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NYPD on Alert After ISIS Blog Targets Times Square

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The New York Police Department said Wednesday it is increasing its presence in Times Square after a blog post to an ISIS chat room called for attacks on the famous tourist spot.

“We are as prepared as any entity can be to deal with threats,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “But the reality is that we are living in a newer era of potential terrorism.”

There is no specific threat and the post appears to be from a 2010 al Qaeda Inspire magazine article.

The NYPD said it believes this is nothing but propaganda, one of many such postings over the years.

However, Bratton said that the ability to inspire lone wolves is the biggest threat ISIS poses to the United States.

Bratton added that none of the posts are specific or worrying in and of themselves.


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Nugget of Knowldege

Detroit Police Officer Faces New Trial in Girl’s 2010 Shooting Death

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — A Detroit police officer is preparing to stand trial for the second time in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl, an incident videotaped by a reality TV crew.

Joseph Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the May 2010 shooting of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. The incident was videotaped for the A&E reality show The First 48, with Detroit police serving a warrant to a murder suspect.

The first trial last year ended in a hung jury. Weekley maintained it was all a tragic accident and he has pleaded not guilty, just as he did in his 2013 trial.

Aiyana was sleeping on the couch. Weekley has testified that the girl’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, hit his submachine gun, coming down on it with her arm, causing him to accidentally fire.

Aiyana was shot in the head.

Weekley’s supervisor, Lt. Donald Johnson, told jurors in 2013 that Weekley was devastated following the shooting.

“He was just throwing up and crying and shaking, and just sporadic, ‘Why did she hit my gun?’” Johnson said.

Jones insisted that she never went for Weekley’s gun.

“They messed up, and they know they done messed up,” she said.

Geoffrey Fieger, the family’s attorney, said police mishandled the situation and were performing for the TV cameras when Aiyana was killed.

“They knew they were being photographed for a TV show. So, they like to show all their cowboys-and-Indians, tough-guy military look,” Fieger said.

ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said he was surprised that the jury in the first trial could not agree on a lesser misdemeanor charge against Weekley — careless discharge of a firearm causing death.

“The fact that the jurors couldn’t compromise shows you how difficult a case this is,” Abrams said. “There must have been fierce divisions on that jury.”

 
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Manhunt for Accused Pennsylvania Cop Shooter Closes Schools

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

PennDOT(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — Schools in one northeastern Pennsylvania district are closed Wednesday morning as authorities search for a sharpshooting survivalist suspected in a deadly ambush against state police troopers.

Eric Matthew Frein, 31, is accused of firing at police during a shift change at the Blooming Grove barracks in Pike County Sept. 12.

Corporal Bryon Dickson, 38, died in the attack, while Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, is recovering following surgery.

Due to the manhunt, the Pocono Mountain School District — which consists of 10 schools — are closed Wednesday because of safety concerns for students and staff.

Authorities received a break in the case Monday, when a man walking his dog in a wooded area noticed a green Jeep partially submerged in a pond and alerted police. Police searched the vehicle and found two spent .308 cartridges, camouflage face paint, a black hooded sweatshirt, two empty rifle cases, and information concerning foreign embassies.

The vehicle was registered to E. Michael Frein, the suspect’s father, who is a retired Army major. The father told police that he trained his son to shoot and added that his son “doesn’t miss.”

He also told police that he was missing two weapons, a .308 rifle with a scope and an AK-47.


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Pet of the Week

Vikings Place Peterson on Exempt List

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Tom Dahlin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Minnesota Vikings have announced that Adrian Peterson has been placed on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list and will not play this Sunday.

The decision comes after the team announced earlier this week that it was reinstating him while the legal process involving charges of child abuse against the running back proceeded.

The Vikings now say Peterson will not be allowed to participate in any team activities until his legal matters are behind him.

The Vikings issued the following statement:

“This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson.  In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.”

The statement continues: “We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role – and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.
 
While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
 
We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision.”

The statement is signed by team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf.


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Former Suspect in Aspen Philanthropist’s Murder Denies Helping Husband Kill Her

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Vladek/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ASPEN, Colo.) — The wife of the man who murdered prominent Aspen, Colorado, resident Nancy Pfister says she is innocent and didn’t help her husband kill Pfister, despite once being a suspect herself.

“I had absolutely nothing to do with this,” Nancy Styler, 62, told ABC News’ 20/20.

Styler’s husband, Dr. William F. Styler III, known as Trey, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty on June 20 to second-degree murder for bludgeoning Pfister to death inside the Buttermilk Ski Area heiress’ home, which the couple was renting.

Pfister, 57, a philanthropist with a party girl reputation, was found dead inside a walk-in closet in her mountain chalet on Feb. 26 by her friend, Kathy Carpenter, who was also suspected in her murder. After Trey Styler’s confession, the first-degree murder charges against Carpenter, 56, and Styler’s wife were dropped.

