National Headlines

iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A Washington State University student died four hours before fellow fraternity members first called 911 to report that he was unresponsive, investigators revealed Wednesday.

Sam Martinez, a 19-year-old freshman, died at the Alpha Tau Omega house in Pullman, Washington, at about 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, according to Whitman County Coroner Annie Pillers. Police said classmates called 911 at around 8:30 a.m., saying Martinez was "unconscious and not breathing."

Fellow fraternity members had attempted to perform CPR on the young man, but medics ultimately pronounced him dead at the scene, according to the Pullman Police Department.

The department said alcohol may have played a role in the student’s death, but the Whitman County Coroner's Office, which is investigating the case, has yet to make an official determination on the cause and manner of his death. The office said it will take at least two months to complete the investigation.

At this time, investigators don't believe the incident meets the definition of hazing, police said.

Washington State University described the student's death as "heartbreaking" in a statement last week. School counselors and student affairs staff have met with "those most closely affected by this tragic loss," the university said.

All fraternities and sororities on campus have self-imposed an immediate suspension of social events for the rest of the semester amid the ongoing investigation.

"Washington State University will be working with the Pullman Police Department and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity in the coming days to investigate the circumstances surrounding this death," the school said in a statement. "Today, however, we are focused on supporting the student’s family and our University community."

The Alpha Tau Omega National Fraternity, headquartered in Indianapolis, released a brief statement last week, saying in part, "Alpha Tau Omega mourns the death of a member who passed away overnight. The chapter is working with local officials and university administrators in their investigation."

Martinez's death came just two days after a San Diego State University freshman, Dylan Hernandez, died after leaving a fraternity gathering. Hernandez fell off a bunk bed following an event at the Phi Gamma Delta house on campus. All 14 fraternities at the school were suspended in the wake of his death.

Separately, an Arizona State University student, Ivan Aguirre, was found dead Nov. 11 at the Greek Leadership Village, but school officials have not released details about the circumstances of his death.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Four Syracuse University students have been suspended in the wake of approximately a dozen racially charged incidents reported recently at the school.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said Wednesday night that those suspended have been accused of verbally assaulting a black, female student.

The "immediate issue," the chancellor said in an address to the university's Senate, "is the bigotry in our midst."

Last week, an African American female student was subjected to a verbal, racial epithet from a group of students and visitors to the campus, according to a public safety notice posted on the school's website.

The student, according to the notice, "reported being verbally harassed by a large group of individuals who reportedly were yelling the 'N-word' as she walked by. There was no physical altercation."

As a result, a fraternity that the university said was involved in the incident, Alpha Chi Rho, had its social activities suspended for the rest of the semester, the chancellor said. He also said that all fraternities' social activities had been suspended for the duration of the semester.

In another on-campus incident, a swastika was found drawn into the snow, Matt Malinowski, a Syracuse Police spokesperson, told ABC News.

The most recent incident happened on Monday. There were reports of students in the school's Bird Library receiving a white supremacist document via AirDrop -- an iPhone app for transferring files.

That incident, Syverud said on Wednesday, is being investigated as a possible hoax.

"To date, there have been 12 cases of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti found on or adjacent to our campus. From my conversations with Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado from earlier today, the indications are that there are between one to five members of our community perpetuating this hate speech in our buildings and on our walls," Syverud added.

He also said that the school was partnering with the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force and the New York State Division of Human Rights.

The case involving the African American female student has been referred to the Onondaga County District Attorney.

In his remarks, the chancellor shared his own personal experiences with racism.

"I do understand it," he said. "While raising a mixed-race family in the South, my kids were threatened, my wife was subjected to many racial epithets, our car tires were slashed, and my kid's dog was shot."

"That was then, that was the South," he continued. "But this is Syracuse. This is 2019. I do not accept this hatred here and now."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(DETROIT) -- As the Detroit family of a recently killed aspiring nurse gathered to say their final goodbyes on Nov. 10, they received another piece of devastating news.

"That Monday, she was going to tell us that she was pregnant," Qiana Arnold, one of KaBria Arnold's sisters, told ABC News on Wednesday.

