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National News

Two More Bodies Found in Ruins of Maryland Mansion, Two Occupants Still Unaccounted For

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — One day after the first bodies were found in the ashes of a burned-down Maryland mansion, two more bodies were located on Thursday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said Thursday that its agents at the scene of the fire were making “great progress,” and that two occupants of the home remain unaccounted for. The scene remains “complex” and “much work remains to be done,” the agency said.

Investigators were using canines to help search the scene for bodies or accelerants.

The fire destroyed the home, perhaps in part due to a lack of fire sprinklers, which were not required when it was built. Searching the ashes could take weeks, ATF investigators said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Double Your Dollars

Tom Brady Says He Didn’t Alter Footballs, Was ‘As Surprised As Anybody’ About Deflate-gate

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

ESPN(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) —  New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Thursday he “didn’t alter the ball in any way” after reports that 11 of the 12 footballs provided by the team for its playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts were more than two pounds per square inch below regulation.

“I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning that this happened,” the three-time Super Bowl champion said at a Thursday news conference.

“I think there’s a lot of people that have more information than me,” Brady said Thursday, “I only know what I’ve kinda gone through…I have questions too.” He also denied that he would ever cheat, saying, “I feel like I’ve always played within the rules, I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play and I respect the league and…everything that they’re doing to try to create a very competitive playing field for all the NFL teams.”

Fellow quarterback Aaron Rodgers told ESPN Radio affiliate 540 ESPN Milwaukee on Wednesday that if you don’t have a strong grip pressure or smaller hands there would be “an advantage in having a flat football…because that is easier to throw.”

The Colts had previously voiced concerns about under-inflated footballs supplied by the Patriots following the regular-season game between the two teams on Nov. 16, ESPN reported.

During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams intercepted two of Brady’s passes and gave the balls to the Colts’ equipment manager to save. Both times there were concerns about the balls feeling under-inflated, sources earlier this season had told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Those sources also said that the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, which New England won by a score of 45-7.

In a news conference earlier Thursday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in response to the accusations: “I have no explanation for what happened.”

Belichick also said he is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation.

For the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, the game balls will be under the supervision of the equipment manager of another team, the Chicago Bears.

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Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Maryland Mansion Fire Families: ‘Embrace Your Loved Ones’

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Obtained by ABC News(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — Relatives of two adults and four children feared to have been in a massive fire at an Annapolis, Maryland, mansion thanked their well-wishers on Thursday, but asked people respect their privacy, noting that “our loss demands time and quiet reflection.”

The relatives’ statement, attributed to “the Boone and Pyle families,” referenced four children — Alexis (Lexi) Boone, 8, Kaitlyn (Katie) Boone, 7, Charlotte Boone, 8, and Wesley (Wes) Boone, 6 — and their grandparents, Sandy Pyle and tech executive Don Pyle, who records list as the mansion’s owners.

The six family members were believed to have been inside the mansion Monday morning when the fire broke out, according to relatives and neighbors. The remains of two unidentified people were found in the ashes Wednesday.

“We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for the love and support being shared with us during this tragic event,” the families said in the statement. “We are blessed that so many family, friends, and neighbors have come together for us in our time of need.”

It added, “Our love for our family is boundless. Our loss demands time and quiet reflection to process these feelings. We ask that you respect our need for privacy.”

”Life is fragile,” the statement concluded. “Make time today to embrace your loved ones.”

The statement also recognized “the dedicated efforts” of local and national responders.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire at the 16,000-square-foot mansion. Investigators and canines were at the scene Thursday to look for remains and accelerants.

Crews started going through the wreckage on Wednesday, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA, a process that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators said could take weeks.

The house was “built more like a commercial structure,” Anne Arundel County Fire Capt. Russ Davies told reporters, so searching is a “time-consuming process.”

For now, the fire is being handled as a criminal investigation, officials added.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Shootout Between NM Police Officer, Suspect Caught on Video

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

ABC News(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — When Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officer Lou Golson first spotted the speeding silver SUV in the middle of the night, he figured he had a drunk driver on his hands.

“He came to a screeching halt at a green light, which is not uncommon for drunk drivers,” Golson said.

After pulling over the car early on the morning of Jan. 3, Golson walked up to the driver’s-side window. The SUV was stolen, he would later learn.

The body camera attached to the front of Golson’s uniform caught every terrifying second of what happened next.

“He was trying to start the car. It wasn’t starting and I told him to turn it off,” Golson recalled. “And when I opened the driver’s door he spun sideways in his seat. He had the gun in his hand and he fired.”

