<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sun, 19 Apr 2015 08:36:38 -0400 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 08:36:38 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Wounded Veterans Arrive for Boston Marathon]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 02:54:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2015-04-18-19h56m38s62.jpg

Ten wounded veterans arrived from Walter Reed Medical Center to a cheering crowd at Logan International Airport Saturday. They've traveled to compete in the Boston Marathon as part of the Achilles Freedom Team.

"The team, for so many reasons, is just thrilled to be in Boston," said Director Janet Patton.

This is Army Sgt. Christopher Anderson's first time in Boston, but it isn't his first marathon handcycling with the team.

Anderson was injured while serving in Afghanistan, but he hasn't let his injury slow him down.

"It's therapeutic, and it's a support system," said Anderson. "You've got your family's support, your friends, volunteers, a whole community."

For the first responders, and others who stood by saluting, cheering and holding American flags, they say it's the least they can do to show these brave heroes the welcome and support they deserve.

"I want them to know we love them, we're proud of them, and I can't do enough for them," said Bernadette Ippolito, a supporter whose son serves in the U.S. Army.

"Having lost my husband on 9/11, I feel very personal about their service and the sacrifices that they've made," said Christie Coombs of the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation. "Being here for the Boston Marathon shows how far they've come in their recovery, having lost limbs, having been paralyzed, having gone through what they've gone through."

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Bus Carrying Students Catches Fire]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:26:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sturbridge+Toll+Fire.jpg

One of four chartered buses taking UConn students from campus to Boston caught fire on a ramp to the Massachusetts Turnpike in Sturbridge, Massachusetts on Saturday.

The students were headed to a harbor cruise organized by a UConn student organization, according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. No passengers were injured and smaller buses arrived to pick up the students who were on the bus that caught fire.

UConn student Hanna Kirsch said it was a "terrifying experience because you should be able to trust public transportation," but said that she doesn't fault the UConn organization that planned the trip because they couldn't have seen it coming.

"We had waited for this bus company to show up for 45 min outside of our UConn student union and after being on 84 for about 30 min, we all pulled over because a bus was having problems with its brakes," Kirsch said. "We were not updated on the situation whatsoever, it was handled VERY poorly by the bus company, and not to mention lives were put in danger by the negligence of the bus company and the way the drivers handled the situation. I was one of the first people who called 911, and ordered the bus driver to pull further away from a potentially fatal situation. After about 15 min of the bus smoking violently and students fleeing from the scene, the bus combusted and we continued on our way. Later on I saw pictures of the bus burned complete wreckage."

There wasn't a full bus to take everyone to Boston, so 52 students were taken back to campus on the mini buses and will get refunds for the cruise, Reitz said.

Police confirmed that the bus blaze happened on the on-ramp from I-84 onto I-90 eastbound and caused two lanes to close.

Viewer @CorporateGinger shared a photo of crews working to extinguish flames from the bus. She said she was passing by the bus fire around 1:30 p.m.

Police say the scene was cleared around 3:30 p.m.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: @CorporateGinger
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<![CDATA[Mother, 23, Found Stabbed to Death]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:28:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/samantha+fleming+and+baby.jpg

A 23-year-old mother who went missing with her newborn daughter in early April has been found stabbed to death in a home in Gary, Indiana, police said.

The body of Samantha Fleming, of Anderson, Indiana, wrapped in plastic, stuffed in a storage bin and soaked in bleach at about 3 p.m. Friday, according to Lieutenant Thomas Pawlak of the Gary Police Department. The body was found in a home in the 1900 block of Cleveland Street.

Pawlak confirmed multiple stab wounds as the cause of death.

Fleming left her home in Anderson on April 6 with an African-American woman claiming to be with the Indiana Department of Child Services who told Fleming she had a hearing in Lake Superior Court, police said. Fleming's boyfriend reported her missing soon after.

Anderson Police investigators found no record of an employee with the Department of Child Services at Fleming's residence on April 6.

Fleming's cellphone records led police to Gary to investigate the young mother's whereabouts. A groundskeeper at an apartment complex in Gary also found Fleming's wallet the day she went missing.

The woman who lived in the house has been identified as "person of interest," but she is currently hospitalized in a mental health facility in Texas for treatment of depression, police said. She has not been charged.

The suspect's family members said she had previously claimed to be pregnant with twins, but they became suspicious after inconsistencies in her alleged due date. In recent weeks, the woman told family members she delivered one child and lost the other one in birth, police said. She then requested that no one visit her at the hospital.

Fleming's three-week-old daughter, Serenity, was found safe in the care of the alleged supsect's sister, who was in the home.

When police arrived at the home, they found a woman holding an infant girl. The woman could not identify the baby and said she belonged to her sister, who left for Texas a week before, police said.

The sister also said she had only been in the house 30 minutes before police arrived and complained of a foul odor coming from within the home.

Police then discovered the body of a young woman in the home who was later identified as Fleming. The infant appeared unharmed and has been returned to family in Indianapolis.

Photo Credit: Anderson Police]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested, 15 Hospitalized During Rap Concert at UConn]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:39:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+campus+generic.jpg

Fifteen people were transported to area hospitals from Gampel Pavillion at the University of Connecticut during a ScHoolboy Q concert Friday night because of mostly alcohol-related issues and two people were arrested at the concert, according to a UConn spokesperson.

A non-student was arrested on charges of possession of alcohol and trespassing and a UConn student faces a disorderly conduct charge, according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. 

Tolland County dispatch confirmed transporting at least a dozen people from the concert at UConn to the hospital due to likely alcohol poisoning. The call came in about 8 p.m. on Friday. They have all since been medically evaluated and released from the hospital.