While it's unclear how far along 20-year-old KaBria Arnold was in her pregnancy, she disclosed to another sibling that she wanted to have an intimate gender reveal at their Rosedale Park, Michigan, home.

Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig announced on Tuesday at a press conference that a 28-year-old man and 24-year-old woman were taken into custody in connection to KaBria Arnold's murder.

The Wayne County Community College nursing student was found dead Nov. 10 on Detroit's West Side.

Craig said police believe KaBria Arnold's murder is connected to a domestic issue and the man is the alleged shooter. Formal charges and the identities of the duo in custody were not released as of Wednesday, a spokeswoman from the Detroit Police Department confirmed to ABC News.

"The boyfriend or former boyfriend is the one who did the shooting and the woman arrested is also in a relationship with the same man. That may or may not be a factor to the shooting," Craig said during the press conference.

For Qiana Arnold and her devastated family, they are now tasked with waiting on the medical examiner's report to know whether they will also mourn their unborn niece or nephew, the heartbroken sister said.

"It feels like we have been robbed twice," said Qiana Arnold, 27.

Qiana Arnold previously told ABC News that her family had "no idea who she would know over there."

For now, Qiana Arnold and her family are "taking every day, day by day, trying to get the funeral planned" this week.

A viewing is planned for Friday with the funeral service expected to be held Saturday at Fellowship Chapel.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(NEW YORK) -- Congressional lawmakers and 2020 presidential hopefuls marked this year's Transgender Day of Remembrance by encouraging their social followers to speak the names of those who died of anti-transgender violence.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., were among dozens of lawmakers who tweeted in support of the 20th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday, urging Americans to fight for justice for the 22 transgender women killed this year.

"Hateful acts of anti-trans violence have claimed far too many lives -- many whose names we’ll never know. Today we honor them," Booker tweeted. "To those who continue to face discrimination & violence due to transphobia: I see you, I love you, & will never stop fighting for you. #TDoR2019."

Harris tweeted a similar statement, saying, "We can never stop saying and remembering their names. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we must recommit to seeking justice for the lives taken and ending this epidemic. #TDOR."

At least 22 transgender people -- 19 of them trans women of color -- have been killed in 2019 alone, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. At least 29 transgender people were killed in 2017, making it the deadliest year on record, and at least 26 transgender people were killed in the U.S. in 2018, the group said.

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said the violence had reached "crisis" levels in a statement this week, noting that trans women of color represented an overwhelming majority of those targeted.

"Transgender women of color are living in crisis, especially black transgender women," David said. "Every one of these lives cut tragically short reinforces the urgent need for action on all fronts to end this epidemic -- from lawmakers and law enforcement, to the media and our communities."

Since 2013 HRC has tracked at least 150 transgender deaths due to fatal violence, but the organization said the violence is hard to track due to misgendering (incorrectly applying gender labels) and transphobia.

One of the most recent victims, 29-year-old Itali Marlowe, was found dead in a driveway in Houston with multiple gunshot wounds in September. Last month, 30-year-old Brianna "BB" Hill, was found shot to death in Kansas City last month. Family members and friends described her as a beloved member of her community, a fan of the Kansas City football team and said she loved spreading joy by sharing funny videos on her Facebook page, according to HRC.

Police arrested suspects in both cases, but the majority of the cases have not been solved.

Lawmakers and 2020 presidential hopefuls pointed to these violent attacks as examples of why the U.S. needs stronger legal protections for transgender people.

In many states, including Texas and most southern states, discrimination laws do not include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity, leaving transgender people more vulnerable to job discrimination and more likely to resort to illegal activity to earn a living, according to LGBTQ rights advocates. It also makes them prime targets for violence and abuse.

"When Washington ignores crises in the LGBTQ community, people die. On the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, let’s commit to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Americans," South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg, tweeted.

"Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by fatal violence," Senator Bob Casey, D-Penn., tweeted. "We must do more to stop hate crimes, enforce legislation to prosecute these crimes and prevent those convicted of hate crimes from purchasing guns."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(KETTERING, Ohio) -- The friend of the gunman who killed nine people in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio, in August has pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kettering, Ohio, resident Ethan Kollie, 24, pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally possessing firearms and lying on federal firearms forms at the federal courthouse for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, according to the DOJ news release.

