted to $250,000, and a $2.5 million severance package.

The lawsuit demanding at least $10 million alleged that Falwell breached fiduciary duties to the school and entered into a business conspiracy against it. Fiduciary duties don’t include disclosures of personal issues, even embarrassing ones, Vernon Inge, a lawyer representing Falwell, argued Friday. Falwell couldn’t be engaged in a business conspiracy with Granda against the university when the men were at odds, he argued.

Inge asked the court to order the university to cut out many pictures and statements in the lawsuit that aren’t relevant and are “rife with, frankly, personal attacks.”

The question of whether Falwell had a duty to disclose the alleged extortion attempts is for a jury to decide, said Scott Oostdyk, the attorney representing the university.

Falwell’s 2019 contract will remain under seal while attorneys file arguments over whether to keep it protected in the next two weeks. Liberty will be able to alter sections of the lawsuit regarding digital and computer property the university alleges Falwell kept unlawfully after his resignation. Attorneys said Friday he kept a computer containing more than 100,000 university’s files on it.

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PARK HILLS, Mo. (AP) — A Black man who died during a party at the Missouri home of a man with a history of bigoted social media posts was killed by violence, not suicide, a jury found after a coroner's inquest.

Friday's inquest into the death of 19-year-old Derontae Martin came after his family and racial injustice activists questioned the initial finding that Martin shot himself in the head during a party at a rural house on April 25.

Martin was found in the attic of a home near Fredericktown, about 27 miles (43 kilometers) south of Park Hills, where Martin and his family had lived until shortly before his death. Some of the people at the party initially told police he had shot himself.

The six-person jury that heard testimony from about 20 people Friday had to decide whether Martin’s death was the result of violence, suicide, accident or natural causes.

It is unclear how the case will go forward now and Madison County Prosecutor M. Dwight Robbins declined to comment after the hearing, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Dr. Russell Deidiker, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Martin, testified that Martin died from a gunshot wound fired at close contact to his head.

A second autopsy, which was commissioned by Martin’s family, indicated the gun had been fired from a different range. Deidiker said that autopsy was done after Martin’s body was cleaned and didn't change his opinion.

Toxicology results also found drugs in Martin’s system, Deidiker testified.

Other witnesses testified that Martin was acting paranoid at the party, that various people might have been involved in his death, or that the homeowner had killed Martin.

The homeowner testified that he had used racial slurs in the past and on social media but said he did not kill Martin.

Because the man is not charged with a crime, The Associated Press is not naming him.

Martin’s mother, Ericka Lotts, danced in the courthouse hall after the decision was announced, shouting praise to God before briefly collapsing in a chair and crying heavily.

Kimberly Lotts, Martin’s grandmother, said she was thankful for the outcome but said more work needs to be done to determine how her grandson died.

“I am happy that somebody else saw," Lotts said. "Glory to God. I could just shout. But we got a long way to go, so we’ll just keep on praying and keep on trusting in the Lord.”

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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — More than 100 people had to spend the night on a highway, including nearly 30 who took refuge in a tunnel, after rain over an area burned by a wildfire once again triggered mudslides in western Colorado, authorities said Friday.

The people were caught with their vehicles on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon on Thursday night. Those in the tunnel were stuck for about nine hours until crews could carve out a path through the mud to reach them at about 6:30 a.m. Friday, Garfield County Sheriff's Office spokesman Walt Stowe said.

The tunnel serves as a 24-hour operations center for the Colorado Department of Transportation, so it is relatively well-lit and has telephones, Stowe said. No injuries were reported.

The transportation department has accounted for 108 people, including 29 in the tunnel, who were stuck on the highway overnight. Between 65 and 70 people remained stranded at a rest stop Friday afternoon as crews worked to punch a safe passage through the debris.

Mike Goolsby, a regional director for the transportation department, said the area was affected by about 10 slides, some 12 feet (4 meters) deep and up to 150 feet (46 meters) wide.

