<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:24:02 -0700 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:24:02 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[90 mph Fastball Hits Player in Face]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:21:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/041914+DeShields+Twitter.jpg

A player on the Corpus Christi Hooks, a minor league baseball team in Texas, is nursing a nasty bruise after suffering a serious blow to the face. 

On Friday, DeLino DeShields, Jr. was struck on the right side of his face with a fastball traveling 90 miles per hour, fracturing his cheek.  

But he insists he will be back on the field soon.

“I can go right now,” said DeShields.
 
The 21-year-old center fielder was up at bat against the Frisco RoughRiders, when he got hit with the fastball.
 
“The pitch that hit me got on me kind of quick, and next thing you know I was on the ground,” he added.
 
He says he didn’t feel pain, just swelling. He eventually got up and walked off the field on his own.
 
“I am a very strong individual. I have a football mindset. That is what got me to walk off the field yesterday,” said DeShields, who was a 2010 first round pick for the Houston Astros, and the son of former major leaguer Delino DeShields.  
 
“He is quite a young man. He is quite an individual,” said Keith Bodie, manager of the Corpus Christi Hooks.
 
DeShields even had a message for the pitcher that hit him with the ball.
 
"I said 'tell the pitcher I am good, no hard feelings.' I know it just kind of got away from him. And just tell him i am all right,” DeShields said.
 
DeShields isn't planning to say off the field for too long. He says he has no fear facing another pitcher.
 
“Whatever it takes to get me back on the field I will be ready to go,” he said.
 
“Knowing DeLino he is going to be ready shortly this is not a 6 to 8 week deal,” Bodie added.


Photo Credit: Delino DeShields, Jr. Twitter page]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About the Pot Industry]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 05:53:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/97541776.jpg

April 20, once a counterculture holiday when potheads would gather to celebrate and smoke pot, is turning into a blockbuster event that could potentially bring in millions in tax and tourism dollars for states where it's newly legal.

Denver is playing host to its fifth annual Cannabis Cup this weekend, and this year's event is expected to be city's the largest yet in the wake of legalization.

An estimated 30,000 visitors were expected at the two-day event, according to The New York Times. At the start of the month, event organizers had already sold about 10,000 more tickets than they had last year, when pot wasn't yet legal in the state except for medical use.

Searches for hotel rooms in Denver on Hotels.com for the 4/20 weekend were up 73 percent over last year, too, according to The Cannabist -- a spike the company attributed in part to the state's legal recreational pot sales.

Scroll down to read some facts and figures about marijuana legalization and usage in the U.S.

4/20's hazy history

While there are no shortages of theories about how the “high" holiday came to be, several published reports give the credit for 4/20's creation to a group of Northern California high school students. The friends say they started using the term as code for pot-smoking in 1971, after planning to meet at 4:20 p.m. one day to smoke and search out a rumored pot crop.

The term spread, eventually reaching, through mutual acquaintances, members of the Greatful Dead rock band, the friends claim. The lingo was picked up by High Times magazine in 1990, according to BBC News, after an editor saw the term on a Grateful Dead concert flyer.

While others have also come forward to claim they are parents of the pot phrase, the friends, who call themselves the Waldos, say they have letters and other documents to back their story.

America's favorite illicit drug

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the country, a 2012 government survey found. An estimated 18.9 million Americans aged 12 and older -- or 7.3 percent of them -- said they had used marijuana in the past month.

And the numbers of Americans who say they have tried pot are far higher. A Pew Research survey taken in February found that nearly half of Americans polled, or 47 percent of them, admitted to having used marijuana at some point in their lives.

Medical research ramps up

The casual use such numbers suggest was the target of a study, published this week, that analyzed the effects of recreational pot-smoking on two neural regions that regulate emotions and motivation.

That study, a collaboration between researchers from Harvard's and Northwestern's medical schools, found the size, shape and density of both the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens significantly altered, even in people smoking as little as once a week. Those who smoked pot more regularly had abnormally large nucleus accumbens.

"When we saw that there was a consistent abnormality and that it was directly related to the amount of cannabis one took in, it gave us some significant pause," the study's co-author said. "Seeing these differences raises a cautionary flag that we need to do more research."

Seeing green

That need for more medical research hasn't stanched the interest in pot's profit potential.

Pot is already doing a brisk business in Colorado alone, and the taxes could provide a windfall for the state. A Moody's report predicted that the state will add an estimated $98 million to its tax coffers this year from taxes on recreational pot use on Jan. 1.

One group of industry investors seeking to capitalize on legal pot estimated in a recent report that the current market value is about $1.53 billion, a figure that includes all states that have active sales to those who are allowed to possess marijuana under state law.

That group, ArcView Market Research, also projected that Washington and Colorado would add $253 million and $455 million respectively their markets in 2014.

As for other states? The national pot market has a potential to swell to $10.2 billion in five years, according to the report. (To provide some perspective, the world's best-selling drug Lipitor at one point peaked at $13 billion in annual profit.)

Sweeping changes 

Americans' attitudes toward marijuana are evolving, too, with a recent Pew study finding that a majority of Americans — 54 percent — now think pot should be legal.

Voters in both Colorado and Washington signed off in 2012 on steps to legalize marijuana for personal recreational use, while other states rethink their own laws on a smaller scale.

Forty states have eased their drug laws since 2009, a recent Pew Research Center analysis found. In addition to Colorado and Washington, another 15 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized certain amounts of possession, while even more have legalized it for medicinal use.

The Justice Department appears to be giving such efforts the green light. Attorney General Eric Holder has given Washington and Colorado the go-ahead for their state legalization initiatives, as well as called for major changes to federal drug sentencing guidelines.

Those signals from the feds, coupled with polls suggesting more Americans support legal pot, may mean more states could be poised to head in a similar direction.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boy and Girl Die in NY House Fire]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:19:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/siblings+killed+queens+fire.jpg

A brother and sister, both 4 years old, died Sunday after a fire erupted in a Far Rockaway home, officials said.