Prosecutors have said that if new evidence comes to light they can re-file charges against Carpenter at any time. As part of a deal, Nancy Styler can never be charged for Pfister’s murder.

After her husband confessed to killing Pfister, Styler said she was shocked that he could be capable of such a crime.

“The jail part was a day at the beach compared to learning that the person that you’ve been with for 32 years committed such an awful crime,” she said.

According to prosecutors, Trey Styler, 66, a former anesthesiologist from Denver, and his wife had intense disagreements with Pfister over whether he and his wife had been paying the $4,000 monthly rental fee on her Buttermilk home. Nancy Styler said the couple did not have a lease because Pfister “didn’t want one.”

Pfister had been renting her home to the Stylers while on an extended trip in Australia, prosecutors said. At one point, Styler said Pfister told her if she helped her pack for a month-long trip to Australia, she wouldn’t charge them rent. After she left, Styler said she and her husband moved in, but then they received word that Pfister was cutting her trip short and wanted them out immediately.

“It was like…’How are we going to do this in four days?’” recalled Nancy Styler.

She and her husband moved to a nearby motel in Basalt, Colorado, with a festering grudge against Pfister.

Four days after she returned home from Australia, on Feb. 26, Pfister’s body was discovered wrapped in white and black trash bags and the sheets from her bed.

The Stylers were arrested on March 3 and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Trey Styler admitted to hitting Pfister in the head with a hammer while she slept and hiding her body in a closet, prosecutors said.

“He said, ‘I looked at her peacefully while our life was being torn apart,’ and he said, ‘I lost it,’” Nancy Styler said.

Nancy Styler said her husband told her how he was able to kill Pfister, including how he wrapped a cord around her body to be able to drag her to the closet.

“And he had left the bag — the murder weapon, the papers, her pearls, her pills — he had left that all in a bag, and that the bag was in the trunk of my car. And I was driving around with the murder weapon for three days,” said Nancy Styler.

Although he confessed to being the sole killer, the now wheelchair-bound Trey Styler appeared to be physically incapable of killing Pfister and covering up the crime on his own. Nancy Styler said her husband was diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease in late 1999 that made it difficult for him to walk.

“We’re thinking, you know, ‘How could he physically do that?’” Agent Lisa Miller told 20/20 of Trey Styler’s confession. “We took a break, and I asked Mr. Styler if he wanted to stand up. And he informed me he couldn’t stand up. He didn’t have the strength to.”

Police wondered during their investigation if Carpenter or Styler had a role in helping him with the murder.

“If he had come to me and said, ‘I’ve just done something horrible,’ I would’ve called the police right away,” Nancy Styler said.

Nancy Styler said she still loves her husband, whom she visits behind bars, and that people are wrong for thinking she helped kill Pfister.

“Why can’t people believe this? Why do they have to involve me in this?” Nancy Styler asked. “I say, ‘Go back and look at things in your mind and think about how this could happen, and don’t judge people unless you know the story.’”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Crusin In Cruces

Another Sponsor Critical of NFL, League Says It Is ‘Taking Action’

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

David Lee/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Yet another sponsor of the National Football League spoke out on Tuesday about the league’s fumbling of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations that have stirred up controversy in recent weeks.

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” said the statement from Anheuser-Busch, the league’s official beer sponsor. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code.” The company also says that it shared those concerns with the league.

The NFL responded to Anheuser-Busch’s statement, with spokesman Brian McCarthy saying that the NFL is, “taking action and there will be much more to come.”

Cynthia Hogan, former Deputy Assistant to the President and Counsel to the Vice President of the United States, was named the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs on Tuesday.

Ray Rice was initially suspended for two games following an incident in which he allegedly punched his fiancee in an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J. casino. Only after video from inside the elevator was released by TMZ, did NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extend the suspension and the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice.

On Tuesday, the NFL Players Association filed an appeal of the extended suspension on Rice’s behalf, asking for a neutral arbitrator to make a ruling.

Peterson was inactive this past week after allegations of child abuse arose stemming from an incident involving one of his children. He has not been suspended by the league, but he was reactivated by the Minnesota Vikings on Monday. Early Wednesday morning, the Vikings owners announced their decision to add Peterson to the exempt list, making him ineligible to participate in Vikings activities until his legal troubles are resolved.

Last week, PepsiCo and Campbell Soup Company both issued statements that were critical of the league’s handling of the Ray Rice situation.


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New York Man Indicted, Accused of Attempting to Support ISIS

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

BrianAJackson/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — A Rochester man was indicted on Tuesday on charges that he attempted to provide “material support” to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and tried to kill current and former members of the U.S. military, among other accusations.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement on Tuesday charging Mufid Elfgeeh, 30, with three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, one count of attempter murder, one count of possessing firearms equipped with silencers in furtherance of a crime of violence, and two counts of receipt and possession of unregistered firearm silencers. “We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to [ISIS] and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Court records indicate that Elfgeeh is accused of attempting to assist three people in traveling to Syria with the intent to join and fight on behalf of ISIS. He also is accused of planning to shoot and kill military members who had returned from Iraq. As part of that plot, Elfgeeh allegedly purchased weapons from a confidential information.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

Suspect in Pennsylvania Cop Shooting Is a Survivalist

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Photo Credit: PennDOT(CANADENSIS, Pa.) –  The suspect in the shooting of two Pennsylvania state troopers is a sharpshooting survivalist who specifically targeted cops and was out for mass murder, authorities said.

