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CA Double Murderer Gets Death Penalty:  A California man convicted of murder in December was sentenced to death on Friday.  The AP reports that Orange County Superior Judge John Conley affirmed the jury's recommendation that Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 32, be put to death for killing two people six years ago in a scheme to steal money to pay for his wedding and honeymoon.  In 2010, Wozniak shot his neighbor, Army veteran Samuel Herr, so he could steal $50,000 he had saved from service in Afghanistan.  Wozniak then lured Herr's friend, Julie Kibuishi, to Herr's home and killed her, trying to make it appear that Herr had raped and killed her.  He also dismembered Herr's body and dumped it in a park.  In court last week, Herr's father described Wozniak as the "poster boy for the need for an effective death penalty in California."

Prop 47 Causing DNA Database to Dwindle: 
California's criminal DNA database is starting to dwindle, and officials attribute the drop to Proposition 47.  Joe Khalil of Fox40 reports that Prop. 47, which was approved by voters in 2014, reclassified eight specific drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and individuals who commit these crimes are no longer required to provide a DNA sample to the state.  In the first year after Prop. 47's implementation, felony narcotics arrests plummeted to 11,596, down from more than 36,376, and arrests involving dangerous drugs fell from 85,931 to 22,712, according to FBI data.  In that first year, an estimated 250,000 would-be DNA samples were never collected, says Assemblyman Jim Cooper.  Officials fear that this will hamper cold case investigations in California.  Just this month, the DNA of William Harbour entered into the state's database in 1997 after he was arrested for felony drug crimes, connected him to the murders of two young girls some 43 years earlier.  If arrested today for the same drug crimes, Harbour's DNA would not be collected.

Death Penalty Phase of OH Murder Trial Begins:  The sentencing phase for the double murder trial of an Ohio man began Monday morning after the jury reached a verdict over the weekend.  Jordan Bowen of WDTN reports that the jury will now decide if Harvey Lee Jones, 37, should get the death penalty for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Carly Hughley, 32, and her friend, Demetrius Beckwith, 29, over three years ago.  Jones shot the two victims to death in January 2013 in the presence of he and Hughley's then-10-year-old son.  Jones was found guilty on Saturday of a total of eight counts, including four counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated robbery.

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Death Penalty Not an Option in CA Girls' 1973 Killings:  Two men arrested and charged in the murders of two young girls in Yuba County, Calif., over 40 years ago can't face the death penalty because it wasn't an option at the time of the slayings.  Don Thompson of the AP reports that 65-year-old cousins William Lloyd Harbour and Larry Don Patterson were arrested for the November 1973 sexual assault and killings of Valerie Janice Lane, 12, and Doris Karen Derryberry, 13, after a forensics lab matched DNA from the two suspects to semen found on Derryberry.  Both girls died of shotgun wounds fired at close range.  Prosecutors cannot pursue the death penalty against Harbour and Patterson because their cases must be tried under the law as it existed in the state in 1973, when the death penalty was not available.  If convicted, the most time the cousins could face is a life sentence, and the law in 1973 provided the consideration of parole after serving seven years.  Harbour and Patterson each face six counts of murder, three for each victim, which includes one count of premeditated murder, one count of murder committed during a rape or attempted rape and one count of murder committed while molesting a child.

House Approves Bill to Ban Gitmo Transfers:  The House passed a bill on Thursday banning the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay for the remainder of Obama's term.  Jacqueline Klimas of the Washington Examiner reports that the bill, introduced by Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., passed the House by a 244-174, and bars the transfer of any Guantanamo Bay prisoner until the next administration takes office or until the passage of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, whichever comes first.  The bill comes after much heated debate following Obama's announcement of a plan to close the prison before the end of his presidency.  Republicans argue that the plan puts U.S. national security in jeopardy if detainees go on to engage in terrorism after their transfer, which happened in two confirmed cases this year.  Sixty-one detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, 20 of whom have been cleared for release.

