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Super Bowl 2015: Katy Perry's Dress and Other Security Measures

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- There has never been a major security incident at a Super Bowl, America's quintessential iconic annual event, so why has U.S. law enforcement in recent years deployed every imaginable protective measure, despite the fact there has been no specific, credible threat identified?

The short answer is that you don't know what you don't know.

And there are some moments in history that remind law enforcement that major sporting events have been the stage for terror, including the horror of the Munich Olympics in 1972, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing of 1996 in Atlanta, and the more recent Boston Marathon bombing.

Customs and border protection program manager Ronald Nunn was on the scene in Atlanta in 1996, so he knows that anything can happen anywhere.

"1996 during the Olympics in Atlanta I was a block away when the bomb went off," Customs and Border Protection program manager Ronald Nunn said. "You know, most people are running away; I ran towards it. I was first on scene commander for the first 30 minutes of that bombing."

Remembering that frightening night, he tries to prepare for every conceivable ugly scenario.

High-tech scanners are being used to search every item entering the University of Phoenix Stadium -- from fixtures and food to the costume worn by halftime performer Katy Perry, Nunn said.

"Katy Perry's stage came in [Wednesday night]," Nunn said. "We've got port-a-potties. We've got everything -- food, hot dogs, hamburgers, the NFL paraphernalia, jerseys, everything."

Officers will be wearing portable radiation detectors, and bomb-sniffing dogs will also be employed.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, in an exclusive interview inside the stadium, told ABC News that security experts are on high alert, with a focus on smaller-scale and lone wolf-style attacks.

"Our challenges in Homeland Security are evolving. We have more concerns about domestic-based acts of violence, inspired by things people may see or read on the Internet," Johnson said.

While Johnson said there are no credible threats against this weekend's game, he said authorities are prepared to respond by any means necessary. That security involves a U.S. Customs Black Hawk helicopter, part of a fleet of aircraft guarding the Super Bowl from above. F-16 fighter jets will also be in the air.

Roughly 30 miles of airspace over the big game is restricted.

"There is no room for complacency," Johnson said. "Law enforcement, Homeland Security, needs to be on guard. We do not want to discourage people from coming to these types of events, but all of us in government and law enforcement need to be vigilant. We need to be on guard. Absolutely."

The Super Bowl transcends sports, drawing people who could care less about sports, but watch the game as an entertainment event.

"It's more than a football game," Johnson said. "It's an event. It's an American tradition. And so it's the focus of a lot of attention, and therefore it should be the focus of a lot of our efforts in government at public safety, law enforcement, Homeland Security, and federal state and local security. And I believe we will have a successful and safe event."

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Winter Storm to Bring Blizzard-like Conditions to Midwest

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Blizzard-like conditions are expected in the Midwest on Sunday as a winter storm dumps several inches of snow across the region as it moves toward the Northeast.

As of 8 a.m. Sunday, parts of Chicago had received up to 6 inches of snow. Near Des Moines, Iowa, up to 10 inches of snow had fallen.

The storm also caused several flight cancellations across the U.S., as airlines canceled 1,048 flights scheduled for Sunday. Of those, 445 were flights out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

In Chicago, the snowfall will increase in its intensity during the day, with blizzard-like conditions in the afternoon. Wind gusts could reach over 40 miles-per-hour.

By Sunday evening, the snow will continue to fall from Chicago to Cleveland and begin to move into the Northeast. A wintry mix and areas of heavy rain are expected further south from Indianapolis to the northern Tennessee Valley.

Current snowfall forecasts from the ABC Weather Team call for accumulations of 8-12 inches from central Iowa through the northern Ohio Valley by Monday morning. Isolated amounts over a foot are possible, focusing on areas east of Chicago through northern Ohio.

The storm is forecast to track east Sunday night and into Monday morning, impacting a large stretch of the I-95 corridor and the northeast from New Jersey to coastal Maine.

From Philadelphia to New York City, a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain will lead to lower snow totals. However, north of New York City up to Boston, significant amounts of snow are possible.

