A prosecution expert testifying in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz is disputing defense testimony that his birth mother drank heavily during pregnancy. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Charles Scott told Cruz's jury Tuesday that there is scant evident supporting the defense's contention that his biological mother drank fortified wine and malt liquor during her pregnancy. Cruz's attorneys have argued he has fetal alcohol disorder syndrome, which led to his murder of 17 people at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. He has pleaded guilty. The trial will determine if he is sentenced to death or life in prison.
Nicole Hockley lost one son in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. She testified Tuesday that her biggest fear is that people who believe the shooting never happened will harm her other son, who survived the attack at his school. Hockle, her former husband, Ian Hockley, and the sister of another victim were the latest family members of the 26 victims of the school shooting to testify at the defamation trial of Alex Jones, where a jury is deciding how much the conspiracy theorist must pay for spreading the lie that the shooting was a hoax. Defense attorney Norm Pattis is arguing that any damages should be limited and accused the victims’ relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.
Authorities say a gunman has killed 17 people and wounded 24 others in a school in central Russia. According to officials, 11 children were among those killed in the Monday morning shooting in School No. 88 in Izhevsk, a city 960 kilometers (600 miles) east of Moscow. The governor of the region said the gunman killed himself after the attack. Russia's Investigative Committee identified the gunman as 34-year-old Artyom Kazantsev, a graduate of the school, and the governor said he was a patient at a psychiatric facility. He used two non-lethal handguns adapted to fire real bullets. An investigation has been launched on multiple murder charges.
A Kentucky man who killed three fellow students and wounded five others when he was 14 years old will spend the rest of his life in prison without another opportunity to seek parole. The Kentucky Parole Board voted 7-0 on Monday to deny parole to 39-year-old Michael Carneal, and ordered him to serve out his full life sentence. Carneal told board members last week that he still hears voices like the ones that told him to steal a neighbor’s pistol and fire it into the crowded lobby of Heath High School, near Paducah, in 1997. However, Carneal said that with therapy and medication, he has learned to control his behavior.
Democrats in Florida are trying to make inroads with Latino voters by focusing on gun safety. It's part of an effort to curb the gains made by Republican in Latino-heavy areas as Democrats address gun violence and highlight what they say is the lack of action by Republicans. Few places disappointed Democrats in 2020 as deeply as South Florida. A shift among Latinos toward the GOP contributed to several unexpected losses in House races and helped then-President Donald Trump carry Florida. Democrats are campaigning differently this year as they aim to connect the party’s priorities to the personal experiences of a group that often feels overlooked in national politics.
Prosecutors in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz are about to begin their rebuttal case. They are expected to present expert witnesses who will testify starting Tuesday that Cruz is a sociopath and fully responsible for his murder of 17 people at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. They are trying to counter defense testimony that said Cruz's birth mother drank heavily during pregnancy, damaging his brain. Cruz pleaded guilty last year to murder. The trial is only to determine if the 24-year-old is sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole. The rebuttal case could take up to two weeks.
Lawyers in the Connecticut defamation trial of Alex Jones have agreed not to return him to the stand until next week after a contentious day of testimony Thursday about his promotion of the lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. The judge sent jurors home at midday Friday. Jones was found liable last year by default and a six-member jury is now deciding how much Jones and Free Speech Systems, parent of Jones’ Infowars media platforms, should pay the families for defaming them and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Jones has called the judge a tyrant and said on the stand Thursday that he was done apologizing for claiming the shooting was staged.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took the stand Thursday at his trial in Connecticut to try to limit the damages he must pay for calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax. Jones acknowledged he had promoted lie that the 2012 shooting was a hoax, but angrily refused to keep apologizing for that. The trial in Waterbury is to decide damages for an FBI agent who responded to the school and the families of eight children and adults who died who sued Jones for defamation. Victims' relatives have given emotional testimony during the trial's first six days about being traumatized by people who say the shooting was fake.
A lawyer representing families of victims of a Michigan high school shooting says some teachers and a counselor were aware of the suspect's troubling behavior months before the mass shooting last fall. Detroit attorney Ven Johnson told reporters Thursday that depositions taken in a civil lawsuit against Oxford Community Schools and some staff at Oxford High School reveal Ethan Crumbley had shown a proclivity toward guns, ammunition and violence at the start of the 2021 school year. One teacher said Crumbley drew what appeared to be a gun’s ammunition magazine on a note card in late August 2021. Johnson said Crumbley also wrote in a survey that his favorite books included “Making Bombs for Hitler."
A federal appeals panel has rejected First Amendment claims the National Rifle Association brought against a former New York state official who urged banks and insurance companies to discontinue their association with gun promoting groups. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Thursday that Maria T. Vullo was within her rights as superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services when she spoke out after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. A three-judge panel concluded she acted reasonably and in good faith as a public official. She praised the ruling. An NRA lawyer says the ruling misstates the facts and offends the First Amendment.
Two parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre and the daughter of the school’s slain principal testified Wednesday of the fear and pain they have suffered from being targeted with threats by those who believe the lie that the shooting was a hoax. David Wheeler, Erica Lafferty and Jennifer Hensel are among those suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for damages for promoting the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories on his media platforms, including his Infowars web show. A judge last year found Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, liable by default for failing to turn over documents in the case. The jury is hearing evidence to determine how much Jones should pay.
Alarmed parents converged on a Texas high school after a classroom shooting report that ultimately proved to be false. The siege happened just after midday Tuesday at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. School district police say they ordered a total lockdown and emergency response, including alerts to parents. Parents descended on the school, with some physically struggling with police. Some were detained and handcuffed, but there were no immediate reports of arrests. The scare was the latest in a wave of such incidents since the May 24 mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.
