Now Playing:
Up Where We Belong BY Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
Subscribe To This Feed

Amanda Massie/Instagram(ALTADENA, Calif.) -- A grandmother in Altadena, California, will be on the lookout for bears this spring after she and her 1-year-old granddaughter had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with one in their backyard.

Missy Hawes and little Blake were on the back porch around 6 p.m. Monday when Hawes noticed Blake’s staring at something behind her, home security video shows.

Hawes then turned around and saw the bear less than 10 feet away before screaming and hustling Blake into the house as the brown bear romped through the yard and out of sight.

“I think she [Blake] was more frightened when I screamed than actually seeing the bear, because the bear made no noise whatsoever,” she told a local TV station, adding that she had seen a bear picking through her trash a couple weeks ago.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- The nephew of former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was briefly held against his will in a New York City hotel, according to New York Police Department police sources.

Rodriguez's nephew, Norberto Susini, 29, met with two men at the Mariott Marquis hotel in Times Square on Wednesday to facilitate the sale of a Lamborghini, NYPD police sources told ABC News.

The prospective buyers -- Lamin Vucetovic, 33, and Anthony Gilkes, 30 -- demanded their $30,000 deposit back from Susini, according to police sources. When Susini hesitated, the men held him in his hotel room against his will, police sources said.

Vucetovic and Gilkes then attempted to ransom Susini's business partners, who instead called police.

Susini was identified by police sources as Rodriguez's nephew.

Vucetovic and Gilkes were arrested and were expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon, police sources said.

Vucetovic is charged with kidnapping, while Gilkes is charged with unlawful imprisonment.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will now determine if they will prosecute this case.

Further details were not immediately available.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News (PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has apologized to two black men who were arrested at a local Starbucks last week for how he handled the press surrounding the incident.

Ross said the he "failed miserably" at how he addressed the incident last week when he said the arresting officers "did absolutely nothing wrong."

"I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law and not that they didn’t do anything wrong," Ross said during a press conference Thursday. "Words are very important."

On April 12, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks and accused of trespassing and disturbance after a manager called 911, telling dispatchers that two men had refused to make a purchase or leave.

The longtime friends, both 23, had just sat down at a table for a business meeting, they told ABC News on Thursday.

Cellphone video of two Philadelphia police officers handcuffing the men and escorting them out of the store caused outrage on social media after it was viewed more than 10 million times.

In a video testimonial released Saturday, Ross also accused Nelson and Robinson of being disrespectful to the officers and said they were both given several chances to leave, but refused.

Ross admitted today that he "played a significant role" in making the situation worse in his initial reaction to the "unfortunate incident."

Before the arrest, Ross was not aware of the Starbucks business model, in which people "spend long hours in Starbucks and aren't necessarily expected to make a purchase," he said, adding that it is reasonable to believe the arresting officers didn't know that either.

While Ross said the issue of race is not lost on him, he also defended the actions of his officers, saying that the fact that they were at the scene for well over 10 minutes suggests that they were trying to resolve the situation.

At the time, the department did not have a policy for dealing with similar situations, Ross said. A guideline has since been created and will be released soon, the police commissioner said.

After they were put in a squad car, Nelson and Robinson were taken to the police station and later freed.

Robinson told ABC News that police never read them their Miranda rights and that they were held in custody for eight hours.

"There was no reasoning," he said. "They had nothing. They just kept using ‘defiant trespassing’ as their excuse for putting us behind bars."

The store manager who called police is no longer working there, a Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed to ABC News.

Starbucks will close 8,000 company-owned stores on May 29 to train is staff on how to avoid "racial bias," Starbucks said in a statement.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for March For Our Lives(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- David Hogg, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who has become a nationally-known anti-gun violence advocate in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school, has urged his more than 750,000 social media followers to boycott a pair of investment firms with indirect stakes in gun companies.

Hogg announced the boycott on Twitter, where he has established an influential activist presence following the Parkland, Florida, shooting that killed 17 people.

"Blackrock and Vanguard Group are two of the biggest investors in gun manufacturers," Hogg tweeted. "If you use them, feel free to let them know."

The tweet has received nearly 4,000 retweets.

Blackrock, a major hedge fund that indirectly owns shares in gun makers, had said in a previous statement following the Parkland shooting that it "will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to understand their response to recent events," and offers packages that allowed investors "to exclude from their portfolios weapons manufacturers or other companies that don’t align with their values."