The blaze began in the home on Bay 30th Street just before midnight. After firefighters put out the blaze the siblings were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

Officials said the two siblings died of smoke inhalation. Authorities have identified the boy as Jai'Launi Tinglin and the girl as Ayini Tinglin.

Another 4-year-old sibling, along with a  55-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man who were inside the home were also taken to area hospitals, where officials said they were listed in stable condition.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

 

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<![CDATA[5 Dead, 15 Wounded in Chicago]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:44:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/227*120/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls.jpeg

At least five people have been killed and 15 others wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday.

The weekend's latest shooting took place just before 5:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of West 85th Street. 

A 16-year-old boy was standing on the sidewalk when a passenger in a silver vehicle fired shots at him.

Police said the teen suffered wounds to the stomach and right leg and was taken in serious condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Around 2:40 p.m. Saturday in the 6900 block of South Halsted Street, police said a 21-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and was taken to John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County in serious condition.

Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.

Two people were injured in a shooting just before 1 p.m. Saturday in the 6600 block of South Maryland Avenue. 

Two men were walking down the block when they became involved in a verbal argument with a group of men, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Zala. 

Someone in the group pulled out a handgun and began firing at the victims as they fled. 

A 23-year-old man was shot in the back and a 21-year-old man was shot in the leg. Both were taken in serious condition to Stroger Hospital.

Around 11:35 a.m. Saturday a man was shot in the 1700 block of West Rosehill Drive, police said.

A 46-year-old man was sitting in his vehicle when he sustained a gunshot wound to the stomach. He was transported in serious condition to Saint Francis Hospital.

Further details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.

An hour earlier, police found two bodies in a double homicide in the city's South Side.

Two men were found deceased with apparent gunshot wounds in a basement apartment in the 8200 block of South Houston Avenue, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

No further details were available surrounding the shooting.

Around 9:30 a.m. Saturday a man was shot in the 2900 block of West Flournoy Street. Police said a 43-year-old man was found unresponsive an alley with multiple gunshot wounds to the body.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Around 5:13 a.m., police said a 30-year-old woman was shot when two men fired shots and chased the minivan she was riding in.

The 30-year-old woman was in a minivan heading northbound with five other people in the 1700 block of North Kimball Avenue when two males in a white two-door car started chasing them, police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada said.

One of the people in the car fired shots at the minivan as they followed it through the Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods, police said.

The driver of the van finally drove to the Shakespeare District police station at 2150 N. California Ave. for protection, Estrada said. The passenger had suffered a graze wound to her head during the chase, police said.

Less than three hours earlier, a man was fatally shot following an apparently gang-related car chase that ended in the city's West Town neighborhood.

An SUV being chased by a Nissan crashed into a parked Budget rental truck, a moving BMW, and a concrete median on Ashland Avenue before coming to a stop near Hubbard Street. 

Witnesses said people in both cars began fighting in the street when shots were fired, fatally striking a 19-year-old man in the SUV. Police said the teen had known gang relations.

Around 1:15 a.m., a 22-year-old man was shot in the 2800 block of North Kostner Avenue.

The man, who police said is a self-admitted gang member, was walking on the street when he was approached by a group of Hispanic men who shouted gang slogans at him. The man responded with his own slogans and the group chased him, according to authorities.

As he fled the scene he heard shots and felt pain. The man refused treatment at the scene, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada said.

Just after midnight Saturday, two people were shot in the 600 block of North Racine Avenue.

Police said two men were standing on a sidewalk when a dark-colored vehicle drove by and fired numerous shots in their direction.

A 23-year-old man was shot in the right thigh and a 25-year-old man was shot in the left foot. Both were listed in stable condition at Stroger Hospital.

On Friday, at seven others were shot.

Around 11:15 p.m., a 20-year-old man was shot during an attempted robbery in the 5200 block of West Congress Parkway. 

According to authorities, the man was in a gangway when he was approached by another man who displayed a firearm and announced a robbery.

The man shot the victim in the head and fled the scene. It was not clear if he took anything from the victim. 

The victim was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was later pronounced dead, officials said.

Less than an hour earlier, a 55-year-old man walked into West Suburban Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. The man said he was sitting in a van when three offenders approached and fired numerous shots. 

He was listed in good condition.

Fifteen minutes earlier, a 40-year-old man was shot in an alley in the 9200 block of South May Street.

The man suffered wounds to both legs and his right hand and was listed in stable condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Around 9:20 p.m., two teens were shot in the 7500 block of South May. Police said the teens were standing on a corner with a group of friends when an armed offender fired shots from across the street striking both victims.

One boy had a wound to the left foot and was in stable condition at Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center and the other teen was shot in the right thigh and left knee and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Around 7:30 p.m. Friday, a 20-year-old man was treated and released from Our Lady of Resurrection Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his leg.

The man told police he was walking on a sidewalk in the 2300 block of North Mango Street when a white car pulled alongside him and two offenders exited and began firing at him.

Earlier Friday, a 19-year-old man was shot in the back and left arm while walking with a group of friends around 1:17 p.m. in the 7900 block of South Evans. The teen was taken in good condition to Stroger Hospital.  

Police said his friends would not cooperate and believe the shooting was gang-related.

 

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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:51:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP183360651099.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man's Legs Severed by Train]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 03:57:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SEPTA+Generic+Train.JPG

A man had both of his legs severed on Friday after being run over by a SEPTA Regional Rail train.

The unidentified 47-year-old man was struck by a Manayunk-Norristown train near Ross Road, not far from the Bridgeport Station in Plymouth Township, Pa. around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, a SEPTA spokesperson told NBC10.com.

SEPTA said the conductor tried to stop but couldn't in time.

The victim was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition -- both of his legs amputated, according to the spokesperson.

Several trains on the Manayunk-Norristown line were canceled Friday night due to the incident. By Saturday morning all train service returned to normal.

Plymouth Township Police and SEPTA investigated the incident.

Police told NBC10 that the incident appeared to be an attempted suicide and that the man threw himself in the path of the train.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Submerged Truck Linked to Cold Case]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 05:22:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-000053.jpg

The discovery of a submerged pickup with skeletal remains in Lake Granbury, Texas, on Thursday may have solved the mystery of a woman who disappeared 35 years ago.

