Charlottesville rally lawsuit to proceed despite Nathan Damigo’s bankruptcy filing

U.S. NEWS Charlottesville rally lawsuit to proceed despite Nathan Damigo's bankruptcy filing https://linewsradio.com/charlottesville-rally-lawsuit-to-proceed-despite-nathan-damigos-bankruptcy-filing/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) — Bankruptcy is no shield for a white nationalist targeted in a lawsuit concerning the 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to a recent ruling from a federal judge.

Nathan Damigo, one of the organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, filed for bankruptcy protection to protect his assets from a civil lawsuit, which is moving toward trial this summer.

The suit was filed by 10 plaintiffs from Charlottesville who said they were injured by the same car attack that left counterdemonstrator Heather Heyer dead.

The plaintiffs can “proceed with litigation” against Damigo, federal bankruptcy court judge Ronald Sargis wrote last week.

“As our plaintiffs argued, Nathan Damigo should be held accountable — and remain liable — for the harm he caused in Charlottesville. We’re glad the court agreed,” Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First America, the nonprofit organization backing the lawsuit against Damigo, Richard Spencer and organizations like the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said in a statement to ABC News.

The lawsuit accused the defendants of an unlawful conspiracy and sought damages for the violence in Charlottesville over two days in August 2017.

“It’s going to be very clear what the defendants planned for, foresaw and executed,” Karen Dunn of Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the high-profile attorneys representing the plaintiffs, told ABC News.

In November, the judge allowed the plaintiffs access to the defendants’ electronic devices, and Dunn claimed there is evidence of premeditated harm.

“There’s discussion of vehicles into crowds of people and how to defend that legally afterwards,” Dunn said.

The case was brought under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 that was meant to protect the civil and political rights of millions of freed slaves from vigilante groups during Reconstruction.

“This lawsuit is not seeking to prevent them from speaking or believing anything that they want,” Robbie Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, who is representing the plaintiffs and is known for winning the landmark Supreme Court case that laid the groundwork for marriage equality, told ABC News. “While their views are odious to us, they are not the issue. The issue is, motivated by those views, that they agreed to engage in an illegal conspiracy to commit violence.”

The defense has said the lawsuit lacks specifics.

“Plaintiffs complaint is long on coarse internet language regarding non-whites and short on allegations of racial violence perpetrated by any moving defendant,” defense attorneys said in a motion to dismiss that was later denied.

They also said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a conspiracy.

“Plaintiffs have failed to make any credible allegation that any moving defendant came to any agreement with anybody, to do anything, other than march and chant in Charlottesville,” defense attorneys said in a filing.

Despite those arguments, the judge recently ruled the lawsuit can proceed. Trial is scheduled for July.

“The larger statement here is going to be, we hope, that our American system of justice protects and defends our values and stands against those who do things that are contrary to our values,” Dunn told ABC News.

Aside from damages the plaintiffs aimed to “ensure that nothing like this will happen again at the hands of the defendants,” the lawsuit said.

“Certainly we want to hold these guys to account,” Kaplan told ABC News. “But the legal system in our country also serves another purpose and that is to send a message.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Serena Williams back in top 10

Sports News Serena Williams back in top 10 https://linewsradio.com/serena-williams-back-in-top-10/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) — Serena Williams is back in the top ten of the World Tennis Association rankings for the first time since giving birth in September 2017.

Williams dropped as low as 491st when she returned played in March 2018.

She is now ranked tenth in the world after making two Grand Slam finals in the past year, losing at Wimbledon and at the US Open.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner has not played since her quarterfinal loss to Karolina Pliskova at last months Australian Open.

Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams at the US Open and won the Australian Open, remains number one. Simona Halep and American Sloane Stephens each moved up a spot to second and third. Petra Kvitova dropped to fourth in the rankings.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Aurora attack hits hometown of man who builds crosses for shooting victims

U.S. NEWS Aurora attack hits hometown of man who builds crosses for shooting victims https://linewsradio.com/aurora-attack-hits-hometown-of-man-who-builds-crosses-for-shooting-victims/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(AURORA, Ill. ) — Greg Zanis’ work can be seen across the country. When a mass shooting unfolds in the U.S., he heads to the affected town with an individualized cross assembled for each victim.

But now, with a mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois, Zanis is building crosses for his own community.