The people hospitalized are believed to be UConn students because tickets were only available to students, according to Reitz. She said they were transported due to intoxication "believed to be alcohol" and that they're waiting for more information from the hospitals.

The rap concert was organized by a student group and no alcohol was sold at Gampel Pavillion during the event. People are screened as they enter, so they likely consumed the alcohol before they got in, according to Reitz.

The people transported weren't in life-threatening danger, Reitz said.

The names of the students arrested haven't been released.

About 4,000 people attended the concert.

<![CDATA[Complaints Against Towing Company]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 01:38:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Advanced+Towing+040215.jpg

The Virginia towing company at the center of the ESPN Britt McHenry viral rant video, Advanced Towing Company, has been the subject of 155 complaints from 2012 to 2014, according to Arlington County Police records.

This number of complaints is almost twice as many as the other towing companies in Arlington combined, according to statistics recently gathered by the News4 I-team.

Police also determined Advanced Towing committed 15 violations in during this time.

"They are like thieves," said Carlos Martinez, whose car was towed while he went to an ATM for cash. "We leave the car and immediately they stole our car and we have to pay a reward to get our car back."

After having lunch, Martinez parked his Dodge Caravan in the lot near the Boston Market restaurant at Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. He crossed the street to the Bank of America to get cash, but when he returned, his van was gone. Advanced Towing took it to the impound lot a few miles away, slapping Martinez with at $135 bill.

Now Martinez is joining others who've been towed in accusing Advanced Towing of predatory practices.

In December, a woman complained after her vehicle was towed with her dog inside.

Earlier this month, Max Daout was outraged when he was inside a CVS and an Advanced tow truck driver hooked his car with his two children inside. The children yelled, and the driver unhooked and took off.

"When I started crying he said I'm sorry for freaking you out," said 7-year-old Max Daout.

His father called Advanced Towing about the incident but says he never got an explanation or apology.

"I would like them to be held accountable for the predatory practices that they are implementing by towing cars that are legally parked," said Max Daout.

In early April, after the children were nearly towed away, owner John O'Neil said anytime a driver leaves the lot they parked in to go do business outside that shopping area, they can be towed.

News4 emailed Advanced Towing's owner for comment and stopped by the business but received no response.

<![CDATA[Penguins Get Even With 4-3 Win Over Rangers]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:45:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP916801624269.jpg

Sidney Crosby scored twice and the Pittsburgh Penguins evened their first-round playoff series with the New York Rangers with a 4-3 win Saturday night.

The Rangers won Game 1 by making Crosby virtually invisible and keeping Evgeni Malkin out of the danger zone. On Saturday, both of them and the Penguins as a whole showed more jump, possessing the puck and keeping New York off-balance. Forcing turnovers in the decisive second period, shutting down the Rangers' power play and generally controlling the pace, the Penguins got even.

Crosby, naturally, was at the center of the turnaround. He broke a 1-1 tie by knocking in a rebound of Patric Hornqvist's shot in the second period. Then Crosby made a diving deflection past Henrik Lundqvist of a pass from Chris Kunitz on the right wing boards following a Rangers giveaway in their zone.

Game 3 is Monday night in Pittsburgh.

<![CDATA[Batali's Restaurant Crash]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 18:34:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/216*120/osteria-mozza-crash-truck.jpg

A pickup truck drove into a Los Angeles, California, restaurant backed by a reknowned chef Saturday afternoon, fire officials said.

One person was injured in the crash at Osteria Mozza, near the intersection of Highland and Melrose avenues, according to tweets from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One person suffered a non-life-threatening injury and was sent to a hospital after the 12:45 p.m. crash, fire officials said. The restaurant later said in a tweet that "everyone will be OK."

The restaurant was closed when the truck hit it, according to the tweets.

Chef and TV host Mario Batali is part of the creative team behind the restaurant, according to its website, which said it would be closed Saturday night.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Los Angeles Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Couple's Dog Captures Proposal]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:52:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kurt+Gies+wedding+proposal.jpg

A Philadelphia man said he surprised his future wife and popped the question with the help of the couple’s pet pooch Roo.

Kurt Gies, 25, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend of six years, Amanda Wiseman, on an Ocean City beach in New Jersey as Roo, their 3-year-old pup, captured the engagement on video with a GoPro camera attached to her harness.

After rescuing Roo together two years ago from the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, Gies knew he wanted her to be included in the big moment.

“I was thinking of ways to propose and of something creative,” Gies said. “I wanted a creative way to capture that moment and capture us in a light that is perfect.”

And timing, as the future groom describes, played an essential role in his proposal.

“We bought the GoPro camera harness earlier that morning and put it on Roo. At first I didn’t know if Roo recorded that moment,” Gies said of the April 3 proposal. “But when we got home, I saw that she turned her head just at the right time.”

Gies carefully planned his engagement to take place in the same location the couple originally met. 

“This is where we met and we were already going down for the weekend,” Gies said. “Instead of setting up something new, it would be such a surprise to do it where we already had plans.”

The newly-engaged couple is also hoping Roo can be a part of their wedding day.

“We are hoping to include her, but we are still looking at venues,” Gies explained. “We would absolutely love for her to participate.”

While a date has not been set, Kurt and Amanda are planning for a wedding in May or September next year.

Photo Credit: Kurt Gies Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Clowns Brawl With Protesters ]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:08:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/san-bernardino-circus-brawl-arrested.JPG

Clowns brawled with animal rights protesters under a circus big top in San Bernardino Friday night, witnesses say.