Suspect Eric Matthew Frein, 31, from Canadensis, Pennsylvania, practices survivalism — the ability to survive without the help of government or society, and often storing food and guns, Pennsylvania police said Tuesday.

“He has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder,” State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said at a news conference when he revealed Frein’s name. “What his reasons are, we don’t know. But he has very strong feelings about law enforcement and seems to be very angry with a lot of things that go on in our society.”

A massive manhunt is on in the rural forest area of eastern Pennsylvania to find Frein, who was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, homicide of a law enforcement officer and other offenses. Police describe him as approximately 165 pounds, about 6-feet-1, and with blue eyes.

Noonan said he is still armed and is “extremely dangerous.”

“We don’t know where he is,” Noonan said.

Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, was killed and Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, was wounded when a gunman opened fire during a shift change before slipping away, police said.

Lt. Col. George Bivens addressed the shooter directly at a separate news conference on Monday.

“You’re a coward,” Bivens said. “You committed this spineless act and you did it from a place of hiding and then ran.”

A resident who was walking his dog two miles from the barracks spotted a vehicle submerged in a pond and alerted authorities, who matched shell casings found in the car to ones also found at the shooting scene, Noonan said.

The vehicle is a Jeep registered to Frein’s father but owned by his parents, they told police.

Authorities said that multiple school districts in the area of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains will be closed on Wednesday while they search for Frein.


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Grand Jury to Decide on Tony Stewart Case

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Geoff Burke/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NASCAR star Tony Stewart may face criminal charges in a fatal accident that killed a Sprint car driver.

After a review of evidence, prosecutors in Ontario County, New York said it would be best for a grand jury to decide whether Stewart should be charged in last month’s accident that killed Kevin Ward on a dirt track in Canandaigua. Ward had climbed out of his car and onto the track to confront Stewart.

Stewart said he respects the decision to send his case to a grand jury and, in a statement Tuesday, pledged his “full cooperation.”

It’s not immediately clear when the grand jury would convene or whether Stewart will testify.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Family of Missing University of Virginia Student Pleads for Help

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Charlottesville Police(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The family of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham pleaded for help Tuesday in finding their daughter, whose disappearance this weekend has left them “heartbroken.”

The 18-year-old sophomore was last heard from after 1 a.m. Saturday when she texted friends saying she was on her way to a party but never showed up.

“Those of us who know and love Hannah know that she would not disappear without contacting family or friends,” the student’s family said in a statement released by the university.

“We urge anyone with any information, however insignificant it may seem, to call a newly dedicated tip line at 434-295-3851 at the Charlottesville Police Department,” the family said.

They described Graham as being “highly responsible and organized” and said “all summer she was looking forward to the start of the new school year.”

“She embraces life with energy and enthusiasm and has enriched the lives of many. Her empathy is evident in her daily interactions with us and her friends,” the statement from John, Susan and James Graham stated.

“The kindness and support of so many — her friends at U.Va., particularly her friends on the Ski Team, her friends from high school, our neighbors, and the larger community — mean so much to us at this difficult time,” the statement concluded.

Charlottesville Police Lt. Ronnie Roberts told ABC News that they received 60 tips from the public Tuesday morning, hours after they released surveillance footage of Hannah Graham. Roberts said the new information “may shift the particular area we were searching yesterday to a different area.”

Police had been combing a wooded area with the help of a bloodhound, Police Capt. Gary Pleasants said. Police declined to describe the new area under consideration.

Graham’s apartment is off campus and, according to police, she and other students were drinking heavily that night and were “fairly well intoxicated.”

Graham was seen at a pizza restaurant before she and a classmate headed to another party, authorities said. They left at 12:15 a.m., with Graham appearing to be walking home alone, according to police.

Police released surveillance images Monday showing Graham in her apartment hallway at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, hours before she disappeared.

Pleasants said authorities are using all available means to figure out what happened to Graham.

“We are checking her cellphone records, computer, bank accounts, everything we can possibly do,” he said.

University President Theresa A. Sullivan said that the campus community is “united in our deep concern” for the sophomore and is calling on the campus’ 21,000 students for help. “We are hopeful someone will come forward soon with information,” she said in a statement.

Graham’s parents, who are British but live in northern Virginia, have gone to campus to help authorities in the search.

Katie Schrieber, a friend of Graham’s, said the teen was especially kind to strangers.

“Hannah was really good at making friends,” Schreiber said. “She’s always one of the first people to talk to you. And she’s so friendly, so outgoing.”


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