‘They want their family member to be remembered’

The cross building began when Zanis’ father-in-law was killed in Aurora in 1996, he said.

“I had the privilege of having the prayer coalition come over and help me with my grief,” Zanis, 68, told ABC News on Monday. “A few months later there was a 6-year-old killed in Aurora … and his mom asked if I’d make a cross for her son.”

That’s when Zanis, a master carpenter, started offering to make crosses for anyone anytime and to deliver them free of charge. He also makes symbols of other religions.

Among the first of Zanis’ projects was for the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, where 12 students and a teacher were killed in 1999.

Zanis retired in 2016, and after that, the trips became more frequent.

Last year, he traveled to Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff were shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

Then there was Santa Fe High School in Texas, where 10 people were killed in May 2018.

He went to Las Vegas to bring new crosses one year after the October 2017 mass shooting, which killed 58 people.

And also in October 2018, he went to the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 worshipers, including a 97-year-old woman, were gunned down.

“That was the first time I only made Jewish stars instead of crosses,” Zanis noted.

The month after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Zanis headed to Thousand Oaks, California, where 12 people were shot to death at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

In Thousand Oaks, he set up the 12 crosses at 2 a.m., he said, to stay under the radar.

“These family members, they want their family member to be remembered,” Zanis said. “It’s not about me.”

‘Aurora’s my town’

But that anonymity changed on Friday, when five employees were killed in a mass shooting at the Henry Pratt manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, because for Zanis, “Aurora’s my town.”

Zanis moved to Aurora, where his wife was from, in the 1970s, and they raised five children in town.

As the gunfire broke out, Zanis was working in his garage — on the same street as the Aurora police station.

“A slew of 10 squad cars went by … and every 30 seconds, another car, another car,” he said.

Zanis said his daughter came into the garage and told him there was an active shooter in Aurora.

“This is the last thing I wanted, for this to happen so close to my house,” he said, his voice cracking.

Zanis said he put up five crosses early Saturday morning. Once the victims’ identities were released, he said he swapped out the crosses for new ones that included each person’s name.

Zanis’ role as a cross builder makes him a natural support system — he said he’s met with four of the five victims’ families so far — but this mass shooting is certainly different for him.

“I don’t have the luxury of going home from another place,” he said. “I’m not going to be able to get away from this.”

“I’m able to counsel people,” he said, “but I think I’m going to need counseling.”

“It’s not supposed to happen on our grounds here,” he said. “I just can’t stop crying.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Investigator details alleged North Carolina election fraud scheme

Political News Investigator details alleged North Carolina election fraud scheme https://linewsradio.com/investigator-details-alleged-north-carolina-election-fraud-scheme/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

DNY59/iStock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — The evidentiary hearing into possible election fraud in the 2018 general election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District officially got underway Monday, and the lead investigator with the State Board of Election claims the evidence they plan to present will show a “coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme,” took place in the 2018 general election.

“We believe that the evidence…will show that a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme operated during the 2018 general election in Bladen and Robeson counties,” North Carolina Board of Elections executive director Kim Strach said in her opening statement.

For the first time publicly since the allegations of election fraud became known, Strach went into detail about the alleged scheme run by Leslie McCrae Dowless, the man at the center of the investigation into whether or not Republican Mark Harris’ 905-vote victory last year over Democrat Dan McCready was legitimate and not tainted by election fraud.

“McCrae Dowless hired workers that he paid cash to collect absentee requests, to collect absentee ballots and to falsify absentee ballot witness certifications. McCrae Dowless paid generally $150 per 50 absentee ballot requests and $125 per 50 absentee ballots collected,” Strach said.

“There were also actions we identified that were actions taken to hide this conduct from the Board of Elections and from the greater public. And that small batches of these ballots when they were collected were taken to the post office, limiting the number that would be received by the Board of Elections. There were efforts to ensure that ballots were mailed at a post office that was geographically close to the voter, and ensure witnesses signed and dated the same date as the voters signature they had signed the return envelope,” Strach said

“There were also efforts to ensure that same color ink as the witness was used, so that if a witness had signed in a different colored ink, tracing sometimes over that with an ink pen that would be similar to that of the voter was used,” she added.

Strach also said that incomplete or blank absentee ballots were voted in the home of McCrae Dowless.