After bashing the proceedings on his web show, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has made his first appearance outside a courthouse in Connecticut where a jury will determine how much damages he should pay for telling his audience the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. Jones showed up and made comments outside, but left a short time later, indicating he wouldn't be testifying Tuesday. Jones has criticized the proceedings from his Infowars studio in Austin, Texas, calling it a “show trial.” He has already been found liable for damages and the trial is to decide how much he must pay eight families and an FBI agent who responded to the massacre.
A Kentucky man who killed three students and wounded five more in a school shooting 25 years ago will have to wait another week to learn his fate in a high-stakes hearing that could see him released or denied the chance to ever leave prison. Michael Carneal was a 14-year-old freshman on Dec. 1, 1997, when he fired a stolen pistol at a before-school prayer group in the lobby of Heath High School, near Paducah. A parole board panel on Monday heard from victims, many of whom asked that Carneal never be released. On Tuesday, Carneal told the panel that he still hears voices but has learned not to do what they say.
Myanmar’s military-ruled government has denied reports it carried out an air attack on a school that killed at least seven children, accusing the media of distorting the truth. A spokesperson for the ruling military council acknowledged at a news conference that there had been fighting last Friday in Sagaing region. However, he blamed the government’s armed opponents for the casualties, who in addition to children sheltering at the school included six adult villagers. Witnesses had said that two helicopters fired machine guns and heavier weapons at the school in a Buddhist monastery attended by 240 students. The number of children killed appeared to be the highest in a single day since the army seized power in February last year.
A school administrator says government helicopters have attacked a school and village in Myanmar, killing at least 13 people including seven children. The number of children killed in the government attack last Friday in Sagaing region appears to be the highest since the army seized power in February 2021. The army’s takeover triggered mass nonviolent protests nationwide. The military and police responded with deadly force, resulting in the spread of armed resistance in the cities and countryside. The fighting has been especially fierce in Sagaing, where several military offensives have displaced more than half a million people, according to UNICEF.
A Kentucky man who killed three students and injured five more in a 1997 school shooting has a chance at parole this week. Michael Carneal was a 14-year-old freshman when he fired a stolen pistol at a before-school prayer group in the lobby of Heath High School, near Paducah. Carneal’s parole hearing began Monday with testimony from his victims, many of whom said it would be unfair to release him while they still suffer. On Tuesday, Carneal will make his case for release. If the board rules against him, they can defer a decision, or order him to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The judge overseeing the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz has rejected a motion by his attorneys that she step down. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer turned down the request on Monday without comment. Cruz's attorneys had accused Scherer of being biased after she chewed them out last week when they unexpectedly rested their case. They had called only 25 of their 80 expected witnesses. That meant prosecutors weren't ready to begin their rebuttal case, causing a two-week hiatus. The 23-year-old Cruz pleaded guilty to the 2018 shooting at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead. The trial is to determine if he is sentenced to death or life without parole.
Students who survived the May 24 shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, are spending the summer with a host of mental health issues including grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder. One 11-year-old girl was hospitalized for weeks due to her racing heart following the massacre at Robb Elementary. Another girl hides when she sees people who resemble the gunman who killed 21 people at her school. Meanwhile, parents find themselves unable to help and worry about access to adequate mental health care in the largely Hispanic town.
In December 1997, Michael Carneal opened fire on his fellow students during a morning prayer meeting at a Kentucky high school, killing three and wounding five more. Carneal was 14 at the time and received the maximum sentence for someone his age, life in prison with the opportunity for parole after 25 years. In the quarter century that has passed, school shootings have become a depressingly regular occurrence in the U.S. His parole hearing next week raises questions about the appropriate punishment for children who commit heinous crimes. Even if they can be rehabilitated, many wonder if it is fair to the victims for them to be released.
Attorneys for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have asked for the judge in his murder case to remove herself two days after she scolded them when they abruptly rested their case. The Broward Public Defender’s Office said in a motion Friday that Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer held a longstanding animosity toward lead defense lawyer Melisa McNeill. Prosecutors said in a response that Scherer has been respectful to both sides. Cruz’s attorneys had told the judge and prosecutors they would be calling 80 witnesses but rested at the start of Wednesday’s court session after calling only about 25 of them.
Alex Jones' criticism of his trial in Connecticut over calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax has become a topic of the proceedings. During the fourth day of the trial Friday, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families questioned a corporate representative for Jones' Infowars about how seriously the company was taking the trial. The attorney showed a photo he said was of an Infowars webpage depicting the judge with lasers shooting out of her eyes. Jones has called the trial a “kangaroo court." The Infowars representative said she was taking the trial very seriously. Jones is expected to begin attending the trial next week. A jury will decide how much in damages he will have to pay the families for saying the shooting never happened.
Infowars revenues and website viewership spiked around the time of one of Alex Jones’ shows in 2014 when he talked about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting being a hoax. That's according to documents shown to a Connecticut jury on Thursday. Jones and his Free Speech Systems company are on trial in a lawsuit brought by several Sandy Hook families over his spreading the hoax lies. The jury will be deciding how much in damages Jones and his company should pay the families. The shooting in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 first- graders and six educators.
A representative for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars empire has acknowledged on the witness stand that “there were false statements made” about the Sandy Hook school shooting. Brittany Paz testified Wednesday at a Connecticut civil trial involving Jones’ claims that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax concocted as a pretext to tighten gun regulations. Paz is a lawyer hired by Jones’ defense to testify on the company’s workings. Jones now acknowledges the shooting was real but says his comments were protected free speech. The jury is tasked with determining what Jones has to pay to eight victims’ families and an FBI agent.