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Courtesy Sean Ferguson(NEW YORK) -- The captain of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by terrifying, hurricane-force winds off the coast of the Carolinas Sunday told passengers that the forecast wasn't "anything near what we actually experienced."

"What we experienced yesterday, that was something very special," Anthem of the Seas' ship master Claus Andre Andersen said in a video produced by Royal Caribbean on Monday. "I honestly have not seen a low pressure that was not forecasted, anything near what we actually experienced."

The captain's video aired on an in-house channel in guest staterooms Monday, one day after passengers and crew members endured wind gusts topping 76 miles per hour and waves nearly 40 feet high. The rough seas forced the captain to turn the Bahamas-bound ship around.

In Royal Caribbean's video, which passenger Sean Ferguson filmed and provided to ABC News, Andersen tells the cruise director that at 10 a.m. Sunday, "everything was nice and dandy." At 1 p.m., after speaking on the phone with the Miami office, Andersen walked onto the bridge as the winds started to pick up.

That's when Andersen noticed the wind was "stronger than what it was forecasted. Quite a bit stronger...it just didn't stop."

"It just became so intensified. In eight or nine hours, it goes from being nothing to a full-blown storm," he said.

The weather toppled chairs, broke ceilings and shattered glasses. No one was seriously injured. Passenger Jessica Sheridan, who's on the ship with her husband and 20-month-old son, told ABC News Tuesday that she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side.

Anthem of the Seas originally left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday for a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas. The 10-month-old ship has 2,090 staterooms and can hold over 4,000 guests. After the storm, Royal Caribbean announced that the ship would be heading to Port Canaveral, Florida. However, on Monday, the cruise line announced that the ship was turning around and is now headed back to port in New Jersey, where it's expected to arrive early Wednesday evening.

The captain addressed the change of plans in the Monday video, saying a low pressure system was expected to form off Florida’s Atlantic coast near Jacksonville, Florida, fueled by the storm system in the ocean, and that could "be very, very strong, as well."

While the ship was safe, the captain said "there is no need" to "make guests and crew that have already been scared or been in fear ... to have that manifested again."

He also said Nassau -- one of the planned stops and where is said this new weather system might affect -- is "notorious" for strong winds.

Andersen said the "right thing to do" was "return to New York."

He said the ship handled the weather very well.

"I'm very pleased with the ship and its condition," he said. "Yes it was uncomfortable ... very scary for many."

"You are always, always on my mind," he said looking at the camera to the guests, explaining that the safety and comfort of guests, the crew and the ship is paramount.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told ABC News earlier Tuesday, "We are sensitive to the fact that our guests went through an uncomfortable ride."

"Every time one of our ships sets sail, our single focus is to give our guests a wonderful, outstanding vacation," the spokesperson said. "Clearly, due to the weather, we were unable to deliver the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation anticipated, and that we were looking forward to providing. The Anthem team maintained a safe environment, continued to deliver needed services, and did their best to reassure worried guests."

Royal Caribbean noted Monday that the ship’s seaworthiness had not been affected in spite of the "extreme wind and sea conditions" which included "wind speeds higher than what was forecasted."

"We know it was tough day on Sunday and apologize for their discomfort," Royal Caribbean said in a statement Monday. "We also thank our captain and crew for guiding the ship safely back to better weather."

"Safety is our highest priority and ships are designed to withstand even more extreme circumstances than Anthem of the Seas encountered," the statement said.

The company said on Twitter that all guests were “safe and accounted for" and that all guests will receive a full refund and a future cruise certificate for 50 percent of the cruise fare paid.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Lithium ion batteries power our phones, laptops, and cameras –- but if handled improperly, they also have the power to potentially bring down a plane.

Following a series of disquieting tests, the FAA on Tuesday issued a safety alert warning airlines that transporting these batteries as cargo carries the “risk of a catastrophic hull loss.”

Lithium ion battery fires can lead to a “catastrophic explosion,” which fires suppression systems are “incapable of preventing,” the FAA said in the alert.

Such fires downed Boeing 747s in Dubai and South Korea in 2010 and 2011, killing all crew members (no passengers were on board). Then, a series of battery fires in the batteries of Boeing 787s prompted the FAA to ground the entire Dreamliner fleet in 2013.

As recently as late last year, a smoking lithium ion battery in a flight attendant’s credit card reader prompted an emergency landing in Buffalo.

