Tornadoes hit Texas, one person dead after storms in Arkansas

ABC News(NEW YORK) — One man is dead in Benton County, Arkansas after wind gusts of up to 80 mph caused a tree to fall on his lake house in the Beaver Lake area at about 1:30 a.m. Monday.

There have been 120 damaging storm reports in six states so far — this includes three tornadoes in Texas with one being in the Dallas area and two being in eastern Texas east of Tyler.

In McIntosh County, Oklahoma, winds gusted to 82 mph and damage was reported throughout the state from Oklahoma City to Tulsa.

Baseball-sized hail was also reported in Johnston and Lincoln counties in Oklahoma.

On Monday morning, a tornado watch continues for a huge part of the heartland from southern Illinois to eastern Texas. Severe storms with a threat for tornadoes will also be possible Monday morning.

On Monday afternoon, the storm system that brought all the severe weather overnight to the southern Plains will move into the Gulf Coast with the largest tornado threat being from Louisiana to Misissippi.

Damaging winds will be possible from Memphis, Tennessee to Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans to Houston.

This storm system moves east on Tuesday with severe storms possible in the Carolinas.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Scoreboard roundup — 10/20/19

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Vancouver 3, NY Rangers 2
Minnesota 4, Montreal at 3
Washington 5, Chicago 3
Winnipeg 1, Edmonton 0
Calgary 2, Anaheim 1

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Jacksonville 27, Cincinnati 17
Green Bay 42, Oakland 24
Buffalo 1, Miami 21
L.A. Rams 37, Atlanta 10.
Minnesota 42, Detroit 30
Indianapolis 30, Houston 23
Arizona 27, NY Giants 21
San Francisco 9, Washington 0
Tennessee 23, L.A. Chargers 20
New Orleans 36, Chicago 25
Baltimore 30, Seattle 16
Dallas 37, Philadelphia 10

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Philadelphia 4, New York 3
LA Galaxy 2, Minnesota 1

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

West Point cadet missing after extensive search, took assault rifle with him

fdastudillo/iStock(NEW YORK) — A U.S. Military Academy cadet has gone missing and officials at the West Point campus believe he has taken a service weapon with him, according to officials.

The unnamed cadet, a member of the 2021 graduating class, has been missing since Friday evening. Officials said he was last seen at about 5:30 p.m. at West Point, and an “extensive” search has already been done by military, federal, state and local agencies.

West Point said an M4 rifle was also missing, and presumed in possession of the cadet, but they are “not believed to have any magazines or ammunition.”

There is no indication the cadet poses a threat to the public, officials said, but they are worried he poses a threat to himself.

“I want to thank the local and state law enforcement agencies and emergency services for their tireless support,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, 60th superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, said in a statement. “We will continue to search with all means possible, on and off West Point. Safely locating the Cadet remains our focus and number one priority.”

Authorities said the cadet was supposed to compete in a military skills competition over the weekend, but did not show up for the initial road march.

Military Police, New York State Police and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department have been involved in the search. The Coast Guard also began searching the coast line for the missing cadet Sunday morning.

A state police helicopter, drones and K-9s have also been used in the search.

West Point is about an hour north of New York City on the banks of the Hudson River. About 4,000 cadets attend the military school.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Alec Baldwin reveals Lorne Michael’s “Jedi mind trick” to get him to play Donald Trump on ‘SNL’

ABC(NEW YORK) —  Alec Baldwin was Jimmy Fallon’s guest on a special Sunday night edition of NBC’s The Tonight Show, and revealed the “Jedi mind trick” Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels used to get him to reprise his impersonation of President Donald Trump, despite vowing never to do it again.

Baldwin says it begins with Michaels calling him up the day before the show. “And he’s like, [mimicking Lorne’s voice] ‘Well, I don’t think you understand.’ And I go, ‘what don’t I understand? I’ve been thinking about it like all summer, every day that’s all I think about.'”

“Unconsciously, Lorne starts with one powerful premise, which is, ‘I hired you, didn’t I? My judgement is flawless. I gave you your biggest job, right?'” Baldwin continues. “And you’re kinda like, ‘Yeah, he’s got a point.'”

Adds Baldwin, “So I came and I did it, and I’m going to do it a few times.”

Alec also told Fallon that the impression gets a mixed reaction from people he meets on the street.