Lisa Britt, a witness called by the Board of Elections, said she was paid to collect absentee ballots and deliver them to Dowless.

“I took the signed, sealed ballot,” Britt said in describing her involvement in the operation. “That ballot was turned back in with the other ballots I had collected that day” to Dowless.

When asked last year by ABC News’ Steve Osunsami about his role in the alleged scheme, Dowless offered a no comment.

“At this time I have no comment and you can contact my attorney,” Dowless, who worked as a campaign consultant for Harris during the 2018 election, told Osunsami in December 2018 outside of his home in Bladenboro, North Carolina.

Dowless has not said anything publicly about the claims against him in recent months. An attorney for Dowless told Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC reporter Joe Bruno on Monday that they maintain Dowless did not break any laws during the 2018 election.

Strach claimed that there have also been efforts to obstruct the board’s investigation into the alleged election fraud and the testimony at Monday’s hearing.

Strach showed documentation at Monday’s hearing that the investigator said proves the Red Dome Group, a political consulting firm employed by Harris during the 2018 election, paid Dowless over $200,000 for various services throughout the campaign.

The Red Dome Group has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Harris has maintained he was unaware of any alleged illegal activity by Dowless during the election and says he has cooperated with the board’s investigation.

“Although I was absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing, that will not prevent me from cooperating with this investigation,” Harris said in a video posted on Twitter last December, “However if this investigation finds proof of illegal activity on either side to such a level that it could have changed the outcome of the election, then I would wholeheartedly support a new election to ensure all voters have confidence in the results.”

While Harris was present in the hearing room Monday, McCready was not, but will be represented in the hearing by his attorneys.

The North Carolina Board of Elections has the authority to call for a new election under two circumstances, which were laid out at today’s hearing by the board’s chairman Bob Cordle.

“One is when enough ineligible voters voted or eligible voters were prevented from voting for some other reason ‘sufficient in number to change the outcome of the election,'” Cordle said, “The second way is when ‘irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an event that they taint they taint the result of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness.'”

The U.S. House of Representatives, specifically the House Administration Committee, also has the power to call for a new election under certain circumstances.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

US Sen. Marco Rubio visits Colombia, addresses Venezuelan military

WORLD NEWS US Sen. Marco Rubio visits Colombia, addresses Venezuelan military  https://linewsradio.com/us-sen-marco-rubio-visits-colombia-addresses-venezuelan-military/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Zach Gibson/Getty Images(CUCUTA, Colombia) — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made a surprise visit to Cucuta, Colombia, a town along the Venezuelan border on Sunday, visiting centers where the humanitarian aid is being stored. The senator also sent a message to Venezuela’s military, which has so far stood by embattled president Nicolas Maduro and has blocked aid from entering the country.

“Sometimes the time comes when we have to make a decision, a decision that will define the rest of our lives,” Rubio said. “I believe that time has come for many military and police and national guard members.”

“Will you prevent the food and medicine from reaching your own people? Your own families, your neighbors? Because if you do, not only will God condemn you in the other life, but you will also be condemned by the law because that is an international crime, a crime against humanity, that is very clear and they must make the right choice because the moment to make a decision has arrived,” Rubio said.

Rubio spoke at the Simon Bolivar Bridge, which thousands of Venezuelans cross every day to flee the country´s economic crisis or to buy essentials like food and medicine. He was accompanied by delegates sent by Venezuela´s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, Florida congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Mark Green and U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo.

“You are not alone, freedom is coming. The ocean of waves of freedom are growing. What is inevitable, what will happen is the absolute freedom of the Venezuelan people,” Diaz-Balart said.

Rubio has advocated early on for the global recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela´s interim president, often tweeting and addressing Maduro directly, sending firm messages that his time in power is coming to an end.

“Maduro thinks he can wait this out. Just buy time until the protests lose momentum and the world loses interest” Rubio tweeted on Saturday. “Not gonna happen! It only gets worse for him from here.”

During his visit to the Simon Bolivar Bridge, Rubio called Guaido, saying that while they were currently not together, “soon, Mr. President, we will be standing together in a free Venezuela.”

Afterwards, Rubio and those accompanying him visited the Tienditas Bridge where U.S.-provided humanitarian aid is currently being stored.