The truck was found near the Lake Bridge on Business 377 in Granbury.

Investigators believe the remains are those of Helen Hollady who disappeared in September 1979.

According to Sheriff Roger Deeds, a city employee first spotted the truck partially submerged in the lake as they were driving near the bridge on Pearl Street and called police.

"The first thing we were thinking was, 'We've been looking for Miss Holladay for years.'"

Sheriff Deeds said the front and rear of the pick-up truck were sticking out of the water.

"When we pulled the vehicle out, we found the skeletal remains of a person and also found identifying information with the body to tie it to Miss Holladay," said Deeds.

Deeds said old police reports said there was some disturbance at the weekend home of Holladay in the Whippoorwill Bay subdivision north of the lake.

The disturbance was between Holladay and her husband Herman. Herman Holladay was a suspect when Helen was reported missing, according to police. 

"Miss Hollady left the home after the disturbance and was last seen heading South towards Granbury on Highway 51." said Deeds. And that was the last time anyone heard from her or saw Helen Holladay.

Holladay's husband died in the 1980s.

Two surviving daughters have been informed about the discovery, the sheriff said.

Deeds also said over the past 35 years the have been searching for Holladay but couldn't find the 1970s model Chevy truck because it was covered in sediment which has built up on the vehicle over the past 35 years.

Deeds guessed the pickup was submerged in 15 feet of water until the lake levels recently began dropping and was about the same distance from the shore.

He said DNA testing to confirm the identify of the body could take weeks.

"It's not a total closure but at least the question of where mom has been all these years, we think we just solved that," Deeds said.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News ]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Charges Thousands]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:21:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/del-taco-web.jpg

When Austin Dillon checked his bank statement online Friday morning and found thousands of dollars missing from his account, he thought for a moment that he might be a victim of identity theft.

It only took a couple of scrolls for the 33-year-old Oxnard, Calif., man to realize where the missing money went: His trip to a Santa Paula Del Taco fast food restaurant cost him $4,260.

“On my actual receipt it said $4.26,” Dillon said. “I thought it was funny. I figured it would be an easy fix.”

A quick call to his bank and Dillon’s money was back in his account, but he soon found out that other affected customers weren’t so lucky. About 10 customers gathered at the restaurant Friday morning with complaints of being overcharged, and some had gone into negative balances after a technical error affecting ATM and credit card transactions tacked on thousands of dollars to bills.

“I had the money in my account,” Dillon said. “If it had been before Christmas it might have knocked me out of the water.”

About 150 people who ordered from the food chain were mistakenly charged, but a spokesman with Del Taco said all charges will be refunded.

"They were really cool about it," Dillon said. "They were super apologetic."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[D.C.'s Snowy Owl Gets New Home]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 03:56:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/snowy+owl+released.jpg

A rare snowy owl whose plight drew national attention after it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital has been released to the wild.

The injured owl was found in downtown Washington in late January and taken to the National Zoo before being transferred to a Washington, D.C., wildlife rehabilitation center. It underwent rehabilitation at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, which has expertise in replacing damaged feathers.

The owl was released on Saturday into an area where a significant number of snowy owls have been observed over the past few winters.

"The snowy flew off with strong steady wingbeats, showing off the new flight feathers supplied by The Raptor Center,” said executive director Julia Ponder. “He is in great condition and will hopefully head back north in the coming days," said Ponder.

Snowy owls are native to the Arctic, but were seen all along the East Coast this winter as far south as Florida.
 



Photo Credit: The Raptor Center, University of Minnesota]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Awakens to Prowler Covering Her Mouth]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 08:23:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/anna+thompson+prowler+victim.JPG

An Oceanside, Calif., woman said she had a rude awakening Friday morning when she found a man standing over her bed.

Anna Thompson told NBC 7 the situation is one she's only seen in movies but never imagined would happen to her.

She woke up just after 6 a.m. Friday to a man covering her mouth in her home on Vine Street. She immediately started fighting the man off.

"I fought back as much as I could until I got to a point where my dog woke up, and he was laying right next to me, and he started going after the intruder and chased him out of my house," said Thompson.

Thompson received a scratch to her chest and an injured lip.

She believes the suspect came through the side gate to her home, took off his shoes and went inside. He left those shoes behind when he fled.

In the scuffle, she knocked his hat off. Oceanside Police later took the hat as evidence to get DNA from it, Thompson said.

Investigators said there was no forced entry into the house. They believe the suspect is in his 30s, but they have not released any other information.

She said the incident has prompted her to put an alarm system in her home as soon as possible.

 

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<![CDATA[Armed Robbers Shoot at Cops in NJ]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 03:57:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/armed+robbery+scrap+metal+yard+nj.jpg

The owners of a scrap metal yard in New Jersey were tied up, beaten and threatened with guns when a group of armed robbers stormed the business looking for cash and valuable platinum, then fled while shooting at police officers, authorities say.

The five robbers went into the Bayway Scrap Metals on Amboy Avenue in Elizabeth Friday afternoon and tied up several employees, including owner Carol Navarro and her husband. They were threatened and held at gunpoint for 90 minutes. 

"One of them asked how long we were married," said Navarro. "I told him 45 years, and he said, 'Well, you're going to die together.'"

"I could hear him keep telling my husband, 'Shut up or I'm going to shoot you, I'm going to kill you,'" she said. 

The men were after $20,000 in cash and a pile of catalytic converters worth an estimated $250,000 because of the platinum inside. When they got what they wanted, Navarro said they told her, "Today is your lucky day."

Police spotted the robbers two miles away with a U-Haul truck full of stolen catalytic converters. They allegedly fired at officers as they tried to get away, two of them in a stolen vehicle, but four of them were eventually caught. No officers were injured.

Michael Howard, 22, and Rafael Clemons, 27, Sharod Saunders, 30, and Steven Chambers, 47, have all been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree carjacking, aggravated assault and multiple weapons offenses, officials said Saturday.

