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The captain of the cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy is trying to work out a plea deal as testimony is about to begin in his trial in Grosseto, Italy.

But Francesco Schettino's  ttorney says he holds out little hope that the trial judge will allow a deal for Schettino to plead guilty in exchange for a three-year-five-month sentence. 

Schettino risks up to 20 years if found guilty of manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing the shipwreck that claimed 32 lives.

 

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   SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The Yemen-based branch of al-Qaida says a U.S. drone strike has killed a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who rose to become the group's No. 2 figure.

   The announcement, posted on militant websites, gave no date for the death of Saudi-born Saeed al-Shihri.

   In January, Yemen's official SABA news agency had reported that al-Shihri died of wounds from a drone strike three months earlier.

   The monitoring group SITE said Wednesday that al-Shihri was eulogized in the video by a senior official in the terrorist group, known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

   Al-Shihri, also known as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi, fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in Guantanamo. He was returned to Saudi Arabia in late 2007 and later fled to Yemen to join the al-Qaida branch there.

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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of a death row inmate who shot a suburban St. Louis police officer.

   The court's 5-2 decision yesterday dealt with Kevin Johnson. He was convicted of fatally shooting Kirkwood Police Sgt. Bill McEntee in 2005.

   Johnson's current attorneys raised about a dozen claims that his original attorneys were ineffective. Among other things, they claimed the presence of numerous uniformed police in the courtroom and halls could have influenced jurors to find Johnson guilty.

   Judge George Draper III rejected that argument in the Supreme Court's majority opinion.

   But judges Patricia Breckenridge and Laura Denvir Stith dissented. They said Johnson's attorneys should have objected to the police presence, and he deserves a hearing on whether he got a fair trial.

 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 02:47
Published in Local News
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   CHICAGO (AP) - Gay marriage supporters are launching a $2 million statewide campaign to approve same-sex marriage in Illinois.

   Illinois Unites for Marriage is a coalition representing gay rights, civil rights and political groups.

   In a statement Tuesday, the group says it will place 15 field organizers throughout the state to engage supporters. They plan to target legislators who oppose a measure to lift Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.

   The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February. It wasn't called for a vote in the House because the bill's sponsor said it didn't have the votes to pass.

   Jim Bennett is chairman of the coalition. He says the next few months are critical because lawmakers could take up the bill in the fall.

   Opponents say marriage should be between a man and woman.

 

 
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 02:35
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