Brendt Christensen’s former girlfriend claims he was ‘proud’ about killing

U.S. NEWS Brendt Christensen's former girlfriend claims he was 'proud' about killing https://linewsradio.com/brendt-christensens-former-girlfriend-claims-he-was-proud-about-killing/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(NEW YORK) — The former girlfriend of accused killer Brendt Christensen, who recorded his alleged admission of brutally killing 26-year-old Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang, testified Wednesday that Christensen seemed “proud” and “excited” when describing how he killed her.

On June 16, 2017, Terra Bullis, who said she started dating Christensen in April that year after meeting on OkCupid, agreed to use a hidden audio device for the FBI.

“I was emotionally attached to this person and wanted to know if they had done anything or not,” Bullis, 32, said she told prosecutors after being asked why she agreed to wear a wire. “I would be able to inform both myself and potentially law enforcement.”

She said on the stand that she recorded Christensen, 29, a total of nine times and that his alleged admission was recorded on June 29, 2017, as he and Bullis attended a vigil for Zhang.

The defense did not dispute that Christensen’s voice was on the recording.

In the June 29 audio, Christensen is heard describing Zhang’s “valiant” efforts to fight back, saying it was “supernatural almost how [Zhang] just didn’t give up.” Bullis said he seemed “boastful” and was bragging.

Christensen went on to say in the recording that he decapitated Zhang to ensure she was deceased after assaulting her with a baseball bat.

Christensen, who is currently standing trial in federal court, is accused of kidnapping and killing Zhang, an agriculture researcher.

She was last seen on video entering a Saturn Astra on June 9, 2017. The FBI became involved after the video surfaced and the case moved from a disappearance to a possible kidnapping.

Within days, investigators tracked the Saturn Astra back to Christensen. Zhang’s body has not been found.

Although he had pleaded not guilty, Christensen’s attorney in his opening statement admitted that his client killed and kidnapped Zhang.

Bullis described the fear she said she felt throughout her undercover work. At one point, prosecutor James Nelson asked about loud thumping that could be heard through much of the June 29 audio.

“That was my heartbeat,” Bullis responded.

Bullis said Christenesen looked through her phone on June 29, but, she said, she had deleted emails between herself and the FBI moments prior.

In that June 29 audio, which was played in court, Christensen is heard telling Bullis several times that Zhang was his 13th victim — adding that he had been killing since he was 19 years old.

“Yingying is the only person that produced evidence that leads back to me,” said Christensen in the audio recording. “Number 13.”

Bullis testified that Christensen told her he “admired” serial killers like Ted Bundy. He is heard telling Bullis his victim count is “bigger than Jeffrey Dahmer — bigger than John Wayne Gacy,” both notorious American serial killers.

She told the prosecutor she agreed to testify in open court “because it was necessary” and that the FBI paid her an approximate seven or eight thousand dollars for her assistance, which she said was to help cover living arrangements after quitting her job shortly after the June 29 recording.

The defense cross-examined Bullis for about two hours. Defense attorney Robert Tucker accused Bullis of trying to “implicate” Christensen during their June 29 conversation. “That is not true, sir,” Bullis responded.

Tucker pointed out instances in the audio when Bullis seemed to go along with Christensen, stating that she was “attracted” to this serial killer. Bullis responded that she said those words because she was “terrified” and wanted him to continue the conversation.

Tucker also noted that Christensen had been drinking at the time of this conversation. Bullis agreed, but said Christensen was not drunk at the time of his statements on tape.

In the last clip heard from the June 29 audio, Christensen tells Bullis he would not tell her nor anyone else what he did with Zhang’s body.

“No one will ever know where she is,” he is heard saying on the recording. “She’s gone forever.”

The defense is looking to spare Christensen from a possible death sentence and added in opening statements that it took issues with the way the prosecution “says the events [of the crime] occurred.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

Seals learn to mimic human tones, Scottish scientists say

U.S. NEWS Seals learn to mimic human tones, Scottish scientists say https://linewsradio.com/seals-learn-to-mimic-human-tones-scottish-scientists-say/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

John MacDougall/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Scientists from the University of St Andrews in Scotland say they’ve taught grey seals to mimic human tones.

The two scientists raised three seals from birth, training them to copy human vowel combinations.

Scientists from the University of St Andrews in Scotland say they’ve taught grey seals to mimic human tones.

The two scientists raised three seals from birth, training them to copy human vowel combinations.

One seal, named Zola, could reproduce up to 10 notes from “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

“This study gives us a better understanding of the evolution of vocal learning, a skill that is crucial for human language development,” a spokesperson for the university says.

