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News Scan


OH Home Explosion was Arson:  A house fire and explosion that shook an Ohio neighborhood Monday evening, killing a family of four, was determined by investigators to be arson.  The AP reports that Jeffrey and Cynthia Mather perished in the Northfield Center Township home, along with their eight- and 12-year-old daughters.  The family's remains were discovered on the first floor of the home, the mother and two daughters at the front of the home and the father in the rear.  The state fire marshal's office announced Wednesday that investigators have determined the cause of the fire, which they believe was intentionally set, but are not yet releasing details as the investigation is ongoing.  A medical examiner says murder-suicide is a possible motive, but it will take weeks to make a definitive ruling.  

Twitter Sued for 'Allowing' ISIS to Spread Propaganda:  A lawsuit filed against Twitter by the family of a Florida man killed in a terror attack in Jordan claims the social media company has "knowingly permitted" Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists to spread their propaganda online.  Kellen Howell of the Washington Times reports that the family of 46-year-old Lloyd "Carl" Fields Jr. filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging Twitter provided "material support" that has been "instrumental in the rise of ISIS," the terrorist group that took credit for the Nov. 9 terror attack that killed Fields and another American at the International Police Training Center in Amman.  Between January and July 2015, Twitter users submitted 1,003 content removal requests worldwide, 42 percent of which the company complied with; however, it did not comply with any of the 25 requests submitted by U.S. police or government agencies.  The suit claims ISIS has an estimated 70,000 Twitter accounts, posting 90 tweets per minute.  Twitter says the lawsuit is "without merit."

Language Barrier Claims Delay 2 Trials:  Two Texas men facing serious criminal charges are using language-speaking claims to delay their trials, in what has been described as an emerging pattern in Tom Green County.  Lana Shadwick of Breitbart reports that 74-year-old Jesus Hernandez Ramos, charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, was speaking English with his court-appointed attorney up until Wednesday, when he claimed an "inability to speak English" as a reason he could not speak with his attorney.  He then refused an interpreter and requested a Spanish-speaking attorney, delaying the case until February.  The other man, 41-year-old Miguel Hernandez, who fired a gun inside a home he was burglarizing, employed the same tactics and succeeding in delaying his case as well.  Such delays cost counties $$ when lawyers are replaced and have to start over, but judges "frequently have their hands tied" when a defendant claims a language barrier because if they do not follow the defendant's request, the case could be reversed on appeal.

No Clear Motive in Louisiana Theater Shooting:  A handwritten journal left behind by the man who opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater last summer doesn't provide a clear motive for the deadly shooting, but does give details of a troubled, mentally unstable man "filled with hatred for his country and for people who didn't share his views."  Michael Kunzelman and Rebecca Santana of the AP report that in the 40-page journal found in a Lafayette motel room, 59-year-old gunman John Russell Houser described the U.S. as a "filth farm" filled with "soft targets."  He railed against gays, women and blacks" and wrote of how he designed a new logo for the Islamic State.  His last entry, written shortly before the shooting on July 23, included the start time of the movie and his final words, that he was leaving the journal "in hopes of truth, my death all but assured."  That evening, Houser opened fire during the movie "Trainwreck," killing 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux and wounding nine others before committing suicide. In 2008, after relatives claimed that he was a danger to himself and others, a judge ordered Houser detained for mental evaluation but did not have him involuntarily committed.  This  allowed him to pass a federal background check and legally purchase the .40-caliber handgun used in the rampage. 

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