“We have over 300 metric tons of food and medicine ready to deliver to the suffering people inside Venezuela. #MaduroCrimeFamily is doing everything they can to keep this from reaching their own people. This is pure evil,” Rubio tweeted from inside the warehouse, surrounded by bags of USAID supplies.

Rubio, Diaz-Balart and Trujillo also walked along the bridge to the gates and containers that are currently blocking access to the Venezuelan side, placed by Maduro and guarded by Venezuela’s military under his command.

“Those containers behind us were put there by a terrorist, criminal regime. It isn´t going to work. Food and medicine will reach the people of Venezuela,” Rubio tweeted, along with a video of himself, Diaz-Balart and Trujillo standing in front of the containers.

Guaido has vowed the aid will enter Venezuela, and announced that on Feb. 23 he will make the first attempt to bring aid across the border. He has asked for people to volunteers to help deliver it to those inside the country who need it the most.

According to Guaido, over half a million Venezuelans have signed up to volunteer to distribute aid in the country.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Female track star Caster Semenya in court to challenge gender ruling in landmark case on testosterone levels

Sports News Female track star Caster Semenya in court to challenge gender ruling in landmark case on testosterone levels https://linewsradio.com/female-track-star-caster-semenya-in-court-to-challenge-gender-ruling-in-landmark-case-on-testosterone-levels/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) — South African athlete Caster Semenya was in court on Monday for a landmark hearing that is expected to have major implications for gender in sports.

Semenya, 28, an Olympic gold medalist, went to the Court of Arbitration (CAS) for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, appealing a controversial measure introduced by track and field’s governing body to lower the permissible testosterone levels in female athletes.

Semenya is seeking to overturn the new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification, introduced in April by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The new regulations mean that athletes of a ‘difference in sexual development’ condition with a high amount of testosterone in their systems will not be able to compete in female races.

The number of races this applies to ranges from 400m to 1 mile — most of which Semenya competes in as a middle distance runner.

If the new rules survive challenges, Semenya would likely have to take hormone medication to reduce her levels of testosterone in order to compete in the Olympics next year.

“The female category in sport is a protected category,” the IAAF said in a statement on Monday. “This standard is necessary to ensure fair competition for all women.”

Controversy surrounding Semenya’s gender status has followed her since she burst onto the athletics scene in 2009 by winning the 800m gold at the World Championships at the age of 18. The IAAF investigated Semenya with gender verification tests after her win in September of that year. Though the results were never published, Semenya returned to the sport 11 months later, and has enjoyed considerable success since.

Transgender debate in elite sport

The CAS hearing is the latest focal point in a long-running debate around the relationship between science and gender in sports.

The Times of London newspaper reported last week that the IAAF will argue that Semenya is biologically male because of her high testosterone levels.

“If a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength… that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women,” the IAAF said in a statement published by the Times of London. “Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level.”

The IAAF published research in 2017 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which suggested that women runners with high testosterone levels performed 3 percent better than their rivals, giving them a “significant competitive advantage.”

However, the scientists Roger Pielke, Ross Tucker and Erik Boye published a paper in the The International Sports Law Journal last week challenging these claims. The paper, entitled ‘Scientific integrity and the IAAF testosterone regulations,’ calls the testosterone rule change “discriminatory, irrational, and unjustifiable.”

Tennis icon Martina Navratilova weighed in on the debate in an article for the Sunday Times last weekend, arguing that if a man were to take hormones to compete in women’s events it would be “insane” and “cheating.”

However, Dr. Rachel McKinnon, the first transgender woman to win a track world title in the women’s age 35 to 44 spring category at the UCI Master World Championships in 2018, told ABC News that the IAAF’s law was “ill-conceived, discriminatory, and based on a flawed, biased study.”

“Natural testosterone is the only physical characteristic for which we ban anyone from sport, and we only do this to women,” she told ABC News. “That is inherently unjust, particularly as we permit much larger competitive advantages due to characteristics such as height than the IAAF is attributing to testosterone. This completely undercuts the IAAF’s justification for their new policy. So I expect Caster to win, but there’s no guarantee.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Woman who called Michelle Obama an ‘ape in heels’ pleads guilty to FEMA fraud

Political News Woman who called Michelle Obama an 'ape in heels' pleads guilty to FEMA fraud https://linewsradio.com/woman-who-called-michelle-obama-an-ape-in-heels-pleads-guilty-to-fema-fraud/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

danielfela/iStock(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) — The West Virginia woman who grabbed national headlines in 2016 for calling Michelle Obama an “ape” has pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars in federal disaster relief.

Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted to authorities last week that she falsely registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster benefits after a deadly 1,000-year flood event in Clay County, West Virginia, in June 2016. Taylor had claimed that her primary residence was damaged by the floodwaters and that she was forced to stay in a rental property.

But Taylor’s home was actually not damaged and she still lived there. She received more than $18,000 in FEMA benefits after submitting the fraudulent application, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

“The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a man-made disaster,” U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a statement last Wednesday. “FEMA dollars are critical but limited. Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime –- literally and figuratively. Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help.”

During her plea agreement hearing last Tuesday, Taylor agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30. She faces up to 30 years behind bars and a fine of up to $500,000.

“Taking advantage of federal funds intended for disaster relief misappropriates taxpayer dollars, reduces monies available to true victims and erodes public confidence in relief programs,” Mark Tasky, special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, said in a statement last Wednesday. “The defendant knowingly submitted a fraudulent application for disaster relief, in order to enrich herself and divert critical funds away from true disaster victims.”

An attorney for Taylor did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment Monday.

Taylor was placed on leave from her position as director of the Clay County Development Corporation in November 2016 after posting a controversial comment about then-first lady Michelle Obama on social media.

“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels,” Taylor wrote on Facebook after Election Day.

Clay County Mayor Beverly Whaling liked Taylor’s Facebook post and commented, “Just made my day Pam.”

Both women apologized publicly, and Whaling subsequently submitted a letter announcing her resignation, according to ABC affiliate WCHS in Charleston, W. Va.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Princes William, Harry splitting royal household: Report

WORLD NEWS Princes William, Harry splitting royal household: Report  https://linewsradio.com/princes-william-harry-splitting-royal-household-report/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Stephen Pond/Getty Images(LONDON) —  As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prepare to have their first child and move to a new home, another big change is reportedly ahead for the royals.

Prince Harry, 34, and his brother Prince William, 36, will split their royal households within weeks, according to the Sunday Times of London.

“It is the end of the ‘Fab Four’ as we know it,” Roya Nikkhah, royal correspondent for the Sunday Times, said of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan. “They aren’t going to have a joint team at Kensington Palace anymore. They are going to be going their separate ways.”

The plan to split the households has been in the works since before Meghan and Harry’s wedding last year, according to sources.

Royal watchers say the division is a sign of differing responsibilities for the sons of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. William, a father of three, is preparing to be king, while Harry is preparing to become a parent for the first time.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expected to move soon to Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Estate, about 30 miles from London. The move means Harry and Meghan, who is due this spring, will no longer be neighbors to Prince William and Kate, who live in Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace.

It also means Harry will be leaving his childhood home, where he was raised with William by Princess Diana.

Harry and Meghan had lived at Nottingham Cottage, Harry’s home on the grounds of Kensington Palace, since their engagement last year.

“You have William and Kate who are one day to be king and queen and increasingly the work they are starting to do and will be doing more of is more about the future king, future queen consort,” Nikkhah said. “Harry and Meghan have a much more of a blank canvas with their roles going forward.”

“They don’t have that kind of responsibility,” she added. “They seem to be forging a different kind of path.”

William, Kate, Harry and Meghan will continue to work together on The Royal Foundation, their charitable endeavor that supports issues including mental health, veterans, conservation and at-risk youths.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s office will remain based at Kensington Palace, the palace said in a statement last November, when Meghan and Harry’s planned move to Windsor was announced.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

Man arrested in Sophie Sergie’s 1993 murder in Alaska over DNA: Officials

U.S. NEWS Man arrested in Sophie Sergie's 1993 murder in Alaska over DNA: Officials https://linewsradio.com/man-arrested-in-sophie-sergies-1993-murder-in-alaska-over-dna-officials/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

CIPhotos/iStock(AUBURN, Maine) — A man has been arrested in the 1993 cold case murder of a 20-year-old Alaska woman after investigators were inspired by the technology used to nab the suspected “Golden State Killer,” according to law enforcement.

On April 26, 1993, Sophie Sergie was found sexually assaulted and murdered in a dorm bathroom at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, officials said at an Alaska State Troopers news conference Friday.