The Vanguard Group offers a choice of investment packages excluding gun manufacturers, the fund said in a statement to ABC News.

"Vanguard is also meeting with the leaders of gun manufacturers and distributors," the fund said. "We want to know how they will mitigate the risks that their products pose and how they plan to help prevent such tragedies from happening again. We believe that boards and managements of gun manufacturers should disclose and reduce the risks associated with gun violence and the ongoing national debate on gun safety and control."

Hogg has previously proven effective at leveraging his growing social media presence to pressure major corporations into action. Two weeks ago, he launched a boycott of advertisers on Fox News host Laura Ingraham's show after comments she made mocking his college rejections.

The boycott campaign, conducted largely on Twitter, led Ingraham to lose a large swath of her advertisers -- many of which announced the decision by responding to Hogg's tweet. Ingraham took a week off from the show amid the backlash, before returning to condemn the efforts against her.

It's one of several of Hogg's activist efforts, in which he's been joined by other vocal Parkland students. The students spearheaded last month's nationwide protest against gun violence called the March for Our Lives, publicized town halls to pressure lawmakers over gun control reforms, and are working toward a national school walkout on Friday, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

However, in the 24 hours since Hogg pushed the boycott, it has thus far generated significantly less interest than his efforts following Ingraham's comment. #BoycottBlackrock and #BoycottVanguard have only been tweeted about 1,300 times, per the online data service Spredfast, a number that indicates muted interest.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Lee County Sheriffs Office(NEW YORK) -- The ex-stepdaughter of a Florida woman shot dead -- allegedly by a woman seeking to steal her identity -- said she was "in total shock" to learn what happened to her beloved family member.

Lois Riess, 56, is wanted for allegedly fatally shooting her husband in Minnesota and then killing and stealing the identity of 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson in Florida.

With Riess still on the run, Hutchinson's former stepdaughter, Robin Barry, told ABC News she feels very nervous.

"I'm just afraid she's gonna get desperate," she said of Riess. "Because she might feel the need for another person's identification ... and hurt someone else, somebody else's family or loved one."

Barry said Hutchinson and her father had been married for 20 years. They divorced two years ago, she said, but "my dad never stopped loving her."

Barry was about 25 years old when Hutchinson came into her life, she said. She remembers Hutchinson "as a loving, caring, vibrant person," with a memorable laughter and smile.

"She was so good to my girls," Barry said of Hutchinson's relationship with her daughters, now ages 21 and 19.

Hutchinson had "been around since the day they were born," Barry said. "She was just fabulous and loved my girls to pieces."

Barry said Hutchinson had moved from Virginia to Florida a year ago after the divorce.

"She really liked doing a lot for charity work," Barry said. "Trying to make things better in the world."

After Riess allegedly killed her husband in Minnesota, she allegedly stole his money and then drove to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, authorities said. There, Riess met Hutchinson and then allegedly killed her and stole her ID, credit cards and car, said the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff's Office.

Barry said she's now constantly checking her phone "looking for an update, hoping she's been caught."

"I don't understand why somebody who's not a professional can evade the law for this amount of time," she said. "It's just mind-blowing."

After allegedly killing Hutchinson, the Lee County Sheriff's Office said Riess used her victim’s ID to withdraw $5,000. On April 6, Riess arrived at a Hilton hotel in the Ocala, Florida, area, where authorities claim she used a stolen credit card to pay for her room, the sheriff's office said.

Riess was later spotted in Louisiana and the Corpus Christi, Texas, area, but remains at large, the sheriff's office said.

She is expected to continue targeting other women who look like her to steal their identities, authorities said.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office said Mexican authorities and border patrol are on "full alert" that Lois Riess may try to get into Mexico.

Lois Riess is described as having brown eyes and light blonde hair. She is 5-foot-5 and weighs 165 pounds.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Groton Police Department(NEW LONDON, Conn.) -- A United States Navy sailor has been reported missing in Connecticut after police say he left home and vanished.

Jacob Tyler, 24, was last seen leaving his home in Groton Tuesday morning, the Groton Police Department said Wednesday.

Taylor is an ensign serving aboard the submarine USS North Dakota homeported at the Naval Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut, a Navy spokesperson told ABC News.

Police said he left his home on his blue 2014 Honda CBR motorcycle with Connecticut license plate 00KSVK.

The Navy is working closely with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and local authorities in support the search, the Navy spokesperson added.