Bail for each defendant was set at $1 million.

Information on attorneys for Howard, Clemons, Saunders and Chambers was not immediately available.

One suspect remains at large and is believed to be heavily armed and dangerous. Police are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's capture and conviction. 

Police recovered an AK rifle and three handguns from the arrested suspects. 

Navarro helped identify the suspects in a lineup. Her husband needed stitches but he and the other hostages are going to be OK, she said. 

Navarro said she immediately called her son Jamie Navarro after the robbery. He believes his family's scrap metal business was targeted. 

"They absolutely, 150 percent, they planned this," he said. "This was planned, premeditated." 

"I think they're a bunch of scumbags, and I hope they rot in hell," he said. "I hope they get a long time in prison because that's what they deserve." 

-- Brian Thompson contributed to this report. 

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<![CDATA[Heroin Dealer Gets 30 Years]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 03:57:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/general+prison+tamms.jpg

A D.C. man who distributed heroin that resulted in the deaths of at least three people in Fairfax County, Va., was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Eugene Asomani “Shine” Williams pleaded guilty in January. He admitted distributing heroin in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. between 2004 and September 2013.

Williams, 35, also admitted Joshua Pearson, 33; Kara Schachinger, 22; and Timothy Huffman, a 23-year-old solider at Fort Belvoir, each died from using heroin he distributed.

Ann Schachinger's daughter Kara drowned in her bathtub in early 2012 after taking heroin she got from Williams, her dealer.

"I can't put all the blame on him, but he certainly does bear a responsibility," Schachinger said.

“Williams peddled a dangerous drug and inflicted untold damage to the victims, their families, and our communities,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said. “This case exemplifies the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to combat this pernicious crime.”

Williams' defense attorney, Todd Baldwin, is planning to appeal the judge's decision.

"To sentence someone based on the unforeseeable, unintended outcome, more than what normal drug dealing gets a sentence for, I think is just unfortunate," he said.

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<![CDATA[LA E-Cig Ban Takes Effect]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 08:09:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/E-Cig-I-Team.jpg

E-cigarette smokers took their final legal puffs as the ordinance that bans the device from bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other public places took effect at midnight Saturday.

One club made an event out of the ban and threw a vapor smoke-filled party while it was still allowed -- but the night wasn't all smiles.

"It is frustrating only because customers aren't going to be happy," said Richard Park, owner of the Cindy Club on Beverly Boulevard. "They're going to have to be vaping outside, which I think is really ridiculous, because they're considering it the same as cigarettes right now."

The club's event for the final legal puff came after months of debate into the controversial use of the vapor devices.

Tensions heated up earlier this year when Angelenos butted heads over what to do with the growing mainstream tobacco alternative.

LA Councilmen Mitch O'Farrell and Paul Koretz motioned for Los Angeles’ chief legislative analyst to review a policy proposal related to the general use and classification of e-cigarettes on Jan. 14.

"We need to do all we can with what we know now to protect the public health," O'Farrell said. "It became a real issue in public schools. Youth were sneaking e-cigarettes and vaping under their desks. We don't want to expose a whole new generation to normalizing e-cigarette use."

The ensuing report from CLA Gerry F. Miller recommended actions that would essentially treat e-cigarettes as traditional tobacco products.

Based on Miller’s recommendation, a strict proposal was put before the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee and passed unanimously during a LA City Council meeting on Feb. 24.

Read: Teacher in Fight With Student Reinstated

“For anyone to say that e-cigarettes are not harmful, I think they are taking us down the same path that the tobacco industry said in 1954 that cigarettes were not harmful,” Councilman Bernard Parks said during that meeting.

Proponent Mark Burton, who spoke during the council meeting, cited a Drexel University study.

The research “found that contaminate levels of the vapor, if you will, were far below what would be considered harmful,” he said.

On March 4, the ban was approved unanimously by the LA City Council, and endorsed by the LA mayor’s office the following day.

The use of e-cigarettes has been widely controversial as well as popular across the country with similar contentions in New York City.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Only e-cigarettes marketed for therapeutic purposes are regulated by the agency.

"I'm struggling with this because I want to make sure we are solving a problem based on actual facts and justification," said Councilmember Paul Krekorian during the March 4 meeting . "There are a variety of different views on the impact of what that second-hand vapor may be.”

"There's a well-developed body of evidence on smoking. But, from everything I've heard, I don't think a case has been made that adult exposure should be something that this council acts on absent regulation by one of these agencies... equipped to make those difficult assessments."

The new law does not affect vaping lounges or stores, which as of late have been raking in big business. E-cigarettes would also still be allowed for "theatrical purposes.”

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<![CDATA[Boy Electrocuted in Pool Remembered]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 03:58:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/swimming3.jpg

A 7-year-old boy who died while swimming in a North Miami pool was laid to rest Friday.

Police said the boy may have been electrocuted by a light that sent charges through the water.

Calder Sloan died Sunday after he was shocked as he swam through the pool, police said. An officer attempted CPR before fire rescue transported the boy to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died.

Friends and family gathered at a public memorial in Miami Beach to honor the life of Calder Sloan.

"He was a superhero. As he grew up, he amazed us with his atheltic ability," Chris Sloan, the boy's father said at the memorial service.

The boy was swimming with his brothers, ages 5 and 22, under the watch of his nanny when the older brother first felt a shock and urged the others to get out of the pool, The Miami Herald reported. Calder apparently did not hear and was jolted out of the water.

A neighbor who performed CPR on the child, Fabian Pesantes, told NBC 6 he was also shocked by the water.

"The minute I saw him, I just started doing what I know how to do and I started performing CPR on him," Pesantes said.  "I cleared the vomit and water out of his mouth and when I was cleaning my mouth I stuck my hand in the pool. When I stuck my hand in the pool, I got shocked."