Sergie, a former University of Alaska Fairbanks student, had been at the school visiting friends, per authorities.

She was stabbed multiple times and shot in the back of the head, according to the charging document.

Suspect DNA was recovered and uploaded to CODIS (the Combined DNA Index System, a law enforcement database) but no suspect was identified, according to the Alaska State Troopers’ conference.

Decades went by without progress in her mysterious murder — until April 2018, when the cold case unit learned of the genetic genealogy technology used to identify the suspected “Golden State Killer” in California, authorities said.

The novel investigative technique of genetic genealogy takes an unknown killer’s DNA from a crime scene and identifies the suspect through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to genealogy databases. Since April 2018, genetic genealogy has helped identify more than 20 other suspects.

Steven Downs, whose DNA matched the DNA left behind from Sergie’s sexual assault, was taken into custody Friday without incident in Maine, where he was living, according to the charging document.

Downs, now 44, was an 18-year-old student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993 and was living in the same building where Sergie was found, according to the charging document.

After attending the University of Alaska from 1992 to 1996, Downs lived in Arizona and then returned to Maine where he grew up, the charging document says. He most recently worked as a nurse, per the document.

“Downs has no previous arrests, and his DNA has never been uploaded to the national database,” the document said.

Maine State Police officers spoke on Wednesday to Downs, who “stated that he recognized Sergie from posters that had been put up around the time of the murder, but confirmed that he did not know her and didn’t believe he had ever been in contact with her,” according to the charging document.

“I remember the pictures, it’s terrible, poor girl,” Downs told police, the charging document said.

Downs is expected to be brought back to Alaska, authorities said.

“While nothing can heal that loss, we hope that this arrest today brings some element of peace to the Sergie family,” Amanda Price, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said at Friday’s news conference.

“Justice for Sophie is finally within reach,” added Colonel Barry Wilson, Director of the Alaska State Troopers. “I am both honored and humbled to help bring some closure to Sophie’s family.”

Princes William, Harry splitting royal household: Report

(LONDON) —  As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prepare to have their first child and move to a new home, another big change is reportedly ahead for the royals.

Prince Harry, 34, and his brother Prince William, 36, will split their royal households within weeks, according to the Sunday Times of London.

“It is the end of the ‘Fab Four’ as we know it,” Roya Nikkhah, royal correspondent for the Sunday Times, said of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan. “They aren’t going to have a joint team at Kensington Palace anymore. They are going to be going their separate ways.”
Britain's Prince Harry and his best man Prince William step out to greet well-wishers outside Windsor Castle, May 18, 2018, the eve of Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle, May 18, 2018.

The plan to split the households has been in the works since before Meghan and Harry’s wedding last year, according to sources.

Royal watchers say the division is a sign of differing responsibilities for the sons of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. William, a father of three, is preparing to be king, while Harry is preparing to become a parent for the first time.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expected to move soon to Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Estate, about 30 miles from London. The move means Harry and Meghan, who is due this spring, will no longer be neighbors to Prince William and Kate, who live in Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace.

It also means Harry will be leaving his childhood home, where he was raised with William by Princess Diana.

Harry and Meghan had lived at Nottingham Cottage, Harry’s home on the grounds of Kensington Palace, since their engagement last year.

“You have William and Kate who are one day to be king and queen and increasingly the work they are starting to do and will be doing more of is more about the future king, future queen consort,” Nikkhah said. “Harry and Meghan have a much more of a blank canvas with their roles going forward.”

“They don’t have that kind of responsibility,” she added. “They seem to be forging a different kind of path.”

William, Kate, Harry and Meghan will continue to work together on The Royal Foundation, their charitable endeavor that supports issues including mental health, veterans, conservation and at-risk youths.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s office will remain based at Kensington Palace, the palace said in a statement last November, when Meghan and Harry’s planned move to Windsor was announced.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019

What we know about the Aurora, Ill., mass shooting victims

U.S. NEWS What we know about the Aurora, Ill., mass shooting victims https://linewsradio.com/what-we-know-about-the-aurora-ill-mass-shooting-victims/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

cmannphoto/iStock(AURORA, Ill.) — The five men gunned down in Aurora, Ill., on Friday were all employees at the Henry Pratt manufacturing plant where the shooting broke out.

The alleged shooter, who was shot dead by law enforcement, was also an employee but was being terminated on Friday, according to Scott Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, the Henry Pratt parent company.

