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December 8, 2008

Four pressumed dead after airplane crash

Authorities believe two small planes collided in midair above the Florida Everglades during the weekend and they were searching Sunday for four people presumed dead (USA Today).

The planes' wreckage was spotted Sunday morning about 25 miles west of Fort Lauderdale after the planes took off from Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood airports on Saturday afternoon. But no bodies had been found by Sunday night in the swampy area accessible only by airboat (USA Today).

Each plane was carrying two occupants on training flights from a local flight school, the Broward County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

November 18, 2008

New York man charged with killing girlfriend on due date

*I could not find a second source for this story, but this story was way too absurd to not write about*

Prosecutors have charged a New York City man with stabbing his girlfriend to death on the day she was due to give birth (The Star Tribune).

Derrick Redd was held without bail Tuesday after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree abortional act. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Redd repeatedly stabbed Niasha Delain at her home on Oct. 25. The attack included six stab wounds to the fetus (The Star Tribune).

Prosecutors said test results are pending to determine whether Redd would have been the father.

November 17, 2008

Gunfire breaks out in New York

Gunfire erupted in the store Waldorf-Astoria hotel during a brazen robbery attempt Saturdayin New York at a lobby jewelry store, wounding a security guard and sending guests diving for cover (Yahoo! News).

The 54-year-old guard, Gregory J. Boyle, was shot in the chest but was expected to survive, and a suspect was arrested on charges including attempted murder and assault.

The black-garbed suspect, identified as Rafael Rabinovich-Ardans, 20, pulled out a gun in the jewelry store and used the weapon to smash two display cases full of expensive rings and necklaces, said a police official.

Boyle, a retired New York Police Department detective, confronted the man. About three gunshots rang out as the two wrestled and fell to the floor, though it wasn't clear who fired, the official said. Both were armed.

One bullet hit Boyle in the left upper chest, the official said.

Another hotel employee then tackled the suspect, the police official said. The suspect's gun went off again as they grappled, but that bullet apparently struck no one. Hotel security staffers arrived and took Rabinovich-Ardans into custody (Yahoo! News).

Boyle was in stable condition late Saturday at Bellevue Hospital, police said.

The suspect was not identified.

November 10, 2008

Studies: Vitamin pills don't prevent heart disease

Vitamins C and E — pills taken by millions of Americans — do nothing to prevent heart disease in men, one of the largest and longest studies of these supplements has found (Yahoo! News).

Vitamin E even appeared to raise the risk of bleeding strokes, a danger seen in at least one earlier study.

About 12 percent of Americans take supplements of C and E despite growing evidence that these antioxidants do not prevent heart disease and may even be harmful.

Male smokers taking vitamin E had a higher rate of bleeding strokes in a previous study, and several others found no benefit for heart health.

As for vitamin C, some research suggests it may aid cancer, not fight it. A previous study in women at high risk of heart problems found it did not prevent heart attacks.

Few long-term studies have been done. The new one is the Physicians Health Study, led by Drs. Howard Sesso and J. Michael Gaziano of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston (Yahoo! News).

It involved 14,641 male doctors, 50 or older, including 5 percent who had heart disease at the time the study started in 1997. They were put into four groups and given either vitamin E, vitamin C, both, or dummy pills. The dose of E was 400 international units every other day; C was 500 milligrams daily (Yahoo! News).

After an average of eight years, no difference was seen in the rates of heart attack, stroke or heart-related deaths among the groups.

However, 39 men taking E suffered bleeding strokes versus only 23 of the others, which works out to a 74 percent greater risk for vitamin-takers.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and several vitamin makers. Results were so clear that they would be unlikely to change if the study were done in women, minorities, or with different formulations of the vitamins, Howard said (Yahoo! News).

"In these hard economic times, maybe we can save some money by not buying these supplements," she said.

Annette Dickinson, former president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry group, says the findings point to the need to place supplements in a context in which consumers are also taking other steps toward a healthful life (USA TODAY).

"You pull a nutrient out of the whole diet context and you don't see the same effects," she says.

Dickinson says more research is needed to determine whether a higher dose or different form of vitamin E would be more effective.


November 2, 2008

Ohio minister shot dead near Ky. church

A gunman fatally shot a Cincinnati minister and wounded a church deacon just after the two men arrived at a northern Kentucky church to attend a funeral, police said (Yahoo! News).

Court records in Hamilton County, Ohio, revealed a yearlong dispute between the accused gunman and the minister, the Rev. Donald Fairbanks Sr.

Fairbanks and Dowdell Cobb were shot just before 11 a.m. Saturday, police said. The gunman chased one of the men to a nearby park, where he shot the man a second time, said Lee Russo, the police chief in Covington, Ky.

It was unclear which of the men was shot in the park.

Frederick L. Davis, of Covington, quickly surrendered to police and was charged with murder, first degree assault, criminal mischief and violating an emergency protection order. He was being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Fairbanks, pastor of Cincinnati's New St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, died later Saturday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Covington, authorities said. Cobb, a deacon at the church, was treated at University Hospital in Cincinnati. A hospital spokesman declined to release information on Cobb's condition (Yahoo! News).

