Brian Farmer, 58, of Long Branch appeared in Monmouth County Superior Court on Thursday on two charges of first-degree murder, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child for the July 30 killings, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said. Prosecutors said Farmer's cousin, 62-year-old Joan Colbert, found him inside her apartment taking pornographic photographs of her 10-year-old foster daughter. A "confrontation ensued" and Farmer strangled both and fled the scene, prosecutors said. If convicted, Farmer faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the dual murder counts.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A county clerk in Virginia on Thursday asked U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to block an appeals court ruling that would allow gay marriages to go ahead for the first time in the state next week. Lawyers for Michele McQuigg, Prince William County clerk of court, said they filed an emergency stay application at the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to prevent an appeals court ruling that struck down the state's ban on gay marriage from going into effect. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, invalidated the ban in a ruling issued on July 28.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Veterans Affairs Department is in the process of holding bad employees accountable amid a scandal about long wait times for patients and other problems, VA Secretary Robert McDonald said Thursday, but he declined to say how many people were being fired and who they were.
South Jersey authorities are looking for a driver who hit a Mercer County man and just kept going.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Security Council members have reached agreement on a draft resolution that would punish the recruitment and financing of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria and demand that all al-Qaida-linked groups disarm and disband immediately, diplomats said Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) — A terror suspect's legal defense — underwritten by the Libyan government — is getting scrutiny from a federal judge, who advised him Thursday to consider the possibility of conflicting interests in a case stemming from al-Qaida's deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
TURIN, N.Y. (AP) — They came to grieve and share stories about Kevin Ward Jr., who was born into a racing family and buried with racing flags in his casket.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court appears to have cleared the way for same-sex marriages to begin in Virginia as early as next week, but that could be put on hold indefinitely if the nation's highest court intervenes.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors wrapped up their case in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on Thursday by giving jurors their first in-person look at the designer clothes and other gifts the couple received from a dietary supplements entrepreneur who says he was seeking their support for his company's products.
By Laura Zuckerman SALMON Idaho (Reuters) - The sponsors of a controversial wolf-hunting competition in Idaho last year are proposing an annual contest on federal lands that rewards participants for bagging as many animals as they can in three days, organizers said Thursday. The group, named Idaho for Wildlife, is seeking a special recreation permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hold contests each January for five years that would see as many as 500 hunters targeting wolves, coyotes, jackrabbits, starlings, skunks, weasels and raccoons. Steve Alder is executive director of Idaho for Wildlife, which says it fights "all radical anti-hunting and anti-gun environmentalists." He said the proposal for public lands near the ranching community of Salmon celebrate hunting, a form of family recreation and a centuries-old tradition in states such as Idaho.
By Ted Siefer MANCHESTER N.H. (Reuters) - New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency on Thursday in response to 44 reported overdoses linked to people smoking or ingesting "Smacked," a synthetic marijuana-like product sold in convenience stores as potpourri. Manchester police on Wednesday said they had found Smacked in three convenience stores and that those stores' business licenses were revoked. Health officials are particularly concerned about the bubblegum flavor of Smacked, which several people who were brought to area hospitals reported taking. A federal ban on compounds found in synthetic marijuana products and bath salts was enacted in 2012, and later that year New Hampshire joined more 40 other states in adopting similar bans.
NEW YORK (AP) — The owners of the Subway Inn, a dive bar that for almost eight decades has served the likes of neighborhood workers — and, legend has it, even Marilyn Monroe — pleaded Thursday for city officials and the public to support their efforts to avoid eviction by a real estate development firm.
President Barack Obama on Thursday appealed for "peace and calm" on the streets of a St. Louis suburb besieged by violent clashes between police and crowds protesting the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.
By Jon Herskovitz MISSION Texas (Reuters) - For the Texas State and National Guard, Operation Lone Star is a disaster preparedness exercise. Operation Lone Star started 16 years ago to help the guard prepare for emergencies such as hurricanes or pandemics in south Texas. Since then it has expanded its medical care component, treating thousands in a region that hugs the Mexican border, including some who come because no identification papers are required.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - Lawyers for former Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger on Thursday filed a formal appeal of the sweeping 2013 racketeering conviction on charges of committing or ordering 11 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. The U.S. District Court judge who heard his trial committed a "constitutional error" by refusing Bulger's request to argue that he had been granted immunity for his crimes by corrupt Justice Department officials, the attorneys said in court papers. Bulger, 84, is serving a sentence of two life terms plus five years for what a U.S. District Judge called his "unfathomable" crimes while running Boston's "Winter Hill" crime gang. "That ruling constitutionally deprived Mr. Bulger of his right to present an effective defense to the government’s indictments, respond to the issues ... and stripped him of his right to testify about how he was able to avoid prosecution for almost twenty-five years," the lawyers wrote.
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania gun show vendor is seeking probation for shooting a woman while demonstrating a holster.
VENICE, Fla. (AP) — A small plane that crash-landed on a Florida beach, killing two people walking in the water, was not making any engine noise as it descended over groups of people the pilot was trying to avoid, federal investigators said in a report released Thursday.
By Gary Robertson RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - Prosecutors in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, rested their case on Thursday after showing jurors gifts they said were bribes from a businessman. Prosecutors led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber wrapped up on the 14th day of the high-profile trial. McDonnell and his wife are accused of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans in exchange for promoting a businessman's company. If unsuccessful, lawyers for the McDonnells will likely begin presenting witnesses on Monday.
Police on Thursday arrested two men suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting in New Orleans over the weekend that left two people dead and five wounded, including two toddlers who were shot in the head. The suspected shooter, Blair Taylor, 20, and the man believed to be his accomplice, Jeffery Rivers, 25, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder, police said. Taylor appeared to have targeted one of those killed, Terrence McBride, who was a suspected heroin dealer, police said. The other victim, 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson, was likely not intended as a target, local media reported neighbors as saying.
A New Jersey ex-con was charged with strangling his cousin and her 10-year-old foster daughter after the woman found him taking pornographic pictures of the girl, authorities said Thursday.