The study says seals “could be a new model system to study speech disorders,” according to a release from the university.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

FBI warns of foreign actors trying to ‘sow discord’ in the wake of mass shootings

U.S. NEWS FBI warns of foreign actors trying to 'sow discord' in the wake of mass shootings https://linewsradio.com/fbi-warns-of-foreign-actors-trying-to-sow-discord-in-the-wake-of-mass-shootings/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Houses of worship remain a vulnerable target for attacks and foreign entities could be looking to “sow discord” using the internet, an FBI official warned at a security event with law enforcement officials and faith leaders this week.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, urged faith leaders to have a share information with U.S. authorities and to have a “strategic perspective” in thinking about security.

“You need to be thinking about this for the next six months. You need to be thinking about this for the next year. What are the consequences of going to conflict with Iran and Hezbollah, those actors of interest here,” the official said.

“You need to be thinking about that right now,” the official said.

“Clearly foreign disinformation efforts are intended to do more than interfere in our election,” John Cohen, the former undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security and an ABC contributor, said in an interview after the event. “They are seeking to inspire violent attacks in the United States.”

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced the arrest a Syrian refugee on allegations he wanted to bomb a church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

And this week, the community of Charleston, South Carolina is remembering the nine African American parishioners murdered at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church four years ago.

The report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, detailed how Russians sowed discord by using social media during the 2016 presidential election, and how the Russia-based Internet Research Agency used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while adopting identities claiming to be Americans.

“The president appears to be making decisions by the seat of his pants – impulsively,” he said. “Perhaps there is some logic that he understands in his madness but it’s driving the American people crazy and it’s presenting real concerns about whether or not a fire would be lit.”

Johnson blamed Trump for an “uptick in aggression” in the Middle East, adding the president “should be acting very carefully not to cause the unthinkable to happen.”

“Our nation is not leading. Our nation is being led by other nations and our leader is not a thoughtful individual, has not carefully studied the geopolitical situation in which he has stuck his heavy thumb,” Johnson said. “It’s like a bull in the china shop. A blind bull in the china shop at that.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

Pelosi, Schumer say they weren’t informed of Trump’s plan to strike Iran

Political News Pelosi, Schumer say they weren't informed of Trump's plan to strike Iran https://linewsradio.com/pelosi-schumer-say-they-werent-informed-of-trumps-plan-to-strike-iran/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The top two Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said Friday they were not informed by the White House of President Donald Trump’s plan to stage a military operation against Iran in retaliation for shooting down a U.S. drone.

“I did not receive any heads up that there was a strike that was in the works,” Pelosi told reporters. “Maybe the other leaders did on the Republican side, but I did not receive any of that.

“And that would be a departure,” she added. “The president has informed us, for example in Syria, before we went there.”

Pelosi said that during Thursday’s White House Situation Room briefing for a select few members of Congress, there was bipartisan agreement that the president should de-escalate the situation with Iran.

“We left with the idea that the president was going to consider some options,” Pelosi said.

She said that she hasn’t spoken to Trump on Friday, but she’s glad he didn’t go through with the strike.

“I don’t know how imminent the strike was, we hear different things, but a strike of that amount of collateral damage would be very provocative and I’m glad the president did not take that,” she said.

“De-escalate, de-escalate, de-escalate,” she said. Take a deep breath and de-escalate.”

While the president tweeted Friday that he stopped a U.S. military response “10 minutes before the strike,” congressional leaders who met with Trump in the White House Situation Room Thursday said that a military response was not discussed in the classified meeting and that Democrats made clear any military action needed congressional approval.

Indiana Republican Rep. Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, told ABC News that he has “confidence” in the Trump administration “to do the right thing” as it mulls a response to Iran shooting down a U.S. military drone this week.

“I have confidence in the administration, the State Department, the military to do the right thing on behalf of the American people,” Pence said, refusing to elaborate on his position.

Across the aisle, Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson said he was concerned by reports that the president scuttled a military operation after learning the toll of civilian casualties.

“The consequences if he had followed through would have been quite grave for the nation,” Johnson said. “The president is not acting carefully at this time. He has many of us very concerned about the direction of our country at this crucial time.”

House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, who attended the classified briefing in the White House Situation Room Thursday, criticized Trump for sharing details of the aborted plans on Twitter.

“That’s not the kind of thing that I think the president should say in public,” Smith, D-Wash., said. “He should not be saying stuff like that publicly because it gives the impression of a level of indecision.”

“I wish he was more discreet about what he shared with everybody,” he added.

Johnson said Trump should be consulting with congressional leadership.

“The president appears to be making decisions by the seat of his pants – impulsively,” he said. “Perhaps there is some logic that he understands in his madness but it’s driving the American people crazy and it’s presenting real concerns about whether or not a fire would be lit.”

Johnson blamed Trump for an “uptick in aggression” in the Middle East, adding the president “should be acting very carefully not to cause the unthinkable to happen.”