“Most people will walk up to me and go, ‘Thank you,'” he explains. “Or, it’s like a bunch of construction workers and they’re like, ‘There he is, that a****** Alec Baldwin.'”

“But it’s all a spoof, we don’t mean anything bad,” Baldwin said, before adding with a hearty laugh, “That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all year.”

Baldwin was promoting his upcoming film, Motherless Brooklyn, opening nationwide November 1.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Audio All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ tops the box office with a disappointing $36 million

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney(NEW YORK) — It wasn’t the big weekend Disney had predicted for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, but the film still managed to topple Joker with an estimated $36 million haul. The sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, reprising their roles from the first film, delivered almost half the $69.4 million the studio had predicted.

Overseas, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil brought in an estimated $117 million, bringing its worldwide totals to $153 million.  Disney is the parent company of ABC Audio.

This weekend’s other major release, Zombieland: Double Tap, finished on the higher end of expectations, earning an estimated $26.7 million for a third place finish.  The sequel to the surprise 2009 horror zombie apocalypse cult hit, featuring the original cast Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone, topped the $24.7 million debut of its predecessor.

Joker, in its third week of release, slipped to second place with an estimated $29.2 million haul.  The film added an estimated $77.8 million overseas, for a global total that of $737 million.

In fourth place was the animated adaptation of The Addams Family, collecting an estimated $16.05 in its second week of release.

Rounding out the top five was Gemini Man, grabbing an estimated $8.5 million in its second week of release.

In limited release, the horror film The Lighthouse, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, opened strong with an estimated $419,764 from eight theaters.  Likewise, Jojo Rabbit, the World War II satire written, directed and starring Taika Waititi [TIE-ka Wah-TEET-ee], along with Scarlett Johansson, had an impressive opening weekend, with an estimated $350,000 from just five locations.  It led all other newcomers with a $70,000 per theater average.

Here are the top 10 movies Friday through Sunday, with estimated domestic box office earnings:

1. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, $36 million
2. Joker, $29.2 million
3. Zombieland 2: Double Tap, $26.7 million
4. The Addams Family, $16.05 million
5. Gemini Man, $8.5 million
6. Abominable, $3.5 million
7. Downton Abbey, $3.08 million
8. Judy, $2.55 million
9. Hustlers, $2.05 million
10. It: Chapter Two, $1.5 million

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Quentin Tarantino bucks pressure from China to recut ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

Brian Dowling/© 2019 CTMG, Inc.(NEW YORK) — Despite China delaying the release Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, reportedly over its depiction of Bruce Lee, the filmmaker has refused the country’s demand to recut the movie.

The movie had been approved for release in China this coming Friday, but regulators have suddenly changed their minds.

The film has been “indefinitely put on hold,” sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. No explanation was given to Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio behind the film, as to why, but the insiders say it was in response to a complaint from Lee’s daughter Shannon over the depiction of her late father.

The movie includes a scene in which Brad Pitt’s stuntman Cliff Booth, laughs in the face of Lee, played by Mike Moh, over a comment by Lee saying that he could have “crippled” Muhammad Ali — referred to as Cassius Clay in the film — in a fight.  The two then get into a “friendly” contest of who can knock the other down three times without hitting the face.  Neither side wins, but Pitt appears to have an edge near the end, after throwing Lee into the side of a classic car.

According to THR, Tarantino “is taking a take-it-or-leave-it stance in the wake of Chinese regulators pulling the film from the schedule a week before its release in the country October 25.”

The film, which co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s a huge star in China thanks to 1997’s Titanic, has earned $366 million to date and would likely have topped the $400 million mark after opening in China.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Jennifer Lawrence officially off the market, serves up a feast and a half at her wedding

JenAphotographer/iStock(NEW YORK) — Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney are married, tying the knot in a Saturday ceremony in Rhode Island.

People reports that the ceremony was well attended by Hollywood elite, including Emma Stone, Amy Schumer, Ashley Olsen, Kris Jenner and Adele.  In all, 150 guests celebrated with the happy couple.

However, the guest list isn’t what’s making the news — it’s the food the happy couple served up during their fantastic reception.

Beyond the trays of smoked fish and beef roasting on open fire spits, there were also two food trucks in attendance: Boston’s Baddest Burger and Sandwich Company. 

The owner of Boston’s Baddest Burger Food Truck revealed he had no idea he was catering the event for such a famous client.  Kevin Tortorella told People that he was told days before the reception to go to a “specific address in Rhode Island.”  He soon learned he wasn’t working a regular gig.