Six police officers were injured in the incident, as well as one employee, Hall said.

Here is what we know about the lives lost:

Russell Beyer

Russell Beyer, of Yorkville, Ill., was a mold operator at Henry Pratt, according to the Aurora Police Department.

Beyer had worked most of the jobs at Henry Platt in his more than 20 years there, according to CEO Scott Hall. He also served as union chairman, Hall said.

Russell Beyer, Ted Beyer’s oldest child, followed in his father’s footsteps — the elder Beyer also was a union chairman and worked at Henry Pratt for four decades, The Chicago Sun Times reported.

Because of Russel Beyer’s “big heart,” he sat in on the alleged gunman’s termination meeting on Friday, Ted Beyer, said, according to the Sun Times.

“He was a hard worker,” Ted Beyer said, according to the Sun Times. “My son died trying to set it straight.”

Vicente Juarez

Vicente Juarez of Oswego, Ill., was a stockroom attendant and forklift operator at Henry Pratt, according to police.

Hall said he joined Henry Pratt in 2006 and was a member of the shipping and warehouse team.

The 54-year-old Juarez, native of Mexico, was a husband, father of three and grandfather of eight, The Chicago Tribune reported.

“He’s the patriarch of the family,” neighbor Julie Zigman told The Tribune. “Everyone looked to him.”

“He was one the nicest guys you could ever meet,” added neighbor William Zigman.

Clayton Parks

Clayton Parks, of Elgin, Ill., was the Henry Pratt human resources manager.

He joined Henry Pratt four months ago, in November 2018, to manage human resources in Aurora, Hammond, and Denver, said Hall.

Parks was a 2014 graduate of Northern Illinois University’s College of Business, according to the university.

Parks was a “best friend” to his wife and an “incredible father” to their son, his wife, Abby Parks, wrote on Facebook, according to The Chicago Sun Times.

“Beneath all the fog and the shock, and the crushing pain, I believe the same God that brought us together and gave us our precious son will somehow carry us through,” she wrote on Facebook, according to the newspaper. “I’ll love you always and miss you forever, Clay.”

Josh Pinkard

Josh Pinkard, of Oswego, Ill., was the Henry Pratt plant manager.

He texted his wife, Terra Pinkard, to say, “I love you, I’ve been shot at work,” Terra Pinkard wrote on Facebook.

“The police told us there were fatalities. He read my husband’s name. I immediately left and went to get my kids,” Terra Pinkard wrote on Sunday. “With my pastors help, since family was still on planes to get to us, I told my children their dad did not make it and is in heaven with Jesus. I’ve never had to do something that hard.”

“I want to shout from the rooftops about how amazing Josh was! He was brilliant! The smartest person I’ve ever met! My best friend!” she wrote. “The man who was dying and found the clarity of mind for just a second to send me one last text to let me know he would always love me. This unbelievable person was robbed from us.”

“Please continue to pray for my mother in law. This is her second child she will bury,” Terra Pinkard wrote. “Please pray for my sister in law. Josh was her twin brother. Please pray for my children. They are struggling because they miss a daddy who loved them so much. Please pray that somehow I can put that one foot in front of the other. And again thank you for all the kindness you have shown to us.”

Trevor Wehner

Trevor Wehner, of Dekalb, Ill., was killed on his first day as a human resources intern at Henry Pratt, according to Northern Illinois University, where he was a student.

Wehner was expected to graduate NIU in May with a degree in Human Resources Management.

“That’s what he wanted to do,” his father, Tom Wehner, said of the internship, according to The Chicago Tribune. “He had hopes and dreams of doing what he was doing on his first day.”

“Every Husker is a better person having known Trevor Wehner,” his former high school coach wrote on Twitter. “Teammates, classmates, coaches, and faculty members can all remember a great story about Trevor and his fun-loving personality. He even made an impression on the younger kids in our community. We will miss you bud.”

“Loss like this is devastating and senseless,” university president Lisa Freeman said in a statement. “I ask our university community to please keep the Wehner and Parks families, friends and communities in your hearts and offer them caring thoughts.”

“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the first responders, the Aurora community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time,” Hall said in a statement Saturday. “As we grieve together, we will provide information in the coming days on the counseling services and support we will be offering to the families of the victims and to all of our colleagues.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Feb 2019