While police are still investigating the cause of the electrocution, the family suspects a malfunctioning pool light may have been to blame. A contractor was hired to fix the light after it stopped turning on about nine months ago, according to the boy's father, and electricians told the boy's uncle that a problem with the light switch suggested the power was going directly to the pool instead of being diverted from it, The Herald reported. The steel surrounding the light is now rusted and burned, according to the paper.

A fund has been set up at Sloan's school to establish a foundation in his honor. Click here to donate.

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<![CDATA[Woman Died of OD at Coachella: ME]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 03:57:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/203*120/kimchi-Truong-coachella-death.gif

A 24-year-old woman hospitalized after attending the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last weekend died of an apparent overdose of illicit drugs and alcohol, according to the Riverside County Coroner's Office.

The office's report, released Friday, indicates the Oakland woman died Thursday -- five days after attending the Southern California music festival. Kimchi Truong died at Desert Regional Medical Center, according to the coroner's report.

Truong went to a medical tent at the outdoor music and arts festival early Sunday morning, authorities told KMIR News. Details regarding what treatment she received were not immediately available.

She became unresponsive after going to a taxi pickup area, the station reported.

Festival promoter Goldenvoice issued a statement:

"Last weekend, a festival attendee suffered an apparent drug overdose. The individual was seen by on-site medical staff and later transferred to JFK Memorial Hospital and later to Desert Regional Medical Center. We are saddened to learn the individual has died. We believe this to be an unfortunate but isolated incident.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends."

Toxicology test results could take up to six weeks.

The two-weekend event in the Riverside County community of Indio continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

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<![CDATA[Stunt Pilot Bails by Parachute Just Before Fiery Crash]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:27:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1060158.jpg

An aerobatic stunt pilot narrowly escaped by parachute Friday when his single-passenger plane crashed in a fireball onto a northern Vermont interstate, charring the ground beneath it.

Dan Marcotte, an experienced aerobatic stunt performer, bailed from the plane in the nick of time, before it crashed into a lane of Interstate 89 North in Highgate, Vt., near the Canadian border and the Franklin County State Airport, NECN's Jack Thurston reported.

Firefighters found him dangling in his parachute from a tree and cut him down. He was not seriously injured, police said.

"Something happened to the plane; he knew something was wrong," Lt. Garry Scott of the Vt. State Police told NECN. "These high speeds; we're pretty lucky no one else was injured."

The section of I-89 was shut down twice during this emergency: once during the initial frenzy, once as the wreckage was cleared away. At times during the removal of the wreckage, one lane of slow travel was allowed. No drivers were hit when the plane hurtled to the ground.

Marcotte is a well-known pilot who performs tricks at events like the Independence Day celebrations on the Burlington waterfront. His Facebook page identified him as the plane's pilot.

He was practicing when he had to jump from his plane, and he is now doing okay, a loved one explained on Facebook. "Thank God for our STRONG parachute!" the page administrator wrote.

"He was very upset, emotionally upset," Lt. Scott said of Marcotte. "But no real significant injuries. He was able to walk. He came back to the scene and talked to investigators."

Scott said the Federal Aviation Administration, out of Maine, will look into what went wrong.

Police and a towing service gathered as much of the wreckage as they could find.

Mike Cota of Cota's Towing said this wasn't the first response of its kind for him, though. "We have about one a year or so; somebody goes down up here," he said.

The Facebook page of Dan Marcotte AirShows was lighting up with well-wishes Friday afternoon, with folks very glad their friend lived through this, likely still with more thrill-seeking left in him.
 



Photo Credit: Jack Thurston, NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Guts Jersey Shore Homes]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:52:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sea+isle+fire+brendan+c.jpg

Investigators are set to return to the scene on Monday to try and determine the cause of a massive 7-alarm fire that ripped through beachfront homes in Sea Isle city.

The fast-moving fire, fanned by strong ocean winds, burned million dollar homes to the ground and damaged nearly a dozen others in Sea Isle City, N.J. on Good Friday.

As the rubble smoldered Saturday morning, crews returned to the 7800 block of Pleasure Avenue at the beach to put out some hot spots.

Flames began to flicker around 4 p.m. Friday and quickly spread to a total of three structures sharing the same lot, city officials said. In total five homes were consumed.

"It was just amazing how fast the first house went up in flames," said witness Daniel O'Connell, who is staying on the island with his family for the Easter holiday. "I followed the smell [of smoke] and speeding police cars to the house where there was just a small amount of smoke coming out of the basement of one of the houses."

Within minutes, however, O'Connell said the fire simply erupted.

"The police were attempting to put out the fire with fire extinguishers, but at that time it was too late," the 15-year-old Jenkintown, Pa.-native told NBC10.com. "The house started pouring black smoke out of the basement, so I rode around the block [on my bike] to get up wind of the fire and out of the smoke. From here, I could see the flames erupting and traveling up the house."

The structures were side-by-side townhouses, each about 2,000 square feet, according to Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio. According to data on the real estate website Zillow.com, the beachfront homes were listed for more than $2 million.

"The wind was blowing hard from the beach, going towards the bay," said Loretta Giello, who has a summer home on 85th Street. "And I kept hearing sirens and sirens, and I saw so much black smoke that I started to run down there to see what was happening."

NBC10 First Alert Weather Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said onshore winds were gusting near 15 to 20 mph at the time of the fire, which is pretty typical.

Giello said multiple fire engines have responded from different shore towns but that Sea Isle City is not as easy to access because the bridge coming in from Avalon is closed.

"So the fire trucks had to go all the way down Route 9, or the Parkway, until they get into Sea Isle and that's another 15 or 20 minutes," Giello said. Mayor Desiderio said however, he did not think the bridge being out affected response time.

Cape May County fire dispatch radio, posted to YouTube, shows the first call went out at 4:27 p.m. and that the Sea Isle Fire Department requested mutual aid from nearby fire departments about five minutes into the response, before Sea Isle crews were on scene.

A total of 14 fire companies from up and down the Jersey Shore responded to the blaze, fire officials said.