Hundreds of spectators watched the fight break out when workers allegedly tried to stop the activists from forcing their way inside after the Ramos Bros. Circus show began.

Two protestors were arrested following the melee, while two circus employees were injured when the fight broke out at 8:08 p.m., according to a San Bernardino Police Department spokesman.

Ringmaster Oliver Ramos claimed his lip was split after he was hit on the face with his megaphone in trying to keep protestors outside.

"All of a sudden when I turned around one of them jumped on top of my uncle - he's over 68-years-old - and they started beating on him and I reacted," Ramos said. "When I pulled them off they hit me with a megaphone in the face and all these ladies started scratching me on the face."

However protester Nicholas Shaw-McMinn claimed they were protesting non-violently, and that protesters were the ones attacked by the circus workers.

"Employees locked us on the property and wouldn't let us leave. They assaulted... multiple protestors, some with weapons," Shaw-McMinn said.

He also claimed one of the workers placed him in a choke hold during the clash.

The activists, who said they are members of the Direct Action Everywhere group, provided video which showed them protesting outside the big top before the melee.

The Ramos Bros. Circus website boasts that the show features "animals from all over the world," showing images of lamas, camels and horses.

Ramos said he does not mind activists protesting on the street but wants them to stay off the property where the circus is performing. He also believes something has to be done to prevent further clashes occurring

"These people are just crazy fanatics… it has to stop. These people are getting out of hand," Ramos said.

However it seems they will not be staying away, as more than 100 protesters are expected to show up for more demonstrations taking place Saturday.

The "Protest Ramos Bros. Circus" Facebook page says: "Traveling animal acts perpetuate animal cruelty, inhumane care, public safety hazards and distorted images of wildlife.

"As compassionate animal lovers we must stop animal entertainment and extend our love to all animals. Animals are not our (sic) to use, they are not our property; they are beings that desire the same freedoms as us."

It also claims circus animals are trained using methods such as whipping, hitting, poking, and shocking with electrical prods.

Photo Credit: Alex Vasquez]]>
<![CDATA[Man Who Abandoned Son Sentenced]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:03:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Angelo-Fabiani-Sentencing.jpg

A father who left his 4-year-old son bleeding on the side of a freeway after crashing his truck was sentenced to four years behind bars on Friday.

Angelo Fabiani, 41, was convicted of hit-and-run on March 23 in connection with the rollover accident that killed his young son, Valentino, on June 2, 2013, near Old Town, San Diego.

Fabiani’s Nissan Titan struck a palm tree on the side of Interstate 5. Fabiani cut his wounded son from his car seat but after freeing the boy from the wreckage, Valentino tumbled 10 feet to the concrete below.

Fabiani walked away from the scene of the crash before police and paramedics arrived. Valentino was taken to Children’s Hospital where he died of head injuries just over a week later.

Last month, a jury found Fabiani guilty of hit-and-run but not felony child abuse. Fabiani's four-year sentence was the maximum time he could receive for the hit-and-run conviction.

Prosecutor Marisa DiTillio said she was pleased with the sentencing but said Valentino's mother will forever be scarred by the untimely death of her son.

“We don’t know if hearing his dad’s voice [after the crash] might have given [Valentino] some peace. He was four. He should not have been alone,” DiTillio said in court.

The prosecutor took a moment to read a letter from Valentino's mother to the court, saying the mother could not attend the sentencing because it was all too emotionally overwhelming.

“My son, Valentino Fabiani, was my world and was taken away at four-and-a-half years of age and left on a cold pavement by his own father. How he could leave him to just lay there all alone and hurting is beyond my comprehension. Only a coward could walk away from their child thinking of their own fate,” said DiTillio, reading the letter.

“I constantly think of my son and pray that he didn’t hurt for a second,” she continued. “I will never see my son get his first car, his first girlfriend. I won’t see him graduate, get his first job, get married or see his children. All because of this horrible situation and it truly breaks my heart.”

The letter described the young boy as "bright and lively." In the note, the mother said her heart breaks every day around 3 p.m. because that's the time she would pick up Valentino from school.

DiTillio told the court that Valentino's heart was donated to another child. That gives the boy's mother some peace, she said.

Fabiani was also given a chance to address the court during his sentencing.

“I am very much sorry about my reaction to the accident. There are a lot of things I would probably do different in hindsight, but I’ve never had to rescue my own flesh and blood. I’ve never seen him with anything other than little playground scrapes on him. This is not an everyday occurrence – this is not something I’m used to. I’m not an EMT, I’m not a police officer, I’m not a rescue person,” said Fabiani.

“I also have memories of Valentino. I will also not have those memories [of him growing up],” he continued. “I’m sorry for the way I reacted. If I saw him bleeding again in the truck the first thing I would do is try to get him out. But that’s not the way things happened that night.”

During Fabiani’s trial, his defense attorney, Allen Bloom, argued that Fabiani loved his son “passionately and intensely” and was not in his right mind when he left the crash scene and walked 19 miles to his home in Imperial Beach.

However, prosecutors argued Fabiani did nothing to help his dying son or assist police, even though he must have known authorities were looking for him.

Valentino’s mother previously testified that Fabiani never came to the hospital to check on their son in the eight days before the young boy died. She also said she never got a phone call or text from Fabiani.

In September 2014, Fabiani spoke with NBC 7 about the night of the deadly crash, claiming he was in complete “shock” following the accident.

“I just knew there was no coming back from this,” he said in that interview with NBC 7.