“When I got there, the roads were sidelined with paparazzi and that’s when I started to be clued in,” he added.

The trucks rolled up around 11 p.m. and parked outside the reception, which was held at the famous mansion, Belcourt of Newport.

Considering Lawrence earned her adoring fans in part due to her quirky food obsession — chili pizza sandwich, anyone? — the wedding menu is definitely on brand for the Oscar winner.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Hilary Duff admits her third grade son’s homework terrifies her

romrodinka/iStock(NEW YORK) — Hilary Duff opened up about the challenges of parenting and admitted that she is not the perfect mother.  In fact, her son’s homework is her biggest weakness.

The Younger star revealed in an Instagram post that she struggles to help her third grade son, Luca, with his assignments for a very interesting reason.

“I stopped going to “real” school in 3rd grade so I’m actually doomed,” Duff sheepishly explained. “I am left scratching my head alll the time looking at his homework and I’m terrified for next year!”

She also let it slip that her son’s homework began testing her when he was in second grade.

However, not everything is gloom and doom for Duff.  She pointed out the silver lining when writing, “Singapore math is the s**t….also learned a lot about tick birds this week.”  

Thankfully, Duff wasn’t mommy shamed for her admission.  Instead, the comment section turned into a public forum of frustrated parents airing their grievances over their elementary school students’ homework.  Fans mostly directed their frustrations at math homework.

Parents griping about math isn’t a new phenomenon.  Common Core was first introduced in 2009 and quickly became the butt of many jokes made by stressed parents.  

The notion was even used for an extremely relatable scene in 2018’s Incredibles II where one of the main characters, Bob, attempts to help his son with math homework and famously sputters, “Why would they change math?  Math is math!”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Hundreds of inmates serving life for crimes as juveniles waiting for resentencing

MivPiv/iStock(NEW YORK) — In 1996, Clifton Gibson was tried and convicted of first degree murder.

It was a crime he committed two years earlier at the age of 17 — killing a man during a robbery — and one for which he takes full responsibility.

It was also a crime for which he received life without parole, plus 18 years and 4 months.

The issue of juvenile sentences of life without parole has been a long-standing concern of advocates and many in the legal community.

Despite Supreme Court rulings over the past decade that mandatory life sentences without parole were unconstitutional and that individuals who were already sentenced as juveniles should have their cases resentenced, there are hundreds of people still sitting behind bars who haven’t had their cases reviewed, experts say.

Michigan is one of the states with the largest number of such cases, with 181 people who have yet to be resentenced, according to the latest records from Michigan’s Department of Corrections. Two of those men have been in prison for 50 years, both having committed crimes when they were 17 years old, records from corrections department show.

Some recent cases where inmates have been resentenced have garnered national attention, like that of Sheldry Topp, who was convicted of murder when he was 17 and was released in February after 56 years behind bars, also in Michigan.

The issue of life without parole also came up in the case of Alvin Kennard, who was 22 years old and not a juvenile when he faced that mandatory sentence for stealing $50.75 from a bakery and spent 36 years behind bars.

At the time, Alabama law mandated the harsh sentence because it was Kennard’s fourth offense. The law has since been modified to give judges the option of granting parole.

“It’s an issue that impacts thousands of people,” said Liz Ryan, the president and CEO of the Youth First Initiative, referring to those who are waiting to be resentenced and their families. “There are people in many states that are serving these sentences whose cases have not been reviewed.”

Now, the Supreme Court is revisiting the issue of the constitutionality of juvenile sentences of life without parole in a case involving Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 years old when he participated in the Beltway Sniper attacks. His case was heard before the court this Wednesday.

“Especially harsh”

From the 1980s up until about a decade ago, the U.S. prison and jail population exploded — fueled in part by the war on drugs and tough-on-crime laws in the 1990s as well as longer sentences — and then began a gradual decline starting in 2008.

The number of prisoners serving life and life without parole also grew over this time period from 34,000 in 1984 to nearly 162,000 in 2016, according to the Sentencing Project.

Counting those serving “virtual life sentences” of 50 years or more, that number climbs to nearly 207,000 in 2016. And the number of life sentences continues to increase, despite a decline in the violent crime rate since the 1990s, the group reports.

