By Amanda Orr HOUSTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of mourners heard relatives share pleasant memories on Wednesday at the funeral of six family members, including four children, who were shot dead execution-style in their suburban Houston home last week. Those killed were Stephen Stay, 39, his wife Katie, 33, and their children Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 7, and Zach, 4. "Please bless us that we will know the good that comes out of this seemingly senseless tragedy," Roger Lyon, the father of Katie, said in the invocation held at a Mormon chapel. Police said Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, entered the Stay house on July 10 posing as a delivery man and searching for his former wife, Katie's sister.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A hiker who was stranded for six days in California's Sierra Nevada with a badly broken leg says survival mode kicked in when he treated his own injury and sought sustenance by eating crickets and moths, and drinking melting ice.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Residents of modest neighborhoods near three of the largest oil refineries in California called on the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to crack down on plant emissions, saying the pollution is choking their children and endangering their health.
The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday confirmed it is investigating the loss of Internal Revenue Service emails being sought by congressional Republicans in an inquiry over tax scrutiny of conservative political groups. In written testimony to be delivered to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the probe "includes investigating the circumstances of the lost emails" from the computer of Lois Lerner, a retired IRS official. Last month, the IRS acknowledged losing some of Lerner's emails to a computer hard-drive failure, an incident that has rekindled Republican outrage in the long-running controversy over IRS targeting of conservative political groups. A Justice Department official said there had been no determination of whether the probe was criminal in nature.
By Richard Weizel NEW HAVEN Conn. (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Wednesday sentenced two British nationals to far shorter prison sentences than prosecutors were seeking after the men pleaded guilty in December to supporting Muslim militants through print and online publications. Babar Ahmad, 40, was sentenced to 12-1/2 years of a maximum 25 years for the crime, which prosecutors said included helping raise money and recruit fighters for the Taliban and al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "It is my conclusion that the defendant does not present a risk of becoming involved in future crimes, and was never involved directly with al Qaeda," Judge Janet Hall said, explaining the lighter sentence. "While these are serious crimes that raised funds for the Taliban and helped its ability to protect Osama Bin Laden and to carry out his Sept. 11 attacks, there must be a distinction made between providing material support and actually taking part in terrorism," Hall said.
Babar Ahmad, 40, had faced a maximum sentence of 25 years for the crime, which prosecutors said included recruiting fighters for the Taliban and al Qaeda in the run-up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington. "It is my conclusion that the defendant does not present a risk of becoming involved in future crimes, and was never involved directly with al Qaeda," Judge Janet Hall said, explaining the lighter sentence. Ahmad's attorneys had argued ahead of sentencing that while he tried to help Muslims under attack in Bosnia and Chechnya through his publications in the 1990s, he regretted supporting the Taliban and condemned the Sept. 11 attacks. A second man, 34-year-old Syed Talha Ahsan, who also pleaded guilty alongside Ahmad to supporting the Taliban through the publications, was due to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.