Federal prosecutors accused Kollie of lying on the form to purchase his own firearm as well as body armor, a 100-round drum magazine and an unregulated accessory for an AR-15 weapon that gunman Connor Betts used during the shooting, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Ohio in August.

On Aug. 4, 24-year-old Conner Betts opened fire in Dayton's Oregon District, killing nine people, including his sister, and injuring 17 more. The entirety of the massacre lasted just 32 seconds when Betts was killed by a police officer.

As part of his guilty plea, Kollie acknowledged that he checked the "no" box for question 11e on the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473, which asks "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?" despite being a user of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, according to the release.

"Kollie answered falsely because he knew he would not be able to obtain the micro Draco pistol if he answered truthfully," the release states.

During a search of Kollie's residence after the shooting, law enforcement officers recovered the pistol which was loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition, as well as marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, additional weapons, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and equipment to grow psychedelic mushrooms, according to the DOJ.

Kollie also indicated to the FBI and ATF during an interview that he had purchased items for Betts, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman told reporters at a press conference in August.

In a statement to ABC News, Kollie's defense attorney Nick Gounaris said he "takes full responsibility for the actions that are contained in the statement of facts."

"He looks forward to moving on with his life, and he's glad to get this offense behind him," Gounaris said.

The charges warrant a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Kollie's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(NEW YORK) -- If you're looking to lend St. Nick a helping hand from the comfort of your own home this Christmas, look no further because the U.S. Postal Service's annual "Operation Santa" program is online.

In its 107th year, Operation Santa invites individuals and organizations to adopt letters to Santa from hopeful children and families in need and send responses and gifts in his place.

On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service took its gift-giving efforts digital, launching the operation online, for the first time across the U.S.

A few years ago, the program was offered in New York as a trial run. This time around, however, helpers will be able to access letters from underprivileged children and families in 15 U.S. cities.

"This is the most expansive program that we've done so far," said Xavier Hernandez, a USPS communications specialist in Manhattan.

While many children tend to ask the big guy for toys and games, some also request basic necessities such as coats, gloves and hats. Some requests are as simple as help for a loved one who has fallen on tough times.

"It brings real Christmas spirit to people, this program, and that's why I've been a longtime follower and volunteer," said Patrick Reynolds, a volunteer and creator of Beanelf, a nonprofit designed to support Operation Santa.

USPS said it takes in 500,000 letters a year.

If you're interested in giving this year, the steps are as follows:

1. Look through letters and adopt ones you love.

2. Find the perfect gift, and keep it anonymous -- it's from Santa, after all.

3. Pack your gifts in a box using USPS shipping.

4. And, finally, take the gift and postage to a participating U.S. post office by Dec. 21.

If some are interested in giving in person, no worries, there are locations in Chicago and New York that will still allow for letters to be adopted in person.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(HOUSTON) -- Houston Food Bank is seeking volunteers to help with donations after it was forced to throw away nearly 2 million pounds of fresh food worth almost $3 million.

An ammonia leak Tuesday night happened after one of the fans used to cool a refrigerated area "caved into the actual unit," Brian Greene, president of Houston Food Bank, told ABC Houston station KTRK-TV.

The food that was tossed was worth an estimated $2.7 million, Greene said. Fresh produce that was en route to the warehouse is being stored in refrigerated trucks as repairs continue inside the facility.

Video taken inside part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of refrigerated space shows aisles and aisles ceiling-high shelves completely bare.

Greene said volunteers are needed urgently so the organization can continue to accept donations from "all over the country."

The food bank operates 24 hours a day and serves about 1.1 million people who are struggling with food insecurity, he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(NAPERVILLE, Ill.) -- An Illinois teen has been arrested for a hate crime for allegedly placing a racist ad on Craigslist that included a photo of an African American classmate.

The teen, who is a student at Naperville High School, appeared in court on Wednesday morning on two counts of felony hate crime and one count of disorderly conduct, police said in a news release.

Authorities allege that the student took a photograph of a classmate while at school on Nov. 14 and then posted an ad on Craigslist with the photograph and caption "Slave for sale (Naperville)," police said.