In June 2007, Fairbanks filed a complaint accusing Davis of making a threatening phone call to his wife, records showed (Yahoo! News). Davis, 40, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in October 2007, and a judge sentenced him to a year probation and ordered him to stay away from Fairbanks and New St. Paul Baptist Church.

Fairbanks had recently celebrated his 22nd anniversary as pastor of St. Paul (Cincinnati Enquirer).

“He preached about love,? said another St. Paul deacon, Rob Fuqua of Mount Airy. “Everybody was welcome at the church,? which helps feed the needy and tries to keep kids off the streets.

“He wasn’t just a pastor, but a friend.?

The church has about 300 members who live in all parts of the city, Fuqua said (Cincinnati Enquirer).


October 27, 2008

Hudson offers $100,000 reward for missing nephew

Actress Jennifer Hudson and her family are offering a $100,000 reward for the safe return of her missing 7-year-old nephew.

Julian King has been missing since the Friday shooting deaths of Hudson's mother and brother at the family home on Chicago's South Side (Yahoo! News).

Hudson publicist Lisa Kasteler issued a statement Sunday saying the Oscar-winning entertainer and her family would offer the reward. The family asks that any information be given to Chicago police.

The reward comes as police ramp up search efforts and have transferred custody of a "person of interest" in the killings to state authorities (Yahoo! News).

An Amber Alert remained in effect Sunday for Julian, who disappeared on Friday, the day the bodies of his grandmother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and 29-year-old uncle Jason Hudson were found in the home they all shared on the city's South Side. The deaths were ruled homicides (USA TODAY).

The Amber Alert listed William Balfour, the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson, as a suspect in a "double homicide investigation." Julia Hudson is the missing boy's mother.

Authorities said the search for Julian would be citywide, but on Sunday residents and officers focused their efforts "in the immediate vicinity" of the family's home in the Englewood neighborhood, said police spokesman Dan O'Brien (USA TODAY).

Police said they did not have a motive for the killings but called the case "domestic related." Bond said Balfour had not been charged.


October 19, 2008

Suspect dead, 4 hurt in blast at Ga. law firm

An elderly man was killed and four others were injured by a bomb he was suspected of setting off at a small-town law office in northwestern Georgia on Friday (The New York Times).

The explosion blew out windows of the two-story, colonial-style house where attorneys worked, and some in the small blue-collar town of 30,000 felt vibrations from more than a block away (USA TODAY). The explosion set ablaze the three-story white house that served as the offices of McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham, situated in a business district in Dalton, Ga., about 30 minutes from Chattanooga, Tenn.

Jason Parker, the Dalton police chief, identified the man as Lloyd Sylvester Cantrell, 78, a resident of a Dalton suburb.

“What we have here is not an act of terrorism,? said Scott Sweetow, an agent of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau. “What we have is a depraved individual, who by all accounts decided to commit what was in effect a suicide mission.?

The four people who were injured in the morning explosion were taken to the Hamilton Medical Center, where they were listed in stable condition. By 2 p.m., two of them were released, said Emily Michael, a spokeswoman for the hospital (New York Times).

Officials said that they found additional explosives — including gasoline, natural gas and propane — in Mr. Cantrell’s S.U.V. They said he first rammed his vehicle into the building, apparently in an attempt to detonate the explosion.

At that point, a 911 call was placed, and when the police arrived they saw Mr. Cantrell appearing to leave the scene, said Bruce Frazier, a spokesman for the Dalton Police Department.

The law firm, which handles family law, personal injury and wrongful death cases, has been in existence since 1932 and has been situated in the house, a block from the court house, since 1965.

October 8, 2008

Man kills family and self over market

In a suicide note, Karthik Rajaram of Los Angeles, wrote that he had considered killing only himself because of his financial troubles, but decided to take his family with him.

“This is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely been destroyed, apparently because of a man who just got stuck in a rabbit hole, if you will, of absolute despair, somehow working his way into believing this to be an acceptable exit," said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore. "It is critical to step up and recognize we are in some pretty troubled times." (LA Times)

In a letter addressed to police, Rajaram blamed his actions on economic hardships. A second letter, labeled "personal and confidential," was addressed to family friends; the third contained a last will and testament, Moore said.

The letter to police voiced two options: taking his own life, or killing himself and his entire family.

Rajaram, 45, shot his wife, three sons and mother-in-law in their bedrooms over the weekend, the police said, then shot himself. The police found him on Monday on the floor of a bedroom his youngest sons shared, close to their bodies.

On Tuesday, friends and colleagues said they were stunned to learn of the killings and unaware of the family’s financial problems. The police said he had been planning the killings for weeks (New York Times).

