The town of Percy, Illinois said a final farewell to the four children killed in last Friday's house fire.
12-year-old Ethan, 9-year-old Kailey, and 5-year-old twins Brandon and Landon Owen died in the fire. Their parents and a cousin escaped the burning home. Derrick Twardoski faces four murder charges in connection to the fire.
Prosecutors say they believe they know why he set the fire, but are not releasing the motive ahead of the trial.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - More than 11 years after Mitchell Osburn was arrested in the stabbing deaths of three Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District workers, the case is finally resolved.
Osburn entered an Alford Plea Tuesday to three counts of each of first-degree murder and armed criminal assault. The plea is not an admission of guilt but a concession that there is enough evidence for a conviction.
Sentencing will be July 12.
The three workers in their 40s - Steven Weiss, Joseph Bisso and Robert Whitson - were among five sewer district workers socializing after a day of work at Lion's Park in the St. Louis County town of Valley Park on March 8, 2002.
Police said Osburn attacked them with a knife. He did not know the victims.
The matriarch of the Schnucks' grocery store chain has died. 88-year-old Doris Schnuck died Saturday at her home in Clayton. A company spokeswoman says she had been in failing health.
Doris and Donald Schnuck helped turn a corner grocery in north St. Louis into the area’s leading supermarket chain. He died in 1991 at age 69. They have six children who run the supermarket chain. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Today, Schnucks operates 100 stores in five states — Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa — with 14,800 employees.
Mrs. Schnuck supported the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the St. Louis Zoo and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. The Children’s Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden is named for her.
Craig and Terry Schnuck live in Clayton. Scott, Todd, Mark and Nancy live in Ladue. Other survivors include 20 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — The sheriff of Calaveras County in Northern California says residents "can sleep a little better" now.
The community of Valley Springs was shaken last month by the mysterious stabbing death of an 8-year-old girl. The girl's 12-year-old brother told police he found her body and an intruder in their home, setting off a manhunt.
Authorities yesterday arrested the 12-year-old. The sheriff says the boy will be charged with homicide.
The South Roxana, Illinois man who admitted to hitting and killing a motorcyclist two years ago, will head to prison.
Lloyd Denny told prosecutors he was talking on his phone and taking prescription medications when he rear ended the motorcycle and killed Bradley Umphlett in Alton. KSDK reports that just days before his sentencing, Denny's bond was revoked for possession of heroin.
Denny will spend three years behind bars.
DALLAS (AP) - A hotel guest from Missouri has been found dead in the atrium lobby of the 30-story Hyatt Regency Dallas after apparently falling from an upper floor.
Dallas police say a hotel security guard early Wednesday discovered the body of 37-year-old Craig McKinnon Berry of Wentzville, Mo. A police report says a hotel employee heard a loud thud and contacted security.
A hotel spokesman says the guest apparently fell from one of the upper floors. The downtown Dallas hotel's interior atrium has 18 stories.
Police are investigating the incident as an unexplained death. Further details weren't immediately available.
A tragic accident claims the life of a well-liked teacher and coach in O'Fallon, Illinois.
The Belleville News Democrat reports 33-year-old O'Fallon Township High School teacher Matt Seipp died Monday at St. Louis University Hospital after falling from a ladder on Sunday.
Seipp, who also owned Seipp Lawn Care LLC in O'Fallon, was well-known throughout the community.
The paper reports O'Fallon Police Chief John Betten says Seipp apparently died as a result of injuries after falling off a ladder Sunday.
Betten said officers responded to a 911 call at 12:36 p.m. Sunday for a male victim with unknown injuries in the 800 block of Scott-Troy Road.
When officers and emergency workers arrived on scene, Betten said they determined the victim had fallen from a ladder while working in the garage and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Anderson Hospital in Maryville with the intent of meeting ARCH Air Medical Services there. Rainy weather prevented the crew from flying.
O'Fallon EMS proceeded to transport Seipp by ambulance to St. Louis University Hospital. A spokesman for the hospital declined to give Seipp's condition and referred questions to the family, which is standard policy when a death has occurred. Members of the immediate family could not be reached.
Seipp was a teacher in the industrial technology department at OTHS. He began his career at OTHS during the 2002-03 school year.
He also served as assistant baseball coach for the O'Fallon Panthers in 2003 and 2004. Seipp is survived by his wife, Jodie, and infant son, Drew. Jodie Bell Seipp also works at OTHS as chair of the English Department.
Students, colleagues and friends of Seipp flooded Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites with tributes.
Guidance counselors and social workers are available at O'Fallon Township High School for any student or employee needing assistance, according to Benway. Flags at all O'Fallon schools are being flown at half-staff in Seipp's memory, Benway said.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Schildknecht Funeral Home in O'Fallon.
FESTUS, Mo. (AP) - One of the oldest residents of Missouri has died at age 110.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ada "Irene" Cooper of Jefferson County died Saturday, according to an obituary from Vinyard Funeral Home in Festus.
The Post-Dispatch wrote a story in 2007 on Ada Cooper and her sister, Hazel Reeder. At the time, Mrs. Cooper was 105 and Ms. Reeder was 102. She died at age 104.
The sisters grew up on a farm in Ste. Genevieve County and attended a one-room schoolhouse.
Mrs. Cooper was married to her husband, Wendell, for 67 years before he died in 1992, at age 100.