Unaccompanied Minors Swelling Ranks of U.S. Gangs:  The influx of unaccompanied minors across the southern border could be swelling the ranks of America's most dangerous gangs, most notably MS-13, say experts.  Joseph J. Kolb of Fox News reports that in the past six years, approximately 227,149 unaccompanied alien children, mostly from Central America, have been apprehended at the border.  Under federal law, the minors must be detained until they are released to a sponsor, usually a relative, while their cases are adjudicated.  They are often sent to communities where they are ripe for recruitment by MS-13 and other Latino gangs, given their lack of supervision and English language deficiencies, or they were already initiated into gangs prior to arriving to the U.S.  Maryland, Texas and Virginia have seen notable spikes in MS-13 crime this year.  Texas specifically blames the increase on the surge of unaccompanied minors placed in the state.

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CA Inmate's Death Sentence Overturned:  The California Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of a man convicted of gunning down three people in a home invasion robbery over two decades ago.  Tommy Wright of the Monterey Herald reports that Daniel Sanchez Covarrubias' death sentence was overturned on an automatic appeal filed Thursday due to a error made by the court during his 1998 trial, in which a prospective juror was excluded on the basis of the juror's questionnaire responses.  An automatic reversal of Covarrubias' death sentence was required because, under the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in Lockhard v. McCree, prospective jurors with opposition to the death penalty are not subject to automatic excusal if "they state clearly that they are willing to temporarily set aside their own beliefs in deference to the rule of law."  The juror in this case did not say he would always vote against capital punishment.  In November 1994, Covarrubias, two of his cousins and his nephew stormed a Salinas home to rob it, gunning down a woman, who was holding her 11-month-old daughter, her husband and her brother.  The baby sustained multiple gunshot wounds but survived.  Covarrubias' case will return to the Monterey County court for a new penalty.

Video Shows Car Running Down AZ Officers in Targeted Attack:
  Three Phoenix police officers were run down by a vehicle and injured early Tuesday in a convenience store parking lot in what authorities are describing as an intentional act that was captured on a security video.  CBS reports that Marc LaQuon Payne, 44, was arrested by one of the three officers he targeted, who had managed to jump out of the way of the oncoming vehicle.  One of the officers, an 18-year veteran, suffered a broken leg while another, who was on his first day of training, suffered a head injury.  The third officer sustained minor injuries during a struggle while arresting Payne.  Payne, who was impaired at the time of the crash, is facing three counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Border Patrol Agents Assaults in the Thousands:
  Thousands of Border Patrol agents have been assaulted in the past decade, the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol told Congress on Tuesday.  Susan Jones of CNS News reports that Mark Morgan, head of the Border Patrol, described his agents as "among the most assaulted law enforcement personnel in the country," revealing to Congress that 7,542 agents have been assaulted since 2006 and 30 have died in the line of duty since 2003.  What's more, Morgan said, is that this happens to Border Patrol agents while constantly putting themselves in harm's way to provide assistance and medical care to those who need it, including people attempting to illegally enter the U.S.  In this fiscal year alone, agents have rescued over 3,700 people along the border.  There are 21,370 total Border Patrol agents.

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Death Penalty Upheld for OH Killer who Murdered Witness:  A Cincinnati man who murdered his girlfriend, former attorney and a witness to one of his crimes has had his conviction and death sentence for killing the witness upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court.  Lauren Pack of WHIO reports that Calvin McKelton, 39, was convicted in 2010 of the 2008 murders of his girlfriend, Margaret Allen, and a criminal defense attorney who previously represented him.  He was also convicted and sentenced to death for the 2009 murder of Germaine Evans, who McKelton killed to prevent from testifying.  Evans was allegedly an eyewitness to Allen's fatal strangulation by McKelton and assisted in disposing of her body.  In addition to the death sentence, McKelton received 15 years to life for Allen's murder and 25 years for the remaining convictions.  On appeal of the death sentence, McKelton argued that his rights were violated because he was deprived of a fair trial and had ineffective counsel.  Justices of the state high court ruled that McKelton was properly convicted of murdering Evans and the aggravating circumstances in support of the death penalty outweigh the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt.