Mayor Desiderio said there were no injuries, but that 11 nearby homes were also damaged due to the intense heat from the fire. He said the homes that burned are vacation homes, not year-round homes.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Sea Isle City is a small Cape May County city of around 2,000 year-round residents that swells in the summers when vacationers flock to its beaches. But like much of the Jersey Shore, it was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

That storm damage cost the city an amusement park just this year, when the owner of Gillian's Funland said the severely damaged park would have to close.



Photo Credit: Brendan C.]]>
<![CDATA[Baby-Snatching Suspect in Custody]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 03:57:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/woman-baby-chelsea.JPG

Police say the woman suspected of trying to abduct a baby in a stroller as the child's nanny was pushing it down a Chelsea street Thursday afternoon is in custody. 

The NYPD said Friday they were looking for a woman named Tara Ann McDonald, who sources said has seven previous arrests for attempted kidnapping.

McDonald was picked up in midtown Friday afternoon and was in police custody. She was undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue Hospital Saturday, police said.

Police say the nanny was pushing the 8-month-old in a stroller near 17th Street and Eighth Avenue Thursday afternoon when a woman in her 50s approached the nanny and began talking to her. 

The woman, who may be homeless, then began pushing the carriage away, police said.

William Marte, a UPS driver who was eating his lunch while on break in his truck, told NBC 4 New York on Friday that he saw the woman grab the stroller by the handle.

"The other lady was saying 'oh please, help me, help me," Marte recalled. "That's when I decide to come out and tell the lady, 'Please, let her go, leave her alone.'"

Marte said the suspect cursed and fled.

He says the baby slept through the whole ordeal. The father of two says he's not a hero, and did what anyone would do.

"I consider myself like just another New Yorker, and I did what I'm supposed to do," he said. "I did the right thing in the right moment."

Marte said the nanny thanked him over and over. 

--Marc Santia contributed to this story 

 

 

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<![CDATA["Thrones" Post Taken as Threat]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:09:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/game-of-thrones-shirt-professor.jpg

A New Jersey college professor was placed on unpaid leave after posting online a photo of his 6-year-old daughter wearing a shirt with a quote from "Game of Thrones" that administrators took as a threat.

The shirt says "I will take what is mine with fire & blood," and the photo was posted on Google+ by the Bergen Community College professor, Francis Schmidt, in January, around the time HBO released a trailer for the new season of the show.

After a college dean saw the post, and perceived it as a "threatening email," Schmidt was ordered to meet with administrators and was then placed on unpaid leave. The dispute in January came to light this week after Inside Higher Ed referred to it in an online post.

Schmidt on Friday shared an email with NBC 4 New York that he said was from a human resources employee at the college at the time of the dispute.

"You are not to be on campus for any reason," the email says. "The safety of all of the members of the community is taken very seriously."

Schmidt was allowed to return to teaching later that month after he was cleared by a psychiatrist. He says he missed crucial time with students he was advising.

He says he can't imagine why anyone would think he's capable of violence.

"They claimed to have never heard of 'Game of Thrones,' and so I tried to explain it to them," he said Friday.

College spokesman Larry Hlavenka Jr. said in a statement that the matter was a private personnel issue, but added that the college takes seriously any perceived threats of violence.

"Since Jan. 1, 2014, 34 incidents of school shootings have occurred in the United States," Hlavenka said. "In following its safety and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents – expresses a safety or security concern."

Schmidt believes he was targeted because he filed a grievance against the school when he was not granted a sabbatical.

The faculty union has also been embroiled in contract negotiations with the college; last week the union cast a no-confidence vote in the school's president. 

--Jen Maxfield contributed to this story



Photo Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images]]>
<![CDATA[Secret Service Threatened to Shoot Mr. Met: Book]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:11:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mr-met-cohen.jpg

A Secret Service agent once threatened to shoot Mr. Met if he approached the president during a baseball game at Shea Stadium, according to a man who once worked as the baseball-headed mascot.

AJ Mass, who was the Mets’ mascot from 1994 to 1997, said a member of former President Bill Clinton’s security detail told him they’d “go for the kill shot” if he tried to pal around with the then-commander-in-chief at a Mets-Dodgers game on April 15, 1997. The account comes from an excerpt of Mass’ new book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots,” published on Sports Illustrated’s website this week.

Mass wrote that he had planned to make his way to see Clinton, who was at the game commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first major-league appearance, calling the photo-op "the holy grail for all mascots."

Before he could make it to the president’s box, Mass wrote, he was stopped by an agent in a dark suit and a businesslike demeanor.

“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” the agent told Mass. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”

Then the agent, who Mass wrote was staring into the mouth of Mr. Met’s head to make eye contact with the man inside, repeated himself.

“Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” the agent said to Mass. “ARE-WE-CLEAR?”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mumps Outbreak Reported at College]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:44:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/stevens+tech+mumps.jpg

A college campus in northern New Jersey is on alert after eight students were diagnosed with the highly contagious mumps disease.

The students at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken were 18 to 21 years old and fully vaccinated against mumps, according to the school. Some of them lived in the same fraternity house and some were members of the lacrosse team, according to other students on campus. 

They were sent home to be isolated from other students during the infectious phase of the illness.

James Shannon, a junior who said he was an acquaintance of the sick students, said they seemed to be OK.

"From what we heard from the other guys in the house, on the team, they said they're doing fine," said Shannon. 

The mumps vaccine, which all students are required to have before attending Stevens Tech, doesn't provide full protection, according to doctors. A similar outbreak was reported at Fordham University earlier this year. 

Stevens Tech sent an email to students urging them to visit a doctor if they showed symptoms of mumps, including swollen and tender glands on their face, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. 

Hoboken residents were also being alerted to the outbreak. 

Shannon said he went to the health center last week when he had the flu. 

"They were extra cautious to make sure it wasn't the mumps," he said. "Seems like everyone in the administration is on high alert." 

 

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<![CDATA[Days-Old Kittens Shipped by Accident]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:46:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cox+kittens+3.jpg

These two kittens are just a few weeks old, but they’ve already taken the trip of a lifetime.

A worker at Cox Communications in San Diego County discovered the kittens inside a box of equipment. They had been accidentally packed up and shipped from Cox Communications in Hollywood.