The ad also included an offensive racial slur, officials said.

Police began investigating on Nov. 18 when they became aware of the incident and later identified the juvenile suspect as the person who allegedly posted the ad.

Naperville Chief of Police Robert Marshall described the ad as a "despicable and extremely offensive post."

"Every single person deserves the right to feel safe and welcome in our community, and this department will continue to strive to make that a reality by thoroughly investigating any allegations of hate crimes and bringing those found responsible to justice," Marshall said. "I would like to express my appreciation to our school resource officer and supervisor who conducted a timely, thorough, detailed investigation."

The DuPage County State's Attorney Robert B. Berlin called the case "beyond disturbing."

"Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated in DuPage County. Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly. I would like to thank the Naperville Police Department for their work on this case. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Lee Roupas for his efforts on this case," Berlin said.

The teen, whose name and age were not released, is due back in court on Dec. 18.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStoc(CHICAGO) -- Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett has filed a counter lawsuit against the city of Chicago, claiming that authorities "maliciously" prosecuted him after he claimed he was attacked by two masked assailants in January.

The lawsuit, filed by Smollett's attorneys in the Northern District of Illinois on Tuesday, claims that the city of Chicago "maliciously" prosecuted Smollett "in bad faith" and filed criminal charges against him "without probable cause."

On Jan. 29, Smollett told police he was attacked near his Chicago apartment by two masked men who poured an "unknown chemical substance on him" and wrapped a rope around his neck. Smollett later told police in a follow-up interview that the assailants yelled "MAGA country," reportedly in reference to President Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again."

As doubts about his story developed, police questioned two brothers in connection to the alleged attack, who told authorities Smollett allegedly paid them to help stage the crime.

Smollett was later indicted by a grand jury on 16 counts including felony disorderly conduct in relation to filing a false report.

The charges ignited a media firestorm around Smollett's claims, but prosecutors, while maintaining that Smollett was guilty, dropped the felony disorderly charge against him in favor of an "alternative resolution" that involved him performing community service and forfeiting the remainder of his $10,000 bond to Cook County.

The counter lawsuit was filed in response to a lawsuit the city filed against Smollett in April, requesting $130,000 in civil penalties, damages and attorney's fees and costs arising from Smollett's "false statements."

A federal judge ruled last month that the city's lawsuit against Smollett could proceed, despite a motion from his attorney's to dismiss it.

Smollett's attorneys denied that Smollett orchestrated and planned a fake attack and admonished the police department for continuing to imply that Smollett was guilty after the charges were dropped, according to the court documents.

The document also states that the city of Chicago "is not entitled to recover further costs for services" because Smollett already paid $10,000.

The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and that Smollett be awarded compensatory and punitive damages, the amount of which will be determined at trial.

A representative for the office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- A 16-year-old girl who is accused of planning to murder members of a predominantly black church went to "great lengths" to plan the attack, police said.

The girl, who was not identified because she is a minor, collected multiple knives, such as kitchen and butcher knives, before she was arrested and charged for the alleged plot at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish told reporters Tuesday night.

She had also allegedly visited the church once in the weeks before her arrest, but no services were in session.

"By the grace of God and by divine intervention, at the time she went to the church there was nobody there, and they weren't having church at the time," Parrish said.

"She went to great lengths to plan it, to get weapons and launch her attack on the church," Parrish added.

Police determined that the church had been "targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members," according to a statement. She was charged with criminal attempt to commit murder.

School administrators were the ones first notified of the alleged attack after other students found the teenager's notebook that laid out the alleged plot, prompting them to contact school counselors at Gainesville High School, according to police.

Dr. Jeremy Williams, superintendent of Gainesville City School System, said he was "stunned" over the arrest.

"A single act by a student does not represent the views and beliefs of Gainesville City School System. As a school system that celebrates our diversity, we are beyond stunned with the recent development," Williams said in a statement to ABC News. "However, we are extremely proud of our students notifying school administration of a possible off-campus threat."

Bishop Reginald Jackson, the presiding bishop of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal that is made up of more than 500 churches, told reporters that "it ought to bother us in the state of Georgia this young girl this young woman cannot be charged with a hate crime."