The U.S. is the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to life without parole, experts said. As of 2016, there were approximately 2,300 inmates who were serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles. Supreme Court cases over the past decade have chipped away at harsh sentencing for people convicted as juveniles, first by invalidating the death penalty, then targeting life without parole for those convicted of non-homicide crimes, followed by homicide.

The argument has been that children don’t have the same level of maturity and appreciation of consequences that adults do. They also have a greater capacity for reform, advocates said.

“Life without parole is an especially harsh punishment for a juvenile,” former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the opinion of Graham v. Florida, a 2010 case that invalidated life without parole for juveniles who committed non-homicide crimes. “Under this sentence a juvenile offender will on average serve more years and a greater percentage of his life in prison than an adult offender.”

‘Like a slow fog that moved in on me’

On June 8, 1994, Gibson, shot and killed a man in Big Bear, California during a car break-in that turned into a botched robbery.

“I’m completely responsible, from the very beginning to the end,” Gibson told ABC News.

Gibson, who had no criminal record at that point, faced multiple charges in connection to the crime, the most serious being first degree murder with special circumstances, and though he was a juvenile at the time, he was tried as an adult. He said that the reality of what life without the possibility of parole meant didn’t sink in for several years.

“I don’t think that mentally and emotionally, that I had grasped the concept that this is forever, that you’re going to be locked up forever,” Gibson said.

He said a few years after the court proceedings, following his sentencing in 1996, “that’s kind of when my despair settled in.”

“It wasn’t all of a sudden, like an epiphany. It was like a slow fog that moved in on me. It began like blanketing my hope of ever being released, or ever touching a tree, or hearing children play,” he said.

There were other obstacles as well. For a number of years while he was in prison, before state laws changed, certain rehabilitative services and education programs were not available to anyone facing a life without parole sentence.

“We weren’t allowed to attend self-help classes, any vocational classes, Pell grants [for college classes] had been stripped,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s prospect of release — and that of others — rested on two pivotal Supreme Court cases.

In the 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama, the court held that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles were unconstitutional. The Miller ruling was pivotal for Gibson, because it influenced the state of California to pass SB 9 in early 2013, which called for resentencing of juvenile life without parole offenders.

Though his case was denied at first, years of appeals, the passage of another state law that called for reviews of those who had served 25 years for juvenile life without parole sentences, and a different judge led to Gibson’s release in April of this year.

During his time in prison, Gibson said he helped start a group called “men for honor,” a writing program they helped inmates reflect and grow as people. And he took vocational courses in prison as well as those offered through an outreach program with Cal State – Los Angeles. He’s on track to get his bachelor’s degree in organizational communication in December. He currently works full-time at a non-profit that helps connect formerly incarcerated individuals with resources in an effort “to reduce the chance of returning to crime,” he said.

He also said that he is a life parolee, which he described as meaning that he could be on parole for anywhere from three years to forever.

Unsurprisingly, Gibson, who described himself as a “troubled teen” when he committed the crime, believes that taking the option of parole away is wrong.

“I think everybody is capable of changing who they were,” he said.

States fight back

Other states were less willing to follow the Miller decision and California’s model with resentencing.

The 2016 Montgomery v. Louisiana decision in 2016 stemmed from Louisiana contesting the idea of making the Miller decision retroactive. While the Montgomery case held that the Miller decision was retroactive, it didn’t specify how those facing life without parole as juveniles should have their cases reviewed.

“There was no letter that was received by these individuals in prison, so they had to self-identify, file to get back into court, get lawyers, and make their case for resentencing,” said Jody Kent Lavy, the executive director for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.

There are no official national figures on exactly how many individuals meet the criteria set forth in Miller. Experts believe that at the time that decision was handed down in 2012, there were approximately 2,000 individuals who had received mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Marsha Levick, the chief legal officer for the Juvenile Law Center, said that three states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Louisiana — were responsible for about 60% of the individuals in that 2,000 estimate.

Levick estimates at a minimum that several hundred of the some 2,000 individuals who had been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole prior to the Miller decision have yet to be resentenced.

That appears to fit with Lavy’s estimate as well — about 2,600 people who had either received mandatory or discretionary life sentences without the possibility of parole as juveniles prior to the Miller decision. She said that some 1,700 of that number have since been resentenced, leaving an estimated 900 individuals who had either mandatory or discretionary sentences that have not been resentenced.