According to and article in the LA Times, it was mentioned that when police entered the home in the gated, Spanish-style community, they first found the gunman's mother-in-law, Indra Ramasesham, 69, dead in a downstairs bedroom. His wife and three sons -- Krishna, 19, a sophomore at UCLA majoring in business economics; Ganesha, 12; and Arjuna, 7, were discovered in various upstairs bedrooms, all shot in the head, some with multiple gunshot wounds.

September 30, 2008

Md. police discover human remains in home freezer

Maryland police say they have found human remains that could be those of two children in a home freezer in Lusby, Maryland, about 50 miles southeast of Washington, D.C.

Calvert County authorities say they discovered the remains Saturday while they were investigating a report of a runaway, according to an article in USA TODAY.

Police say a 43-year-old woman who says the girls were her adopted daughters has been arrested. Renee Bowman told deputies that the remains had been frozen for at least seven months.

The sheriff's office says investigators also found the 7-year-old girl runaway. Police say she escaped the home by jumping out the window. Investigators say Bowman told them she beat the girl. She is charged with child abuse and is being held without bond.

According to a portion from the AP found in the Chicago Tribune, it stated that the girl had open sores and lesions on her buttocks and lower thighs, marks on her neck made by a cord, rope or other item and bruises on her hands and lips. She told investigators her mother caused the injuries and that she jumped out the window to "free herself from her mother's relentless beatings," according to the documents. She is being cared for by child protective services (Chicago Tribune).

September 25, 2008

Fla. teen convicted of killing classmate

A teenager who mental health experts say wanted to become a serial killer was convicted Wednesday of luring his 14-year-old friend to a middle school bathroom and stabbing him to death in 2004.

According to an article written by the StarTribune, it stated that the jury deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before convicting Michael Hernandez, now 18, of first-degree murder in the slaying and of the attempted murder of another classmate (StarTribune).

The defense argued Hernandez was insane and not criminally responsible for luring Jaime Gough into the bathroom at Miami's Southwood Middle School, then slitting his throat and stabbing him at least 42 times.

According to an article done in the USA TODAY, the article stated that prosecutors said he was a smart student who wore a windbreaker and latex gloves for the attack in an effort to keep blood off his clothes.

When the verdict was read, Hernandez showed no reaction but was nervously moving his foot under the defense table. He left the courtroom flanked by deputies and never looked back at his parents, who sat two rows behind him.

Hernandez faces life in prison. The trial was moved to Orlando because of the wide publicity of the case, but his sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 7 in Miami (USA TODAY).

Two defense mental health experts said Hernandez was a paranoid schizophrenic. And a third defense expert said he was delusional. All three said he was obsessed with becoming a serial killer and met the legal definition of insanity (USA TODAY).

Hernandez then began visiting psychology websites to investigate his own behavior, and decided he was schizophrenic and had obsessive compulsive disorder. Rosenbaum said his client then made a "disturbing, irrational, crazy leap" that he "must be a serial killer" (StarTribune).

September 18, 2008

Wall Street plunges; gold spiked to $90.40 an ounce

The stock market plunged Wednesday in New York as Dow drops 450. However, as the stock market staggered, the price of gold, which rises in times of panic, spiked as much as $90.40 an ounce (USA Today).

According to an article in USA Today, the weak state of financial markets increased dramatically after the Federal Reserve's decision late Tuesday to give troubled insurer AIG a two-year loan of up to $85 billion in exchange for a nearly 80% stake in the company, which lost billions in the risky business of insuring against bond defaults.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which only two days earlier had suffered its steepest drop since the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, lost another 450 points. About $700 billion in investments vanished (New York Post).

"The economy is not short of money. It is short of confidence," said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at California State University (New York Post).

According to an article in the New York Post, it stated that markets around the globe also tumbled, with stocks plummeting from Hong Kong to London. Brazil's benchmark index saw the most dramatic drop, losing almost 7 percent in a day.


September 15, 2008

Searching for answers

On Sunday, Los Angeles’ federal investigators combed railroad tracks and crushed wreckage looking for evidence to explain the nation's deadliest rail disaster in 15 years and made plans to interview dispatchers, Yahoo! News reports.

According to Yahoo! News, an engineer who ran a red signal and crashed head-on into a freight train caused the nation’s deadliest commuter train wreck in nearly four decades. Men wearing green and orange safety vests walked up and down the tracks in an early morning fog, while others snapped pictures and climbed inside the wrecked shell of the front passenger car (Yahoo).

The death toll rose to at least 25 from the collision on Friday of the northbound Metrolink train carrying about 225 passengers and the freight train in Chatsworth, a mostly residential district in the northwest San Fernando Valley, officials said. The number of dead may rise, they said, because of the 135 people injured, 40 were in critical condition (New York Times).

At a news conference, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said the last of the dead had just been pulled from the wreckage of the freight train’s 11 boxcars and the three Metrolink cars. The train had been traveling from downtown to the city’s northern suburbs. The mayor quoted a firefighter who he said had told him: “It was very, very difficult. It was like peeling an onion, to find all the victims" (New York Times).

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California arrived at the scene in the afternoon, said, “The investigation, of course, continues on" (New York Times).