The FAA is now urging airlines to conduct safety assessments and reevaluate their lithium ion battery protocols.

Most commercial passenger airlines voluntarily prohibit rechargeable lithium ion batteries, and just last month, a UN panel recommended banning rechargeable lithium battery cargo from all passenger jets.

However, a recent FAA funding bill failed to ban shipping such batteries by air.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Top U.S. leaders laid out the major worldwide threats facing the United States at Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing -- including homegrown terrorism and North Korea's nuclear program.

"It's a very accurate litany of doom," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) during the testimony by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, and Marine Corps Lt. General Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Here are some of the highlights:

Terrorism in the US: Stewart cautioned against homegrown threats, saying, "ISIL will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016." In his written statement, Clapper similarly warned that “the perceived success of attacks by homegrown violent extremists in Europe and North America, such as those in Chattanooga and San Bernardino, might motivate others to replicate opportunistic attacks with little or no warning, diminishing our ability to detect terrorist operational planning and readiness.” He said that U.S.-based homegrown violent extremists pose "the most significant Sunni terrorist threat to the US homeland in 2016."

Taking Back Mosul: Stewart said he was not optimistic about taking Mosul from ISIS in the near term, saying it's unlike to happen in the next year. "We may be able to begin the campaign, do some isolation operations around Mosul," he said. "But securing or taking Mosul is an extensive operation and not something I see in the next year or so." Stewart also mentioned there is still work to be done to secure Ramadi.

North Korean Nuclear Power: Clapper said North Korea has expanded their Yongbyon nuclear facility not far from the capital of Pyongyang. “We assess that North Korea has followed through on its announcement by expanding its Yongbyon enrichment facility and restarting the plutonium production reactor," he said. "We further assess that North Korea has been operating the reactor long enough so that it could begin to recover plutonium from the reactor's spent fuel within a matter of weeks to months." On Saturday, North Korea successfully launched a long-range missile, apparently into space.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(LOXAHATCHEE, Fla.) -- A man was arrested Monday for allegedly tossing a live alligator through the drive-thru window of a Wendy's restaurant in Loxahatchee, Florida, according to Palm Beach County officials and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Joshua Douglas James, 23, of Jupiter, Florida, allegedly admitted to officials that he picked up the American alligator on the side of a road and later threw it from his white pickup truck into the Wendy's kitchen after ordering a large soft drink, according to an FWC incident report obtained by ABC News. The alligator was later seized by FWC officers and released into a nearby canal, the report said.

Though the incident happened on Oct. 11, 2015, James was only taken into custody on Monday, according to online booking records for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

According to an Incident Summary Report, officers were able to identify James as the suspect in the case by tracing information from a bank card he used at a 7-Eleven gas station just before going to the Wendy's. The report said that time stamps from 7-Eleven surveillance footage of James aided in the investigation as well.

James now faces multiple charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and unlawful possession and transportation of an alligator, according to the FWC incident report and Palm Beach County online court records.

James appeared in court for the first time Tuesday, where a judge set his bail at $6,000 and ordered that he stay out of all Wendy's restaurants, according to online court records.

It was not immediately clear if James had met bail or entered a plea to the charges against him, and the Palm Clerk & Comptroller's Office did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional information.

Online court records listed James' attorney as a public defender without specifying a name, and a spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Office of the Public Defender told ABC News Tuesday that it was too early to tell which attorney from the office would be assigned to his case.

Though surveillance video from Wendy's of the alligator toss was shared with the FWC, the footage is currently being held by the Palm Beach County State's Attorney Office and will not be publicly released at this time, FWC public information coordinator Rob Klepper told ABC News.

Wendy's sent the following statement to ABC News Tuesday: "This unfortunate incident occurred last year. The safety and security of our restaurant teams is very important to us, and we’re glad that no one was injured as a result of what happened."

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Police Handout(LAUDERHILL, Fla.) -- A 22-year-old man clad in a bright red bucket hat went on a bizarre and violent crime spree in Lauderhill, Florida, on Sunday morning, injuring two, police said.

Jovaughn Walker stole a vehicle, attacked an elderly man with a metal rod at a gas station, then drove to a market and attacked a clerk with a replica samurai sword before he was taken into custody, police said.

"I've been in law enforcement for 32 years now and I've never encountered anything this bizarre." Maj. Rick Rocco of the Lauderhill Police Department told ABC News Tuesday. "Just randomly attacking people, especially in the manner, especially with a sword."

