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No Murder Charges Filed in Case of Baby Cut from Womb

Boulder County Sheriff's Office(LONGMONT, Colo.) -- The woman accused of attacking a pregnant woman and cutting her unborn child from her womb will not face murder charges for the death of the baby, the Boulder County district attorney announced Friday, because the baby never lived outside the womb.

District Attorney Stan Garnett said at a Friday press conference that the cause of the baby's death was as yet unknown, but test results were pending. Still, because an autopsy and investigation failed to provide evidence that the baby "exhibited signs of life outside of the womb," murder charges could not be brought.

"A prosecutor can not file murder charges when a baby who is killed has not lived outside the body of the mother," Garnett explained. "For similar reasons, I can not bring charges of child abuse resulting in death."

"I understand that many people in the community, and Heaven knows I've heard from a lot of them, would like me to have filed homicide charges," Garnett concluded. "However, that is not possible under Colorado law without proof of a live birth."

Dynel Lane was accused of luring the victim to a Longmont home, beating her, and cutting the baby out of her. Police later arrested Lane at a hospital after she arrived with the dead child.

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Oklahoma Frat Members Learned Racist Chant During Cruise: School

ABC News(NORMAN, Okla.) -- The University of Oklahoma fraternity members who were recorded singing a racist chant on a bus learned the song during a leadership cruise held by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon's national organization four years ago, university officials announced on Friday.

The University of Oklahoma's chapter of SAE was closed earlier this month after the recording was released online. Two students were subsequently expelled from the school.

The university launched an investigation into the use of the chant, and school president David Boren announced on Friday that school officials had found that the 2011 cruise was the first known contact that their students had with the song.

It was then brought back to the school's chapter where it was shared with members and pledges for the past four years.

Boren says there is no evidence this was a nationally sanctioned chant, but that it appears to have been widely known by SAE members from around the country at that leadership cruise.

In a statement, the SAE national organization confirmed that members of its University of Oklahoma chapter "likely learned a racist chant while attending a national Leadership School about four years ago," but that there was no evidence the chant is widespread among its 237 chapters.

"We remain committed to identifying and rooting out racist behavior from SAE," the organization's Executive Director Blaine Ayers said in a statement, "but our investigation shows no evidence the song was widely shared across the broader organization." SAE says it invites hundreds of leaders to an annual six-day leadership retreat that includes classes, seminars and social gatherings. Ayers speculated that it was during such a social gathering that "some members shared the racist song that was recorded on video at the University of Oklahoma and shared through social media earlier this month," the organization's statement read.

"The song is horrific and does not at all reflect our values as an organization," Ayers said. "If we find any other examples of this kind of behavior currently occurring, we will hold our members accountable, just as we've done in Oklahoma."

No further details about the cruise have been released, including where it sailed and how many members were involved.

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Investigators Say Contents of Drum 'Incompatible,' Caused 2014 Radiation Leak at New Mexico Facility

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(CARLSBAD, N.M.) -- Investigators looking into the radiation leak at a New Mexico nuclear waste dump from last year found that the use of organic kitty litter may have created an incompatible mixture in one of the drums stored at the site.

The radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant led to the contamination of 21 workers. A 2014 report on the leak slammed federal staff and outside contractors who were responsible for running and overseeing WIPP.

According to a new report released this month, the leak can be traced to an incompatible mixture of nitrate salt residues, organic sorbent -- in the form of Swheat Scoop kitty litter -- and triethanolamine, a neutralization agent.

Internal chemical reactions within the drum caused the contents to breach, and that breach was the source of radioactive contamination at WIPP. Tests indicated that had the drum contained an inorganic sorbent, such as zeolite in place of the Swheat Scoop, the conditions would likely have remained normal and avoided a breach of the drum.

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At Least Five Injured in California School Explosion

Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) -- At least five people were injured in an explosion at a California middle school.

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, five patients were taken from Ethan Chase Middle School by ambulance after  18 students were exposed to a loud explosive device and suffered minor injuries. The 13 students not taken by ambulance were either picked up from the school by their parents or were being held by the sheriff's department until their parents arrived.

The explosion was reported at 11:05 a.m. local time.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion or why the device was on the school's grounds.

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NASA Launches Year-Long Experiment

NASA-TV(NEW YORK) -- An unprecedented NASA experiment began on Friday, with Astronaut Scott Kelly and a pair of Russian cosmonauts blasting off, bound for the International Space Station, where Kelly will spend the next year.