Five rapid shots rang out, with four bullets slamming into Golson, knocking the officer to the ground. The 31-year department veteran drew his gun and fired back.

“I needed to protect myself, need to return fire, because at this point even though the door is closed he’s still trying to start the vehicle,” Golson said, speaking publicly about the incident for the first time to ABC News.

“My biggest fear is that he’s going to get the vehicle started and run me over,” he said.

The video shows Golson firing all eight shots into the side of the silver SUV. The officer tries to reload his weapon, but the fall has broken his right wrist.

“I knew something was wrong with my right hand and so I switched the gun to my left hand, and as he’s getting out of the vehicle I take aim,” Golson said. “The gun didn’t fire, but I wasn’t going to advertise the fact that my gun wasn’t working properly. So I kept my gun trained on him.”

Golson could only watch as the driver got out of the vehicle and ran away, leaving the officer lying in the street. The officer radioed for help, telling the dispatcher he’d been shot and giving a detailed description of the shooter. His training and experience, he said, helped keep him calm.

“If you yell and scream on the radio no one is going to understand what you just said,” he said. “Just because you get shot doesn’t mean you’re going to die.”

Fellow officers arrived a few minutes later.

“Do you see any blood?” he can be heard asking the officers.

Golson was rushed to a hospital. Nearly three weeks and two surgeries later, the married father of five is now recovering at home.

Fellow officers built a ramp at his house to make it easier to get around in a wheelchair.

One of the bullets traveled across Golson’s abdomen, breaking the femur bone in his right leg. Three other rounds were stopped by his bulletproof vest.

“I’m not saying I’m superhuman by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “I just referred to my training, knew what I needed to do and did it.”

His police department identification card now has a bullet hole near his picture. The card was in a uniform pocket directly over his heart.

“My family, my friends, everybody says, ‘You probably ought to hang it up,’” Golson said. “I’ll be back. It won’t be tomorrow but I’m of the mind I’m going to heal, I’m going to be back to work.”

The man accused of shooting Golson, 36-year-old Christopher Cook, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree attempted murder and allegedly stealing a car and a motorcycle.

Golson said he’s not giving the man who allegedly tried to kill him much thought.

“He did what he did. I think he was wrong but I can’t hold any animosity — because then that would make me not the professional I am,” Golson said.

Golson added that his recent experience hasn’t made him any more worried for three of his children now following in his law enforcement footsteps. One son recently graduated from a local sheriff’s academy. Another son and a daughter are applying to be police officers.

“I can’t think of a more honorable career to choose. Yes, there is risk involved, but there is risk involved with crossing the street,” he said.

Golson hopes his body camera video gives the public a better appreciation for what officers face every day.

“It actually captured something that the public doesn’t see a lot,” he said of the roughly 20-second confrontation.

“They see in real time how violent our job can turn, and how quickly it can turn,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Did Cal Harris Kill His Wife? Third Jury to Decide Father’s Fate

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) — Cal Harris is a man who knows what it feels like to be in the fight of his life. The millionaire upstate New York father of four who has been tried twice before for the 2001 killing of his wife, is back in court as jury selection in his third trial begins this week.

On the evening of Sept. 11, 2001 his wife Michele disappeared.

The next morning, as the country awoke to a world forever changed, Michele Harris’ van was found at the foot of the family’s driveway. According to his attorneys, police immediately focused on Cal Harris as a suspect. At the time of her disappearance Cal and Michele Harris had been in the midst of a bitter divorce.

“Law enforcement authorities have focused really exclusively on Cal and alleged that he caused her disappearance,” Cal Harris’ attorney, Bruce Barket, told ABC News.

After four years of investigating, authorities were unable to find Michele’s body or a murder weapon — even after extensive searches of Cal Harris’ 252-acre property in Tioga County, New York.

“I knew they were focusing on me,” Harris told ABC News. “I had been completely cooperative with them, turned over my house to them; let them come in my house without me being here. Whatever they asked for I gave them; phone records, financial information.”

Harris, now 53, says he was shocked by the charges when he was originally arrested in 2005.

“I knew the possibility was there,” he said. “[But] we knew there wasn’t any evidence, so we didn’t know how they could possibly get an indictment.”

In his first trial, prosecutors argued that blood found in the Harris home suggested Michele had been attacked by her husband.

A jury convicted Cal Harris of second-degree murder. But before sentencing, a new witness, Kevin Tubbs, who lived near Harris’ home, emerged.

