Hurricane Maria upgraded to ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 4 storm

Hurricane Maria upgraded to ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 4 storm

Hurricane Maria quickly strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm on Monday evening, hours after it had formed into a Category 3 earlier in the day. The storm was 45 miles east-southeast of Dominica with maximum sustained winds up 130 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory. As Maria continues to strengthen in the Atlantic Ocean ahead of landfall, a hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico, Culebra…

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SW Florida residents clear sodden homes in scorching heat

SW Florida residents clear sodden homes in scorching heat

Dealing with wrecked belongings and reports of toxic muck, residents of a tiny town where Florida’s Everglades meet the Gulf of Mexico cleared their homes Monday in scorching 92 F (33 C) heat with no air conditioning and no electricity except from a few generators. The isolated Everglades City community of about 400 people suffered some of Florida’s worst storm surges — up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) — when Hurricane Irma slammed the region…

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California dad pleads not guilty in deaths of his children

California dad pleads not guilty in deaths of his children

Prosecutors charged a father Monday with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his children, saying a belt was used in two of the killings. Prosecutors filed the charges against 32-year-old Robert William Hodges in the deaths of 11-year-old Kelvin Hodges, 9-year-old Julie Hodges and Lucas Hodges, nearly eight months. Hodges pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance. Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said the two older children were killed with…

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Convicted church killer wants to fire Jewish, Indian lawyers

Convicted church killer wants to fire Jewish, Indian lawyers

A white supremacist who was sentenced to death in the 2015 massacre of nine black worshippers has told a federal appeals court he wants to fire his appellate attorneys because one of them is Jewish and the other is Indian. In a handwritten request filed Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, Dylann Roof wrote that his attorneys’ backgrounds are “a barrier to effective communication.” Given their ethnicities, Roof wrote,…

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Convicted rapist throws a fit while being deported, report says

Convicted rapist throws a fit while being deported, report says

A convicted rapist from Africa threw a fit as he was being deported from the U.S. — telling federal agents that he “would rather die than go back to Togo” — during a violent confrontation at Dulles International Airport, a report says. “I am not going back to Togo,” seethed Koffi Ameyapoh, 51, of Maryland. “You will be shipping a dead body back to Togo,” he told the agents, according to court filings obtained by…

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Dylann Roof asks court for new lawyers, says race makes them his ‘political and biological enemies’

Convicted killer Dylann Roof has requested that new lawyers be appointed for his federal appeals case, saying the races of his current ones make them his “political and biological enemies.” Roof, who was sentenced to death in January for the murder of nine African Americans after he went on a shooting spree in 2015 at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston S.C., filed a hand-written request to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, Fox…

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Dead man found in Missouri airport parking lot eight months after he went missing

Dead man found in Missouri airport parking lot eight months after he went missing

A 53-year-old Kansas man missing for eight months has been found dead inside his truck at a busy airport — and now his family wants some answers. Relatives of Randy Potter, along with their attorney and a private investigator, believe the former T-Mobile manager died shortly after leaving his Lenexa home on Jan. 17, the last day he was seen alive. Police in Kansas City found his body Tuesday after a foul odor coming from…

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Mississippi officer on leave after threat to black motorist

Mississippi officer on leave after threat to black motorist

A white Mississippi police officer who was recorded telling a black motorist that he could shoot into the car if the man failed to keep his hands on the steering wheel has been placed on leave. The Commercial Dispatch used a public records request to obtain the Aug. 18 video from the body camera worn by Columbus officer Keith Dowd, who said during the stop that he is a DUI and drug interdiction expert. The…

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Police: Suspect held after pregnant teacher found dead

Police: Suspect held after pregnant teacher found dead

Police in Maryland say a pregnant teacher who was missing for more than a week has been found dead. Montgomery County Police said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that 31-year-old Laura Wallen’s body had been found. The department said a suspect, who was not identified, was arrested in the slaying. They did not give additional details about the case. Wallen was a teacher at a high school in neighboring Howard County. She was last heard from…

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Over $54G raised for vendor after video shows UC Berkeley police seizing his money

Over $54G raised for vendor after video shows UC Berkeley police seizing his money

A fundraiser for a hot dog vendor featured in a viral video appearing to show a University of California, Berkeley officer taking the man’s money has raised more than $70,000. The vendor, identified only as Juan, was working on a public sidewalk Saturday near California Memorial Stadium during Cal’s football game against Weber State when a campus police officer came over. Martin Flores, a UC Berkeley alumnus, set up the GoFundMe for Juan after he…

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Former Humane Society director arrested for animal cruelty

Former Humane Society director arrested for animal cruelty

Authorities in Georgia arrested the former director of the Albany Humane Society on a charge of animal cruelty. Andy Sartiano, 54, was arrested Wednesday morning after being accused of giving an employee orders to break a cat’s neck as a form of euthanasia, according to WALB. According to Dianne Barlow, president of the Albany Humane Society’s Board of Directors, Sartiano was fired from her position last month because “she did not perform her duties.” The…

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Airlines work to restore normal operations after hurricanes

Airlines work to restore normal operations after hurricanes

Airline executives say their carriers are gradually restoring normal operations in the wake of the back-to-back hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told an industry conference in Washington on Wednesday that he expects his airline to be back to “full operation” by Saturday or Sunday. American has a major hub in Miami and canceled thousands of flights as Hurricane Irma roared over Florida. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says the…

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Jury picked to decide competency in Wisconsin stabbing case

Jury picked to decide competency in Wisconsin stabbing case

A jury has been selected in southeastern Wisconsin to decide the mental competency of a girl accused of stabbing a classmate in 2014 to please a fictional horror character known as Slender Man. Twelve jurors and four alternates were selected Monday in the case of 15-year-old Anissa Weier (ah-NEE’-sah WY’-ur). Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday. Weier has pleaded not guilty due to mental illness in a stabbing that nearly took the life of classmate Payton…

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Man charged with killing boy whose mother pushed off a cliff

Man charged with killing boy whose mother pushed off a cliff

A Kentucky man was charged Monday with the murder of a 5-year-old boy who watched helplessly as his mother was beaten, bound and pushed off a cliff over the weekend. The mother survived and was found by two hikers who alerted police, prompting a two-day search that ended earlier Monday when the boy’s body was discovered near where his mother was left for dead. Police arrested Lonnie Belt, 41, and charged him with the murder…

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Irma unleashes record flooding in Jacksonville, ‘incredible’ floods in Charleston

Irma unleashes record flooding in Jacksonville, ‘incredible’ floods in Charleston

Irma’s powerful winds triggered strong damage in the areas where the storm made a direct hit — but for cities including Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., it unleashed pushing amounts of storm surge. In fact, the storm surge flooding in Jacksonville broke a record, according to the National Weather Service. Surge flooding water levels from the St. Johns River, under the Main Street Bridge, hit a record-high of 5.57 feet, the NWS reported. The previous…

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