Emotional toll

The emotional toll of being handed a sentence that essentially says you’ll never be leaving prison alive is one that can’t be underestimated, advocates say.

Michael Mendoza, the national director of criminal justice reform group #Cut50, knows the impact of a heavy sentence first hand. He was 16 when he was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison as a result of a second-degree murder conviction, where he was involved in a gang murder where he was not the shooter.

“To a kid, that’s basically a message that society has given up on you. That they actually don’t care about you,” Mendoza told ABC News.

Even for those with the possibility of parole, Mendoza said that the “tough on crime” stance of the 1990s left many with little hope.

“If you received a life sentence in the mid-90s, back in those times, nobody was going home even with parole,” he said.

“Main message from them was ‘get used to this place, this place will be your home, this place will be your life,’” Mendoza said.

“I became more fearful, more hopeless, more angry, and I entered into the adult prison system on my 17th birthday with that mentality,” he said.

Efforts at reform

Beyond the action at the Supreme Court level, states have taken the issue into their own hands in the past decade. Lavy noted how before the Miller decision in 2012, there were only five states that banned juvenile sentences of life without the possibility of parole, and that number has since grown to 22 states and D.C.

“There’s been a trend to move away from these sentences all together,” she said, calling it a bipartisan effort with “conservative states leading the way.”

“I think it just reflects a broad understanding of the fact that kids shouldn’t be condemned to die in prison for mistakes they made at a time that they’re still developing,” she said.

Advocates like Levick see the increased attention on sentencing of juveniles as a possibility “to return to this notion of second chances.”

“Historically we have always viewed children who commit crimes as really being eligible for second chances,” Levick said. “I would argue that particularly in the 1990s with the whole ‘super predator’ myth… we really lost our way and kind of abandoned our first principles.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019

Man paralyzed by shooting awarded $750K after officers mistook him for burglar in his own home

domnicky/iStock(HOLLYWOOD, S.C.) — A South Carolina man has settled a lawsuit against the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, ending a years-long battle that began when an officer shot him in his own home after mistaking him for a burglar.

Bryant Heyward, who was left paralyzed by by a police shooting in 2015 after calling 911 to report a home invasion, settled his lawsuit against the sheriff’s office for $750,000 — a far cry from the $25 million he’d originally asked for, his attorney revealed Sunday.

“This case was very complicated. Bryant was a completely innocent guy and everything that could have went wrong did go wrong,” his attorney, Justin Bamberg, told ABC News on Sunday. “With no footage of the shooting, certain factual disputes created a proverbial he-said, he-said situation. However, nothing changes the fact that Bryant was an innocent homeowner shot in a tragic turn of events.”

“His life changed forever, but he’s one of the fortunate ones who survived one of these bad encounters with law enforcement,” he added.

Heyward called 911 during an armed burglary at his home in Hollywood, South Carolina, just west of Charleston. Authorities said he had a gun in his hand when Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene.

In a recording of the 911 call, the victim told the dispatcher that two men with guns are trying to break into his house, banging at the window. Later in the call, he pleaded with the dispatcher for the police to hurry.

The burglars had run off by the time police arrived and the responding deputies said they didn’t know the homeowner was armed.

Heyward filed the lawsuit in 2017 after the shooting left him paralyzed from the neck down and in need of medical care for the rest of his life. He is unable to feed or bathe himself and has developed bed sores and diabetes, according to his attorney.

He was left with long-standing emotional trauma as well. Bamberg said the legal battle eventually helped his client become stronger and more resilient, but it felt like an uphill battle at times.

“I’ve had a few cases in my career that emotionally put me through the wringer and this is one of them,” Bamberg said. “It hurts to have a young man who is in his late 20s tell you they would rather be dead because he can’t move anything below his neck.”

“Over time, his spirit revitalized and his spirit was rebuilt. Now he says, ‘I’m a survivor, I can beat this.’ He learned how to use this chair and he realized that he’s blessed because he still gets to talk to his loved ones and visit his friends,” he added.

Bamberg said the settlement happened in May, but Heyward wanted to keep it private out of fear for his safety. Now, he hopes to let his story be an inspiration to others.

“We didn’t say anything; we were mindful that what kick-started this whole thing was foolish people trying to break in to steal from him,” Bamberg said. “We didn’t want to put out how much money he got just in case someone tried to target his house again.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Oct 2019