Fabiani claimed he walked away from the wreckage because he couldn’t bring himself to see his son critically injured like that. He said that during his 19-mile walk to his home he sat alone near the water at a place where he would often play with his son.

After the sentencing, NBC 7 spoke with Fabiani's stepfather, Andre Lujan Jr., who said the family was "heartbroken."

“Hopefully, the time he’s in there he’ll get some more help. Psychologically, this kid has gone through a lot,” said Lujan Jr.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Pope Francis Mourns Cardinal George]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:12:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP780809372956.jpg

Pope Francis expressed his condolences on the passing of Cardinal Francis George in a telegram to Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich sent Saturday morning.

"Saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Francis E. George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese," the pope wrote.

"With gratitude for Cardinal George's witness of consecrated life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, his service to the Church's educational apostolate and his years of episcopal ministry in the Churches of Yakima, Portland and Chicago, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord."

Cardinal George passed away Friday at 78 years old following a long battle with cancer. The pope received word of the cardinal's death in Rome in the late evening.

Pope Francis said he had "great esteem" for Cardinal George and was very close to him during his suffering.

The pope appointed Archbishop Cupich to succeed Cardinal George after his retirement in 2012. Following the cardinal's death, Archbishop Cupich called the cardinal "a man of peace, tenacity and courage."

Three days of services have been planned for Cardinal George, beginning April 21 at Holy Name Cathedral.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Coach Arrested in Sex Assault Case]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 06:40:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/4-18-2015-FootballCoach.JPG

A volunteer high school football coach is being held on $450,000 bail on suspicion of sexually assaulting current and former students.

At least one of 46-year-old Jaime Jimenez's alleged victims is under the age of 14, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said. It has not been confirmed if the victims are boys or girls.

Jimenez has been a volunteer coach at Franklin High School since 1998, and investigators believe there may be victims that are former students who are now adults.

Students and parents were shocked to discover the trusted coach had been arrested.

"I think it's pretty frightening because this is a place where im supposed to feel safe, and to think that something like that could occur kind of scares me," student Cesar Velazquez said.

"I'm hoping the schools going to reach out to the parents as soon as they know more," parent Axel Velazquez said.

Guillermo Cuordova had received coaching from Jimenez in the past, and he said the school football team were shaken by the arrest.

"They're shocked, they're really shocked because he's a good guy," Cuordova said. "He helped me get my skills better and just be a better player and was always there for me."

Jimenez  was arrested about 11:30 p.m. Thursday. He has since been removed from his position on the school's coaching team. It is unclear if he has any legal representation at this time.

"It's really unfortunate when someone who's in that kind of position as a role model becomes close with the students to gain their trust and then victimizes them," LAPD Officer Jane Kim said.

A Los Angeles Unified School District spokesman said the organization is cooperating with the police investigation. 

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact detectives on (323) 344-5742.

<![CDATA[Kids Sickened by Pills at School]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:18:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ps+360+bronx.jpg

Five elementary school children were sickened after consuming over-the-counter pain pills given to them by a classmate during lunch, officials and parents said.

The FDNY said emergency responders were called to PS 360 in Kingsbridge Terrace at about 11:30 a.m. Friday, and took five students to the hospital. 

A second-grader at the school told NBC 4 New York she saw another student offer her friend a pill -- which she described as "candy" -- during lunch.

"She ate it, and later we got to class, she was doing her work and then all of a sudden, she passed out,"  the girl told NBC 4 New York in an interview conducted with the permission of her mother. 

That pill, according to another parent who contacted NBC 4 New York, was Excedrin, an over-the-counter pain medication not intended for children under the age of 12. 

It's not clear how the child was able to get her hand on the pills or how much the sickened children consumed. But doctors say as few as two Excedrin pills, which are stimulants, could cause a negative reaction in young children, causing them to perspire, have palpitations or even have seizures and faint. 

Parents and guardians at the school were outraged.

"I think it's crazy. What are the parents doing?" said Lydia Fields, a grandmother of a student who attends the school. "The kids are bringing pills to school and giving it to their peers. You would never think something like that could happen in elementary school." 

There was no official word on the treatment of the children at the hospital, but a parent of a student who attends the school said she was told by a school safety officer that they were treated and released earlier in the day.

About 500 children attend the school. School district officials said they're investigating and had no other immediate statement. 

<![CDATA[Love Triangle Leads to Severed Leg]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 00:05:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/N+17th+Street+Hit+and+Run+Fire+Nicetown.JPG

Beatrice Spence's life changed forever Friday afternoon after a romantic rival ran her down, severing her leg, moments before her house caught fire and was destroyed, her family and police tell NBC10.

The intentional hit-and-run took place at 2:19 p.m. outside Spence's home along the 4400 block of N. 17th Street in the Nicetown section of the city, police said.

The violent act left the 24-year-old, nicknamed De-De, with at least one leg tore off, according to police. She was rushed to Temple University Hospital in critical condition.

"I heard a car rev up, and then I heard a bunch of people screaming," said neighbor Jayson Massey. "Honestly, I thought she was dead. She was not responsive."

After striking Spence, surveillance video shows the white Dodge Durango fled eastbound on Wingohocking Street, police said.

The driver of the Durango, who lives a few blocks away, knew the victim, investigators said.

The victim's family told NBC10 that the driver and victim were in an ongoing fight over a man — recently throwing bricks at each other's windows.

"She came back — the driver came back and she ran her over. She ran her over," exclaimed relative Ruby Fields.

Immediately after the crash, the victim's mother rushed to the hospital leaving something cooking on the stove. The house then caught fire, said the family.

No one was injured in blaze, but the home was left unliveable.