Tubbs claimed to have seen two people arguing at the end of the Harris driveway in the early hours of Sept. 12, 2001. One he said looked like Michele and the other appeared to be a man in his 20s with dark hair. Cal Harris’ attorneys say Tubbs’ testimony disproves the prosecutor’s theory of the crime.

“Kevin Tubbs is not the only individual who saw the truck and two individuals — one woman, one man, at 5:30 in the morning, outside the Harris residence,” Barket said. “Another individual by the name of [John] Steele also made the same observations.”

Steele died of a heart attack in 2008, before Harris’ second trial. But in light of Kevin Tubbs testimony, the guilty verdict was thrown out and Harris was re-tried in 2009.

At his second trial, the jury once again found Harris guilty of killing his wife. This time, the verdict was thrown out by an appeals court. That court took issue with a juror who admitted during jury selection to having an opinion about the case. That juror said “that he was inclined to convict Cal, but thought he could keep an open mind,” Barket said.

Now, for a third time, a jury must decide: Did Cal Harris kill his wife Michele?

“Absolutely not,” Harris told ABC News. “Absolutely not. And the fact that I’m still sitting here having to go through this is a horror show. Judges on this case at every level have come forward and said this case can’t be proven.”

Harris’ attorneys hope to highlight other leads they believe were inadequately investigated by the police. And this time around they have already won an early victory, getting the third trial moved to Schoharie County, 120 miles from where Harris’ previous two trials were held. Attorneys say that Cal, a well-known car dealership owner and prominent figure in the community, was unable to get a fair trial in Tioga County, where the case was widely covered.

“What the jury will see when they take a look at the entire case is that the police investigation was wanting and that there were other leads that the police should have followed up on,” Barket said. “Had they followed those leads this case might actually be solved.”

In 2014, Harris’ four children Taylor, 20, Cayla, 19, Jenna, 17, and Tanner, 15, stepped into the spotlight for the first time, coming out in defense of their father and asking the public for new information in their mother’s disappearance.

“We feel like we need to tell people that he’s actually a really great guy and there’s no way he could have done something like this,” Cayla Harris told ABC News. “I have seen a lot of like the comments people write on articles and they say that they think that we’re brainwashed by our dad and that’s not true. We agreed ourselves to do this.”

The Harris children are so confident in their father’s innocence that they have never even asked him about that September night 13 years ago.

“[We] didn’t have to,” said Taylor Harris.

“We didn’t have any doubt he wasn’t involved,” Tanner Harris agreed.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Loyal Listeners Club

Snapchat Stabbing: Dramatic 911 Call Tells How Mom Found Victim

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

WCIV(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — A harrowing 911 call recording has been released detailing the dramatic moments in which the mother of a teenage girl grapples with the discovery that her daughter’s boyfriend allegedly stabbed another boy.

The South Carolina mother is heard frantically telling a 911 dispatcher how she is trying to reassure the bloodied victim, identified by police as Lucas Cavanaugh, while she still fears that the attacker is in her house.

“He’s in the house, he’s somewhere. He’s my daughter’s boyfriend,” the woman says on the recording, released by authorities on Tuesday. She identified herself to police and gave the dispatcher the address of her home, outside of which the stabbing allegedly happened. ABC News is choosing not to release that information.

“He’s got a pulse and he is breathing but he’s completely unconscious,” the woman says. “He has been stabbed right in his stomach.”

The 8-minute call is highly-charged, and the dispatcher regularly has to urge the mother to remain calm and focused. ABC News is withholding the name of the mother to maintain the anonymity of her daughter.

At one point, she says that she will have trouble applying pressure to the wound because of the serious nature of his injuries.

Cavanaugh, 17, later died, authorities said.

Mount Pleasant Police Department documents describe how the fatal altercation occurred after the suspect, Matt Fischer, became upset when he saw a Snapchat that Cavanaugh sent to Fischer’s girlfriend.

The affidavit states that Cavanaugh “was contacting the defendant’s [Fischer’s] girlfriend via Snapchat on her iPod. The defendant took the iPod and contacted the victim. Words were exchanged at which point the defendant told the victim ‘Come over’ and ‘I’ll kill you man.'”

The police report also describes how Fischer, 16, who allegedly stabbed Cavanaugh immediately outside the house, ran back into his girlfriend’s house “with the bloody knife,” left it there, and then fled on foot.

A firefighter on the scene told the responding police officer that Fischer’s mother arrived at the scene saying that she had received a phone call from her son, picked him up in the area and brought him back to the house.

“She stated that she did not know what happened, but that she had the subject in her vehicle,” the report stated.