Illegal Immigration Surges in August, on Pace to Break Records: 
Illegal immigration along the nation's southern border surged last month, not typical of the late-summer slowdown observed year after year, and is on pace to surpass records set in the years prior.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that 10,000 people traveling as families were apprehended in August, while 5,800 unaccompanied minors were caught.  In the first 11 months of Fiscal Year 2016, a total of 68,080 people have been caught traveling in family units -- "almost certain" to break the record set in 2014 -- and 54,052 children traveling without parents have been intercepted.  In all, almost 370,000 illegal immigrants have been caught this fiscal year along the southwest border, surpassing the total for all of 2015 but still below the 2014 surge.  Analysts contest that a combination of ongoing violence in Central American and the Obama administration's lax enforcement on immigration is driving the mass migration.

NC Officer Shot Over Weekend Dies of Injury: 
A North Carolina police officer shot in the torso over the weekend died in the hospital Monday.  Mark Price and Bruce Henderson of the Charlotte Observer report that Officer Tim Brackeen, 38, a 12-year veteran of the Shelby Police Department, was shot in the line of duty Saturday by suspected gunman Irving Lucien Fenner Jr., 23.  Brackeen had been searching for a subject who was wanted on an outstanding warrant.  Fenner is currently in custody and facing first-degree murder charges.

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Illegal Immigrant Gang Member Charged with Murder:  A twice-deported MS-13 gang member has been charged with the brutal murder of a Maryland teenager.  Fox News Latino reports that El Salvador-native Oscar Delgado-Perez, 28, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the June stabbing of Cristian Villigran-Morales, who was stabbed over 40 times in order for Delgado-Perez to win credibility with his gang.  Delgado-Perez allegedly directed a female to lure Villigran-Morales into a park in a ruse, telling him they would engage in sexual intercourse, and later lured him to the woods where he was killed.  A second gang member is in custody for the murder and police are searching for a third.  Delgado-Perez was deported in October 2014 and February 2015.

OH Man Faces Death Penalty:  An Ohio man accused of murdering two people three years ago while the young son of one of the victims hid upstairs could face the death penalty if found guilty at his trial.  Mark Gokavi of the Dayton Daily News reports that the three-week trial of Harvey Lee Jones, 37, just began.  He is charged with the January 2013 double murder of Carley Hughley, 32, with whom he had a previous relationship, and Demetrius Beckwith, 29.  Jones, a previously convicted sex offender who served a decade in prison, made Hughley and Beckwith lie on the floor before shooting them multiple times and stealing several items.  Hughley's then 10-year-old son, who is now 14, was present during the murder and plans to testify in court.  Jones has pleaded not guilty to six counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of having a weapon under disability.

Killer Faces 2nd Death Penalty Trial 13 Years Later: 
A Massachusetts man sentenced to death for a deadly crime spree through three New England states in July 2001 has been granted a new sentencing trial.  Derek Hawkins of the WaPo reports that Gary Lee Sampson, 56, had his sentence overturned in 2011 after a federal judge found that a juror had lied about her background.  He begins his second sentencing trial on Wednesday in the deaths of Philip McCloskey, 69, and Jonathan Rizzo, 19, and prosecutors will again pursue a death sentence.  Sampson, who has a violent criminal record and had spent some 16 years in jail prior to the crime spree, engaged in a five-day rampage in New England after returning from North Carolina, where he was wanted in connection with a string of bank robberies.  After hitching separate rides from McCloskey and Rizzo in Massachusetts, he brutally killed them; McCloskey was tied up and stabbed 24 times, and Rizzo was tied to a tree in the woods and stabbed in the neck and chest.  Sampson later tied up and fatally strangled the caretaker of a New Hampshire city councilor, and unsuccessfully attempted to steal the car of a Vermont man.  He was tried separately in those two cases and found guilty.  Although Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984, prosecutors can pursue a death sentence against Sampson because the case involving the deaths of McCloskey and Rizzo is federal.

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Serial Rapist Deported Five Times:  An illegal alien facing six charges including aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping has been deported five times according to investigators in Austin, Texas.  Jennifer Kendall of Fox 7 News reports that Nicodemo Coria-Gonzales, an illegal who had been deported after being charged with previous assualts, has admitted picking up prostitutes and beating them.  He was arrested after one woman told police that he had doused her with gasoline and tried to set her on fire.  Austin police believe that he has sexually assaulted several women in a secluded area outside the city.  