Investigators tell NBC10 they know the woman they're looking for, but have not made an arrest in the case.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Panama Killing]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:48:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yvonne+baldelli.jpg

A retired marine accused of killing his girlfriend in Panama, dismembering her body and dumping her remains in the jungle before undergoing an elaborate scheme to cover it up, pleaded not guilty to federal charges. 

A federal grand jury in San Diego indicted Brian Karl Brimager, 37, on first degree murder charges Friday for the killed Los Angeles woman Yvonne Baldelli, the U.S. Attorney's Souther District of California's Office said. 

Brimager pleaded not guilty to one count of foreign murder of a U.S. national, obstruction of justice and false statement to a federal officer. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Mark Conover wrote earlier in April that his office would pursue charges against Brian Brimager for foreign murder of a U.S. national, according to a status report filed.

Brimager is suspected of killing Baldelli, 42, who went missing while they were on a 2011 vacation in Central America.

The U.S. Assistant Attorney General in Washington D.C. recently gave the local office written approval to prosecute Brimager. Conover said they plan to seek an indictment against him before April 17 and arraign him on that day.

According to the court document, prosecutors are still waiting on the results of a DNA test and tool mark comparison examination in the case, which they should have next month.

In September 2011, Brimager, a former Camp Pendleton Marine, and Baldelli traveled to Panama to stay on Isla Carenera, an island off the coast accessible only by boat. Baldelli was last seen with Brimager at a Panamanian restaurant on Nov. 26, 2011.

Prosecutors say Brimager killed Baldelli and later disposed of a bloody mattress at their hostel. According to another indictment, Brimager had used Baldelli’s laptop to search how to get blood stains out of a mattress.

The suspect is accused of then packing up Baldelli’s belongings into garbage bags and leaving them on the dock outside their hostel.

Throughout this time, prosecutors allege Brimager posed as Baldelli and sent emails to her friends and family to make it seem as though she was alive. The emails said she met another man and was going to Costa Rica with him. Brimager then allegedly used her ATM card in Costa Rica and San Jose.

When investigators questioned the suspect about Baldelli’s disappearance, they said Brimager lied to them and claimed she took her laptop to travel. That same laptop was found in his possession in 2012, at which point he changed his story and said the device never went to Panama and he never sent emails from it.

Nearly two years after she vanished, Baldelli’s body was found on a small island off the Isla Carenero coastline. Scientists used DNA analysis on her skull and bones to identify her.

Brimager is back in the U.S., though charges are pending against him in Panama.

NBC 7 is attempting to reach out to Brimager’s defense attorney for a comment on this story.

<![CDATA["Gigante" Ending After 53 Years]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:15:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sabado+Gigante.jpg

After 53 years, Univision's popular "Sabado Gigante" (Giant Saturday) will be ending on Sept. 19, the network announced on Friday.

The variety show is hosted by Mario Kreutzberger, better known as Don Francisco.

Univision says Francisco will continue to contribute to the network with new projects and specials.

“Mario is one of the most beloved and legendary entertainers in the world and has been an innovative and inspirational force in the television industry throughout his career," said Alberto Ciurana, president of programming and content for Univision.

Francisco is expected to discuss the show's departure on April 18. He thanked Univision in a statement.

"There is no doubt that they have been fundamental in my professional development and in my personal and family life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that Channel 13 of the Universidad Católica de Chile gave me as I was starting out, to Univision in the United States and also to the Televisa Network, which allowed us to bring our ‘Sábado Gigante’ into the homes of millions of families in the United States and the world every week," the statement said.

The show received a Guinness World Record in 2012 for longest-running variety show on television, broadcasting since 1962.

NBC 6 South Florida's Jackie Nespral began her TV career as a spokesmodel on "Sabado Gigante" in 1987.

Photo Credit: 'Sabado Gigante'/ Univision]]>
<![CDATA[Brawl Breaks Out in Zara]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:04:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Zara+Brawl.jpg

Several women got into an all out brawl in the middle of a popular clothing store in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood Friday afternoon.

At least five women slapped, threw punches and pulled hair while toppling over store displays and sending clothes flying around 3:20 p.m. inside Zara at 1715 Walnut Street. One woman climbed on top of a display table and jumped onto another woman during the fight.

Some shoppers stood and watched in disbelief while others recorded the scene and posted videos to social media sites.

A store security guard worked to break up the battle as employees called 911. 

A Zara employee confirmed the fight happened, but would not comment further. It's unclear what spurred the brawl.

The women were gone by the time police arrived. No arrests have been made and the incident remains under investigation, police said.

WARNING: Videos contain explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Photo Credit: @jubyrr/Twitter
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<![CDATA[White House Fence Jumper: Guilty]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:22:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dominic+Adesanya+courtroom+sketch.jpg

A Maryland man pleaded guilty after climbing the White House fence in October, 2014 and running through the North Lawn.

Dominic Adesanya, 23, formerly of Bel Air, Maryland, was taken down by Secret Service officers and K-9 units after he got over the fence on Oct. 24. He was briefly hospitalized after suffering dog bites to his arms, back, chest and knee.

His guilty plea to entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds carries a statutory maximum of a year in prison and a potential fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2, 2015.

Adesanya could have been released on person recognizance, but he is being held in two other cases, including one that charged him with jumping a security barrier at the White House in July, 2014.

President Barack Obama was at the White House during the October incident.

