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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Police: No bombs found at St. Clair Square

Friday, 17 January 2014 01:37 Published in Local News

   A metro-east mall will reopen Friday morning after a bomb scare closed it early Thursday afternoon.  

   Fairview Heights Police say a little before 4:00 p.m. they received a call from someone who said they had planted several explosive devices inside St. Clair Square.  Police notified mall officials and the building was quickly evacuated.  

   Fairview Heights police, U.S. Marshals, St. Clair County Sheriff's Deputies, Illinois State Police and bomb units from Scott Air Force Base spent about five hours searching the mall and all 144 shops using bomb sniffing dogs, but found nothing.  The all clear was sounded about 8:30 Thursday night.

   Police have now shifted their focus to find the person who made the bomb threat.  Anyone with information is urged to call Fairview Heights Police.

Change of plea hearing in Obama poison letter case

Friday, 17 January 2014 01:28 Published in National News
   JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for a man charged with sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other officials.
   James Everett Dutschke is scheduled for a hearing in U.S. District Court in Oxford on Friday afternoon, according to court documents.
   Dutschke, 42, previously pleaded not guilty and denied sending the letters. He also denied a later charge that, while incarcerated, he tried to recruit someone else to send a ricin-tainted letter.
   Dutschke has been jailed since April on charges of sending ricin-tainted letters to Obama, Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Mississippi judge. The judge was the only one to receive a letter, though she was not harmed. The letters to Obama and Wicker were intercepted.
   Authorities first arrested Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis for allegedly sending the letters, which contained statements that Curtis had often used on his Facebook page, including the line, "I am KC and I approve this message." The letters also contained the phrase "Missing Pieces," the same title as an unpublished book Curtis wrote about his belief that there's a black market for body parts in the United States.
   But charges against Curtis were dropped when the investigation shifted to Dutschke. Curtis says the men have feuded for years.
   Dutschke is accused of trying to frame Curtis, both before and after Dutschke's own arrest. An indictment filed in November alleges that while incarcerated, he tried to recruit someone else to send a ricin-tainted letter.
   According to the indictment, Dutschke wanted the latest letter to say: "It doesn't matter the Fife types have the wrong one. D. had to be sacrificed to show the corruption in the system. I tried to warn you. Ha. K."
   Dutschke is a former martial arts instructor in the north Mississippi town of Tupelo, Elvis Presley's birthplace.
   He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, the production of a biological weapon.

Explosion hits protesters in Bangkok, 22 injured

Friday, 17 January 2014 01:20 Published in National News
   BANGKOK (AP) — Bangkok's emergency services center says 22 people were injured when an explosion hit marching anti-government protesters in the capital.
   Protest spokesman Akanat Promphan said the movement's leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, was in the procession Monday but was not wounded.
   Akanat said an explosive device was thrown into a truck driven by demonstrators that was several dozen meters ahead of Suthep.
   Protesters trying to oust Yingluck Shinawatra have marched peacefully across the capital this week.
   But small acts of violence have been reported nightly at protest venues, which have been targeted in shooting attacks and with small explosives hurled at the homes of top supporters.

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