Indian Court Sentences Acid Murderer to Death:  Judges in Mumbai have given the death sentence to a man who threw sulfuric acid on a 24 year-old woman in 2013.  The German News Service Deutsche Welle reports that the victim, who had rejected the murderer's marriage proposal, took thirty days to die from the attack.  Indian law allows a death sentence for murders which involve severe brutality.  After the sentence was announced the victim's father told reporters "it took three years for us to get justice, but I am happy that it has been finally delivered."  A survivors group in India reports that there are between 100 and 500 acid attacks in their country each year.  

Charges Dropped Against Man Who Killed Wife's Attacker:  Manslaughter and assault charges against a New York cab driver who killed his wife's would-be rapist last May were dropped at the urging of the assailant's family on Wednesday.  Deborah Hastings of Inside Edition reports that on May 30, 61-year-old Mamadou Diallo received frantic call from his wife saying that she was being attacked in their home.  Diallo made it home in time to catch Earl Nash, 43, attempting to flee and during a struggle, fatally struck Nash in the head with a tire iron.  Minutes earlier, Nash had forced his way into the Diallo home, ripped off Nenegale Diallo's clothes and began to assault her when the victim's sister ran in and stopped the attack.  An autopsy determined that Nash was high on cocaine and suffering from heart disease and bipolar disorder at the time of his death. 

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Prop 57 Spurs Concerns About Sex Offenders:  California's new ballot initiative, Proposition 57, is raising concerns among law enforcement officials and prosecutors about how it will impact sex offenders.  Tracy Lehr of KEYT reports that proponents of Prop. 57, which call it the Public Safety Rehabilitation Act of 2016, claim it applies only to non-violent offenders, but quite the opposite is true.  Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten describes the measure as "a wolf in sheep's clothing" that "will make 16,000 dangerous criminal immediately eligible for early release."  One crime that is considered non-violent under Prop. 57 is sexual assault of an unconscious person, which means that people like Andrew Luster, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting three unconscious women, will be eligible for release.  It would have also benefited Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist, had he been properly sentenced to prison.  Prop. 57 is a "reckless proposal" that "must be rejected," says Totten.

OH Considers Nitrogen Has as New Execution Method:  Ohio is considering using nitrogen gas as a new execution method due to ongoing problems in securing lethal injection drugs.  Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch reports that nitrogen gas, which is widely available and inexpensive, causes asphyxiation when it is pumped into an air-tight chamber by depriving the blood of oxygen.  However, since it hasn't been tried in executions before, it will have to be thoroughly vetted and tested in the court system.  Oklahoma has adopted the use of nitrogen gas as an alternative method of execution.  It has been nearly three years since Ohio has carried out an execution, mainly due to lawsuits and difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs.  There are 28 death row inmates with execution dates scheduled over the next four years, beginning in January.

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TX Court Grants Execution Stay:  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution Friday for a cop killer, marking the eighth consecutive time the court withdrew, stayed or rescheduled an execution date.  News7NG reports that Robert Jennings was scheduled to be executed on Sept. 14 for the 1988 murder of Houston police officer Elston Howard but the state appeals court, in a 5-4 decision, granted a stay with no explanation.  A week before Jennings' execution was delayed, the court stayed the pending execution of Ronaldo Ruiz, also with little to no explanation.  Texas' next scheduled execution is of Barney Fuller on Oct. 5.  The state's last execution was carried out on April 6.  There has only been one other time in the past 20 years that a gap of more than five months between executions in Texas has happened, which was between September 2007 and June 2008.

Woman who Killed Newborn has Sentence Commuted:  A Connecticut woman who is serving an 18-year sentence for killing her baby shortly after its birth a decade ago has had her sentence commuted Wednesday by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.  David Owens of the Hartford Courant reports that Panna Krom, 26, killed her newborn daughter in 2006 when she was 17-years old by putting the baby in a toilet and repeatedly flushing it.  She had hid the pregnancy from her parents and after the child was born, panicked that they would find out.  She alleges she had no knowledge of the "safe haven" laws that allow people to surrender custody of newborns with no questions asked.  Krom was initially charged with murder and risk of injury to a minor but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a plea deal and received 18 years.  Krom's attorney claims she has been a model prisoner and is a low risk to commit another crime.  She will be released on Sept. 30.

