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Neuroscientist Faces Trial in Wife’s Cyanide Poisoning Death

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) — Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday at the trial of a University of Pittsburgh neuroscientist accused of poisoning his neurologist wife with an energy drink laced with cyanide.

Dr. Robert Ferrante, 65, allegedly gave his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, 41, the drink on April 17, 2013, telling her that it would help her get pregnant. That same day, the couple exchanged text messages about how a creatine regimen could help them conceive.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News, Klein wrote, “Will it stimulate egg production too?”

Ferrante allegedly responded with a smiley face.

Klein collapsed in her home. She died on April 20, 2013, at UPMC Presbyterian, where she was chief of the division of women’s neurology and an assistant professor of neurology, obstetrics and gynecology.

Police documents allege that Ferrante did not want an autopsy performed, and instructed that Klein’s body be cremated. Despite those instructions, an autopsy was performed, revealing a lethal amount of cyanide in her system.

Ferrante — considered a leading researcher of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — allegedly had a bottle of cyanide shipped overnight to his lab at the University of Pittsburgh two days before his wife collapsed, using a university credit card.

Additionally, hours after a police interview following Klein’s death, Ferrante allegedly performed a Google search, writing, “Would ECMO or dialysis remove traces of toxins poisons?”

Police say Ferrante suspected his wife was having an affair. He was arrested in July 2013, charged with one count of criminal homicide. He has pleaded not guilty.

ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said the trial will likely become a battle of medical experts.

“How much cyanide was in her body is the crucial piece of evidence,” Abrams said. “The defense is expected to dispute the reliability of the blood tests. That will be a big part of the case.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Crusin In Cruces

Polo Mogul Blames Faulty Brakes for Fatal Crash

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — Polo mogul John Goodman took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, blaming faulty brakes — and not alcohol — for a fatal 2010 crash.

Goodman, the owner of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, insisted that the brakes on his $200,000 Bentley weren’t working properly, causing the car to slam into a Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson, 23. The crash sent the Hyundai into a canal, where Wilson drowned.

“I went to grab my gear shift, and that’s the last thing I remember,” Goodman said.

Goodman testified that he was on his way to the fast-food restaurant Wendy’s to buy a Frosty frozen dessert when the accident happened.

“The first thing I remember after that was, I was seeing white everywhere,” Goodman said.

“Stars?” his attorney asked.

“Yes, and not really knowing where I was,” Goodman said.

Prosecutors have claimed that Goodman was drunk at the time of the accident after working up a $272 tab partying at The Players Club in Wellington, Florida, later registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.177, more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Goodman admitted ordering 18 drinks at the club — but he said he only had three of those drinks.

The rest were for others, he said.

He also claimed he didn’t get drunk until after the crash, when he left the scene and stumbled upon a friend’s home, where, he said, he drank heavily.

“I drank it out of the bottle,” he said.

Goodman’s defense also called Dr. David Delonga, a medical specialist, to testify that Goodman was disoriented — not because of the amount he had to drink, but because the crash likely gave him a concussion.

“That would have been consistent in the range of a mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, to put it in layman’s terms,” Delonga told the court.

This is the second trial for the multimillionaire, who was convicted in 2012 for Wilson’s death and sentenced to 16 years behind bars. But that verdict was thrown out because of juror misconduct.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Murder Suspect Back in Custody After Accidental Release

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

DPSCS(BALTIMORE) — A murder suspect who was mistakenly released from a Baltimore detention center is back in custody, authorities said.

Baltimore police captured Rodriguez Purnell about 6 p.m. He was accidentally allowed to walk free from the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center on Friday, police said.

Purnell, 30, has been in and out of jail for drugs and robbery over the years. He was recently incarcerated on a first-degree murder charge, accused of fatally shooting T.J. Rheubottom, 27, last year.

Purnell was in custody waiting to be retried for Rheubottom’s murder after his first trial ended in a hung jury, but after corrections officers confused his current case with the old charges, they let him go. Authorities didn’t realize the mistake until two days later when the victim’s family said they called the jail after Purnell was spotted hanging out in the neighborhood.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections said in a statement Wednesday that it placed an employee on paid administrative leave for mistakenly releasing Purnell.