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Hikers Rescued After Falling off Oregon Mountain

mtcurado/iStock/Thinkstock(MOUNT HOOD, Ore.) -- Two people were recovering from serious injuries after falling off the side of a mountain in Oregon.

A married couple was hiking an icy ridge at Mount Hood - about 10,000 feet up - when they nearly fell to their death early Saturday.

A rescuer, Kevin Watt, who was "facing the upper mountain when the climbers fell," said he saw the hikers "sliding down the mountain at a high rate of speed."

A rescue team training in the area raced to help, forming a human shield around the couple by using their packs as protection.

"They lined up above the patients and held their packs out to deflect the ice and rocks that were coming down," said rescuer Mark Morford.

A National Guard helicopter airlifted the couple to a hospital. The man suffered a broken femur and the woman has two broken ankles.

A third hiker, who also tumbled during the rescue, made it down with the help of the crew.

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Zamboni Driver Arrested for Suspected DUI at High School Hockey Game

Cass County Jail(FARGO, N.D.) -- A Zamboni driver was arrested for allegedly driving the large, resurfacing machine while impaired at a North Dakota hockey rink, police said on Saturday.

At a high school girls' hockey game in Fargo on Friday, some spectators noticed the Zamboni driver exhibiting "erratic behavior" between the first and second period, according to Jim Larson, the director of finance and human resources for Fargo Parks, which runs the rink.

"Some of the parents noticed the driver appeared to be impaired," Larson said.

A school district employee called authorities, Larson said, and the driver, Fargo Parks employee Steven Anderson, was arrested for suspected DUI, the Fargo Police Department said.

No players were on the ice while Anderson was allegedly driving, according to Larson, and no injuries or damages were reported.

"I have been with the district for 22 years and this is the first time we've experienced this," Larson said.

Anderson has since been released on bail, police said.

Anderson has "worked for us on and off seasonally for six years," Larson said. He added that Anderson "is removed totally from work at this time. We will formally address the personnel issue on Monday."

"Safety is critical," Larson said. "We consider this to be a very serious incident. On Monday we will take a full review to see how this happened and what we can do to keep it from ever occurring again."

Anderson could face up to 30 days in jail along with a fine of up to $1,000, Fargo police told ABC News.

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Man Shoots Cars Parked in Shoveled Spaces After Blizzard, Cops Say

Fall River Police Department(FALL RIVER, Mass.) -- A Massachusetts man faces multiple charges after allegedly shooting cars left in parking spots that had been shoveled of snow, days after two feet of snow blanketed the town.

Jose Osorio was arrested Friday after witnesses reported he fired multiple shots at two parked cars that were parked in shoveled spaces on a street in Fall River, Massachusetts.

"During the course of the investigation the fact came up that he was observed yelling and banging on doors in the neighborhood about vehicles parked out in the street," said Lt. Ronald Furtado, of the Fall River Police Department. "Additional facts came to light that he had produced a handgun and fired at two of the vehicles."

Furtado said it's reasonable to believe that Osorio had shoveled the parking spaces that were then occupied.

Furtado said when officers arrived they found Osorio in the area and later found a handgun at his address. Osorio faces multiple charges, including carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a firearm after being convicted of a violent crime and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

Massachusetts and much of the Northeast is expected to face another snowstorm Sunday night into Monday morning.

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Nevada Telemarketer Helps Save Alleged Assault Victim in Oregon

Purestock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Quick action by a telemarketer in Las Vegas may have helped save an alleged assault victim several states away.

When Camille McElroy, a telemarketer for a health care company called Americare Now, answered her phone Thursday, she heard faint crying in the background that got progressively louder, Americare Now president Mario Gonzalez told ABC News on Saturday.

"She could hear a woman being attacked brutally. At that point she advised her manager, and I happened to be walking through the floor," Gonzalez said. "Her manager flagged me down and said, 'You might want to hear this. This woman is being attacked.'"