Walker has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, carjacking, aggravated assault, and possession of cannabis, according to the Lauderhill Police Department.

Police received a call about an incident at a Shell Gas Station a little after 10 a.m. on Sunday saying that an elderly man had been attacked.

"An 81-year-old male and his wife were inside the store area of the Shell and while they're in there the suspect comes walking into the store and without saying a word goes into the display rack and takes the support pole, then approaches the elderly male and just starts to attack him," Rocco said. "The victim's wife gets between the suspect and the victim, and he doesn't hurt the wife but then he leaves the gas station."

While police were trying to piece together this attack, they got a call about someone at the Swap Shop attacking people with a sword, Rocco said. The Swap Shop is a huge local flea-market type of mall with many vendors and booths. "Our unit rushes down there and we find out that it is the same person from the previous attack," Rocco said.

Walker picked up a 3-foot replica samurai sword that was on display and started attacking a vendor, Rocco said. Surveillance video and audio shows onlookers screaming as the 49-year-old victim tries to fight Walker off. "When police got there he was being held down and detained by other vendors," Rocco said.

The motive for this violent bender remains unknown, Rocco said.

"There is no connection between the suspect and either of the victims," Rocco said. "He was found with cannabis. We don't know if he was using some other kind of drug, or if he had a mental condition."

The two victims were hospitalized, suffering lacerations, but have since been released, police said.

It could have been much worse, Rocco said, adding "I thank God it was a replica sword. I thank God that the victims weren't seriously hurt."

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Rick Armstrong/National Aviary (PITTSBURGH) -- A baby sloth was recently flown on a private jet from a breeder in Florida to his new home at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The 3-month-old Linnaeus sloth "enjoyed the flight very much," National Aviary marketing coordinator Laura Smith told ABC News Tuesday. "It was smooth sailing."

The tiny sloth, who's only 10-inches tall and weighs just two pounds, is already adjusting well "to his newfound stardom as the Aviary's newest (and arguably most adorable) baby," the National Aviary told ABC News in a statement.

Immediately after stepping off his private jet, the sloth was surrounded by fans eager to capture photos of the adorable animal celebrity.

"While the National Aviary is America’s bird zoo, we are delighted to welcome another mammal to our collection," National Aviary Director Cheryl Tracy said.

 

He's only been in PGH a few minutes, but this baby sloth already has a lot of fans! #welcometoPGH pic.twitter.com/Ob6NtzUMmw

— National Aviary (@National_Aviary) February 8, 2016

 

"This precious little sloth will become an important part of our education programming, and will be an ambassador for his species, and for all those creatures that live in the rain forests and cloud forests of Central and South America," Tracy continued.

The Aviary is already home to another adult male sloth named Wookie and fruit bats known as Malayan Flying foxes, according to its website. "The National Aviary features birds from around the world but also other animals that share their ecosystems. Given their arboreal lifestyle, sloths are the perfect addition to our collection," according to the site.

After a long day of traveling and interviews, the superstar sloth was later treated to a gourmet dinner of rice and sweet potatoes.

 

Yum! Rice and sweet potatoes. The perfect dinner after a long day of traveling for the baby sloth. pic.twitter.com/FCRP5r54Ht

— National Aviary (@National_Aviary) February 8, 2016

 

The sleepy sloth was also wrapped in multiple blankets to keep him cozy and warm during his first night at his new home.

 

Bedtime for baby sloth! He has to be seriously snuggled to stay warm. pic.twitter.com/g1rokMYxzg

— National Aviary (@National_Aviary) February 9, 2016

 

The public will be able to see the sloth at the Avian Care Center window this Friday, when they can also bid on a chance to name him, according to the Aviary.

Beginning March 25, visitors can book a 30-minute private encounter with an opportunity to feed and pet him, the Aviary added.

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Jessica Sheridan(NEW YORK) -- One passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds said she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side and she lay in bed shaking.

Guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship were asked to stay in their rooms Sunday as wind gusts topped 76 miles per hour and 40-foot waves battered the ship. No one was seriously injured.

The ship is sailing back to port in New Jersey in the wake of the turbulent weather off the coast of the Carolinas. The ship was originally sailing to the Bahamas.