Photo Credit: Art Lien/Background AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cops Hope Sketch of Baby Found Headless in Trash Will Lead to Killer]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:20:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/infant+clothes+inset.jpg

Authorities are hoping a new composite sketch of the newborn found dead, headless among blood-stained clothing that investigators say may have belonged to her mother, in the trash at a New Jersey recycling plant five months ago will help lead to the child's killer.

The remains of the full-term infant girl were found in November at the ReCommunity Recycling facility on Railroad Avenue in Farmingdale. A worker moving trash made the grisly discovery.

Detectives conducted an exhaustive search of the garbage near where the child was found and recovered her head, two blood-stained shirts and a bag from a retail store in Orange, far from the Monmouth County town where the baby's remains were located. The blouses had no tags, but could be characterized as petite to medium, and authorities believe they and the bag were the mother's.

The baby, who was named Emma Grace by the Ardena Baptist Church in Howell, was 21.5 inches, 7 pounds and 5 ounces when she was discovered. Her remains have been released to the church, which will hold a funeral for her on Saturday.

The medical examiner's office was not able to determine the child's cause and manner of death from an autopsy, but said it was certain she was not a stillborn. Evidence suggests the newborn girl breathed before she died, authorities have said.

State Police have consulted with an FBI profiling expert who believes if the mother was responsible for dumping the baby's body, she may have been trying to conceal her pregnancy before giving birth. She may have been living a different lifestyle than she was accustomed to as a result of the pregnancy, and the profile said she may have resumed more of her normal routines since it ended.

Authorities say has been no evidence to indicate the mother was a victim of foul play, though the possibility has not been ruled out.

Detectives hope someone may recognize the infant based on the composite sketch or be able to help identify the mother based on the clothing found near the child.

Anyone who has information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit at (609) 882-2000 ext. 2538 or the Monmouth County prosecutor's office at 1-800-533-7443. Anonymous tips can also be left online here.  

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[School CEO Leaves Amid Fed. Probe]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:13:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/tlmd_brightcove_2067658930001_4175786487001_cps_barbara_byrd_bennett_investigacion_federal_escuelas_publicas_chicago_conflicto_interes.jpg

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is taking a leave of absence amid a federal investigation into a no-bid contract awarded to one of her former employers, and Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz has been named interim CEO, President David Vitale announced Friday.

Ruiz said he was "ready and eager to take on the responsibility" of the position. 

Both men at an afternoon press conference defended the district and the process by which the 2013 contract to a Wilmette-based professional development agency was handed out. 

Vitale acknowledged he knew Byrd-Bennett was a former employee of the firm and said that fact gave him no pause.

"Many of us have prior lives in which we've engaged with organizations .. that still might provide quality service to CPS," he said. 

Asked of his own affirmative vote on the contract, Vitale said SUPES offered a "unique" program for principal training and that discussions were "extensive and well thought-out." And he pressed that he'd done nothing wrong.

"I have no intention of stepping down," he said. 

In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said that while there have been no formal allegations, the mayor "has zero tolerance for any type of misconduct from public officials."

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told NBC Chicago that Byrd-Bennett's leave of absence could be a good move for her. 

"I think, if she were out trying to do work, there's this cloud," Lewis said. "It's a distraction. This is a good opportunity for her."

Byrd-Bennett's contract with CPS matures in June. She has the option to extend it for another year but Vitale said she so far has not exercised that option. 

Byrd-Bennett's longevity with the district was questioned this week when it was confirmed that federal authorities were looking into whether she received any kickbacks from the SUPES agreement. 

The principal of a North Side school on Thursday described the training SUPES provided as a "colossal waste of time." 

The Board of Education’s Inspector General has been looking into the SUPES agreement for months. While nothing official has been released, there was a cryptic reference in the IG’s year-end report which spoke of an investigation which may have been the inquiry into the controversial deal.

Byrd-Bennett, hand-picked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, came on board and within six months helped to shutter dozens of public schools in an effort to address the district's financial problems. She said at the time that closing the schools was an urgent matter, and that delaying the decision would be "criminal."

She had previously served as the Chief Education Advisor for CPS before stepping into the top spot of the nation's third largest school system in 2012 following the resignation of Jean-Claude Brizard.

She came to Chicago from Cleveland, where she spent seven years as CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Prior to that, she was the Chief Academic and Accountability manager for Detroit Public Schools and had jobs jobs as a teacher, principal and superintendent in her native New York City. 

<![CDATA[ #IWishMyTeacherKnew: Students' Heartbreaking Messages Go Viral]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:34:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/classroom-generic-1200.jpg

A third-grade teacher's effort to connect with her students returned touching and revealing results. 

Kyle Schwartz, who teaches at Denver's Doull Elementary, tasked her students to write an anonymous note starting with the phrase "I Wish My Teacher Knew," NBC affiliate KUSA reported. At the end of the class activity, Schwartz wound up learning more than she expected. She was touched by the raw feelings the students, many of whom are from low-income families, expressed.

Schwartz, who called the assignment a "reality check,"  has been tweeting about her lesson plan with the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew. Now, some of the heartbreaking confessions are going viral. 

Here are some of the messages the teacher says she got from her students: 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Chicago's Cardinal Francis George Dies at 78]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:36:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_cardinal_francis_george1.jpg

Cardinal Francis George, the sixth cardinal to lead Chicago's 2.3 million Catholics, has died after years of battling cancer. He was 78.

"A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord," Archbishop Blase Cupich said Friday, remembering the Cardinal as a respected leader and proud life-long Chicagoan.

George passed away at 10:45 a.m. at his residence, Cupich confirmed.

"He pursued an over-full schedule, always choosing the church over his own comfort and the people over his own needs," Cupich said. "Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving. This is the surest way to honor his life and celebrate his return to the presence of God."