“Our nation is not leading. Our nation is being led by other nations and our leader is not a thoughtful individual, has not carefully studied the geopolitical situation in which he has stuck his heavy thumb,” Johnson said. “It’s like a bull in the china shop. A blind bull in the china shop at that.”

 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

Nik Wallenda on his high-wire walk across NYC’s Times Square: “There are a lot of distractions”

Entertainment News  Nik Wallenda on his high-wire walk across NYC's Times Square: "There are a lot of distractions" https://linewsradio.com/nik-wallenda-on-his-high-wire-walk-across-nycs-times-square-there-are-a-lot-of-distractions/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/

 

Walt Disney Television/Jeff Neira(NEW YORK) — In 2012, high-wire artist Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls. In 2013, he walked across the Grand Canyon.  But Sunday night, he’ll face the scariest challenge of all: walking across New York City.

More specifically, Nik will be walking on a 1,300-foot-long cable suspended 25 stories above street level across New York’s legendary Time Square. He’ll be joined by his sister, Lijana, in her first performance since she fell 30 feet off a tightrope in 2017.

“She’ll come out to the middle [of the wire], she’ll sit down, we’ll meet there,” Nik told ABC News. “I’ll then step over her and then she’ll get back up and she’ll walk to one side, I’ll walk to the other.”

Why Times Square?  Nik told ABC News, “Because it’s Times Square! No one in the world’s ever walked a wire over Times Square…and to be honest, the distractions of Times Square were a fascination to me.”

“The key to wire walking is not getting distracted,” he said at a press conference on the top of 1 Times Square, the location of the New Year’s Eve ball drop.  “Every distraction you can imagine is right down there. So to me, it was about pushing myself to be better at what I do.”

“There are a lot of distractions…the stability of the wire, the fact that my sister’s at the other end coming towards me….there’s definitely a lot going on,” he added. “More than I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire career.”

Also distracting? The wire he’s walking on is thin. Really thin.

“It’s a little smaller than my thumb…very close to the size of a quarter,” Nik says.  

Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda airs live Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

‘Siren’ star Eline Powell to make a splash at annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Entertainment News  'Siren' star Eline Powell to make a splash at annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade https://linewsradio.com/siren-star-eline-powell-to-make-a-splash-at-annual-coney-island-mermaid-parade/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/

 

Freeform/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Eline Powell, the star of Freeform’s mermaid thriller Siren, will be making a splash at the 37th annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York City on Saturday.

This year marks the Belgian actress’ first time at the parade and she’ll be riding a special Siren-themed float. She’s still deciding what she’ll be wearing to the celebration, which is known for its wild costumes and artistic expression.

“This is the best part about any community parade kind of thing, it’s the creativity that comes out,” Powell tells ABC Radio. “I’m obviously so keen to see what people dress up like. But, you know, to draw that to a bigger line, it’s also to see what their interpretation of mermaid is.”

Maybe she’ll even hit the beach at Coney Island after the parade is over. Powell says that playing the fierce mermaid Ryn on Siren hasn’t made her sick of the water — it’s only made her more inclined to take a beach vacation.

“At this point in time, I’m still like, ‘Does it have a beach? Does it have a sea or kind of place I can swim in?’ Otherwise I’m not too interested at the moment,” she laughs. “So it’s still a really big part of my life.” 

Siren, currently in its second season and recently renewed for a third, airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

Six charged after massive cocaine seizure at Philadelphia port

U.S. NEWS Six charged after massive cocaine seizure at Philadelphia port https://linewsradio.com/six-charged-after-massive-cocaine-seizure-at-philadelphia-port/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

RapidEye/iStock(PHILADELPHIA) — Six men have been charged in connection with one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history this week at the port of Philadelphia, where nearly 17 tons of cocaine with a street value of more than $1 billion was confiscated.

None of the men are U.S. citizens and all have been charged with one count of knowingly conspiring to posses cocaine abroad a vessel in a U.S. jurisdiction, which carries the possible sentence of up to life in prison if convicted, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William McSwain told reporters Friday.

“To those who were aboard the ship, and are now in federal custody, I say this: You thought you could breeze into our port and then leave with enough cocaine to destroy millions of lives without getting caught,” he said. “You thought you were clever. You were wrong.”

McSwain said that the case was “a prime example of why this country needs strong border protection.”

“We must do everything we can to dismantle international drug trafficking organizations who destroy the lives of those who are addicted to drugs,” he said. “That begins with strong border protection and ends with aggressive prosecution of those who seek to profit from peddling poison.”

The MSC Gayane ship, which was the length of three football fields and operated under the flag of Liberia, was escorted into the Philadelphia port after “anomalies” were detected in several of its containers. Further inspections involving fiber-optic scopes, narcotic-detector dogs and an X-ray scanner led to the discovery of 15,000 bricks of cocaine, weighing a total of about 35,000 pounds, officials said at the news conference.