Here's a first-hand account of the terror at sea told to ABC News Tuesday by Jessica Sheridan of Brooklyn, New York, who is on the ship with her husband and 20-month-old son:

When we initially left New Jersey we were told there was some "weather" ahead of us that we were going to try to go around. Needless to say that failed, so the captain decided to try to take the storm head on.

Around noon on Sunday the ride started getting really rocky. I had to go to my room because it was too rocky for me to stand up.

They were taping the merchandise in the ship's store onto the shelves because it was flying out. My husband took my son to the kids play room and a little boy was tipped over and sent flying across the room in a Little Tikes toy car.

Shortly after, around 2 or 3 p.m., an announcement was made that we were going through the storm and we should all go back to our cabins.

It was horrifying. The boat was tipping so much from side to side that you could hardly get out of bed. I was literally just lying in bed shaking and crying and trying to stay calm so I didn't scare my 20-month-old son. I was afraid for my life.

I was determined to "go off the grid" on this vacation but quickly decided to purchase Wi-Fi to contact my mother. I was afraid for my life. I don't think I've ever been as frightened as I was for those 12 hours in my whole life.

The captain gave updates but they were not reassuring at all. He basically turned the ship into the storm and decided to fight the wind and waves as the best course of action. Glasses were flying off our counters and smashing in the room.

Things didn't really get better until the storm passed and we were able to turn around.

The ship was totally trashed. Ceilings falling down. Chairs over turned. Broken glass everywhere.

Food was sparse the next morning but seems okay now. My plan was to get off the boat in Florida and not get back on because the thought that this could possibly ever happen again is enough for me to never cruise again. We didn't dock in Florida because of another storm developing and were on our way back to New Jersey now and I've never been more excited to be going to NJ!

The entire situation was completely horrifying and traumatizing and I can't help but feel that major mistakes were made on the part of Royal Caribbean and the captain. Seems like a negligent decision to me.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday, "We are sensitive to the fact that our guests went through an uncomfortable ride. Every time one of our ships sets sail, our single focus is to give our guests a wonderful, outstanding vacation. Clearly, due to the weather, we were unable to deliver the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation anticipated, and that we were looking forward to providing. The Anthem team maintained a safe environment, continued to deliver needed services, and did their best to reassure worried guests."

Royal Caribbean noted Monday that the ship’s seaworthiness had not been affected in spite of the "extreme wind and sea conditions" which included "wind speeds higher than what was forecasted."

"We know it was tough day on Sunday and apologize for their discomfort," Royal Caribbean said in a statement Monday. "We also thank our captain and crew for guiding the ship safely back to better weather."

"Safety is our highest priority and ships are designed to withstand even more extreme circumstances than Anthem of the Seas encountered," the statement said.

The company said on Twitter that all guests were “safe and accounted for” and the ship would be arriving back in New Jersey on Wednesday.

The ship had originally left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday for a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas.

All guests will receive a full refund and a future cruise certificate for 50 percent of the cruise fare paid, the company tweeted.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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WLS-TV(CHICAGO) -- The father of a young woman who was struck in the head by a stray bullet in Chicago Friday has spoken out about his daughter's tragic shooting, saying he warned her not to move to the Windy City.

Aaren O'Connor, 25, moved from California to Chicago just over a year ago for a new job and to be with her boyfriend.

"I pleaded with her when she told me she was going to go to Chicago. I said there are much safer places for you to be," Aaren's father, David O'Connor, told ABC owned station WLS-TV.

Aaren was killed as she was sitting in her car after work, her father told WLS. According to David O'Connor, Aaren was on the phone with her sister when the shooting happened. He tried calling his daughter back when the line cut out.

"She was incoherent, didn't know where she was, and kept saying that her head hurts. Her head hurts," he told WLS. "I wish I could have known what was going on, so I could have told her that I love her one more time."

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office and the Chicago Police Department have not yet confirmed O'Connor's death.

O'Connor's shooting comes as the murder rate in Chicago is markedly higher than this time last year.

According to a Chicago police spokesperson, there have been 69 murders in the city so far this year. By contrast, there had only been 35 murders during that same time period in 2015, meaning the number of homicides has almost doubled so far this year.

It should be noted that O'Connor is not one of those included in this year's figures, since her death has not yet been officially reported.

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WMAR(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- A friend of the 13-year-old Virginia girl who was allegedly abducted and murdered last month said the teen had told her about an older "boyfriend" before she went missing.