Escaped Homicide Suspect Recaptured:  A homicide suspect was recaptured Tuesday, four days after he broke the hinge off his handcuffs and escaped from a Las Vegas-area police station.  The AP reports that Alonso Perez, 25, had been on the loose since Friday after breaking free from his handcuffs while alone in a police interview room.  He was at the station being questioned in the Aug. 27 shooting death of Mohammed Robinson, 31, outside a McDonald's restaurant, allegedly following an angry exchange over Robinson's failure to hold a door open for a woman.  He was apprehended Tuesday from a residence, reportedly without incident.  Last week's escape is the second from a Las Vegas-area jail to occur this year.  The last was of Ivan Mayoral-Lizarraga, who escaped in April and  was at large for two weeks before being recaptured.

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Chicago Homicides Surpass 500:  Labor Day weekend in Chicago saw 13 people shot to death and 65 others wounded in shootings, including a nine months pregnant woman and a retired preacher, which has solidified this year as the city's deadliest in over two decades.  Deanese Williams-Harris, Rosemary Regina Sobol, Peter Nickeas and Elvia Malagon of the Chicago Tribune report that the Labor Day weekend was the bloodiest of all the holiday weekends this summer, seeing more fatalities than on Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends.  After this weekend, a total of 512 people have been killed and another 2,930 others have been shot and injured across the city so far this year, rising to levels unseen since the 1990s.   To put Chicago's violence into perspective, New York and Los Angeles, both larger cities than Chicago, have a combined total of 409 homicides this year.

Ex-Con Shoots and Injured Two Officers in CA Jail Lobby:  Two unarmed correctional officers were critically wounded after being shot by an ex-convict in the lobby of a central California jail on Saturday.  The AP reports that Thong Vang, 37, who was released from prison in 2014 after serving 16 years for raping three girls aged 14 and under, shot Officers Juanita Davila, who has 10 years of experience, and Toamalama Scanlan, an 18-year veteran, in the head and neck areas when the officers approached him after he tried to cut in front of the visitors' line and began pacing near a secure area of the Fresno County jail.  Vang has been booked on suspicion of attempted murder, possessing a handgun as a felon and bringing drugs into jail.  Authorities are evaluating security measures and will decide whether to change procedures in the public area of the jail.

Black Lies Matter:  "[T]he Black Lives Matter movement is based on a lie, and not just the lie that a pacific Michael Brown was gunned down in cold blood by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014," says Heather Mac Donald in this piece in the Washington Examiner.  Mac Donald describes how the media, activists and many politicians promote "demonstrative untruths about police shootings, race and crime" touted in the BLM narrative.  While BLM would like people to believe that racist, homicidal cops are targeting the black community, states Mac Donald, it is actually other blacks that are responsible for the staggering homicide rate.  Through Aug. 30 of this year in Chicago, 17 out of 2,870 people were shot by police, accounting for 0.6% of the total, and most of them were threatening lethal force.  Mac Donald concludes that "the best way to save black lives in lawful, proactive policing -- not a duplicitous war on cops."

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L.A. Airport Shooter Pleads Guilty to Avoid Death Penalty:  The man accused of fatally shooting a U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent and wounding three others in an attack at the Los Angeles International Airport nearly three years ago has agreed to plead guilty to the charges against him in order to avoid a death sentence.  Alex Dobuzinskis of Reuters reports that Anthony Ciancia, 26, a New Jersey native, has agreed to plead guilty at an upcoming hearing to 11 criminal counts, including murder of a federal officer, attempted murder of a federal officer, violence at an airport and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death.  On Nov. 1, 2013, Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 of LAX, the nation's second-busiest airport, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire, killing TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, 53.  Hernandez became the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the agency's creation following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.  Federal authorities believe Ciancia's motive was to target and kill TSA agents, after discovering writings signed by him saying he wanted to "instill fear in [their] traitorous minds." 