“Laid end to end, all the bricks cover a distance of about two and a half miles,” said Casey Durst of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Really, it’s just incredible.”

McSwain emphasized that he was limited in what he could say “at this early stage in the investigation.”

“We’re not going to get into the details of how the cocaine got onto the boat and what the plans were,” he said.

According to a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, the MSC Gayne’s second mate told investigators that he was told by the ship’s chief officer to come down to the deck after the ship departed Peru. He said he saw nets near the ship’s crane that contained bags with handles, and that he and four others had hoisted the bags onto the ship and loaded them into containers. He said he had been promised $50,000 for the job, according to the complaint.

Another crew member also told authorities that he assisted in loading bales of cocaine that were brought alongside the ship by smaller boats both before and after they docked in Peru.

By the time all the operations were complete, officials said, $1 billion worth of cocaine was secured, secreted and headed to Philadelphia, where it was ultimately seized and impounded.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

Hong Kong protesters swarm police headquarters, tensions over extradition bill escalate

WORLD NEWS Hong Kong protesters swarm police headquarters, tensions over extradition bill escalate  https://linewsradio.com/hong-kong-protesters-swarm-police-headquarters-tensions-over-extradition-bill-escalate/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(HONG KONG) — Thousands of protesters besieged police headquarters in Hong Kong Friday to demand the release of fellow protesters still in custody after last week’s violent skirmish.

Protesters, many of them students from local universities, decided to escalate the protests after saying the government ignored their deadline on Thursday to respond to their demands.

The day began with a peaceful student sit-in at the Hong Kong government complex but soon escalated as thousands of masked protesters swelled the ranks.

They initially occupied roads then shifted their tactics by disrupting government offices in two districts before converging on the Hong Kong police headquarters, where they blocked and barricaded most of the entrances.

The protesters are frustrated with the government response to the much-reviled extradition bill that threatened to allow Hong Kong residents to be legally extradited to Mainland China.

The bill has precipitated one of the most serious political crises in the semi-autonomous region since it was returned to China in 1997.

The Hong Kong government indefinitely halted work on the bill last weekend and members of the government, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, have issued apologies. Still, protesters have called for her resignation.

They called for Lam to scrap the bill entirely and demanded to speak with police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-Chung to have him answer for what they believe was an excessive use of force by the police when they cleared protesters with

On Friday, some protesters pelted the exterior of wall of the police headquarters with eggs throughout the day. Despite the size of the crowd, there has been a light police presence for much of the day except for a few attempts by police negotiators to ask those demonstrating to disperse.

Police said on Twitter post that by 5:30 p.m. local, officers had been unable to respond to 43 neighborhood emergency calls because of the protests.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

2-year-old accidentally shoots, kills himself with gun he took from grandma’s purse: Officials

U.S. NEWS 2-year-old accidentally shoots, kills himself with gun he took from grandma's purse: Officials https://linewsradio.com/2-year-old-accidentally-shoots-kills-himself-with-gun-he-took-from-grandmas-purse-officials/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

wsfurlan/iStock(GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C.) — A 2-year-old boy died after he took a gun from his grandmother’s purse and accidentally shot himself, authorities said.

Kayden Stuber, a 2-year-old from South Carolina, died Thursday afternoon from a gunshot wound to the head, Kent Dill of the Greenville County Coroner’s Office told ABC News.

Kayden’s grandmother and aunt had been watching him while his parents were at work, Dill said.

“Apparently he went into the grandmother’s purse that was sitting on the bed and in some way retrieved, was handling the gun when it discharged,” Dill said.

Deputies and EMS rushed to the scene. Kayden was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

No charges have been filed at this time but the investigation is ongoing, Greenville County Sheriff spokesman Lt. Ryan Flood said on Friday.

No one else was hurt, Flood said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019

Patients mourn dentist gunned down outside office as police search for his killer

U.S. NEWS Patients mourn dentist gunned down outside office as police search for his killer https://linewsradio.com/patients-mourn-dentist-gunned-down-outside-office-as-police-search-for-his-killer/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Newport News Police Department(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) –A Virginia community is in mourning after a local dentist was mysteriously gunned down outside his practice.

Newport News dentist William Trolenberg, 65, was found shot in a parking lot outside his office just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Newport News Police Department.

Patients took to social media to express their shock and offer condolences.

As police search for the gunman, local officials held a prayer circle and community walk Thursday afternoon at Deer Park Dental, the dentist’s practice.

“This community is feeling it,” Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said at the prayer circle. “This is a good community, this is a strong community. I learned that just by the neighbors that I talked to yesterday. I learned that just by walking up here and seeing the number of individuals that are here today. That tells me that people care.”

Newport News Mayor McKinley Price added, “We’re gonna do the best we can to apprehend this person.”

Police have released photos of a possible person of interest and are asking the public to help identify him.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Jun 2019