“I'm very grateful that no one was hurt. ... We’ve tried our hardest not to have people in the canyon when these flash flood warnings hit, but it was the best case scenario for all of us based on the outcome this morning,” he said.

Glenwood Canyon has cliffs towering up to 2,000 feet (610 meters) above the Colorado River, making it prone to rockslides and mudslides. In recent weeks, rain over the area burned by a wildfire last summer has triggered frequent slides, resulting in closures of I-70, Colorado's main east-west highway. Those closures have mostly occurred before the storm moves in, to prevent people from being trapped.

On Thursday, the canyon had temporarily closed earlier in the day as one storm cell approached but had reopened by the time a second storm cell moved in, which led to the vehicles and their passengers getting trapped.

Transportation officials say the section of interstate is expected to be closed at least through the weekend because of the significant cleanup underway and because of heavy rain in the forecast. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the area.

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SHAKOPEE, Minn. (AP) — A man was charged with murder Friday for allegedly beheading a woman while they were in a car in traffic in suburban Minneapolis.

Prosecutors say Alexis Saborit, 42, attacked America Thayer, 56, on Wednesday afternoon at in intersection in Shakopee. Authorities have not said what motivated the attack, but Soborit has a criminal history that includes a domestic assault conviction for an attack against Thayer in 2017. At that time, she said they had been dating seven years.

According to the complaint and a search warrant affidavit in the second-degree intentional murder case, police were notified that a body with no head had been pulled out of a car belonging to Thayer and that a suspicious man was seen walking in a nearby alley. Police arrived to find Thayer’s headless body on the ground, next to her bloodied car. Her head was a foot away. A machete-style knife, bloody shirt and shoes were found in an alley a few blocks away, the Star Tribune reported.

Saborit, of Shakopee, was scheduled to appear in Scott County court Friday. He did not immediately have an attorney to comment on his behalf.

According to court documents, several people saw the attack. One witness a few cars behind Thayer's saw Saborit make a hitting motion while sitting behind the wheel, then throw something. The witness then saw Saborit drag what looked like a body out of the car.

Another person recorded video through a residential window that appeared to show Saborit pull Thayer out of the car and then pick up her head by the hair.

Saborit was arrested about 1 1/2 miles (2.41 kilometers) away, about three blocks from a hotel where he was staying.

At the time of the attack, Saborit was missing a court hearing in Scott County related to allegations that he set fire to his second-story apartment in November during a confrontation with police in Shakopee. At one point during that standoff, Saborit brandished a machete.

According to court records in the 2017 gross misdemeanor domestic assault case, Saborit pinned Thayer to the ground. She told police that Saborit was angry because he thought she was talking to another man at a bar that night.

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A 33-year-old Maryland woman with temporary custody of her young niece and nephew has been charged with child abuse that resulted in their deaths after officers found their severely malnourished bodies stuffed in the trunk of her car, according to charging documents.

A Friday police statement said the two dead children are siblings and Nicole Johnson, 33, was their aunt. They identified the youngsters as Joshlyn Johnson, 7, and Larry O’Neil, 5. A statement of probable cause said the severely decomposed body of the girl was found to weigh just 18 pounds. The boy was only 21 pounds at the time of his autopsy.

Doctors reported it "would have taken several months of malnourishment to attain these weights," according to the charging documents.

Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt issued a statement calling the crime “atrocious.” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.'s statement calls it a “horrific and a heartbreaking loss of life.”

Johnson faces numerous charges, including neglect and first degree child abuse that resulted in the deaths of children under the age of 13. No attorney was listed in court documents to comment on her behalf.

Specifics of the case outlined in a statement of probable cause are chilling. Law enforcers stopped Johnson's speeding car just after 11 p.m. Wednesday on a major thoroughfare in the town of Essex, police said. They allege that the 2008 Ford Focus had fake temporary tags and was found to be unregistered and uninsured. When an officer told Johnson that she had to report to court within five days for the various infractions, she reportedly told them she wouldn't be around and they would see her making her “big debut” on the news.