Tyler has blonde hair and blue eyes and stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs about 220 pounds, police said.

It's not known what he was wearing when he went missing, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Groton Town Police Department at (860) 441-6712.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Robert Alexander/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- In the next two weeks, the Federal Aviation Administration will order the inspection of at least 220 Boeing 737 engines following a deadly engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday.

The FAA will determine precisely which engines, and their fan blades, need to be inspected before the long-debated action will become an official order. There are more than 13,000 of these engines in service made by CFM International, jointly run by General Electric and a French company.

This directive first came about after a 2016 incident, also on Southwest, which a source tells ABC News was similar to the latest deadly incident. In both cases, metal fatigue appears to have led to a blade breaking and being ejected forward out of the engine, the National Transportation Safety Board told reporters this week.

Southwest already announced it is starting an “accelerated inspection” of its fleet after the deadly failure, and other airlines have announced their own inspection plans. American Airlines said it started additional inspections of its 737s before Tuesday's accident, while the directive was being debated.

The two pilots of Tuesday's Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, Captain Tammie Jo Shults and First Officer Darren Ellisor, released a statement saying their "hearts are heavy."

“As captain and first officer of the crew of five who worked to serve our customers aboard Flight 1380 yesterday, we all feel we were simply doing our jobs. Our hearts are heavy. On behalf of the entire crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss. We joined our company today in focused work and interviews with investigators. We are not conducting media interviews and we ask that the public and the media respect our focus.”

The NTSB investigation is expected to take 12 to 15 months.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Richard E. Aaron/Redferns(ST. PAUL, Minn.) --  No criminal charges will be brought in the accidental drug overdose death of Prince, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Prosecutors also announced that Michael T. Schulenberg, the Minnesota doctor who prescribed an opioid painkiller for Prince a week before the musician’s death in 2016, has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle civil charges that he wrote an illegal prescription.

Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016.

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz told reporters Thursday that Prince thought he was taking Vicodin to manage pain but unknowingly took counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.

"Prince had no idea he was taking a counterfeit pill that could kill him," Metz said.

Despite "intensive” investigation, Metz said law enforcement was unable to determine who provided the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl that killed Prince.

Dr. Michael T. Schulenberg, who denies any liability, violated the Controlled Substances Act when he illegally wrote a prescription for Prince in someone else’s name, federal prosecutors said Thursday in official settlement documents obtained by ABC News.

“Dr. Schulenberg prescribed Schedule 2 controlled substances in the name of an individual knowing that the controlled substances were intended to be used by another individual,” U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said. “As licensed professionals, doctors are held to a high level of accountability in their prescribing practices, especially when it comes to highly addictive painkillers.”

Schulenberg agreed to settle the civil charges by paying $30,000 and submitting to monitoring by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“As Minnesota and the nation struggle in the throes of an opioid crisis, the Drug Enforcement Administration will always strive to ensure that those responsible will be held accountable, no matter what their position may be,” DEA Minneapolis-St. Paul Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Solek said.

The settlement is "neither an admission of facts nor liability by Dr. Schulenberg,” court records said. Prosecutors also affirmed in a separate letter to Schulenberg’s attorneys that the doctor is not a target of a federal criminal investigation.

“Dr. Schulenberg decided to settle with the United States regarding alleged civil claims in order to avoid the expense, delay and unknown outcome of litigation. He made no admission of facts nor liability and denies any such liability. The United States Attorneys’ Office for the District of Minnesota has confirmed that he is not a target in any criminal inquiry, and there have been no allegations made by the government that Dr. Schulenberg had any role in Prince’s death,” Schulenberg’s attorney, Amy Conners, said in a statement to ABC News. “After he learned of Prince’s addiction, he immediately worked to refer Prince to a treatment facility and to transfer care to a chemical dependency specialist.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

DuPage County State’s Attorney's Office(WOODRIDGE, Ill.) -- An Illinois woman is suspected of moving through the shadows of the dark web to carry out a sinister murder-for-hire plot, even using cryptocurrency to mask her identity.

Tina Jones, 31, of Des Plaines, Illinois, allegedly paid a dark web company more than $10,000 via bitcoin in January to have the wife of the man she was having an affair with killed, the DuPage County State’s Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

Police in Woodridge, Illinois, "received a tip that a woman in Woodridge was the subject of an alleged murder-for-hire plot" on April 12, the state’s attorney's office said.

The tip led to Jones' arrest, after she turned herself in on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Jones has been charged with one count of solicitation of murder for hire.