Nicole Lovell, 13, was found dead four days after going missing in late-January and Virginia Tech students David Eisenhauer, 18, and Natalie Keepers, 19, have since been arrested and charged in connection to the case.

A friend of Lovell's told ABC News that Nicole had showed her pictures of "her boyfriend" named David. The photos appeared to match Eisenhauer, the friend said.

The friend, whose identity is not being publicly disclosed, also told ABC News that Nicole had met with David at a park at least one time before she disappeared Jan. 27.

The park, called Nellie's Cave, is visible from Nicole's bedroom window, has walking trails and is featured on several online running routes through the town of Blacksburg, Virginia.

Eisenhauer, who was a star track and field runner in high school and was a member of the Virginia Tech cross country team, has been charged with first degree murder and abduction. He was arraigned but is expected to enter a plea at his first hearing in late March. His attorney has not commented on the case.

A source familiar with the case told ABC News that Eisenhauer had a relationship the person characterized as "inappropriate" with Lovell. The source would not elaborate on the relationship to ABC News.

Keepers, a friend of Eisenhauer, was charged with being an accessory both before and after the fact as well as improper disposal of a body. She appeared at a bond hearing where the state attorney detailed how Keepers had told investigators about how she and Eisenhauer planned the attack and disposed of the body. Her bond was denied and she has not yet had to enter a plea.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced Tuesday a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan to help combat what the president calls one of the most important challenges the U.S. faces.

The plan calls for more than $19 billion for cybersecurity, with $3.1 billion going toward updating the government’s old computer system.

“The Social Security Administration uses systems and code from the 1960s,” Obama wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. “No successful business could operate this way. Going forward, we will require agencies to increase protections for their most valued information and make it easier for them to update their networks.”

The Obama Administration will additionally create a new federal position called Chief Information Security Officer to control and lead the work changes across the government.

The plan will also require stepped-up efforts to build a group of cyber professionals across the government to “push practices at every level,” strengthen partnerships with the private sector to prevent threats, and empower Americans to protect themselves when they’re using the Internet.

“As long as I’m president, protecting America’s digital infrastructure is going to remain a top national-security priority,” Obama said in the op-ed. “We won’t resolve all these challenges over the coming year, but we’re laying a strong foundation for the future.”

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Tompkins County Jail(ITHACA, N.Y.) — A Cornell University fraternity president accused of attempted rape and sexual abuse was released from custody Tuesday, but a Cornell representative told ABC News the student is not allowed on campus, where he lives.

Wolfgang Ballinger, 21, a member of Psi Upsilon's Chi Chapter at Cornell, did not appear in court Tuesday. No evidence was presented. A grand jury is set to decide whether to indict him.

Ballinger was charged with first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse, university police said.

Ballinger has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

He was booked into Tompkins County, New York, Jail on Thursday after a female student reported that she was sexually assaulted at the fraternity house, according to university police. Ballinger has served as president of the chapter, Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox told ABC News.

The young woman, who is not being identified, reported the alleged incident to police on Jan. 31, telling authorities she was sexually assaulted in a bedroom at the frat house at about 2 a.m. that day. She helped identify Ballinger as the alleged perpetrator, the Cornell University Police Department said.

At the request of the police through his attorney, Ballinger turned himself in to Cornell University Police investigators Thursday. Ballinger was booked at the Tompkins County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, Cornell University Police said.

Ballinger's attorney, James Baker, told ABC News in a statement Saturday that Ballinger did not commit the crimes of which he is accused. "His innocence will be established at the proper time and in the proper place, which is in the courts, not in the media," Baker said.

Cornell's Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living said, as of Feb. 1, Psi Upsilon was placed "on interim suspension status as a result of alleged sexual misconduct" at the fraternity house.

"Interim suspension is a pause in the operations of a chapter during which the chapter may not engage in any activities other than operation of its residence," the statement said.

Psi Upsilon Fraternity's national organization said Friday that all activity at the Cornell chapter is suspended and the fraternity is cooperating with Cornell University during its investigation. Fraternity staff members are also traveling to Ithaca to help.

"Sexual assault, and any form of sexual harassment, is against our policy and in opposition of the values of Psi Upsilon," Psi Upsilon’s Executive Director Fox said. "Our chapter is cooperating with Cornell's investigation into this matter and any members involved will be held accountable. The Chi Chapter at Cornell has a distinguished history with the University and we are committed to continuing to be a benefit to Cornell and the Ithaca Community."

Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett said in a statement: "I am deeply disturbed by the allegations of sexual assault involving the president of Psi Upsilon. Sexual violence has no place at Cornell, and if these allegations are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable."

"When we were notified of these allegations on Monday, February 1, Psi Upsilon was immediately placed on interim suspension pending the conclusion of a full investigation," Garrett said. "Although I applaud the swift actions of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to mandate additional training for its members, we will be considering what additional steps should be taken to ensure the Greek community at Cornell is living up to our institutional standard of excellence and respect for others."

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iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Lawyers trying to get a new trial for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer at the center of hit podcast “Serial,” and the state attorneys who are hoping to keep him behind bars are making their closing arguments Tuesday after resting their respective cases in Syed's bid for a retrial.

Syed’s lawyers -- C. Justin Brown and Christopher Nieto -- and members of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office will wrap up Tuesday before retired Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Martin P. Welch. Welch is likely to release a written decision at a later time, though he could issue a ruling from the bench Tuesday at the conclusion of the hearing.

Syed was convicted in 2000 of murdering his former girlfriend and Woodlawn High School classmate, Hae Min Lee, who was found strangled to death in Leakin Park in 1999. The prosecution at the time placed Syed at the site where Lee’s body was found, using incoming call location data that AT&T had said at the time was “unreliable” in a written memo that was never presented to the jury.

Syed’s lawyers have argued that the call location data should never have been used against him and that his former lawyer, the late Cristina Gutierrez, failed to properly cross-examine the state’s cellular phone expert during Syed's 2000 trial.

The state says not so, calling another cellular expert last week during Syed’s post-conviction proceedings who corroborated the expert testimony from 2000. He remained on the stand Monday morning.

Syed’s case was propelled into the limelight in late 2014 after Serial uncovered new evidence that could potentially help provide Syed with an alibi: Asia McClain, another classmate, says she saw Syed at the Woodlawn Public Library at around the same time the state says Syed murdered Lee.

McClain, now married and living in Washington State, was confident on the stand last week, saying she and Syed spoke for 15 to 20 minutes on Jan. 13, 1999. She wrote him two letters while he was in prison, offering to speak up on his behalf but Syed’s lawyer never sought her out for her potential alibi testimony.

Lawyers for Syed say he received ineffective counsel in 2000 and that his constitutional rights were violated. The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says he received a fair trial and says it believes Syed is the real killer.

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Blacksburg Police Department(NEW YORK) — The father of a 13-year-old girl allegedly murdered by a Virginia Tech student said he "bet she fought like a wildcat," according to a new interview.

David Lovell, the father of Nicole Lovell, made the comments to Dr. Phil McGraw in an interview set to air Wednesday.

“I bet she fought like a wildcat," David Lovell said. "I mean she’s my kid. I know she fought like a wildcat.”

Virginia Tech student David Eisenhauer allegedly was "acquainted" with the victim and "used this relationship to his advantage to abduct the 13-year-old and then kill her," the Blacksburg Police Department said in a statement.

He was charged with murder and kidnapping.

His friend, Natalie Keepers, was charged as an accessory both before and after the fact as well as with improper disposal of a body.

Both were scheduled for preliminary hearings in March and had not entered pleas as of last week.


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Tompkins County Jail(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- The district attorney prosecuting a Cornell University fraternity president accused of attempted rape and sexual abuse blamed schools in general for "turning a blind eye" to the subject of underage drinking in connection with sexual assault on college campuses.

Wolfgang Ballinger, 21, a member of Psi Upsilon’s Chi Chapter at Cornell, was booked into Tompkins County, New York, Jail Thursday after a female student reported that she was sexually assaulted at the fraternity house, according to university police. Ballinger has served as president of the chapter, Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox told ABC News.

The young woman, who is not being identified, reported the alleged incident to police on Jan. 31, telling authorities that she was sexually assaulted in a bedroom at the frat house at approximately 2 a.m. that day. She helped identify Ballinger as the alleged perpetrator, the Cornell University Police Department said.

"What I see over and over again ... is the underage drinking on campuses that so often create an environment where violence, sexual assault and other things that happen in a thoughtless moment ruin people’s lives forever," Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson told ABC News Monday.

While Wilkinson said not all sexual assaults are "done by somebody under the influence of alcohol," she added that she considers alcohol to be "probably one of the largest contributing factors."