Death Penalty Possible for Va. Man who Killed Wife, Officer:  A Prince William County judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors may pursue the death penalty against a man who fatally shot his wife and a police officer nearly six months ago.  Ian Shapira of the Washington Post reports that attorney for Ronald Hamilton, 32, filed two motions, arguing that Prince William County's high rate of death penalty cases compared to the rest of the nation's violates his client's rights against cruel and unusual punishment and therefore the pursuit of the death penalty in his case was arbitrary.  The defense motions were denied.  Hamilton fatally shot his wife, Crystal Hamilton, 29, on Feb. 27 after an argument.  Crystal had dialed 911 before she was killed and three Prince Williams police officers responded, including Ashley Guindon, 28, who was on her first day on the street.  Hamilton fatally shot her with a rifle as she approached the door to the home and wounded the other two officers.  The couple's 11-year-old son was present during the incident but was unharmed after fleeing to a neighbor's house for safety. 

Retired Justice Warns Against 'Deceptive' Prop. 57:
  James Ardiaz, retired presiding justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeal, has this piece in the Fresno Bee warning Californians not to be fooled by Gov. Brown's deceptive new ballot measure, Proposition 57.  Prop. 57 is advertised as a measure that will reduce the number of "nonviolent" criminals in prison, but Ardiaz says that this definition is misleading because under the measure, "a special definition for what is a violent crime" is used.  Crimes classified as "nonviolent" under Prop. 57 include rape of an intoxicated person, drive-by shootings, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence involving trauma and corporal injury of a child.  Ardiaz references last year's crime increase -- a 9.7% spike in murder, 35% jump in rape and an 8.5% rise in robbery, for instance -- that he says is the result of Brown's  failed attempts to "fix" sentencing in the state with Realignment (AB109), the weakening of Three Strikes and Prop. 47.  Prop. 57 will only perpetuate and worsen rising crime in California.  Ardiaz's signature will be on the opposition arguments to the initiative on the November ballot.

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Federal Gun-buying Ban Upheld for Medical Marijuana Cardholders:  A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment.  The AP reports that the 3-0 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over nine Western states that the ruling applies to, stems from a lawsuit filed by a Nevada woman who was denied the purchase of a firearm in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card.  The 9th Circuit agreed with a previous ruling that the sale of guns to people who use marijuana and other drugs is reasonable, as drug use "raises the risk of irrational and unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated."  While many states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law.

Aug. 2016 was Chicago's Bloodiest Month in Two Decades:  Chicago had its bloodiest month in two decades this August, following a deadly trend that has been seen month after month this year.  J.J. Gallagher of ABC News reports that last month, police recorded 90 homicides, 384 shootings and 472 total shooting victims.  This year, murders have spiked by 49% and shootings incidents increased 48% compared to the same period last year.  Additionally, 27 children younger than 13 have been shot, and police have logged a total of 468 murders and 2,848 shooting victims.  The city is on track to record its highest overall murder count since 2008, when 513 people were killed.  Annual murders peaked in 1992 at 940 and last topped 600 in 2003.

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Abducted PA Woman Found Dead:  A Pennsylvania woman abducted Tuesday by her estranged husband, who was released on bond for charges of domestic abuse against her, has been found dead.  Lisa Washington of CBS reports that Tierne Ewing, 48, was abducted from a home at gunpoint by Kevin Ewing, 47, and taken to a wooded area.  Police eventually tracked the couple to a barn and, upon approach, heard gunshots.  Tierne was discovered inside with a fatal gunshot wound to the head while Kevin was rushed to the hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Kevin was arrested in July for holding Tierne hostage for nearly two weeks, abusing and threatening her after finding text messages on her phone.  He was released on bond and fitted with a monitoring device that had no GPS, which he cut off Monday.  After being cut off, the device did not send a signal or alarm.  "My daughter's dead and he's sick and the damn judges let him go," said Tierne's father, Richard Kopko.  "There's something wrong with the judging system in this country," he added.

TX Death Row Inmate May Have Faked Mental Illness:  A Texas death row inmate is one step closer to execution after an appeals court ruled Monday that he may have faked mental illness to avoid execution for the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and her young daughter 23 years ago.  The AP reports that the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals made a ruling in the case of Gerald Eldridge, 52, agreeing with a lower court that ruled three years ago that while there was evidence in favor of Eldridge's mental illness claims, there was also extensive evidence of inconsistencies, particularly that he faked symptoms.  Eldridge is on death row for the January 1993 slayings of his former girlfriend and her nine-year-old daughter in a shooting attack that also wounded his then-seven-year-old son and the woman's boyfriend.  Years earlier, in 1985, Eldridge was sentenced to eight years in prison for an earlier shooting that wounded three men, but was released three years later.  He then returned to prison in 1990 for beating his son and was paroled after four months.  His initial execution date was in 2009.

