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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.

 

Published in Local News

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.

 

Published in Local News

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.

Published in National News

   Detectives with the St. Louis Major Case Squad are looking for a suspect in the execution-style death of a Normandy man.  

   Police say 30 year old Markquette Nunn had been using a weed trimmer in the front yard of his home in the 7600 block of Bermuda Court about 12:45Wednesday afternoon when someone shot him in the back of the head.  

   A neighbor heard the shot and came outside just in time to see a man running from the scene.  Nunn was pronounced dead at the scene.  

   Police say Nunn shared the home with his girlfriend and their baby son, who were not home at the time of the shooting.  A friend who also lived in the home was inside when Nunn was shot.  He told police he heard the shot, then look outside to see Nunn collapsed in the yard.  

   Police say they have very little to go in so far.  Anyone with information is urged to call the Major Case Squad – via Normandy Police at 314-385-3300, ext. 3018.

Published in Local News

PHOENIX (AP) - Jodi Arias has been convicted of first-degree murder in the brutal stabbing and shooting death of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona.

 

   Arias was charged in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Arias initially denied involvement, then blamed it on two masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense.

 

   Testimony began in early January, with Arias eventually spending 18 days on the witness stand. Jurors got the case Friday.

 

   The trial has been a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage by the cable news networks, with tales of lurid sex, lies and death, nude photos and accounts of a salacious relationship that ended in a bloody killing.

 

   THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

 

   Jurors reached a verdict Wednesday in the trial of Jodi Arias, who is accused of murdering her one-time boyfriend in Arizona.

 

   Arias is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of Travis Alexander, a motivational speaker and salesman, at his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities said she planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by the victim while he pursued other women.

 

   Arias initially denied involvement and later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense.

 

   Jurors got the case Friday afternoon. They reached a decision late Wednesday morning. It was scheduled to be announced at 1:30 p.m.

 

   Testimony in the trial began in early January, with Arias later spending 18 days on the witness stand. The trial quickly snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from cable news networks, and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and even Arias, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail.

 

   Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later.

 

   Arias said she recalled Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said Alexander came at her "like a linebacker," body-slamming her to the tile floor. She managed to wriggle free and ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf. She said she fired in self-defense but had no memory of stabbing him.

 

   Arias acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth.

 

   As deliberations drag on, dozens of people gather daily on the courthouse steps waiting for a verdict.

 

   If Arias is convicted of first-degree murder, she faces either life in prison or a death sentence. Jurors also have the option of convicting Arias of second-degree murder if they believe she didn't premeditate the killing but still intentionally caused Alexander's death. If convicted of that charge, she could be sentenced to 10 to 22 years in prison.

 

   Manslaughter is an option if the panel believes Arias didn't plan the killing in advance and the attack occurred in the heat of passion after "adequate" provocation from Alexander. A conviction on this charge carries a sentence of seven to 21 years in prison.

 

   If they believe she killed Alexander in self-defense, Arias would be acquitted and would walk out jail after being incarcerated for more than four years.

 
Published in National News

Police have released a motive in the slayings that shook the small town of Manchester, Illinois.

Rick Smith shot six people, killing five, on the morning of April 24 at a Manchester home. Investigators now believe Smith planned the attack to resolve a custody battle over his three-year-old daughter. Smith believed the family of the girl's mother was interfering in the couple's custody dispute.

Police have also learned that Smith did not stray more than 25 miles from the crime scene before he started a shootout with police. Smith was killed in that shootout. A six-year-old girl survived the massacre. 

Published in Local News

A 17-year-old has been charged for shooting and killing a 13-year-old Granite City boy this week.

Police say LaRoyce McFadden started shooting at Clayton Veninga on Wednesday evening. Veninga was hit and died from his wounds.

Police have not released a motive for the shooting, but McFadden faces first degree murder charges.

 

Published in Local News

   Granite City police say they have made an arrest in the murder of a 13 year old boy.  

   Clayton Veninga had been sitting on a Cleveland Boulevard porch around 9:30 pm Wednesday night when he was shot.  

   Police say this suspect is an adult male who was an acquaintance of Veninga's.  No word as to what led to the shooting, but police say this was not an accidental or random act.  

   Assistant Police Chief Jeff Connor says the public has been instrumental in helping solve the crime.

   Charges are expected later this morning.  

   Earlier Thursday evening, a large group of family and friends came together for a vigil in Veninga’s honor.  They stood in the rain, some clutching umbrellas, others just getting wet, as they burned candles and shared stories about Veninga's love of sports and the promising future he no longer has.  They also offered prayers for the teen's family and for an end to violence in their community.  

Published in Local News

POTOSI, Mo. (AP) - A mistrial has been declared in the first-degree murder case of an eastern Missouri man accused of killing his son-in-law.

The Park Hills Daily Journal reports jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday before telling the judge they wouldn't be able to reach a unanimous verdict in the case of 47-year-old Martin Gorse of Cadet. The judge declared a mistrial and the case will be retried.

Gorse is accused of killing 31-year-old Ronald Coleman Jr. last year at Gorse's home. Gorse testified that he and Coleman argued. He claimed he shot the younger man in self-defense.

 

Published in Local News

   More testimony is expected today in the trial of a St. Louis man charged with killing three people at a Minnesota home last year.  

   Thirty-five year old Eddie Mosley is charged in the deaths of DeLois Brown and her parents, Clover and James Bolden, Senior.  The Bolden's had just moved from East St. Louis to be closer to their daughter.  

   Mosley's half-sister testified Friday that he'd seemed "desperate" to silence a teenager who had accused him of molesting her.  She testified that he'd called the girl's mother several times in the days just before the murders.

   Prosecutors say Mosley had driven from St. Louis to Brown's Brooklyn Park, Minnesota home to silence the girl, but she wasn't there.  

   Mosley's attorney says he had no motive for the killings.

Published in Local News

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