Kelly and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark, will be human guinea pigs. While Scott spends the year in space, Mark will remain on the ground. NASA hopes to compare what happens to the bodies and brains of the two men in such different environments.

The launch took place on Friday afternoon, with video inside the rocket showing Kelly giving a thumbs up.

Beforehand, Kelly posted a photo to Instagram showing him closing up shop for the next year.

 

Shutting down my office for a while. #ISS1year #iss #office #nasa #jsc #timetogo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on Feb 15, 2015 at 10:42am PST

 

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NYC Building Fire: Restaurant Owner Smelled Gas Before Massive Explosion, Officials Say

Todd Maisel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- With the cause of a fire and explosion that destroyed several buildings in Manhattan's East Village on Thursday still under investigation, officials Friday revealed details that may have led up to the blast.

The explosion reportedly came after the building's owner and a contractor arrived to investigate the smell of gas, police said.

Three buildings collapsed and a fourth building was seriously damaged, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, and the fire department is still actively fighting the fire. Though the cause appears to be a gas explosion, no final conclusion has been drawn, he added.

Twenty-two people were injured -- four critically, De Blasio said Friday.

No fatalities have been reported, but two people remain unaccounted for.

Two of the most seriously injured victims were Michael Hrynenko, a building co-owner, and Dilber Kukic, a general contractor working at the site who helped carry Hrynenko away from the blast, police said. Both were being treated at New York Presbyterian Hospital's burn unit.

Con Ed inspectors arrived at the building at 2 p.m. Thursday to meet with the contractor to evaluate work being done by a plumber in the basement of one of the buildings, according to police, and the work failed inspection.

After the inspectors left, the owner of the Sushi Park restaurant, located in one of the buildings, notified a building owner, Maria Hrynenko, mother of Michael Hrynenko, of a gas odor, according to police. Michael Hrynenko and Kukic met up at the location, and when they opened the side door of 119 Second Avenue, also known as 45 East 7th Street, there was an explosion, officials said.

Officials said Kukic is answering questions and helping with the investigation.

The Department of Buildings will be inspecting all of the surrounding buildings before they are re-inhabited, the mayor said.

The gas is shut off for the immediate surrounding area and air quality has returned to normal levels in the surrounding area.

"Once the debris is cleared and the fire is fully extinguished then we will do a full investigation and clean-up," De Blasio said, adding that the full investigation will "take days."

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Alabama Police Officer Indicted Amid Accusations of Using Unreasonable Force

iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Ala.) -- A federal grand jury indicted a Madison, Alabama police officer on Thursday night for use of unreasonable force against a man he was trying to question earlier this year.

Eric Sloan Parker, 26, was acting in his capacity as a police officer on Feb. 6 when he allegedly injured a man by slamming him into the ground. The man was not identified in the indictment.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Parker's actions "deprived the man in Madison of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by someone acting under the color of law."

In February, ABC News reported that Parker was accused of badly injuring an Indian man, Sureshbhai Patel, who was visiting family. A man had reported Patel as a supicious person, according to a 911 call released by police.

Parker is seen in dashcam video throwing Patel, 57, to the ground.

The Madison Police Department's Chief Larry Muncey said that he had recommended Parker be fired.

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Driver Hailed a Hero After Rescuing Kids from Burning School Bus

KABC-TV(RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif.) -- A "hero" school bus driver in California directed students to exit a yellow bus just in the nick of time before it exploded in flames, authorities said.

The bus was dropping off students at Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School on Friday when the fire started around 8:15 a.m., according to Steve Concialdi, captain of the Orange County Fire Authority. 

The school, in Rancho Santa Margarita, said the "engine of the empty school bus spewed smoke and flames," according to its website.

The bus driver, whose name was not disclosed, noticed the engine was on fire, Concialdi said.

There were 35 students on board from the 7th and 8th grade, ages 12 to 14 years.

"[She] did an excellent job of getting all the students off safely. No one was injured. There were three kids who were emotionally distraught, who were treated by paramedics and released back to the school and parents. No one was transported to the hospital," Concialdi said, adding that the driver was a "hero."

Concialdi, who said the fire started in the engine compartment at the front of the bus, said the incident is under investigation and the bus is now "a total loss."

The fire started a small vegetation fire next to the school, so the school followed evacuation procedures, moving 1,325 students to the sports fields. Then, school continued in session Friday.