"If college campuses would stop permitting, or turning a blind eye, or not enforcing underage drinking, I think we would see a very different picture," Wilkinson said.

Ballinger is of legal drinking age.

Cornell declined to respond to the district attorney's comments.

At the request of the police through his attorney, Ballinger turned himself in to Cornell University Police investigators on Thursday. He was charged with first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse, university police said. Ballinger has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Ballinger's attorney, James Baker, declined to be interviewed Monday, but told ABC News in a statement Saturday that Ballinger did not commit the crimes of which he is accused. "His innocence will be established at the proper time and in the proper place - which is in the courts, not in the media," Baker said.

Cornell's Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living said, as of Feb. 1, Psi Upsilon was placed "on interim suspension status as a result of alleged sexual misconduct" at the fraternity house.

"Interim suspension is a pause in the operations of a chapter during which the chapter may not engage in any activities other than operation of its residence," the statement said.

Psi Upsilon Fraternity's national organization said Friday that all activity at the Cornell chapter is suspended and the fraternity is cooperating with Cornell University during its investigation. Fraternity staff members are also traveling to Ithaca to help.

"Sexual assault, and any form of sexual harassment, is against our policy and in opposition of the values of Psi Upsilon," Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox said. "Our chapter is cooperating with Cornell's investigation into this matter and any members involved will be held accountable. The Chi Chapter at Cornell has a distinguished history with the University and we are committed to continuing to be a benefit to Cornell and the Ithaca Community."

Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett said in a statement: "I am deeply disturbed by the allegations of sexual assault involving the president of Psi Upsilon. Sexual violence has no place at Cornell, and if these allegations are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable."

"When we were notified of these allegations on Monday, February 1, Psi Upsilon was immediately placed on interim suspension pending the conclusion of a full investigation," Garrett said. "Although I applaud the swift actions of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to mandate additional training for its members, we will be considering what additional steps should be taken to ensure the Greek community at Cornell is living up to our institutional standard of excellence and respect for others."

Ballinger was booked at the Tompkins County Jail Thursday in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, Cornell University Police said.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Ithaca City Court.

Wilkinson said that she's confident about the strength of the prosecution's case going into tomorrow's hearing.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BELLINGHAM, Wash.) -- The FBI has arrested a former member of the Army on weapons charges after he allegedly expressed sympathy for ISIS, called Osama bin Laden "a beautiful man" and said the murder of government agents was "a hundred percent obligation," according to court documents filed in a Washington state federal court.

“I consider myself an ISIS soldier as much as the brothers over there,” Daniel Seth Franey, who served six years in the Army, beginning in 2002, allegedly told an undercover FBI agent. Court documents say he claims to have “deserted” military service, an assertion that the complaint says Department of Defense records back up.

In April 2015, police were told that Franey had been expressing his support for ISIS and wanted to go overseas to “join the fight” or kill Americans at home, the court documents claim.

The FBI then sent in the undercover agent, posing as an underground gun dealer. During their first meeting, Franey described ISIS as “the best people on Earth” and he called Osama bin Laden “a diamond” and “a beautiful man," according to the FBI.

Over the next several months, Franey continued to express his support for ISIS and his desire to kill police and "deal with a few judges, and deal with a few bankers, and deal with a few politicians and D.A.s...[and] the Secretary of Defense,” according to the FBI.

As part of the investigation, Franey and the undercover agent took several trips out of state to supposedly deliver guns to black-market buyers -- and Franey repeatedly asked the undercover agent to obtain guns for him, the charging documents say.

Under a permanent court order, Franey was barred from being in possessions of any guns, but he was with guns on the delivery trips, officials say. On one such trip, he even fired an AR-15 and an AK-47 himself, the FBI says.

In one conversation, Franey allegedly told the undercover agent he wanted to target the military: “I think if there’s a unit, you know, from the Marines and the Army getting ready to ship out, they should be hit. I think if there’s the airbase, a command and control center, they should be hit.... I would love to go hit a Marine unit before they went out.”

He allegedly continued: “[W]ith a couple of tools, you’d be very effective. .. And when you pull the trigger, your objective is to drop somebody.”

Franey has lived in Western Washington for the past three years, occasionally working as a commercial fisherman.

He faces weapons and machine gun possession charges and he was due in court Monday afternoon.

It was not clear if he is being represented.

The case is being prosecuted by a division of the U.S. Attorney General’s office, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes investigators from federal, state, and local law enforcement.

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