McElroy told ABC News affiliate KTNV-TV in Las Vegas that she could hear the caller -- a woman in Oregon -- "saying, 'Please, please, stop, no, no,' but you can actually hear the hitting."

"He was hitting her and it was so loud that you could tell he was hitting her hard," McElroy said to KTNV-TV.

Gonzalez "jumped on the phone," he said, and contacted the local Oregon authorities in Linn County, who sent deputies to the caller's home.

The caller survived, KTNV-TV reports, and Walter Ruck, 33, was arrested on charges including assault and strangulation.

Gonzalez said he and his employees teared up and hugged each other after learning the caller was found alive.

"Very emotional for all of us," Gonzalez said. "Very relieved at the same time. Just emotionally drained from the whole ordeal. If you would have heard the call when it was actually happening, it was very traumatic. I honestly didn't know if the lady would be alive by the time the cops got there."

While Gonzalez said he hasn't been in touch with the Oregon woman, he's been told that she has written "and wants to speak to me. So I'm looking forward to getting the chance to say hi."

ABC News' calls to the Linn County Sheriff's Office were not immediately returned.

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How Aaron Hernandez Will Be Spending Super Bowl Sunday

Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(FALL RIVER, Mass.) -- Aaron Hernandez helped lead the New England Patriots into the 2011 Super Bowl, but this weekend, the former NFL standout won't even be allowed to watch his teammates take on the Seattle Seahawks on TV, ABC News has learned.

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson told ABC News that Hernandez is back where he started shortly after his arrest on June 26, 2013, when he was accused of the murder of his one-time friend Odin Lloyd: a 70-square-foot solitary confinement cell in the Special Management Unit in the jail at North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

He cannot watch television, have a radio, or even read newspapers there. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

"His classification has not changed since the last time he was here," Hodgson said. "He remains under the same restrictions that he was last time he was here."

Those conditions have been the subject of complaints by Hernandez. In a motion filed last year, his defense attorneys successfully requested that Hernandez be moved from the North Dartmouth jail run by Hodgson to a lockup in Boston, saying he had been "subjected to unreasonable restrictions" imposed by the Bristol County Sheriff.

After a jailhouse fight, Hernandez's lawyers also said he felt unsafe, and a judge allowed the move to the Nashua Street jail in Boston. He returned to Bristol County earlier this month for the duration of his ongoing trial in connection with the execution-style murder of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who was dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister.

Hernandez -- who had a $40 million contract as a tight end but was cut by the Patriots just hours after his arrest in Lloyd's slaying -- could get life in prison if convicted. Hernandez is also set to be tried in Boston for a 2012 double murder that took place while he was still playing for the Patriots.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in that case.

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Major Winter Storm to Slam the Midwest Then Move East

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A major winter storm is set to hit parts of the Midwest and Northeast, delivering a significant amount of snow that could affect travel across the country to start the week.

The developing winter storm first moved through the southern and central Plains on Saturday, bringing a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain to the region.

Winter Storm Warnings, Watches, and Advisories were in effect on Saturday from the central Plains to New England in anticipation of the winter storm on the way.

The upcoming storm was expected to strengthen Saturday evening with a large area of heavy snow developing across the central Plains, and eventually through the Midwest Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The heaviest snow is expected to fall generally along and north of Interstate 80, with a wintry mix and rain expected for areas south of there.

On Sunday morning, heavy snow is forecast to be falling from Des Moines, Iowa, to Chicago and as far east as Detroit and Cleveland.

By Sunday evening, the snow will continue to fall from Chicago to Cleveland and begin to move into the Northeast. A wintry mix and areas of heavy rain are expected further south from Indianapolis to the northern Tennessee Valley.

Current snowfall forecasts from the ABC Weather Team call for accumulations of 8-12 inches from central Iowa through the northern Ohio Valley by Monday morning. Isolated amounts over a foot are possible, focusing on areas east of Chicago through northern Ohio.

The storm will then continue to track east Sunday night and into Monday morning impacting a large stretch of the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C to coastal Maine.

From Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, mixing with rain and sleet will lead to lower snow totals. However from New York City up to Boston, significant amounts of snow with an icy and dangerous Monday morning commute expected.

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Video Captures Coast Guard Rescue After Pinterest Investor's Boat Hits Stormy Seas

hdecumont/iStock/Thinkstock(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) -- Video captured the U.S. Coast Guard rescuing a millionaire Pinterest investor and four other crew members after their $2.5 million catamaran malfunctioned.

The incident happened about 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina on Friday afternoon.

Video of the rescue shows the crew members - including Brian Cohen, a Pinterest investor - being plucked from the churning water via helicopter.

"There was 40 knot winds and 13 foot seas and they took a wave over their bow that appeared to be a little bit too much for their boat and the mast split in half," said Coast Guard Officer First Class Allen Facenda.

The boat - dubbed "The Rainmaker" - was profiled by Forbes last year.

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Super Bowl 2015: Seahawks Super-Fan Decks Out Home, Proposes to Girlfriend

Ashtin Fitzwater(CHANDLER, Ariz.) -- Ashtin Fitzwater just may be the Seattle Seahawks' biggest fan.

A few days after painting his girlfriend's mother's house in the team's colors -- neon green and blue -- he then proposed to his girlfriend Melissa of eight years on the lawn he spray-painted with the team's logo.

"She and I both huge fans, and after doing something so big with painting the house, I had to make my move now," Fitzwater told ABC News on Friday after attending a Seahawks pep rally. "She had no idea. She was completely in shock."

Of course, she said yes.

The Seahawks-themed proposal happened this past Tuesday in front of the house in Chandler, Arizona. Fitzwater was born and raised in Washington, the team's home state, but he moved to the Southwest for college and has lived there ever since.

The colorful house features a large "12" sprawled on the roof, referring to "The 12th Man," a phrase used to describe the Seahawks' most loyal fans.

Other players' jersey numbers are showcased on the garage door.

"We painted a logo for last year's Super Bowl," Fitzwater said. "But we wanted to do something bigger this year, so it was only logical that we painted the house."

The paint job took around eight hours and was finished this past Sunday, he said.

The house, which sticks out in a sea of beige, clay-colored iconic Southwestern homes, is welcomed by his neighbors.

"I have a [Denver] Broncos fan to the right of the house, and a [Arizona] Cardinals to the left, but my neighbors all love me," Fitzwater said. "I help them out all the time, and they're on board with it. None of their teams are in, so they're rooting for me."

He added he's in total shock about how much attention he's gotten in the past week.

"This is the best week of my life!" Fitzwater said.

It could only get better for him should his team beat the New England Patriots.

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Girl Gets Private Party After Mom Barred From Father-Daughter Dance

Shawna Steeves(LAWSON, Mo.) -- Shawna Steeves' 8-year-old daughter, Meghan, will get a dance of her own after the single mom said local PTO officials stood firm on a ruling that she could not be her daughter's date at a father-daughter dance.

According to Steeves, the president of the PTO said the group would stick to a "no moms allowed" policy for the Feb. 6 dance at Southwest Elementary School in Lawson, Missouri.

"One option they gave was that they [the PTO] would find a male substitute to take her, which was out of the question," Steeves said. "She told me that she didn't want to make kids feel like outcasts. But where did my daughter fit in all of this? They didn't even offer me a chaperone position."

Steeves told ABC News that she initially thought she could go to the dance after the school principal gave her the OK to accompany her daughter.

"She was really excited," Steeves said. "She said, 'Mommy, I want you to take me.' I thought, 'OK, cool,' but the flyer said, 'No moms allowed,' and her dad is not in her life."

"One week later, we bought a dress," Steeves added. "The next morning, I got a call from the principal, who told me that I wasn't allowed to attend because of the PTO [Parent Teacher Organization]."

The principal of Southwest Elementary School referred calls to the district superintendent, Roger Schmitz, who said the decision on who could attend the father-daughter dance rested with the PTO because it was running the event.