When she was told her car would be towed and she could remove any personal belongings, she then removed a tote bag and something wrapped in a trash bag from the trunk. The officer reported smelling a powerful stench.

When the officer saw maggots in the trash bag and discovered the decomposing body of a young child, Johnson allegedly attempted to run away. She was swiftly caught and detectives say they found the other child's body in a tote bag.

According to the charging documents, she initially told officers she had no idea the bodies of her niece and nephew were in the trunk. She thought the stench was from a “rat in the engine,” officers wrote. She later told investigators that she was staying at a motel when she hit the girl. The child hit her head, and Johnson put the body in a suitcase and carried it around in the car “for many months,” the charging documents state.

Some two months ago, according to the charging documents, the other child was “tired,” went to lie down in the car and never woke up. Police allege Johnson then put his body in a tote bag and stuffed him in the trunk next to the body of his dead sister.

Investigators say the children's biological mother, Dachelle Johnson, told detectives that she left her youngsters in her sister's care because she was unable to care for them. The transfer of the children occurred at some point after the mother moved from Ohio to Maryland in July 2019.

“We will continue to provide every resource to support our Department’s ongoing investigation into this devastating case,” Olszewski said.

Baltimore County is a collection of suburban communities that ring the city of Baltimore.

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BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) — At least five people were injured when severe weather struck an auto dealership, homes and other businesses in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities said.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes touched down Thursday in Bucks County, including an EF-3 twister that hit in Bensalem and contained top winds of 140 mph. The tornado sent trees falling and debris flying, while thunderous downpours flooded streets and roadways.

“I have been doing this for 34 years, I haven’t seen that sort of devastation from a storm,” said Bensalem Police Public Safety Director Fred Harran.

One of those tornadoes damaged the auto dealership and a mobile home park, news outlets reported.

Four people were injured at the dealership and a fifth was hurt at a nearby business, Harran told reporters in a nighttime news conference. All injuries were considered non-life-threatening, he said.

A video posted on Twitter shows a building at the dealership collapsed, with emergency sirens ringing.

Anthony Perez, an employee at the dealership, told The Courier Times of Bucks County that a weather alert sounded on his phone just before the tornado hit.

“At that point, we were looking for shelter,” he said. “Everything was in a flash.”

Harran said authorities would work through the night to help people secure housing or return to their homes, restore power outages and clear the roadways, which were littered with debris after the tornadoes blew through.

“We're going to have Friday morning rush hour in that area, which has a lot of traffic,” Harran said.

Severe weather was a concern around the region Thursday, with the NWS issuing warnings in New Jersey and Ohio as well. At least three tornados touched down Thursday in New Jersey, and survey teams are still checking other damage left behind as the storms crossed the Delaware River and moved across the state.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Saginaw Grant, a prolific Native American character actor and hereditary chief of the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma, has died. He was 85.

Grant died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on Wednesday at a private care facility in Hollywood, California, said Lani Carmichael, Grant’s publicist and longtime friend.

“He loved both Oklahoma and L.A.,” Carmichael said. “He made his home here as an actor, but he never forgot his roots in Oklahoma. He remained a fan of the Sooner Nation.”

Born July 20, 1936, in Pawnee, Oklahoma, Grant was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

He began acting in the late 1980s and played character roles in dozens of movies and television shows over the last three decades, including “The Lone Ranger,” “The World’s Fastest Indian” and “Breaking Bad,” according to Grant's IMDB filmography.

Grant was active for years in the powwow circuit in California and traveled around the globe to speak to people about Native American culture, Carmichael said.

“His motto in life was always respect one another and don't talk about one another in a negative way," she said.

Grant was also active in the Native American veterans community and participated for years in the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans, said Joseph Podlasek, the event's organizer.