A group of Chicago Catholic priests received a text message just after noon about his passing.

"Please add Cardinal George to your prayers today," St. Giles Parish in Oak Park wrote in a post online. "May he rest in eternal peace."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said George "led a remarkable life of faith and service."

“He lent his counsel to those in distress, his comfort to those in despair and he inspired us all with his courage in his final days," Emanuel said. "He could always be counted on to provide those granite qualities to the countless people who relied on them when it mattered the most."

A Chicago native, George was born on the city's West Side to parents Julia and Francis. He attended St. Pascal before leaving the city to attend seminary in high school and pursue his dream of becoming a priest.

"I'd like to think it was a call from God," George recalled to NBC 5. "I started to think about it when I received First Holy Communion."

He was known for his endurance. George contracted polio at age 13, and Chicago's Quigley Seminary rejected him. Instead he joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Despite a leg brace, he was determined to enjoy life.

With the Oblates, George rose through the ranks and was based in Rome for 12 years, traveling the world as their Vicar General.

He returned to Chicago by way of Portland, where he was archbishop, and Yakima, Washington, where he was bishop for five years.

A year after his Chicago appointment, Pope John Paul II elevated George to the College of Cardinals, and in 2007, he became the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"It's a symbolic post," George said in November 2007.

As a cardinal, he played a role in the selection of two popes, Benedict the 16th and Francis, and was known as the go-to American church leader.

"It was necessary to make some changes," he told NBC 5 in March 2013. "The style is the substance."

Difficult church finances forced George to close Catholic schools and lay off staffers. His handling of the priest sex abuse crisis, he told reporters, was a low point, and he admitted he did not fully accept how grave the situation was.

"Things came a little unraveled," he said. "Then you're not quite sure whom can you trust."

He didn't back away from social controversies, though. He opposed Obamacare, met privately with Catholic politicians like Gov. Pat Quinn and spoke out against same-sex marriage.

"Over the years he tangled with Father Michael Pfleger's outspoken style but eventually asked him to be the archdiocese's voice against violence.

"I always had a good relationship with Father Pfleger, but sometimes he says things I can't agree with," George said in 2012.

The cardinal's first bout with cancer came in 2006, in his bladder. The cancer then returned in his kidney and liver in 2012. In early March, he wrote to parishioners that he would begin a more aggressive round of chemotherapy and said, "it will probably eventually be the cause of my death."

Just weeks before celebrating his 50th anniversary as a priest, the cardinal spoke of one day meeting the next archbishop of Chicago.

"I would hope that I would meet my successor," George said at the time.

On Sept. 20, he did just that, meeting Spokane's Bishop Blase Cupich, Pope Francis' pick to succeed Cardinal George.

An apartment steps away from Holy Name was ready for the cardinal's retirement, but he never moved in. In his final months, George tried a new clinical trial to fight his cancer.

He will be remembered for enduring a rigorous schedule to the end. Chicago is known as the flagship American diocese, and the changes the Church has witnessed here have often shaped it worldwide.

"I love Chicago, I love being here, but sometimes I don't love everything that happens, nobody does," he said.

<![CDATA[Ex-NFL Player Strangled Cellmate: Coroner]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:38:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lawrence-phillips-2005.jpg

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips killed his cellmate by strangling him, authorities said Thursday.

The Kern County Coroner released the new details in the homicide of Damion Soward, 37, at the Kern Valley State Prison. The coroner’s report states that Soward died of neck compression asphyxia.

Phillips, 39, is charged with Soward’s murder and is currently being held in a segregation unit at the prison.

Phillips is already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple charges, including spousal abuse and auto theft, officials said.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He was drafted 6th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 NFL Draft.

He only played in 25 games and scored 12 touchdowns for the Rams, but also had short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

In 2005, jurors convicted Phillips of choking a former girlfriend twice in San Diego, once into unconsciousness. He was also convicted of hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 Archives]]>
<![CDATA[Beyond Plastic: 3-D Printing Goes Green]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:46:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tree-in-printer-186073134.jpg

As 3-D printing revolutionizes manufacturing, companies are developing greener ways to 3-D print, creating new technologies to cut back on plastic waste and reduce manufacturers' carbon footprints.

Dr. Joshua Pearce, a professor at Michigan Technological University, has worked to develop eco-friendly techniques. He's optimistic about the future environmental impact of 3-D printing, which has already helped build Barcelona's towering cathedral La Sagrada Familia and “robohands” for children.

In a study last year, he created a “Recyclebot” to create plastic filament — the material 3-D printers use to create structures from digital designs — from recycled milk jugs, and found that using recycled materials at home to create filament used one fortieth the amount of energy it would take to create it commercially.

Meanwhile, more companies are taking that same effort commercial. Traditionally, two types of filament are used for 3-D printing: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). Generally, ABS, a petroleum-based polymer, is less environmentally friendly than PLA, a biodegradable corn-based plastic, but now, some new, greener kinds of ABS filament are being made.

Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am is behind one of those. The rapper turned tech guru said that after a concert in Costa Rica in 2007, he noticed a lot of waste left behind in the stands and was determined to do something about it. He's a strong believer in 3-D printing's potential. “Eventually 3D printing will print people," he told Dezeen Magazine.

He's now the chief creative officer of 3-D printing company 3D Systems Inc., and he partnered with Coca-Cola on a project called EKOCYCLE in 2012 to create branded products made of recycled plastic waste like Coke bottles. His new 3-D printer, the $1,199 EKOCYCLE Cube, takes after Pearce’s Recyclebot and transforms cartridges of filament, each containing at least three plastic Coke bottles, into whatever a consumer designs. 