Somehow, they survived the journey to San Diego.

The kittens, named Mouse and WiFi, are now being cared for at the San Diego Humane Society’s 24-Hour Kitten Nursery. Humane Society workers believe the mother cat was looking for a safe, warm place for her babies and put them in the box.

San Diego Humane Society public relations manager Kelli Schry said it’s a miracle the kitties survived.

“They were just a few days old, and at that young age kittens have to be fed every two hours,” she said via email.

Mouse and WiFi will be available for adoption when they are 8 weeks old. 



Photo Credit: San Diego Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[McNabb Spends Day in AZ Jail ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:12:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mcnabb+arrested+mugshot+background.jpg

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has been released from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.

Records released by Maricopa County Justice Court show that 37-year-old McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released Thursday morning.

Court administrator James Vance tells NBC10.com McNabb was stopped on Dec. 15, 2013 in his gray Land Rover LR4 along an Arizona freeway -- Route 101 near East McDowell Road -- on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He was then arrested for driving under the influence and cited for speeding.

McNabb's blood alcohol content (BAC) was not available for release, but Vance said while the state's legal limit is 0.08, a person could be considered impaired with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.

The former Eagle pleaded guilty on March 27 and nine days of his sentence was suspended in exchange for undergoing alcohol screening and treatment. Vance says that is a pretty standard judgment.

McNabb then reported to the Maricopa County Jail on Wednesday, was booked and served the one day sentence.

Once the alcohol treatment is completed, the sentence will be suspended, Vance says.

NBC10.com reached out to McNabb's attorney, Stephen Benedetto, for comment. We have not heard back.

Our sister station, KPNX in Phoenix, Ariz., obtained a booking mugshot of McNabb from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler, spent 10 years with the Eagles and took the franchise to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. He currently hosts a show on NBC Sports Radio.

A spokesman for the radio network said, "Donovan has no comment," on the matter.



Photo Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:05:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/198*120/chelsea-clinton-pregnant.JPG

The Clintons are going to be grandparents -- Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first child later this year.

Chelsea Clinton, who married Marc Mezvinsky in 2010, made the announcement Thursday during an event in New York with her mother. 

"Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year," she said. "I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child, and hopefully children, as my mom was to me."

Chelsea Clinton, 34, delivered the news as she and her mother hosted "Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation," which is part of their project that works to advance progress for women and girls around the world.

The former New York senator and secretary of state, who is considering another presidential run in 2016, said she is thrilled.

"It makes this work even more important because we've made a lot of progress," said the former first lady.

"Obviously we are very excited about what's happening in our family," she said. "But we're also very excited because of what we are doing that we hope gives confidence and support to so many of you across our country as you make decisions about the lives you want to lead."

Later Thursday, the Twitter account for Bill Clinton posted a tweet that said "Excited to add a new line to my Twitter bio ... grandfather to be! @hillaryclinton and I are so happy for Chelsea and Marc!"

 

 

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<![CDATA[911 Calls Reveal Chilling Moments After Calif. Bus Crash]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:57:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/217*120/AP619076443222.jpg

The 911 calls released Thursday reveal audible cries of fear in the moments after the fiery Northern California bus crash that claimed 10 lives while en route to Humboldt State University last Thursday.

The distressed caller tried to explain what happened over screams in the background.

"We crashed into a bus...a truck. I don't know where we are," the caller said. "We were coming from LA and we're going all the way to Humboldt State University."

Ths bus erupted into flames when a FedEx big rig crossed a 60-foot median and slammed head-on into the bus.

"The bus is on fire," the caller said as others could be heard screaming and crying. "We are getting away from the bus actually."

California Highway Patrol Capt. Todd Morrison said that investigators will conduct vehicle tests using a 2014 tour bus and a 2007 FedEx tractor-trailer truck to learn more about characteristics such as braking and visibility.

“We are hoping to learn how it happened so that we can identify what to do to prevent it from happening again,” Morrison said.

Investigators were also still interviewing passengers, witnesses and urging anyone with video of the crash to send it to authorities. They also attempted to recreate the crash scene with similar vehicles to try to gain insight.

"We owe it to the families of the involved families and the victims of this tragic collision that we tell the story of what happened, and that we tell it as accurately as possible," Leal said.

All 10 victims in the crash had been identified, some by authorities and others by family, including a recently engaged couple, a college admissions counselor and the the drivers of the truck and bus.

Fellow students returned to the scene of the crash Thursday to pay tribute to those killed one week ago.

Glenn County Sheriff-Coroner Larry Jones said most of the victims had been positively identified by his office, but their causes of death were being withhel pending toxicology testing.

"That can be several weeks out before we receieve all of that data from the labatory," Jones said.

Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 26-year-old counselor Arthur Arzola, students Adrian Castro, 18, Marisa Serrato, 17, Denise Gomez, Ismael Jimenez , Jennifer Bonilla, bus driver Talalelei Taiao and FedEx driver Tim Evans were among those killed in the wreck.

The news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. near the collision site.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cabbie Accused of Avoiding 3,000 Bridge Tolls ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:46:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GENERIC-CAB.gif

A New York City taxi driver is accused of avoiding bridge tolls more than 3,000 times in two years by tailgating cars in front of him and slipping through the tollbooth before the barrier came down, prosecutors said Thursday.

The 69-year-old driver, Rodolfo Sanchez, is charged with third-degree larceny, theft of services and fifth-degree possession of stolen property, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Authorities discovered him after noticing that an inactive E-ZPass tag was regularly crossing the RFK Bridge without paying. The bridge, formerly known as the Triborough Bridge, is actually made up of three bridges, a viaduct and 14 miles of approach roads that connect Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Upon further investigation, surveillance video was matched to that E-ZPass, showing a yellow cab tailgating closely behind the car in front of it, crossing through the tollbooth before the barrier came down.

Additional examination of the E-ZPass tag showed it had crossed the bridge 3,017 times between 2012 and 2014 without paying tolls, allegedly costing the MTA more than $28,000 in lost revenue.