She appeared at a hearing Wednesday, where bond was set at $250,000, and is set to appear in court next on May 15.

ABC News has reached out to her attorney for comment.

"In recent years, law enforcement has seen a dramatic increase in the use of the dark web as it relates to criminal activity," Woodridge Police Chief Brian Cunningham said in a statement.

The dark web is a collection of internet sites that are hidden from search engines and require special software to access. The sites are usually encrypted, and users can remain more anonymous, including those who may be engaged in criminal activity.

He called this case "a great example of how increased training, shared resources and interagency cooperation helped protect one of our residents."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a jury found a New York City nanny guilty of murdering two young children in her care, the slain kids' father said he hugged as many jurors as he could.

Yoselyn Ortega had worked for Marina and Kevin Krim for two years when she killed Lulu Krim, 6, and Leo Krim, 2, on Oct. 25, 2012. Marina Krim came home that day with her then-3-year-old daughter and opened her bathroom door to find "the bloodied, lifeless bodies of her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son," Assistant District Attorney Courtney Groves said.

Ortega was found guilty Wednesday on two counts each of first-degree and second-degree murder.

"These jurors went through hell," Kevin Krim wrote on Facebook hours after the verdict. "I hugged every one of them I could."

One juror, David Curtis, told reporters after the verdict Wednesday, "It was not a decision we reached lightly or easily."

"There was some raised voices and a lot of tears," Curtis said, visibly emotional. "But I think we all feel good that we addressed all of these issues and fairly weighed everything that was presented to us."

Kevin Krim added on Facebook, "This process has been very challenging for us, but it has also reaffirmed our love of New York -- a city that Lulu and Leo loved dearly. We got through this trial because of our family, our friends, our fellow New Yorkers and the loving memory of Lulu and Leo’s lives."

In the wake of the tragedy, the Krims founded The Lulu & Leo Fund and Choose Creativity, an organization that offers parents and schools a creativity curriculum based on 10 principles of creativity "that can help anyone thrive and build resiliency in all facets of their lives," according to its website.

"Marina and I believe that creativity is a positive act of defiance in the face of the destructive forces of violence and negativity. We want to respond with constructive energy," Kevin Krim said in his Facebook post last night. "We believe that the '10 Principles of Creativity' can help children across this city and this country build the social-emotional skills and resilience to thrive no matter what the world throws at them."

Kevin Krim also spoke of his family's push to make it a crime to falsify job applications and references for someone working in child care.

"Parents and caregivers should be protected from people who would harm them with their evil and lies," he said. "Every child deserves a caregiver who is honest and responsible. And no one should think they can lie when it comes to the care and safety of our children."

Ortega had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her defense attorney, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, argued she was "suffering from severe psychosis" and "dissociation" at the time of the killings.

Ortega is set to be sentenced May 14.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(LITTLETON, Colo.) -- "No one ever believed it would happen at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. But hopefully people across the nation, across the state will realize that it can happen in their school."

Those were the chilling words that then-Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis told ABC News just days after the April 20, 1999, massacre, when two students opened fire at the school, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher before killing themselves.

Since then, however, countless school shootings have unfolded, including the deadly massacre in Parkland, Florida, in February and a shooting at a Maryland high school in March of this year.

Now, approaching the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting, DeAngelis is reflecting on the tragic day that changed him and what his message is for the high schoolers leading the new push for gun reform.

'My worst nightmare became a reality'

April 20, 1999, was a "beautiful spring day," 70 degrees with blue skies, DeAngelis said.

He said he was in his office when "my secretary comes running in and says there's a report of gunfire."

DeAngelis said his first reaction was a senior prank; an actual shooting "can't be happening at Columbine."

"As I ran out of my office, my worst nightmare became a reality," DeAngelis said. "I saw a gunman coming toward me. I visibly remember what he was wearing, with the baseball cap turned backward and white T-shirt, black vest. I remember the gun -- a long gun."

At that moment, a group of at least 20 girls were coming out of a locker room to head to gym class.

"They were right in the middle of the crossfire, so I ran down to them. We went down a side hallway to get away from the gunman," he said. "As I approached the gymnasium -- the door was locked. So the girls were in a state of panic."

DeAngelis said he reached into his pocket and pulled out his key ring with 35 keys -- miraculously, for the first time, he happened to pick the right key that opened the door on the first try.