A community service organization saw coverage of Steeves' dispute with the school and offered to organize a separate dance.

"It's open to all the students and they can bring any adult role model they wish," said Antonio DeLaCruz, a member of Missouri Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association and organizer of "Meghan's Dance."

"Of course, she's the driving force," DeLaCruz added, "but there's other kids in her situation that want to attend school functions like the father-daughter dance and they can't."

PTO president Kacey Collier did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

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Deflate-Gate: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Speaks Out Ahead of Super Bowl

Digital Vision(PHOENIX) -- The NFL is conducting a "thorough and objective investigation" into the "deflate-gate" controversy, league commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday.

Following accusations that the New England Patriots used under-inflated balls during the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago, Goodell said the NFL is focusing on two questions: "Why were some footballs used in the game that were not in compliance with the rules, and was this result of a deliberate action?"

"We take seriously anything that potentially impacts the integrity of the game," Goodell said in his State of the League speech, ahead of the Super Bowl game between the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. "I want to emphasize, we have made no judgement on these points. And we will not compromise the investigation by engaging in speculation."

Goodell confirmed the footballs were tested at halftime of the AFC championship game.

Once the investigation is complete, the results will be shared publicly, according to Goodell.

Goodell was also asked about Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's comments at Media Day on Tuesday, during which the player repetitively said, "I am just here so I won't get fined."

"Marshawn understands the importance of the Super Bowl," Goodell said. "I've been very clear that when you're in the NFL you have an obligation to the fans."

"It is part of your job. And there are things we all have to do in our jobs that we may not necessarily want to do," he added.

"It may not be at the top of his list. Everyone else is cooperating and doing their part. It is our obligation," Goodell said. "It comes with the territory. It comes with the privilege of playing."

Looking to the off season, Goodell said the league will focus is on player safety, including establishing a Chief Medical Officer position to oversee medical-related policies.

Goodell said he expects to have the position "in place very soon."

Goodell added that concussions were down 25 percent this season, continuing a three-year trend.

The league also aims to bring more awareness to domestic violence and sexual assault, Goodell said.

This past Thursday was the first meeting of the new League Conduct Committee to review the personal conduct policy, of which Goodell said "raises the standards for all of us" by emphasizing ongoing education, prevention and support services.

"We want to make a difference, not just internally but externally."

Looking back on this season, Goodell said the league is in a better place than it was in August.

"We obviously as an organization have gone through adversity," he said, but noted that "the NFL is made up of good and caring people."

"It's been a tough year but a year of progress," Goodell said.

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Defense Wants Vanderbilt Rape Trial Verdict Thrown Out over Juror

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The defense team for Brandon Vandenburg, one of the former Vanderbilt University football players who was convicted this week of raping a female classmate, is now trying to get the verdict thrown out after discovering one of the jurors did not disclose he or she was a sexual assault victim.

ABC News has confirmed that the juror in question, whom ABC News has decided not to identify, was a victim of statutory rape 15 years ago, and his or her attacker was sentenced to 12 months in jail and 60 months of probation for the crime, but the juror never revealed that information during the jury selection process.

In a statement to ABC News, the attorney for the juror said that the "past situation has zero similarity to the facts presented within the Vanderbilt trial...nor did the past situation have any impact upon deliberations or decision-making in this case."

Vandenburg's defense said it now plans to file a motion to have the verdict vacated, which, if granted, means the judge could declare a mistrial, and the guilty verdict could be overturned.

On Tuesday, the jury took just three hours to decide Vandenburg and another former Vanderbilt football player, Cory Batey, were each guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg was also found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography after prosecutors claimed he recorded the sexual assault on his phone, shared it with friends and then tried to cover it up.

Vandenburg and Batey were scheduled to be sentenced on March 6.

The graphic sexual assault case played out in a Nashville, Tennessee courtroom over 12 days, as prosecutors presented surveillance video they said showed Vandenburg carrying the victim into his dorm, accompanied by Batey and two other former players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie. Jurors also had to watch cellphone video that prosecutors claimed Vandenburg recorded as the sexual assault went on in his dorm room in 2013.