"This type of behavior is egregiously unfair to the millions of honest, motorists who pay tolls every day, and we will continue efforts to root out toll evaders and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief of Security Donald Look.

Sanchez was released on his own recognizance. His attorney did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

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<![CDATA[Screams Erupt as Guilty Verdict Is Read in Murder Trial]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:34:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AlHimidi-Verdict-1.jpg

A broken family’s screams erupted in a San Diego courtroom after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of an Iraqi immigrant who killed his wife.

As the defendant cried out in Arabic "not guilty," his mother-in-law flailed her arms, screaming "you killed my daughter," while his two teenage sons chose opposing sides.

Jurors found Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, guilty in the death of his wife Shaima Alawadi -- a bloody, brutal beating once considered a hate crime that was, in the end, an act of domestic violence.

After Judge William McGrath handed off the verdict for reading, several family members began screaming, including the defendant's oldest son, who yelled profanities, saying he disagreed with the jury's verdict.

"This is bulls---!" This is f---ing bulls---!" the son yelled. "My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly."

Al-Himidi smirked, crossed his arms, shook his head, wagged his finger and began praying as the jury was polled one by one. At one point, he put his head on the table in front of him. Then, he too began yelling.

According to a translator, Al-Himidi screamed out in Arabic, "God knows I'm not the killer. I'm not the killer! I'm innocent. Not guilty."

As deputies rushed to place handcuffs on Al-Himidi, he continued to yell, telling his family to seek international help on this case and have investigators look at it as a hate crime. He said to get him help from overseas to get him out of jail, the translator said.

Meanwhile, the mother of the victim stood up in court, flailing her arms, and screamed,"You killed my daughter. This is not a mistake, you did kill her."

Another one of Al-Himidi's sons sided with his grandmother and said his father did kill his mother.

Outside of the courtroom, through a translator, the victim's mother said a guilty verdict is the least Al-Himidi could have gotten in this case.

"If you killed her, you deserve to be killed as well," she added, with tears in her eyes. "My daughter was home, as you probably all know. He's the one."

The grandmother went on to say that she disagreed with her oldest grandson about the verdict.

"He does not believe that, but I do," she added.

She said she heard about the problems between her daughter and Al-Himidi before the killing, but she never imagined it would lead to murder.

Ron Rockwell, attorney for Al-Himidi's children, including daughter Fatima Al-Himidi, said the tension in the courtroom was from years of pent-up emotions. Despite the oldest son's outburst, which surprised the attorney, Rockwell said all of the siblings agree with the guilty verdict.

He released this statement, on behalf of the children:

“Fatima and her brothers and sisters respect the integrity of the jury system and find it unfathomably sad that their father found life so difficult that he resorted to taking the life of their dear mother but hope that this is justice for her and for them, her children that miss her dearly. We agree with the jury’s decision and although we love our father, we hate what we also believe that he did.

After over two years of great sadness, Fatima and her brothers and sisters find relief in now believing that they can begin to heal as a family while knowing in their minds that while missing their mother more and more with each passing day, whether that is with or without their father, it will always be without their mother.”

Al-Himidi will be sentenced on May 15, Judge McGrath said Thursday.

Alawadi, 32, was beaten in a bloody attack inside the family's home on March 21, 2012. She suffered critical brain injuries and died three days later.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime because of a handwritten note found at the crime scene that read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Just before they entered deliberations, jurors were reminded of the defendant's timeline on the day of the beating.

According to phone records, Shaima called her husband at 8:04 a.m.

Video from a nearby middle school shows a burgundy Nissan Quest going and leaving the home that morning.

At 8:15 a.m. the van was seen traveling southbound along Emerald Avenue toward Skyview Street as Al-Himidi returns to the house from taking the children to school, prosecutors said.

Then, at 9:49 a.m. a vehicle matching the description stopped at the curb, just north of the intersection of Emerald and Skyview.

Prosecutors say 30 seconds later, a pedestrian can be seen moving from the vehicle towards the house at 564 Skyview Street, three homes from the corner.

At 10:10 a.m., cell phone records show someone called Al-Himidi’s cell phone but it goes unanswered.

Prosecutors say the phone communicated with the cell tower that serves the same area as the family’s home on Skyview.

“At 10:10 he’s still in his home tower area,” Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said Tuesday.

The next phone call to Al-Himidi’s cell phone was from his daughter, Fatima, at 11:18 a.m. after Shaima is discovered.

Defense attorneys poked holes in the prosecution's case in their closing arguments.

Investigators did not find any forensic evidence linking their client to the crime scene, the defense argued.

They reminded jurors that witnesses testified how violence is not in Al-Himidi's character.

Throughout the trial, the defense raised questions about the role of Shaima's daughter, Fatima, who was in the house at the time of the attack.

She was called to testify several times and shared details of her parents’ tense marriage.

The defense believes Fatima was somehow involved in her mother’s murder.

“You don’t have to solve this mystery to acquit Mr. Al-Himidi,” defense attorney Richard Berkon told the jury. “You don’t have to figure out who did it.”

In closing, even Mechals told jurors, "Fatima doesn’t make your job easy, that’s for sure."

"Whether you can believe anything she says, that’s up to you," he said.

However, Mechals urged the jury to use their common sense to find what is reasonable and what isn't.

Al-Himidi has been visibly emotional throughout the trial, at times crying and wailing loudly as evidence was presented to the jury. He wept uncontrollably when 911 tapes were played in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.

Cameras were only allowed in the courtroom during opening statements and closing arguments.

“He thought he had committed the perfect crime. He thought he had nothing to worry about,” Mechals said.

Both the defendant and victim are Iraqi immigrants. The murder investigation reverberated across the nation when it first happened because of the discovery of a threatning note.

However, in November 2012, El Cajon police announced the arrest of Al-Himidi and said the killing was not a hate crime, but rather one of domestic violence.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Laughs at Man Named Cocaine]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:41:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000012359097_1200x675_229639747887.jpg Broward Judge John Hurley thought he had heard it all, until this man walked into his courtroom.]]>