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Aaron Hernandez Fiancee Shayanna Jenkins Testifies at Murder Trial

ABC News(FALL RIVER, Mass.) — Aaron Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, said Friday in a Boston courtroom that the former New England Patriots star denied involvement in a friend's alleged murder.

Hernandez, 25, is accused of orchestrating Odin Lloyd's slaying June 17, 2013.

Jenkins said Friday morning that after she found out Lloyd had been killed, she asked Hernandez whether he did it, and he said "no."

"That was the extent of our conversation," she added.

Watch Jenkins' testimony here:


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At Least Two Unaccounted for After NYC Building Fire, Official Says

WABC-T(NEW YORK) — Two people were unaccounted for after a building explosion led to a seven-alarm fire in New York City, according to a New York Police Department official.

The NYPD official identified one of those unaccounted for as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. No information on the second person was immediately available.

Four people were in critical condition and at least 15 others were injured after the fire in Manhattan's East Village Thursday afternoon.

Figueroa's father, Nick Figueroa, told ABC News his son went to lunch in a restaurant at the bottom of the building that caught fire. He said he has had no contact with his son since the explosion and that investigators began searching for his son Thursday evening.

Neal Figueroa, Nicholas' brother, told ABC affiliate WABC-TV Friday morning outside the Harlem apartment he shares with his brother that the family knows Nicholas Figueroa was at the Sushi Park restaurant because he has a pending charge for $13.04 at the establishment. The family last heard from him just before 2 p.m. ET, he said.

"Right now, we're just worried," he said.

Neal Figueroa said his brother was on a second date with a female co-worker that he hadn't yet met, but who he believed was in the hospital with numerous injuries following the explosion.

The family found out Nicholas Figueroa was missing when he didn't show up to work at Bowlmor Lanes at Chelsea Piers, he said. He was expected at 5 p.m. ET.

Neal Figueroa said the family has tried to locate Nicholas Figueroa through police, investigators and 311.

Neal Figueroa told WABC-TV he was confident in his brother, referring to his brother as "Superman."

"I know he's strong enough to get out of this," he said.

It was unclear how many people were inside the building when the fire occurred, according to the New York City Fire Department. The incident took place in a bustling area with many restaurants and pedestrians, blocks away from New York University.

FDNY confirmed that three buildings collapsed as a result of the fire and that firefighters were still putting water on some pockets of fire Friday morning. As of 4:30 a.m. ET, firefighters had not started to go through the rubble.

"Preliminary evidence suggests a gas-related explosion," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, adding that the investigation is ongoing. He said the incident "appears to have been caused by plumbing and gas work that occurred in 121 2nd Avenue."

The four people in critical condition include two individuals with burns to their airways and another person who was unconscious following the event, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Of the about 250 firefighters who responded to the blaze, four were transported to area hospitals, where one was in fair condition, said the fire department. The conditions of the other firefighters weren't immediately released.

Around 3:17 p.m., witnesses reported what sounded like an explosion at Sushi Park restaurant at 121 2nd Avenue, which is at the bottom of a five-story, pre-war building that houses a handful of residential units.


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Texas Bridge Collapses After Truck Strikes Down Beam

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(DALLAS) -- Two massive concrete beams fell on I-35 between Dallas and Austin, Texas Thursday morning, killing one and injuring three others.

Investigators believe a semi truck caused the bridge collapse when it slammed into an overpass under construction.

Norberto Martinez, who heard the crash, said, "It was the two beams, fell on top of cars and the 18 wheelers. I worried so much, in fact I started praying for them."

Three signs posted two miles before the overpass warn of its height. Authorities are investigating why the truck driver seemed to ignore them.

"Were looking at the driver, the truck itself, and also the roadway," Harpin Myers from the Texas Department of Safety said.

Oversized vehicles hit bridges almost 13,000 times in the United States in 2013 alone.

The collision in Texas closed one of this state's busiest interstates all day, while crews cleared debris and the crushed pickup truck where one man lost his life.

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Denise Huskins' Attorney Says She Was Not Involved in a Hoax

Courtesy Mike Huskins(VALLEJO, Calif.) -- The attorney for a California woman who was reported abducted but found safe two days later said Thursday that she was not involved in a "hoax."

"She is absolutely unequivocally, 100 percent, positively a victim and [there is] no 'hoax,'" said Huskins' attorney, Doug Rappaport.