Mrs. Cooper's funeral is at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Vinyard Funeral Home.
ROME (AP) - Giulio Andreotti, Italy's former seven-time premier and a symbol of post-war Italy, died Monday at his home in Rome, Italian officials said. He was 94.
In announcing the death, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno called Andreotti "the most representative politician" Italy had known in its recent history.
At his prime, Andreotti was one of Italy's most powerful men: He helped draft the country's constitution after World War II, sat in parliament for 60 years and served as premier seven times. Until his death, he remained a senator-for-life.
But the Christian Democrat who was friends with popes and cardinals was also a controversial figure who survived corruption scandals and allegations of aiding the Mafia.
He was accused of exchanging a "kiss of honor" with the mob's longtime No. 1 boss and indicted in what was called "the trial of the century" in Palermo. He was eventually cleared.
Andreotti was as known for his political acumen as for his subtle humor and witty allusions. With sharp eyes, thin lips and a stooped figure, he was immediately recognizable to generations of Italians. Friends and foes alike admired his intellectual agility and grasp of the issues.
"Power wears out ... those who don't have it," he once famously said.
Andreotti's rise in the Italian political scene mirrored the rise of Italy, which was then emerging from two decades of Fascist dictatorship under Benito Mussolini. He joined the conservative Christian Democrats, was part of the Constituent Assembly that wrote the constitution and was elected to parliament in 1948.
He remained ever since.
He held a series of Cabinet positions after the war, until he became premier for the first time in 1972. Twenty years later, he finished his last stint as premier.
Although staunchly pro-American and a firm supporter of Italy's NATO membership, Andreotti was the first Christian Democrat to accept Communist support, even if indirect, in one of his governments. The Cabinet that was formed after big Communist gains in the 1976 general election needed the Communists and other leftists to abstain - rather than cast "no" votes - during parliamentary votes.
By the early 1990s, a vast corruption drive led by prosecutors - the "Clean Hands" probe - swept through parliament and hobbled most existing political parties. Andreotti's Christian Democrats were among them, but the scandal did not touch him personally and he managed to stay on as premier until an election in 1992.
Soon, however, an even more damaging accusation would befall Andreotti. In 1993, a Mafia informer told prosecutors that Andreotti had been involved in the 1979 slaying of journalist Mino Pecorelli, a muckraking journalist killed in a mob-style execution in Rome by four shots from a pistol with a silencer.
Pecorelli's articles had often targeted Andreotti, along with a range of public figures. Andreotti was sometimes referred to in print as "The Godfather."
The prosecution argued that the Mafia killed Pecorelli at the behest of Andreotti, who allegedly feared the reporter had dug up compromising information. Andreotti has always denied the charges, saying he was targeted by mobsters getting even for his crackdowns on organized crime.
The lengthy case - dubbed by the Italian press "the trial of the century" - resulted in an acquittal in 1999; a shock conviction and sentence to 24 years in prison by an appeals court in November 2002; and, in the third and final judgment a year later, another acquittal.
"Some might have hoped I wouldn't get here. But here I am, thanks to God," Andreotti, then 84, said at the time of the final ruling.
In a separate case during the same years, Andreotti stood trial in Palermo on charges that he colluded with the Mafia. But he was cleared in that case too.
Palermo prosecutors relied heavily on accounts by Mafia turncoats, including a mobster who testified that Andreotti had once exchanged a "kiss of honor" with Salvatore Riina, the "boss of all bosses" and a longtime fugitive who was captured in 1993. They alleged Andreotti granted favors for the mob in exchange for their delivering Sicilian votes for his party.
Andreotti always denied the charges, again maintaining he was a victim of mobsters intent on taking revenge for his fight against the Mafia.
Andreotti was born to schoolteachers in Rome on Jan. 14, 1919. He earned a law degree at Rome University and became a journalist after graduation.
During World War II he worked as a librarian in the Vatican, and it was there that he met several politicians, including Alcide De Gasperi, who went on to become Italy's foremost postwar statesman.
At age 35, Andreotti became Italy's youngest interior minister ever. It was the beginning of a career during which he navigated the Byzantine world of Italian politics like no other, accumulating power, honors and enemies along the way.
Such was his reach that he was sometimes called "Divo Giulio" - a play on his name Giulio and the latin "Divus Iulius" (or Divine Julius), which was used for Julius Caesar. His critics called him Beelzebub for what they considered his diabolical skills.
The one political prize he never achieved was to become president of the republic, a largely ceremonial but highly regarded office. He came closest in 1992, but his efforts failed amid the "Clean Hands" corruption scandals.
A practicing Roman Catholic, Andreotti maintained solid ties to the Vatican throughout his political career. Emblematic of this stance was his Rome address, close to the centers of political power but also just across the Tiber from St. Peter's Square.
He wrote numerous books, some of them best-sellers, wrote articles for Italian publications and edited the monthly Catholic magazine 30 Giorni. He was courted on TV shows for his deep knowledge of Italian and world affairs as well as for his humor. He even made a guest appearance as himself in the movie, "Il Tassinaro" ("The Taxi Driver") with fellow Roman and late comedian Alberto Sordi.
A probing portrait of him in the film "Il Divo" was honored with the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Andreotti was married to Livia Danese. They had four children.
AP writer Colleen Barry reported from Milan
How big a Cardinals fan are you? Enough to be buried with your team's logo?
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