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News Scan

Arrest in 1975 Texas Cold Case:  Jackie Vega of KXAN (TX) reports on a crack in the unsolved murder case of college student Sheryl Ann Norris, who was sexually assaulted and strangled in her apartment in 1975.  For nearly 35 years, the San Marcos Police Department kept up their investigation and earlier this year, obtained a DNA hit to Willie Roy Jenkins, currently under civil confinement as a sexually violent predator in California.  Jenkins was indicted today for capital murder and extradition proceedings are underway to bring him back to Texas for trial.

Execution Drug Approved in Oklahoma:
  A federal judge in Oklahoma last week approved the state's use of pentobarbital, a drug deemed by veterinarians as "an ideal anesthetic agent for humane euthanasia in animals," during executions.  The approval comes after a shortage of thiopental sodium, which has long been used to carry out lethal injections.  The sole U.S. maker of thiopental announced that it won't resume production of the drug until 2011, also noting that it doesn't approve of drug's use in executions.  Nathan Koppel of The Wall Street Journal has this story.

New Forensic Method Determines Age From Blood Sample:  Popular Science reports Dutch researchers have devised a new method for estimating the age of the source of a blood sample.  Though the method has a margin of error of nine years in either direction, researchers believe it will provide at least some assistance to investigators in reconstructing the identities of persons from crime scene blood samples. 

Videoconferencing Provides a Tech-Savvy "Day in Court":  John Wisely of USA Today reports on a recent study by the National Center for State Courts surveying the use of videoconferencing in courtrooms.  Courts across the country have turned to the technology to allow defendants to appear before a judge in an attempt to cut back on security and transportation costs.  Pennsylvania estimates it has saved $31 million so far, and Utah claims its transportation costs have been cut by one-third.

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