Stanford Swimmer Goes Free on Friday:  The former Stanford University swimmer convicted in a sexual assault case that sparked public uproar after he was given a sentence that was said to be too lenient, is scheduled to be released from jail Friday after serving three months, just half of his sentence.  Andrea Noble of the Washington Times reports that Brock Turner, 20, was convicted in March of three felony counts of assault with intent to commit rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration of an unconscious person and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person for the January 2015 attack of a woman at a fraternity party.  He faced up to 14 years in prison if convicted, but prosecutors recommended a six-year sentence.  Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, however, handed down a sentence of just six-months in jail.  Persky, who faced a recall effort for his sentencing decision, announced last week that he would be transferring from criminal to civil court.

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Man out on Bond for Beating Wife has Kidnapped her:  A Pennsylvania man out on bond for beating his wife has reportedly abducted her at gunpoint and abandoned the car they were believed to be traveling in near a wooded area, prompting a massive search.  Lisa Washington of CBS reports that Kevin Ewing, 47, took Tierne Ewing, 48, from a home at gunpoint on Tuesday, which comes nearly two months after he was arrested for holding her hostage, abusing her and threatening her.  Following Kevin's arrest in July, Tierne told police that Kevin had pistol-whipped her, spit on her, tied her hands, branded her with a metal hot dog stick, locked her in a closet and threatened her with a gun to her head while they were camping in the woods.  Soon after, he was released on bond and fitted with an electronic ankle monitor and ordered to remain in his home.  The ankle monitor was not programmed with GPS.

CA Lawmakers Pass Rape Bill Inspired by Stanford Case: 
California lawmakers passed legislation Monday that would close a loophole that allowed the lenient sentence given to a Standford University swimmer two months ago following his conviction for sexual assault of an unconscious woman.  Dan Whitcomb of Reuters reports that public outrage ensued in June after Brock Turner, 20, was sentenced to six months in jail by a judge after being convicted of assault with intent to commit rape, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person for attacking a woman at a party in January 2015.  Prosecutors had asked that Turner be sentenced to six years in state prison.  Under current state law, the charges against Turner are not considered rape because they did not involve penile penetration and, furthermore, only in cases of rape or sexual assault where force is used, but not when the victim is unconscious or intoxicated and unable to resist, results in a mandatory prison term.  The new law, AB 2888, would change the definition and also eliminate the discretion of judges to sentence defendants convicted of crimes like those committed by Turner to probation.  The bill is now headed to Gov. Brown desk.

Chicago on Track to Break Shooting & Homicide Records:  As August comes to a close, Chicago is on pace to surpass the number of shootings and homicides for the entirety of 2015.  Madison Park and Thom Patterson of CNN report that over the past weekend, from Friday through Sunday, eight people died and another 64 were wounded in shootings across the city, with a total of 459 people killed and 2,818 injured in shooting incidents by Sunday's end.  By this time last year, 331 people had been killed and by the end of the year, 2,988 had been injured in shootings.  The city currently averages about 82 shootings per week.  Some blame the violence on illegal guns from out of state while others attribute the increased bloodshed on more impudent gang violence.