“He thought it was important for Native people to get recognized as veterans," Podlasek said. “He was kind and gentle, and very humble."

A memorial for Grant will be held in the Los Angeles area, but details haven't been finalized, Carmichael said.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Investigators have used a DNA match to identify the remains of a missing Wisconsin woman, more than two weeks after confirming that another set of remains was the dismembered body of her husband, the sheriff said Friday.

Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett said authorities have now identified the remains of both Krista Halderson and Bart Halderson.

Their 23-year-old son, Chandler Halderson, is charged in his father’s death, and is accused of mutilating and hiding his body. Barrett said the same charges will be pursued in his mother's death. Authorities have not released a motive for the slayings.

Human remains were found by investigators in the northwestern Dane County in the town of Roxbury on July 14. The sheriff said additional human remains were found on the couple's property in Windsor, but they have not yet been identified.

Body parts found July 8 near Cottage Grove on the property of the family of Chandler Halderson's girlfriend were identified as belonging to Bart Halderson, 50. According to a criminal complaint, he may have died between July 1 and July 8.

Chandler Halderson claimed his parents left July 2 for their cabin in Langlade County with an unknown couple and reported them missing on July 7. He said he thought his parents were missing because they had not yet returned home by that date and that phone calls were going to voicemail.

Prosecutors said Chandler Halderson was seen driving the family’s vehicle on July 5 along some woods where police three days later would find Bart Halderson’s gunshot torso, which was “mutilated and dismembered.”

Barrett said investigators continue to search the Halderson property as part of their investigation, including a pond behind their residence.

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CHICAGO (AP) — A judge on Friday said he would not kick one of Jussie Smollett's attorneys off the case even though he believes the attorney spoke to two men the actor allegedly hired to help him carry out a staged racist and homophobic attack.

In his ruling, Cook County Judge James Linn took the unusual step of prohibiting Smollett attorney Nenye Uche from questioning the two brothers, Abinbola and Olabinjo Osudairo, should the case go to trial, and that someone else on the actor's legal team would have to do it should the need arise.

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb argued that the alleged conversations between Uche and the brothers in 2019, shortly after Smollett said he was a victim of a hate crime, created a conflict of interest. However Linn found that it was in the court's interest to allow Smollett to retain his chosen lawyer “when his liberty is at stake,” even if the judge found Webb's concerns to be legitimate.

“The totality of the evidence shows clearly and convincingly that at different points, Mr. Uche talked to both brothers and their mother,” Linn wrote.

The ruling came two weeks after Linn held a hearing that the media and public were not allowed to attend. So it wasn't immediately clear if Uche continued to deny that he spoke to the brothers. Uche didn't immediately reply to a phone message seeking comment.

But the judge said there was convincing evidence that Uche had talked to the brothers and that the subject of those discussions included a $3,500 check. The judge didn't elaborate, but at the center of the case against Smollett is the $3,500 he allegedly paid the brothers to carry out the January 2019 attack in which the Black, openly gay actor told police, two masked men beat him and looped a makeshift noose around his neck before running off.

Smollett, who was starring in the television show “Empire” at the time of the incident, has been charged with felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing false police reports about what happened. He has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for Aug. 2.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The FBI is investigating what one commercial airline pilot said might have been an airborne person with a jetpack, high in the busy skies near Los Angeles International Airport.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Boeing 747 pilot radioed to report “a possible jetpack man in sight” at around 6:12 p.m. Wednesday, according to a recording from the website LiveATC.

The pilot spotted an object that might have resembled a jetpack 15 miles east of LAX at 5,000 feet altitude, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson told the newspaper. “Out of an abundance of caution, air traffic controllers alerted other pilots in the vicinity.”

“Use caution, the jetpack guy is back,” said one air traffic alert.

“Did you see a UFO?” one air traffic controller asked a pilot.

“We were looking but we did not see Iron Man,” the pilot responded.