"She's distraught, she's emotionally and physically broken," he said.

Police in Vallejo, California, said on Wednesday they found "no evidence to support the claims" that Denise Huskins was abducted from a home before she was found alive two days later and more than 400 miles away. The Vallejo home from which Huskins, 29, was reportedly taken belongs to Aaron Quinn, 30. Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park said the two were dating.

Huskins was questioned for at least six hours, according to her attorney.

"She's fully cooperated with law enforcement with the hope to clear her name," he said.

Quinn's lawyer, Dan Russo, also denied that Quinn was involved in a hoax. He said Thursday that Quinn has "cooperated fully with the authorities," including in a 17-hour interrogation and seven visits to the police station. Russo said there was more than one kidnapper, and that Quinn was drugged and bound.

Police said that Quinn told authorities that Huskins' abductors made a $8,500 ransom demand.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday reported it received an email the day before from an "anonymous person claiming to be holding Denise Huskins."

On Thursday, the Chronicle reported it received a second email from a person claiming to be one of the kidnappers and saying that the abduction was real.

Vallejo police said in a statement that it would request either state or federal charges "if evidence indicates that either Ms. Huskins or Mr. Quinn have committed a criminal act."

"I'm assuming that any police officer or any district attorney will see there is no basis whatsoever to file charges," Huskins' attorney said.

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Federal Judge Grants Injunction to Halt Expansion of Medical Leave Benefits to Some Same-Sex Couples

AndreyPopov/iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A federal judge in Texas granted an injunction on Thursday that will stop the expansion of medical leave benefits to some same-sex couples.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement that "the Obama Adminstration's attempt to force employers to recognize same-sex marriages would have put state agencies in the position of either violating Texas law or federal regulations." Paxton's office filed a suit against the U.S. Department of Labor over the Family and Medical Leave Act's revised definition of "spouse" on March 18.

The FMLA would include same-sex spouses if the marriage occurred in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage and allow those spouses to receive family and medical leave benefits even in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. The rule was slated to take effect on Friday.

The Texas Attorney General's Office was joined in its lawsuit by the offices of the attorneys general of Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.

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Massive Alligator Spotted Again on Florida Golf Course

Myakka Pines Golf Course(ENGLEWOOD, Fla.) — A massive alligator seen roaming a Florida golf course has been spotted again.

The alligator, apparently named "Goliath," was seen eating a turtle on Thursday morning at the Myakka Pines Golf Course in Englewood, Florida, according to the club's Facebook page.

 

 

The gators name is "Goliath"!! Thanks to everyone who voted...it took a while to count from 3 posts. So happy he has a...

Posted by Myakka Pines Golf Club on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Two people at the course had seen the alligator roaming the course earlier this month.

The club's general manager told ESPN that he estimated the size of the gator was 12 to 13 feet.

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National Guardsman and His Cousin Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI has arrested two men -- one of them a current member of the Illinois National Guard -- for allegedly trying to join ISIS, the terrorist group wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, authorities said Thursday.

Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested Wednesday at Chicago Midway International Airport as he was trying to fly to Egypt, according to authorities. His cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, was arrested at his home.

Both men are from Aurora, Illinois, and appeared in federal court on Thursday. They were formally charged with conspiring to provide material support to a known foreign terrorist organization. They face a maximum penalty if convicted of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hasan Edmonds first came onto the FBI’s radar in late 2014 as he hatched a plan for him to join ISIS overseas while Jonas Edmonds launched an attack inside the United States, according to the Justice Department.

This comes a week after a former U.S. Air Force veteran was indicted by federal authorities for allegedly trying to join ISIS.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, who is from New Jersey but had been living overseas for years, was secretly arrested two months ago after being deported back to the United States.

On his laptop, FBI agents allegedly discovered more than 180 jihadist propaganda videos and noticed he had been conducting online searches for such phrases as "borders controlled by Islamic state," "kobani border crossing," and "who controls kobani."

Last month, three New York City men were arrested on charges they allegedly conspired to join ISIS but also expressed willingness to carry out attacks on the terror group's behalf in the United States. The men had planned to travel to the Middle East and had also pledged to launch attacks in this country, including one on President Obama or planting a bomb in Coney Island, Brooklyn, federal officials said.

Over the past 18 months, about 30 people have been charged with joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq or trying to do so.

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