He went outside and saw officers arriving, so he came back in to help usher that group of girls to safety. DeAngelis said he wanted to go back into the building to help others, but "at that time they really secured the building -- they wouldn't allow anyone to go in until SWAT got there. Which was really frustrating, I think, for the first responding officers, because the protocol was to secure the perimeter."

That night, it fell to DeAngelis and a grief counselor to tell waiting parents that "there's a good chance their kids lost their lives in school that day, which was one of the most devastating things I've ever had to do."

'I needed Columbine probably more than it needed me'

That night, as DeAngelis tried to think of what he was going to say to the community the next day, "I was really questioning my faith a little bit, saying, 'How could this possibly happen?"

Days later, a local church leader told him he survived for a reason and that he should focus on rebuilding the community, which he said "was so important putting things into perspective for me spiritually."

As he forged along on his quest to rebuild, he said he initially promised to stay on as principal until the students who were freshmen during the shooting graduated in 2002.

"But I kept thinking, I didn't build that community back up where it needed to be," DeAngelis said, so then he decided to "stay until every kid who was in elementary school in the Columbine area" at the time of the shooting graduated from high school. "And that took me through 2012," he said.

He said he was getting ready to retire when a parent asked him to stay, telling him her child was in preschool at the time of the shooting.

"I stayed until 2014, which would have been 15 years after the tragedy," he said. "So all the kids that were in elementary school had graduated, and we had kids that were now coming to Columbine that weren't even born yet when the tragedy happened."

After 18 years as principal, he retired in 2014, after he felt he had done his duty to heal the community.

But, DeAngelis added, in those years, "I needed Columbine probably more than it needed me."

Banding together

But Columbine was not an anomaly. In the 19 years that have followed, from Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook, school shootings have continued to kill students and staff inside American elementary schools, high schools and universities.

For DeAngelis, these shootings create an unfortunate bond with school leaders across the country.

Just this year, DeAngelis has been in touch with the leaders of high schools in Kentucky, Maryland and Florida, all where students were gunned down.

With the principal of Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and staff were killed in February, he said he's discussed what issues the school may face in the short term and long term. How do you handle returning to school for the first time? And prom? And graduation? How do you help the seniors getting ready to leave? What can you do for the new group of freshmen coming in next year?

In the midst of their grief, the student survivors of the Stoneman Douglas massacre have banded together and inspired a new student-led push for gun reform, with nationwide events such as school walkouts and the March for Our Lives rallies.

Current Columbine students, who weren't born at the time of the massacre, were among those participating in the nationwide walkout on March 14.

The next nationwide walkout is this Friday, on the Columbine anniversary. Organized by high school students in Connecticut, more than 2,000 events are registered across the country.

DeAngelis said he encourages the massive student-led movements, but he said more needs to be done.

He said he wants tougher gun laws, but he stressed that other "pieces of the puzzle" must also be addressed, such as mental health, the impact of social media and parent involvement.

"The way that you change some of the laws, you need to change the officials," he said, encouraging young people to study policies and platforms -- and to vote.

For now, though, DeAngelis is still hopeful people will heed his words to ABC News immediately in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

"It could happen in any school in this state or any school in this nation," he said then. "No one is immune from a disaster like this happening. And I hope people will learn from it."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Google Maps(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Syracuse University suspended one of its professional fraternity chapters after video surfaced showing members of Theta Tau acting in an "extremely racist" and "homophobic" manner, the university’s chancellor said.

The video -- made public by the school's independent newspaper, The Daily Orange, on Wednesday -- shows the engineering fraternity using racist, ethnic and sexist slurs, and other offensive language, while pretending to perform sexual acts on each other.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud called the students' conduct in the footage "extremely troubling and disturbing" in a statement released Wednesday.

"Videos showing this offensive behavior have surfaced online. They include words and behaviors that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities," Syverud said.

"The conduct is deeply harmful and contrary to the values and community standards we expect of our students. There is absolutely no place at Syracuse University for behavior or language that degrades any individual or group's race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability or religious beliefs."

Syracuse University's Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities suspended the fraternity, effectively halting all activities, after confirming Theta Tau’s involvement, according to the statement.

The university’s Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident and looking to "identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary action," Syverud said.

The university has not released the footage, citing the ongoing investigation, but part of the video was available on The Daily Orange’s website as of late Wednesday evening.

It was originally posted to a secret Facebook group called "Tau of Theta Tau," according to The Daily Orange, which said the video was filmed at the Theta Tau frat house.