Prosecutors said the victim, a 21-year-old former neuroscience major and dance team member at the university, was drunk and passed out when the incident occurred.

The defense argued that the young men were not guilty of rape, but rather of making a mistake.

Banks and McKenzie also face rape and sexual battery charges, but have not yet gone to trial. They have pleaded not guilty.

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Aaron Hernandez Trial: Victim's Girlfriend Says Hernandez, Odin Lloyd Were in 'Beginning Stages' of Friendship

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(FALL RIVER, Mass.) -- New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and Odin Lloyd were in the "beginning stages of a friendship" at the time of Lloyd's murder, the victim's former girlfriend said on the stand today.

It was Shaneah Jenkins, 23, who introduced Lloyd, 27, to Hernandez, she said.

Hernandez, who dated Jenkins' sister, is charged with orchestrating Llyod's murder.

Friday’s testimony from Jenkins, now a second-year criminal law student at New England Law School, contradicts the defense team's assertion during opening statements that the two men were good friends.

Lloyd and Hernandez "would hang out and smoke" marijuana in the basement of Hernandez's Massachusetts home, Jenkins said, confirming that Lloyd had rolled joints in her presence.

In opening statements, prosecutors said Hernandez's DNA is on a joint he shared with Lloyd.  

When asked if she knew of any time Lloyd and Hernandez were together without her, Jenkins said, "just the one I was made aware of the weekend he was murdered."

Emotions ran high as Lloyd's relatives sat through testimony on Friday from the captain of the North Attleboro Fire Department, who responded to the 911 call after the body of the semi-pro football player was found after being shot six times.

Capt. John White told the jury he "saw a gentleman laying on the ground" and saw "no breathing" as he walked towards him.

A member of Lloyd's family walked out as White described condition of the body. Other relatives were seen grabbing tissues.

"This person was laying on their back, face up," White told the jury. "He had no pulse. He was cold to the touch. He was very stiff. You couldn't move his jaw, couldn't move his arms."

White pronounced Lloyd dead at the scene. He said he noticed shell casings around the body and blood coming from the right side of the body.

When graphic photos appeared on screen, Judge Susan Garsh paused and reminded jurors of their purpose.

"These photographs are being introduced solely for the purpose so you can see the position of the body or any visible wounds," Garsh said. "Please put aside any emotions or sympathy they may generate."

The first witness today was William Cambio, who saw Lloyd's body. Cambio works near the North Attleboro industrial park where Lloyd's body was discovered.

Another man who saw Lloyd is David Swithers, president of Advanced Electronic Design, the company to which a high school student ran initially after discovering the body.

"I saw an African-American male," Swithers said. "There were flies around his nostrils."

Prosecutors said in opening arguments Thursday that Lloyd's murder was preceded by a text message from Hernandez, now 25.

On June 17, 2013, Hernandez "told Odin Lloyd he was going to come out to his house that night," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg told the court.

Hernandez was driving when he and two other men picked up Lloyd from his home and brought him to the industrial park, near the Patriots' home at Gillette Stadium, according to prosecutors.

"Odin Lloyd was shot six times," Bomberg told the jury.

Hernandez's defense attorney, Michael Fee, in the defense's opening statement, declared Hernandez "an innocent man" and said the prosecution's account of events was "just a story and it's not true.”

"Aaron Hernandez did not murder his friend Odin Lloyd," Fee told the jury, claiming investigators prematurely zeroed in on Hernandez to the exclusion of other suspects.

"You come with an open mind," Fee said. "Give us a chance to show you the truth."

Next week, jurors are scheduled to see Hernandez's house, Lloyd's house and other locations relevant to the case.

As Hernandez's trial gathers steam, his former team, the Patriots, will play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Hernandez caught Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's last Super Bowl touchdown pass in the team's 2012 loss to the New York Giants.