Georgia is one of four states in the country that does not have hate crime laws.

"This incident raises very serious issues and also raises questions that need to be answered," Jackson said.

The teenager is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


BCFC/iStock(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- A former Louisiana State University student has been sentenced to five years in prison in the 2017 hazing death of fraternity pledge Max Gruver.

Matthew Naquin, 21, who was found guilty in July of negligent homicide in Gruver's death, will likely serve two and a half years because half of his sentence was suspended, and his time behind bars could be cut down even more for good behavior or through jail programs, ABC Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ reported. Officials will check in June 2020 to determine whether he will remain in prison.

Gruver, 18, died in September 2017 following a night of drinking with Phi Delta Theta, in which he was hazed. The day after he died, Gruver's blood alcohol level was still .496, four times the legal limit, his father, Stephen Gruver, told ABC News in December 2017.

Naquin, who was a member of Phi Delta Theta, he will serve three years of probation and must complete 1,000 hours of community service and a pay $1,000 fine after he is released, according to WBRZ.

During the sentencing hearing Wednesday morning, the Gruver family requested that Naquin be given a full sentence, WBRZ reported.

Matthew Naquin is up to speak, “I would first like extend my most sincere condolences to Gruver family. No parent should have to experience what they have.”

— Nadeen Abusada (@NadeenAbusada) November 20, 2019

Naquin spoke during the hearing, offering condolences to the family and describing hazing as a "bad" and "dangerous" tradition that must be stopped.

"This whole process has been quite the journey," Naquin said, WBRZ reported. "I am no doubt a different man than the boy that stood at this podium and declared not guilty."

In total, four fraternity members, including Naquin, were charged in the wake of Gruver's death, but Naquin was the only one charged with felony negligent homicide.

Sean-Paul Gott, 22, and Ryan Isto, 20, were sentenced to 30 days in jail in July on hazing charges but each served two weeks before they were released, according to WBRZ. Patrick Andrew Forde, 22, who testified as a witness for the prosecution at Naquin's trial, has not yet been prosecuted for the hazing charge against him.

In July, prosecutors also charged Naquin with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting 700 photos and texts pertaining to the case on the same day a judge approved a search warrant, which included a search on his phone. Naquin has pleaded not guilty to that charge.

Naquin's attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


kali9/iStock(AUGUSTA, Ga.) -- A Georgia community is in mourning after an experienced narcotics investigator was gunned down in a "cowardly act" while on a routine patrol Tuesday night, said the sheriff.

Cecil Ridley, a narcotics investigator with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, was among the officers confronting individuals outside a convenience store in Augusta around 8:30 p.m., according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

When one of the men being questioned, 24-year-old Alvin Theodore Hester Jr., left the parking lot against instruction of deputies and walked into the convenience store, an officer approached him inside, according to Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree.

Then Hester tried to leave the store, and at the same time, Ridley was walking in as backup, authorities said.

That's when Hester -- allegedly holding a bag with three guns and drugs -- approached 51-year-old Ridley and shot and killed him, according to the sheriff.

Two officers returned fire at Hester and he was struck and taken into custody, authorities said.

Ridley was part of a proactive team to combat "senseless gun violence" in Augusta and was one of the most "aggressive and seasoned investigators," Roundtree said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"These teams are designed to conduct aggressive operations," targeting areas where drug, gang and gun activity are most prevalent, the sheriff said.

Ridley spent 17 years with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and "was assigned to the narcotics division for the majority of his career."

Ridley was "extremely passionate about his job" and "an asset to this agency," Roundtree said.

"I want him to be a symbol of what we're trying to do in Richmond County," the sheriff said. "We're trying to eliminate and reduce gun violence in Richmond County."

While talking about trying to reduce crime in the city and not wanting people to walk around with guns, the sheriff said of the suspect: "you have two hands, but you got three guns."

"The City of Augusta mourns with [the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office] and the family of Investigator Cecil Ridley," Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. tweeted. "He gave all while serving and protecting others. May we all pray for comfort and strength to the men and women who wear the uniform of [the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office]."