Some students held on-campus protests Wednesday afternoon, marching near the chancellor's home with signs and chanting for the video to be released.

The demonstrators, including some who marched for more than three hours, pointed to the footage as an example of systemic racism and sexism at Syracuse University, according to local news reports.

Theta Tau is the fourth fraternity to be suspended by the university this academic year, according to The Daily Orange. The university suspended the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity last week following a monthslong investigation into hazing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images(NORRISTOWN, Pa.) -- The star witness for Bill Cosby's legal team was undermined during cross-examination on Wednesday when she conceded that her testimony differed from previous statements she gave defense attorneys, and said she and one of the comedian's lawyers "kind of created it together."

Shortly after the prosecution rested its case in the retrial of the 80-year-old Cosby on sexual assault charges, Marguerite "Margo" Jackson took the witness stand for the defense.

In his opening argument, lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau told the Montgomery County jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that Jackson would bolster his contention that Cosby's main accuser, Andrea Constand, is a "con artist" who set up a "lonely man" with false accusations of being drugged and assaulted.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate in early 2004. His first trial ended in a mistrial in June when a jury couldn't reach a verdict.

The married Cosby has adamantly denied ever drugging or molesting anyone, and has said his relationship with Constand was consensual.

Constand settled a civil case against Cosby in 2005 for $3.38 million, but the man known once as "America's dad" did not admit wrongdoing in the case.

During direct questioning from Cosby's attorney on Wednesday, Jackson recalled a conversation she had in 2004, in which she said Constand allegedly mused about framing an unnamed celebrity for money.

Jackson is a veteran Temple University employee and was an academic adviser to the school's women's basketball team when Constand was the team's director of operations.

She said she and Constand roomed together when the basketball team was playing on the road.

Jackson recalled that she and Constand were sharing a room at a Rhode Island hotel on Feb. 1, 2004, when a TV news report came on about a "high-profile celebrity essentially assaulting women." She said Constand told her "something similar had happened to her."

Jackson said she replied, "Really? Who and when?" She said she asked Constand whether she had reported the alleged assault.

"She said 'No,'" Jackson testified. "I said, 'Why?' She was, like, 'Because I couldn’t prove it.'"

Jackson said she pressed Constand about the assault, saying, "I wouldn’t care who it was. I would report it. Why didn't you report it?"

She said Constand, 44, allegedly replied, "Because it's a high-profile figure, and you can't fight that."

"This is a civil case," Jackson said she told Constand. "It's about money. Money is a great motivator."

Jackson said she asked Constand again whether the assault actually happened, to which Constand allegedly responded, "I could say it did. I could say it happened, get that money. I could quit my job and go back to school. I could open up a business."

But under cross-examination, Jackson was grilled by Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Stewart Ryan about why her testimony differed in key areas from a statement she provided Cosby's previous defense team in 2016 and one she gave Cosby's new lawyers in January.

In one discrepancy, Jackson testified Wednesday that her conversation with Constand occurred during one of “probably two or three times” the pair roomed together during Temple basketball away games. In her earlier statements, she said the pair roomed together six times.

Constand testified on Monday that she barely knew Jackson and never roomed with her, but rather had her own hotel room during away games.

There was no mention in Jackson's 2016 statement about Constand allegedly claiming to be unable to prove the assault allegations in court, and Jackson said at the time that she could not recall the year of the alleged conversation. In the second statement she gave Cosby's defense team earlier this year, there was no reference to a date or year of the alleged conversation.

Ryan pointed out yet another difference between her testimony and her earlier statements to the defense.

"You add that it's your memory now that Ms. Constand didn't report it because it was a high-profile person and because she couldn't prove it?" Ryan asked her. "That's new -- that she said she couldn’t prove it?"

"Correct," a sullen Jackson replied.

When asked by Ryan who decided to add that, Jackson said one of Cosby's attorneys, Kathleen Bliss, worked closely with her.

“We sat down and reviewed the statement, and she just broke it down and made it specific," Jackson testified. "We kind of created it together. She wanted to break it down more."

Asked whose decision it was to use quotation marks around crucial parts of what Constand told her in the hotel room where there were none in the first statement, Jackson said "Kathleen put the quotation marks in."

Jackson was not allowed to testify in Cosby's first trial because a judge ruled her initial statement submitted to the court by Cosby's first legal team as hearsay. But the judge changed course this time around and allowed her to testify for the defense.