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Death Penalty Sought in PA Cookout Ambush:  Prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced Friday that they plan to seek the death penalty against two men charged in an ambush at a cookout five months ago that killed five adults, one of whom was pregnant.  The AP reports that Cheron Shelton, 29, and Robert Thomas, 27, will face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder for the March 9 shooting in suburban Pittsburgh that left five adults and an unborn child dead, and three others wounded.  Thomas allegedly fired 18 shots from a pistol into a group of 15 partygoers, who then ran toward the rear porch of the house.  Shelton was hiding behind a fence nearby and fired 30 shots from an AK-47-style rifle.  Prosecutors say the men's motive stems from the murder of Shelton's best friend in 2013, who is believed to have be killed by one of the wounded partygoers.  Shelton and Thomas both face six counts each of criminal homicide, as well as charges of criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Illegal Immigrant Bus Driver Kills 2 in Crash:  A bus operated by an unlicensed illegal immigrant driver carrying flood recovery volunteers crashed into several vehicles, including a fire truck, on a Louisiana interstate Sunday morning, killing two people and injuring 36.  Fox News reports that the driver of the bus, Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, 37, of Honduras, hit the fire truck and then a car, veering behind the fire truck and into a pickup truck.  Three firefighters, who were there responding to an earlier crash, were knocked into the water below the interstate.  The two fatalities include Jermaine Star, 21, who was in the backseat of the car that was struck, and St. John the Baptist Parish district Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin.  Two other firefighters, 24 bus passengers and nine people in other vehicles were injured.  Rodriguez sustained minor injuries.  He faces two counts of negligent homicide, reckless operation and driving without a driver's license.  Police say there will be additional charges.

Man Faces 2 Capital Murder Charges in MS Nun Deaths:  A man suspected of murdering two Mississippi nuns last week has been arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder.  Emily Wagster Pettus of the AP reports that Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, is charged in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68, whose bodies were discovered inside a residence Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a health clinic.  The home showed signs of a break-in and their stolen car was discovered a mile away.  Police haven't disclosed a motive for the slayings or the women's cause of death.  Sisters Held and Merrill were both nurse practitioners who worked at a clinic administering flu shots, dispensing insulin and providing other medical care for children and adults who couldn't afford it. 

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Man who Massacred Family Will Face Death Penalty:  A man charged with the execution-style shooting deaths of six members of a Texas family two years ago will face the death penalty at his trial next year.  Brian Rodgers of the Houston Chronicle reports that Utah-native Ronald Haskell, 36, is accused of killing Steven and Katie Stay and four of their children, ranging in age from four to 13, and shooting their 15-year-old daughter, who survived.  The murders occurred in early July 2014 when Haskell disguised himself as a FedEx worker and pushed his way into the Stay residence and bound the 15-year-old, who was home alone at the time.  He bound the other members of the family as they arrived home.  Haskell demanded to know the location of his estranged ex-wife, Kathy Stay's sister, who left him following numerous incidents of domestic violence, before shooting all members of the Stay family in the head.  Haskell's defense attorney argues that he suffers from mental health issues.  His trial is set to begin in the fall of 2017.

Murder Suspect's Tweet Could Elevate Charges Against Him:  A Twitter posting made by an Arizona man who was arrested on suspicion of murdering his roommate over the weekend could make him eligible for the death penalty.  The AP reports that Zachary Dale Penton, 21, is accused of fatally shooting Daniel Garofalo, 41, who owned the house Penton had lived in for two months.  Penton alleges a struggle broke out on Sunday after Garofalo came into his bedroom to demand he move out, tackling him and taking his phone.  Penton says he fired his weapon when Garofalo frightened him after "speaking irrationally."  However, two days before the shooting, Penton posted a comment on Twitter saying he needed to move out of the home where he was living before he killed him roommates.  Prosecutors can use the comment to argue that Garofalo's murder was premeditated, elevating the charges against Penton to first-degree murder which allows them to pursue the death penalty.  Penton was booked on second-degree murder and has yet to be formally charged.  The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has not commented on whether first-degree murder charges will be sought.

TN Officer Killed, Suspect in Custody: 
A Tennessee police officer was shot and killed Thursday while answering a domestic violence call hours after sheriff's responded to a separate call at the same address.  The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Kenny Moats, 32, a nine-year veteran of the Maryville Police Department, died of a single gunshot wound to the neck after Brian Keith Stalans, 44, opened fire on officers responding to reports of a domestic incident between him and his father, which "involved a gun."  After officer exchanged gunfire with Stalans, he was taken into custody.  Charges are currently pending.  Sheriff's deputies had responded to an earlier domestic disturbance at the home but lacked probable cause to arrest Stalans.  Moats was the first Maryville police officer killed in the line of duty since 1981.  Nationally, 75 officers have died on duty so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Foundation.

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