Police forced him out of the car at gunpoint and took him into custody, the report stated.

Fischer is being charged on the counts of murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a violent crime, according to the County of Charleston’s affidavit.

Both families were in court for Monday’s bond hearing, The Post and Courier reported. Neither family spoke but Cavanaugh’s father cried as he stood next to a detective, the newspaper reported.

Fischer’s attorney, Peter David Brown, spoke on behalf of his client.

“This is just a tragedy for the entire Wando community and the families involved,” Brown said, according to the newspaper.

Brown could not be immediately reached by ABC News for comment.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Deflate-gate: Patriots Coach Says He Has ‘No Explanation’ for Under-Inflated Balls

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Jim Rogash/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday he was “shocked” and had “no explanation” about the accusations the team used under-inflated balls in this past Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I have no explanation for what happened,” he said during a news conference Thursday morning.

Belichick said he is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation.

“I can’t comment on what they’re doing,” he added.

Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch.

“Any deflation would then take us under that specification limit. Knowing that now, in the future, we will certainly inflate the footballs above that low level to account for any possible change during the game,” Belichik added.

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A deflated ball could be easier for the quarterback to grip in bad weather, such as in Sunday’s rain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The Colts had raised concerns as far back as this past November about under-inflated balls supplied by the Patriots following its regular-season Nov. 16 game game, ESPN reported.

During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams twice intercepted three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady and gave the balls to the Colts’ equipment manager to save. Both times there were concerns about the balls feeling under-inflated, sources earlier this season had told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Those sources also said that the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into Sunday’s AFC Championship game. New England won the game, 45-7.

The minimum disciplinary action for tampering of a football is a fine of $25,000, according to the NFL’s game operations manual.

The controversy around “deflate-gate” has taken attention away from the Super Bowl, in which the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Song of The Day

Yankees Announcer John Sterling Among Hundreds Displaced in New Jersey Fire

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(EDGEWATER, N.J.) — Yankees announcer John Sterling and hundreds of others were left homeless after a massive fire tore through a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey Wednesday.

With the flames engulfing The Avalon at Edgewater in the city of Edgewater, located along the Hudson River across from Manhattan, plumes of thick, black smoke spread from the blaze.

New York emergency officials advised residents in Manhattan and the Bronx that they might see or smell smoke.

Residents were ordered to evacuate and were led to a nearby school. As the fire continued to rage, hundreds who lived at the complex, including New York Yankees announcer John Sterling, wondered what would be left of their homes.

“I don’t know what to expect. Now, I have nowhere to go. And I need a toothbrush,” Sterling told the New York Daily News after finding a hotel room.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Home of Sandy Hook School Shooter to Be Demolished

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Stephen Dunn/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) — Officials in Newtown, Connecticut, Wednesday approved a decision to raze the home of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, and leave it as open space.

It was on Dec. 14, 2012 that Lanza, 20, first killed his mother inside the house and then went to the school where he shot dead 20 first-grade students and six educators. Lanza, who was deemed to be severely disturbed, then took his own life.

Following the tragedy, a bank acquired the 3,100-square foot home before turning it over to Newtown last December.

Officials first received permission from victims’ families about the decision to destroy the house and promised that if the land was sold, proceeds would go to the survivors.

Prior to transferring the Lanza home to the town, the bank removed all the contents of the house to be incinerated so that nothing would be left for unscrupulous collectors to sell for a profit.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nugget of Knowldege

Report: Civil Rights Charges Unlikely in Michael Brown Shooting Case

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The racially-charged case involving a white police officer who shot an unarmed black teen to death in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer will likely end with no civil rights charges filed by the Justice Department, according to The New York Times, although no formal decision has been reached.

A grand jury last November absolved former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s shooting death, a decision that touched off violent demonstrations and a nationwide movement against alleged police abuses against African-Americans.

Brown’s parents and civil rights activists have hoped that the Justice Department would keep the case open by deeming that Brown’s civil rights were violated when he was shot six times by Wilson following an altercation.

However, the Times reports that the Justice Department has apparently found no reason to differ from the findings of the grand jury, which took two months to investigate the shooting.

To be charged with civil rights violations, there has to be proof that Wilson knew that shooting Brown was wrong but he chose to do so anyway.

It’s not known when the Department of Justice will make its formal announcement in a legal memo. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is leaving his post, had promised to deliver the decision before stepping down.

Meanwhile, it’s expected that Brown’s family will file civil charges against Wilson and the Ferguson police department.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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