The @CityofAugusta mourns with @RCSOGA and the family of Investigator Cecil Ridley. He gave all while serving and protecting others. May we all pray for comfort and strength to the men and women who wear the uniform of @RCSOGA

— Hardie Davis, Jr. (@hardiedavis) November 20, 2019

"He gave his life to protect and serve others, and losing him in the line of duty is heartbreaking," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp added. "May God give his community comfort in this difficult time."

.@GAFirstLady, the girls, and I ask Georgians to join us in praying for Investigator Ridley’s loved ones. He gave his life to protect and serve others, and losing him in the line of duty is heartbreaking. May God give his community comfort in this difficult time.

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) November 20, 2019

Charges are expected against Hester, who remained in the hospital Wednesday, authorities said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


DNY59/iStock(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- The grandfather charged with negligent homicide after his 1-year-old granddaughter fatally fell from a cruise ship was quiet and stoic as he appeared in a Puerto Rican courtroom Wednesday.

During Salvatore Anello's preliminary hearing, the prosecution said they have witnesses, both on and off the island, they would call to testify.

Chloe Wiegand, an 18-month-old from Indiana, was traveling with her grandparents and parents on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when she fell to her death in July as the ship was docked in San Juan.

Chloe was with her grandfather in the children's water park play area when her grandfather put her on a wood railing in front of a wall of glass windows, according to attorney Michael Winkleman.

Winkleman said the grandfather put Chloe on the railing thinking she'd bang on the glass. However, the window was open and she was "gone," Winkleman said in July, calling her death a "tragic accident that was preventable."

Prosecutor Laura Hernandez told ABC News that prosecutors are confident in the case and would not have pursued a negligent homicide charge if it was not supported by the evidence.

Prosecutors on Wednesday told Judge Gisela Alfonso Fernandez they had discovery evidence to present to the defense. The judge agreed to postpone further proceedings until the discovery evidence was in the hands of the defense.

Prosecutors deny that Royal Caribbean had any influence in their decision to charge Anello.

Anello’s defense attorney, Jose Ortiz, declined to make a statement after court. Anello is next due in court on Dec. 16.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chicago Police Department via Twitter(CHICAGO) -- A 17-year veteran officer with the Chicago police department is recovering after he was shot in the skull during a gun battle with a bank robbery suspect Tuesday night.

The injured Chicago officer, 46, was in serious but stable condition with a skull fracture and blood on the brain, a hospital official said.

The "chaotic scene" began as a bank robbery in Des Plaines, a Chicago suburb, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters. One robber was captured by Des Plaines police but a second robber escaped, stole a car and headed toward Chicago, Johnson said.

Officers were able to track his movements and Chicago police officers were waiting for the suspect when he got off the expressway, Johnson said.

The 32-year-old suspect fired at officers, Johnson said.

Des Plaines police continued with the pursuit, which ended at a music store, Johnson said. The suspect and officers exchanged gunfire, and the suspect was shot and killed, Johnson said.

A 15-year-old bystander who was in the music store for a piano lesson at the time was shot in the arm and abdomen, Johnson said. The teen boy was hospitalized in stable condition, Johnson said.

The injured Chicago officer, who was not named, "has received over 100 awards from the department for his exemplary police work," Johnson said.

"Our hearts are breaking as we're reminded of the service and sacrifice our officers make every day to protect us and keep our communities safe," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kuzma/iStock(BALTIMORE) -- Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was indicted on numerous federal charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud and tax evasion in an alleged scheme involving the publishing of her children's books, officials announced Wednesday.

Pugh, 69, allegedly defrauded customers of Healthy Holly books, a company she owned, for her own political and personal gain, including funding her mayoral run, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
She allegedly used the proceeds from sales of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books to also purchase, then renovate, a house in Baltimore City, according to the statement.

The grand jury indictment was handed down on Nov. 14 and made public Wednesday. She faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of tax evasion.

Pugh is expected to turn herself in to the U.S. Marshals before for initial court appearance and arraignment on Thursday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 19, 2019

A North East, Pennsylvania man faces multiple charges -- including felony fleeing a police officer and Driving Under the Influence -- following an early moring vehicle pursuit.   Chautauqua Co...

Read More

Join Us Facebook