By Matthew Liptak SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Reuters) - A man who has pleaded not guilty in the alleged kidnapping and sexual exploitation of two Amish sisters in northern New York will appear at change-of-plea hearing next month, prosecutors said on Thursday, raising the possibility that he would strike a deal on at least some of the charges against him. Stephen Howells II and his girlfriend, Nicole Vaisey, both from Hermon, New York, are accused of abducting the two girls, aged 12 and 7, from a roadside farm stand in the rural Amish community of Oswegatchie, near the Canadian border, and then sexually exploiting them to make child pornography. John Duncan, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Syracuse, would not say whether Howells intended to plead guilty to any or all of the charges he faces. The St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office said Howells and Vaisey had lured the two sisters into a car on Aug. 13 with an offer to pet a dog and had the intent to enslave them.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Damani Terry just wanted to join a group of girls dancing in a park across the street. The 2-year-old stepped into the road — right into the path of an oncoming van.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top congressional lawmakers struck a long-sought, bipartisan agreement Thursday for the broadest trade policy pact in years, allowing President Barack Obama to negotiate trade accords for Congress' review and move forward with talks on a sweeping partnership with Pacific nations.
By Brendan O'Brien MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Reuters) - A man suspected of fatally shooting two people, including a motorist who had struck and killed a toddler on a Milwaukee street, killed himself on Thursday after police found him at a Chicago-area motel, authorities said. Chicago police and U.S. Marshals had tracked Rick Ricardo Chiles III, 27, to a motel room in a Chicago suburb where he was staying with his girlfriend, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told a news conference. Chiles had been suspected of fatally shooting motorist Archie Brown, 41, and Rasheed Chiles, 15, who was believed to be his nephew, after Brown struck and killed 2-year-old Damani Terry on Milwaukee's northwest side Sunday evening. The suspect also shot Rasheed Chiles, Terry's brother, who later died at an area hospital, police said.
DALLAS (AP) — The IRS wants $3.2 billion to cover back taxes that it says are owed by a prominent Texas businessman and his late brother who the IRS says hid income by setting up overseas trust funds.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man traveled to Syria and trained alongside terrorists, then returned to the U.S. with plans to attack a military base or a prison, according to a federal indictment announced Thursday.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday is expected to nominate the head of the U.N. Ebola mission as the new special envoy to Yemen, the country's U.N. ambassador said Thursday.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says his plan to lower contributions to public employee pension funds is a state budget matter and no business of the courts.
NEW YORK (AP) — Sony's hacking problems aren't over yet.
Thousands of violent offenders are off the streets after they were captured by U.S. Marshals around the country, including New Jersey.
BONNEY LAKE, Wash. (AP) — Officials in the Washington city where a concrete slab fell from an overpass and killed a young family in a pickup below say they would've closed the roadway if they had known heavy work was being performed on the structure.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Advocates for California sex workers are seeking to legalize the world's oldest profession.
By Laura Zuckerman SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - An Idaho man who initially declined to identify himself after pulling a driver to safety from a vehicle teetering on the edge of a cliff was lauded by authorities on Thursday as a shy hero. Police in the north-central Idaho city of Lewiston said 29-year-old Jason Warnock pulled driver Mathew Sitko, 23, from his GMC Yukon where it hung precariously on the cliff face on Wednesday after careening over bushes and through a yard. Authorities credited Warnock with saving Sitko's life after an accident they said might have been triggered by "some type of mental episode." Warnock was driving up the canyon when he noticed debris in the road and spotted the sport utility vehicle tangled in a chain-link fence that stopped it from immediately plunging down the steep mountain, Lewiston Police Chief Roger Lanier said in a statement. Warnock did not give his name to Lewiston police officers who arrived on the scene, and instead drove off to work, triggering a search by authorities for the reluctant hero.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — In a story April 15 about illegal gun sales, The Associated Press, relying on information from the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego, erroneously reported the affiliation of two defendants. They were members of the National Guard, not U.S. Army reservists.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An investigator appointed by a U.S. federal judge said the city of Oakland, California has failed to discipline problem police officers "time and again," as police tactics are under increased scrutiny across the U.S., according to a court filing on Thursday. The Oakland investigation started after an arbitrator reinstated a police officer who was heavily criticized for firing tear gas at a crowd of protesters during Occupy protests in 2011. In his report on Thursday, investigator Edward Swanson said Oakland's city attorney frequently lost arbitrations against police officers because the office handled cases "haphazardly, often waiting until the last minute to prepare for hearings or to assign cases to outside counsel." Swanson interviewed several witnesses who expressed concerns that Oakland's city attorney may have chosen outside lawyers based on campaign contributions.
INKSTER, Mich. (AP) — In a story April 15 about the videotaped beating of a black motorist in suburban Detroit, The Associated Press, relying on information from radio station WWJ-AM, reported erroneously that a judge said defense lawyers could receive additional police dash cam video. The judge said lawyers could receive video of the man being booked after his arrest.
The head of the U.S. House of Representatives' transportation panel is dating a top lobbyist for the airline industry, Politico reported on Thursday. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, is in a relationship with Shelley Rubino of Airlines for America, an airline industry lobby group, Politico said, citing multiple sources familiar with the situation. Shuster said in a statement that he and Rubino have a "private and personal relationship" but declined to elaborate.
DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing in Colorado next week to scrutinize the bungled VA hospital project and visit the construction site.
By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos vowed on Thursday to work with authorities after the New York Times reported he and his son were the focus of a federal grand jury investigation. Wednesday's story, which cited unnamed sources, said federal prosecutors were presenting evidence to the secret panel on the business dealings of Adam Skelos, 32, and trying to determine whether the elder Skelos, 67, used his political influence to help his son's associates win a government contract. The report of the investigation is just the latest blow to Albany, the state capital, following the January arrest of then-New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, on federal corruption charges. Both cases stem from a 2013 anti-corruption panel known as the Moreland Commission that was created and abruptly dismantled by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a move that triggered an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
ATLANTA (AP) — A pharmaceutical expert says a problem with a lethal injection drug that caused the last-minute postponement of an execution in Georgia was likely caused by shipping and storing the drug at a temperature that was too low.