“Preliminary results indicate a lapse in release procedures that would otherwise have identified the pending charges at the time of release,” the statement said.

Rheubottom’s mother, Jackie Davis, was stunned by Purnell’s release and worried for the safety of her family and witnesses in the murder case.

“This should have never happened,” Davis told ABC News.

The incident remains under investigation.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

Former Blackwater Security Guards Guilty in Shooting Deaths of Iraqis

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Four former guards of a U.S. security company hired to protect diplomats were found guilty Wednesday in the September 2007 shooting deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 17 others.

The men, who were on trial for a second time after their case was dismissed in 2009, claimed their convoy came under attack in Baghdad and were returning fire.

However, federal prosecutors successfully argued that the former Blackwater guards were the aggressors in the incident and showed “grave indifference” to bystanders who were killed or injured by their actions.

A jury convicted Nicholas Slatten of first-degree murder, punishable by a maximum of life in prison. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were found guilty of lesser charges, including multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Following the verdicts, all the defendants were ordered jailed while their lawyers said they would appeal.

Meanwhile, even after deliberating for a month, the jury still has to decide on the remaining counts in the case.

Blackwater has since been renamed Academia and bills itself as a private military company.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Huge Academic Scandal at UNC Involved Athletes

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — The University of North Carolina admitted Wednesday that about 3,100 students took so-called “paper classes” with no faculty oversight and no actual class attendance from 1993 through 2011.

The school estimates that half of the students were athletes, mostly from the UNC’s basketball and football teams.

Wednesday’s report goes much further than when the scandal first came to light in 2011, which initially stated that it was only about academics.

This revelation, however, drags the UNC’s vaunted athletic program into the morass.

According to the investigation conducted by the college, two employees in the African and Afro-American Studies department organized fake classes that doled out As and Bs to students who never showed up, presumably to maintain eligibility for sports.

The employees were Julius Nyang’oro, the department’s chairman, and Deborah Crowder, the department’s administrator. It was up to Crowder, the report alleged, to give out grades on single papers turned in by students, hence the term “paper classes.”

The investigation does not directly implicate any high level administrators at the school. However, it does suggest they missed obvious signs of improprieties and “failed to conduct any meaningful oversight.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Eric Frein Lookalike Stopped by Cops 20 Times in Manhunt

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — A Pennsylvania man says he’s been stopped by police more than 20 times as authorities continue to search the area where he lives for accused cop killer Eric Frein.

James Tully’s walk to work crosses right through the manhunt area near Canadensis, where police have been searching the woods for Frein for more than five weeks.

Once, he said he was even ambushed at gunpoint by authorities who thought he was the suspect, Tully recalled.

“Because I’m walking and I’m carrying a book bag, and for some reason people seem to think I’m the one they’re looking for,” Tully told ABC News affiliate WNEP, adding that he’s been stopped by police too many times to remember.

“I’ve lost count after 20 in total,” he said. “The most on one round trip stretch was about seven times.”

Tully, who works for a metal manufacturing factory, has started wearing his employer ID card around his neck and a reflective vest on his walks.

“The one they’re hunting for, he’s not going to stand out,” Tully said. “He’s going to try and blend in. I want to stand out so I can let them know; look, I’m not the one they’re looking for. Just let me go on my way.”

Pennsylvania State Police did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Increased police presence has hurt businesses in the Pocono Mountains and put locals on edge, residents have said. In press conferences about the manhunt, Lt. Col George Bivens has repeatedly thanked people who live in the area for their support.

Pocono Mountain Schools were closed on Tuesday after a reported sighting of Frein near the school campus, but reopened on Wednesday.