Three-D printer reseller 3D Printlife presented the first environmentally friendly ABS filament in January. Its material breaks down into carbon dioxide and methane when consumed by bacteria in landfills, making it biodegradable like PLA filament, but just as durable as ABS plastic.

The company's vice-president of marketing Joel Rush said the company wanted to encourage companies to consider their carbon footprints. Every $59.99 spool it manufactures is made out of cardboard and comes with soil paper with seeds, so that consumers can sprout plants.

Another 3-D printing filament maker is sourcing its ABS recycled plastic mostly from landfills. Chicago-based Dimension Polymers, which raised more than $20,000 on Kickstarter, was launching its $30 spools at the New York 3-D design show from April 13 to 17. Co-founder Gerald Galazin says the products could reduce toxins from petroleum-based production by 66 percent.

But new 3-D printing technology might wipe out any need for recycled filament, especially if it succeeds.

Carbon3D's CEO Joseph DeSimone debuted his new technology at a TED conference in Vancouver in March, and told Re/code the company expects to be commercializing in a year.

His technology — known as CLIP, or Continuous Liquid Interface Production — is inspired by a scene in “Terminator 2": Like the T-1000 that comes up from metallic liquid in the movie, a 3-D printed object grows out of a pool of resin by using light and oxygen. The CLIP technology can work 25 to 100 times faster than traditional 3-D printers and can use a variety of materials. 

At the rate 3-D printing technology is growing, experts say its will become faster and greener. Siemens predicts that 3-D printing will be 50 percent cheaper and 400 percent faster in the next five years. And Pearce points out that even now, 3-D printing has a crucial advantage over traditional manufacturing techniques: its relative lack of waste.

In 2013 he conducted a life-cycle analysis that found 3-D printers used 41 to 64 percent less energy than traditional manufacturing machines — mostly, he said, because they created less waste than mass manufacturing. The more waste left over, the more energy is needed to melt it, he explained, whereas 3-D printing uses only the amount of material required to finish the product.

“Even though your 3-D printer will use more energy per product, you are making a better product with less material,” he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[4-Year-Old Boy's Wheelchair Stolen]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:33:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/4-year-olds+wheelchair+stolen+surveillance+video.jpg

Someone took a 4-year-old boy's wheelchair from the lobby of a Langley Park, Maryland, apartment building this week, according to Prince George's County Police.

The boy's mother typically carries him to their second-floor apartment on Merrimac Drive because it's easier. She did so again Sunday night, but when she returned for the wheelchair Monday morning, it was gone.

"This family already faces challenges and shouldn’t be burdened with the emotional and financial stress of the theft of this wheelchair," Capt. Ken Humbel said. "The suspect we’re looking for has no heart.”

Surveillance video shows the thief pushing the wheelchair through a parking lot.

Anyone with information about the theft should call police at 301-699-2601 or Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.

Police are also in contact with a foundation that may help find a replacement wheelchair.

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<![CDATA[Doc-Averse Man Wraps Wound in Tape]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:06:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/duct-tape21.jpg

Authorities are investigating an apparent accidental shooting that left an upstate New York man with a hand wound that he wrapped in duct tape because he has an aversion to doctors.

Police in Glens Falls say 56-year-old Carl Critelli was drinking with friends late at night this week when one of them started passing around his .32-caliber handgun.

The gun went off, sending a bullet tore through Critelli's left hand and causing serious damage to two fingers. Critelli told The Post-Star of Glens Falls that he didn't seek medical help because he doesn't like doctors.

Instead, he put bandages on the wound and wrapped it with duct tape.

The 45-year-old man who owned the gun was charged Wednesday after telling police what happened.

Police convinced Critelli to go to a hospital for treatment.

<![CDATA[Guardsmen Remain Jailed on Gun Sale]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:09:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CasillasReyesGunsLGcurves.jpg

Two members of the California Army National Guard pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges that they sold firearms to a purported Mexican drug cartel member.

The drug cartel member was actually an undercover ATF agent who engaged in a fourth-month sting leading to Wednesday’s arrest of the men, officials said.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Reyes, who enlisted with the California Army National Guard in 2008 after serving in the Marine Corps, appeared in court along with 22-year-old Specialist Jaime Casillas, who enlisted in 2011.

A federal judge ordered the two men be held in custody without bail, as prosecutors had argued the two frequently travel to Mexico and should be considered flight risks. The judge will address bail on April 20.

Reyes was taken into custody at his La Mesa home and Casillas was arrested during a traffic stop in El Cajon.

Court documents reveal that Reyes and Casillas sold dozens of firearms stolen from the military, including an AR-15 style rifle with a mounted scope. More than 4,000 rounds of military ammunition in sealed crates and 24 military body armor vests also were allegedly stolen, according to court documents.

The undercover agent purchasing the products told the men – who were in their uniforms for at least part of the sales process - that their weapons would be shipped to drug cartels in Mexico, the complaint said. During one transaction, the men allegedly showed up in their uniforms and collected $2,150 from the agent for an AR-15 rifle.

The California National Guard, which was not aware of the investigation until the men’s arrest on Wednesday, said it is cooperating with the federal probe.

Agents are trying to determine if any other guardsmen from the El Cajon Armory were involved.

Prosecutors called the allegations an ultimate betrayal.

“I think it’s shocking to every American sensibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Hayden said. “Men and women committed to wearing the uniform in charge of defense would turn around and do this.”

Photo Credit: Krentz Johnson]]>