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Study: Fighting Terrorism Enriching, But Obsessive ‘Dark Side’ Infects Life

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- “You can’t go back to the way you were before.”

That understated phrase summed up how dozens of counter-terrorism professionals described the toll – physical, psychological and emotional – that working for years in the life and death race against terrorists takes on daily life in the post-9/11 era, according to a study recently published on the CIA's website.

The study, Counterterrorism Professionals Reflect on Their Work, paints a harrowing picture of the counterterrorism [CT] professional who, while feeling intensely rewarded by the importance of their work, can become wholly consumed by it, and become paranoid and cynical about the world around them – unable to enjoy “normal” lives in the rare cases they can pry themselves from the job.

“[My wife] pulled me back from the brink of becoming obsessed, and not in a good way, with the terrorists [his team was tracking],” an unidentified CT worker said in the study. “There was a whole world out there that was lost to me, for a while, because all I could think about was [the terrorists]. She used some very unflattering words to describe what I was like, told me I was a complete a*****e, but she was right. It was my wakeup call.”

“There is a distinct price” of doing the work and an unavoidable “loss of innocence,” others said.

Last month the CIA published the study, conducted by clinical psychologist Ursula Wilder for the Brookings Institution, in its public Studies in Intelligence collection. Wilder said she interviewed 57 CT professionals, from spies to diplomats, analysts to soldiers, emergency workers to journalists, and found that no matter what the specific job is, “one pays a price for daily, direct engagement with evil.”

Those she interviewed talk about being completely lost in their work and neglecting even personal upkeep. Some, many of them intelligence analysts, discussed intense guilt they felt about terrorist attacks they were unable to stop and others became unusually paranoid about the next one around the corner.

“[A CT professional] mentioned being at a sporting event and not being able to ‘get into it’ – and being frightened and unsettled by both intrusive thoughts of how bombs in the crowd would be an effective terror strike and also by his general alienation from the fun and horseplay of the young family members around him,” the study says. “One summed this up by saying: ‘So much came to seem trivial to me, but I realized life is enjoyed in the precious trivial moments, which for a while were lost on me.’”

One of the groups that has been most profoundly affected are what Wilder calls “field professionals” – spies, military and law enforcement personnel, emergency personnel and NGO workers, among others, who work on the ground.

“Field work can be fun – irrespective of the grim contents of terrorism. It can bring a sense of adventure, of experimentation and spontaneous diversion with the unexpected – and, from time to time, crackpot humor,” the study says. “The negatives of field work were equally salient, occasionally reflected in the ‘thousand-yard stares’ of those who have seen the horror, touched the carnage, heard the cries of victims and families, and have smelled the stench of terrorist strikes, none of which can ever be expunged.”

Some field professionals said field work can become “’addictive,’ but not in a good way."

“For some haunted professionals it has become the only place they feel truly at home, because they crave the excitement or because every place else seems alien and tame,” Wilder says.

For all the negatives, however, Wilder reported the dozens of CT personnel agreed that their work was extremely rewarding because, as one put it, “I felt like I had a bit part in an international passion play that the whole world was watching.”

They also “came to better appreciate the precious and fragile nature of life and of life’s small pleasures because of the terrible, destructive nature of terrorism,” the study says.

For some, facing evil head on led to a new understanding of themselves.

“When you do this type of work, you have to work out for yourself why people can be so evil and also so good,” one said. “We are all human right? So you need to think through your personal philosophy about responsibility, right and wrong. There are no easy answers, but everyone in [CT work] is forced eventually to [address these issues] and hard though it was, I am glad I was forced to. I’m a deeper person, maybe a better one.”

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Kim Komando, The "Weekend" Roundup, Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy!), Art Bell, The Real Estate Show, Bill Handel, Chef John Folse "Stirin' It Up" , Doug Stephan's Weekend, The Pet Show & When Radio Was!.

Chef John Folse

Chef John Folse & Company

"Stirin' It Up"

Saturday At Noon!




Leo LaPorte




1 TO 5PM

Doug Stephan

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