Frein, a self-trained survivalist, is accused of shooting two troopers, killing one and injuring another, at the Blooming Grove police barracks on Sept. 12, and then fleeing into the woods.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Home Instead Senior Care

Passenger Arriving at Newark Evaluated for Possible Ebola

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEWARK, N.J.) — A passenger who arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport from Brussels on United flight 998 Tuesday was being evaluated for possible symptoms of Ebola, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The passenger was taken by ambulance to University Hospital in Newark, N.J., which was designated as the facility for any passengers flagged by health screeners at the airport, the CDC said.

“During the enhanced screening process for individuals arriving to the United States from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, an individual was identified as reporting symptoms or having a potential exposure to Ebola,” the CDC said in a statement Tuesday night. “The passenger is being transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.”

The CDC said that if it is determined that the other passengers were in any risk of exposure they will be contacted by CDC or state or local health officials.

United said in a statement: “Health officials examined a passenger. The other customers were cleared and deplaned normally.”

Additionally Tuesday, an adult and a child, both of whom began their trips in Liberia, were taken from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to hospitals to be evaluated for Ebola, although in both cases the CDC decided not to test for Ebola.

Enhanced screening measures for passengers arriving from the three West African countries went into effect just this week. According to those measures, passengers arriving in the U.S. from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia can only disembark at five airports, including Newark and O’Hare.


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Samantha Greenlee, Pregnant 22-Year-Old, Found Dead in Ohio

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Columbus Division of Police(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The body of a missing pregnant 22-year-old Ohio woman was found and her boyfriend is under arrest, charged with her murder, authorities told ABC News.

Samantha Greenlee had been missing since Oct. 8.

Her boyfriend, Jacob Ferrero, 22, who’s also the father of her unborn child, was arrested by the Columbus Police Department Wednesday morning. He’s charged with murder and aggravated arson, and he is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, according to the arrest report.

Ferrero gave a full confession to a fire investigator before leading police to the location of Greenlee’s body, authorities told ABC News.

Greenlee was last seen working her waitressing shift at a local restaurant before heading home, police said. Two days later, she missed a doctor’s appointment –- and a fire broke out in the apartment, with Ferrero telling police that their dog kicked over a candle, igniting the fire.

He later confessed to starting the fire as a way to cover up Greenlee’s death, authorities said.

The developments in the case come hours after family and friends held a vigil, hoping for Greenlee’s safe return.

“She was a caring person. She always thought about other people,” her father Douglas Greenlee told ABC News on Tuesday. “She would do stuff for others before she would think about herself.”

Greenlee’s mother Winnie Chutes said it was uncommon for her daughter to go so long without contact.

“Samantha would have contacted us by now. There’s a reason why she’s not contacting us,” Chutes said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Metal Depot

Wireless Store Robbed of $100K Worth of Phones and Computers

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Apple(GARDEN GROVE, Calif.) — In what could be described as the modern day equivalent of a jewelry store heist, thieves in Garden Grove, California, broke into a wireless store early Tuesday morning and made off with what cops say was about a $100,000 worth of phones and computers.

The robbers apparently knew what they were looking for because Oztec Wireless said that around 100 Apple iPhone6s were taken along with 20 iPads and a bunch of laptops.

A surveillance video spotted three hooded men, assumed to be in their 20s, breaking into the store and then using bolt cutters to shatter glass cases containing their ill-gotten gain.

Store owner Vu Bui first learned what happened when he was awakened by security company ADT and then viewed the video of the heist on his phone.

By the time he arrived, the crooks were long gone but left a trail of electronics around the back of the store that led to their escape route.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Song of The Day

Dallas Ebola Nurse Nina Pham Upgraded to Good Condition

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

The Pham Family(BETHESDA, Md.) — Nina Pham, the first nurse who contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, was upgraded from fair condition to good condition on Tuesday.

Pham was transferred to the National Institute of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda on Oct. 16. Prior to departing the Dallas hosital, Pham had been listed in good condition, but was downgraded upon arrival in Maryland. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, declined to say why she was listed in fair condition following the trip, but said she had endured a long trip from Dallas.

According to an NIH statement, Pham “has expressed her gratitude for everyone’s concerns and well wishes.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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