The FBI is working with the FAA to investigate the report, FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller told the Times in an email. The agency has already looked into three other possible jetpack in the skies above Los Angeles, and has “not been able to validate any of the reports,” she said.

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JULY 23-29, 2021

This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific.

The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Toru Takahashi in Tokyo.

Follow AP visual journalism:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews

AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images

AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com

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July 23 - 29, 2021

This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Latin America and the Caribbean. It was curated by AP Photo Editor for Latin America & Caribbean Anita Baca in Mexico City.

Follow AP visual journalism:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews

AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images

AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Janice Mirikitani, a beloved San Francisco poet laureate who together with her husband ran the city's Glide Memorial Church, which caters to the poor and homeless, has died. She was 80.

Mirikitani died suddenly Thursday, the church confirmed in a message to supporters who were scheduled to attend a virtual justice event later in the day, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mirikitani was married to the Rev. Cecil Williams, who transformed Glide Memorial Church, in the heart of the city’s largely poor Tenderloin district, from a traditional Methodist church to a decidedly liberal one that advocated for gay rights and welcomed members from all walks of life.

“Jan Mirikitani was one of our City’s true lights. She was a visionary, a revolutionary artist, and the very embodiment of San Francisco’s compassionate spirit," Mayor London Breed said. “She served our most vulnerable residents for decades and provided a place of refuge and love for all.”

Mirikitani joined Glide Memorial Church in 1964, a year after Williams arrived in San Francisco to lead the church. He turned services into “celebrations” and started a wide range of community programs. Along the way, he never shied from political and social issues, ranging from gay rights to compassion for the homeless.

With nearly 10,000 members, Glide became the largest Methodist church in Northern California and one of the largest in the nation.

“Janice was a force of nature,” Glide President and CEO Karen Hanrahan said. “She was fearless and transformational in the honesty with which she loved us all and held us all accountable. Janice’s legacy and her unique, powerful voice is all around us. It will continue to inspire Glide’s work as we transform hearts and minds, and the landscape of poverty and homelessness, in San Francisco.”

Mirikitani led the Glide Foundation and was executive director of the Janice Mirikitani-Glide Family Youth and Child Care Center.

“We lost a legend today, the First Lady of the Tenderloin, a poet, someone who loved people, all people, and had endless compassion, grace, and vision,” Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes the Tenderloin, said in a tweet.

Mirikitani, a third-generation Japanese American, was named San Francisco’s poet laureate in 2000, succeeding Beat legend Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who became the city’s first poet laureate in 1998.

She was the daughter of Japanese American chicken farmers from Petaluma. She was 1-year-old when her family was swept up in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s controversial decision to intern Japanese Americans. Mirikitani and her parents were sent off to a camp in Arkansas. That experience informed a lot of her poetry.

“For me, the role of poet is as a voice to connect with the community," said Mirikitani, who published four books of poetry. "What’s great about San Francisco is its diversity. It’s the mecca for diversity, and that’s what turns me on about being the laureate,” she told the newspaper after her naming.

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BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A civilian contractor working on a U.S. Air Force base in Mississippi was charged with involuntary manslaughter Thursday after he drove his vehicle into four airmen walking on a track, killing one of them, the FBI said.

Emmett J. Bennett, 24, of Biloxi also was charged with operation of a vehicle while impaired in the Wednesday accident at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, the FBI said.

Bennett was allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed and narrowly avoided an accident with another vehicle when he crossed the northbound lane of a road on base and hit a light pole, FBI spokesperson Brett Carr said in a news release. Bennett's car then hit the airmen, Carr said.

Prior to the accident, witnesses reported Bennett acting erratically, Carr said. The investigation into all factors leading up to the accident is ongoing.

The airman who died was assigned to the 81st Training Wing at Keesler. Military officials said the airman's name won’t be released until 24 hours after relatives are notified. No details were given about the three who were hurt.

Carr said the FBI has jurisdiction because the accident happened on federal property and Bennett is a civilian.

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