If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison on each count. Cosby has denied all the allegations against him.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Hurst Police Department via Facebook(HURST, Texas) -- Police in Texas have released shocking dashcam video today of a dramatic explosion of an SUV crashing into a house and then apparently striking a natural-gas line.

The video posted on Facebook by the Hurst Police Department shows patrol cars pulling up on April 7 to the house after the crash.

Police said in an April 9 news release they'd received a call from the homeowner that one of the residents of the house was trapped in a bedroom.

"Several officers from the Hurst Police Department arrived on scene at the same time, and as they were walking up to the residence to assist, the house suddenly exploded in a massive fireball, which lifted the roof from the structure and blew out most of the back wall," Hurst police said.

In the dashcam video, an officer can be seen exiting a patrol vehicle. Moments later, the house explodes into flames. The sound of glass can also be heard. The officer can be seen ducking for safety as debris fills the air.

"It (the blast) shook the house. It shook all of the neighbors' houses," one neighbor told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV recently.

Police said a husband and wife were inside the house at the time of the blast with their adult son. According to police, officers found the wife "severely injured and buried in rubble." All three individuals were taken to the hospital.

"The mother and father were reported to have serious burn injuries. ... The son was treated and released for less serious injuries," police said.

Police said the family's names were not being released for "privacy concerns."

The department said two police officers also received minor injuries from the incident.

"The victims are stable and expected to recover. Our hearts go out to them and their family," police said today in a statement.

Police said a preliminary investigation had revealed the blast was likely caused by "the accumulation and ignition of natural gas inside the house, which was caused when the vehicle crashed into the house and severed the primary gas line and meter that supplied the residence."

Authorities identified the driver of the SUV as 35-year-old Alejandro Enriquez-Castro.

Hurst police said he was not injured in the crash and claimed his car's brakes had failed. They said Castro was arrested at the scene on a misdemeanor charge of no driver's license and jailed. Bond was set at $180.

"Castro was found to have several unconfirmed alias names and was placed on an immigration detainer and transferred to ICE this morning," the department said. "Hurst police investigators are still in the process of determining the causative factors that contributed to the initial vehicle crash into the house."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Dodge County Sheriff's Office(BLOOMING PRAIRIE, Minn.) -- A 56-year-old Minnesota woman wanted for allegedly shooting her husband to death, then killing and stealing the identity of Florida woman, is on the run after the alleged multistate crime spree that spans 1,500 miles. Now, authorities in Florida are releasing new details on suspect Lois Riess' movements after her first alleged crime.

The case began last month in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. David Reiss, 54, hadn't been seen in more than two weeks as of March 23, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota said, and his business partner requested that authorities go to his home.

There, officers found David Riess' body. He had been shot multiple times, the sheriff's office said.

It was unclear how long he had been dead, and his wife, Lois Riess, was missing, the sheriff's office said.

Lois Riess, identified as a suspect in his killing, allegedly transferred almost $10,000 from her husband's business account to his personal account and then forged his signature on checks to herself, the sheriff's office said.

Here is the alleged timeline of what came next according to the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff's Office:

-- Lois Riess drove her Cadillac Escalade from Minnesota to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where she abandoned the car at a park.

-- Lois Riess met 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson and then allegedly killed her and stole her ID, credit cards and car. Lois Riess was spotted on surveillance video leaving from Marina Village in Fort Myers Beach in the victim’s Acura.

-- Before leaving Fort Myers Beach, Lois Riess stopped at a Wells Fargo Bank, where authorities said she used her victim’s ID to withdraw $5,000.

-- On April 6, Lois Riess arrived at a Hilton hotel in the Ocala, Florida, area, where authorities claim she used a stolen credit card to pay for her room.

-- On April 7, Lois Riess left Ocala, Florida, and next surfaced in Louisiana.

-- After Louisiana, she was spotted in the Corpus Christi, Texas, area.

But Lois Riess remains on the run. She is expected to continue targeting other women who look like her to steal their identities, authorities said.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office said Mexican authorities and border patrol are on "full alert" that Lois Riess may try to get into Mexico.

Lois Riess is described as having brown eyes and light blonde hair. She is 5-foot-5 and weighs 165 pounds.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Closings and Delays

On Facebook
Lost & Found Pets
Community Involvement
  • April Higgins of Nashport is the winner! April Higgins of Nashport is the winner!
Tune In Deals