Suspect arrested in murder of Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere


(BALTIMORE) -- The manhunt for a convict accused of murdering a Baltimore tech CEO has ended, authorities said, even as the suspect's release on a prior conviction comes under further scrutiny.

Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, of Baltimore, was arrested in Maryland without incident around 11 p.m. ET Wednesday, authorities said.

Billingsley was wanted for first-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and other charges in connection with the death of Pava LaPere, 26, the founder of EcoMap Technologies.

Police found LaPere dead with "blunt-force trauma wounds" in a Baltimore apartment building on Monday, within hours of being reported missing, according to Baltimore Commissioner Richard Worley. There were no signs of forced entry and it is unclear if there was any previous connection between him and LaPere, Worley said. She is believed to have been killed on Friday, he said.

"I know this arrest does not bring back Pava LaPere," Worley told reporters during a press briefing Thursday. "But my hope is at least we can give a sense of closure to the city of Baltimore, the victims of all his crimes and all their families."

Billingsley was also being sought in connection with an attempted murder, arson and rape that occurred on Sept. 19 in the 800 block of Edmondson Avenue, police said.

In that case, police responding to the report of a fire found a man and woman suffering from multiple undisclosed injuries. They were transported to area hospitals in critical condition, police said at the time. A 5-year-old was also found on the upper level of the home unharmed, police said.

Billingsley worked at the building and knew the victims, who were targeted, according to Worley.

"All the indications are that this was not a random act of violence," Worley said.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in that case "within hours" and authorities were actively surveilling and tracking Billingsley to apprehend him when they announced on Tuesday that he was also a suspect in LaPere's murder, Worley said.

"We knew early on that the risk was when we went public, that the suspect would go underground, which is exactly what he did," Worley said.

They were within 300 feet of him during the press briefing when the devices authorities were tracking were disconnected, he said.

Amid the search, Worley warned that the suspect was believed to be "armed and dangerous."

"This individual will kill and he will rape; he will do anything he can to cause harm," Worley said.

Detectives are reviewing all cases since October 2022 "in order to determine any other connections," the Baltimore Police Department said in a statement.

Billingsley was previously convicted of a sex offense in 2015 and released in October 2022, according to Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services online records. Billingsley is a registered sex offender in the state's database.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison with all but 14 years suspended due to good-time credits -- also known as diminution credits -- given for good behavior and education under a Maryland statute. Additional time would likely be subtracted for any time served between arrest and sentencing and days off each month, according to ABC News legal contributor Brian Buckmire.

This type of release would typically require mandatory supervision, including "heavy surveillance," David Jaros, the faculty director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the University of Baltimore, told ABC News.

Billingsley was on parole and probation and had previously been compliant with the sex offender registry unit, officials said.

When asked about Billingsley's release on good-time credits, Mayor Brandon Scott told reporters Thursday that every case is different, but when you look at the facts of the suspect's 2015 case, "you will agree that he shouldn't have been out in the streets."

Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates told reporters he didn't know all the details of the prior case, but considered Billingsley's plea deal and release "more or less systemic failure."

"Hindsight like they say is always 20/20," Bates said. "At the end of the day, I think the prosecutor who handled the case would say we had a dangerous individual off the streets for few years, yes. But we also now need to look at in terms of the system that allows for the diminution credits of an individual with this background as well as with those charges."

LaPere's family released a statement Wednesday reflecting on her life, compassion and work ethic.

"We have lost a deeply loved daughter, sister and friend who could understand all of us in a way that no other human being could. Pava had a unique vantage into our lives, and an intelligence to understand that each human is unique and irreplaceable," they said in the statement. "In life's darkest moments, Pava's council and reflection gave all of us a perspective, and the will to persevere despite the odds."

The family also remarked that LaPere, "loved Baltimore, its people, its potential, its art, its history and architecture."

"There was no bigger ambassador for all that is great about the city," they said,

EcoMap Technologies, a Baltimore-based company, said LaPere was a "visionary force" behind the startup as well as a "deeply compassionate and dedicated leader."

"The circumstances surrounding Pava's death are deeply distressing, and our deepest condolences are with her family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly devastating time," the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

ABC News' Desiree Adib, Beatrice Peterson and Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.


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Hearing on deadly Maui wildfires seeks answers to cause, prevention efforts

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(NEW YORK) -- Hawaii energy and utility officials were grilled Thursday by House members seeking answers about how the deadly Maui wildfires started and could have been prevented.

"We must come to a complete understanding of how this disaster started to ensure Hawaii and other states are prepared to prevent and stop other deadly wildfires," the committee stated in a recent letter. "To that end, we seek a fuller understanding of the role, if any, of the electric infrastructure in this tragic event."

On Aug. 8, a series of deadly wildfires broke out across the island of Maui. At least 97 people were killed and thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed.

According to the President & CEO of Hawaiian Electric Shelee Kimura, a fire at 6:30 a.m. was caused by power lines that fell in high winds. The Maui County Fire Department responded to the fire, reporting it at 9 a.m. as "100% contained" and later determining it to be "extinguished" and leaving the scene.

Kimura said all of Hawaiian Electric's power lines in West Maui had been de-energized for more than six hours when a second fire began in the same area around 3 p.m. The cause of this fire, which grew into the blaze that devastated the historic town of Lahaina, has not yet been determined.

Committee members questioned Kimura on the company's protocols for shutting off power lines in response to extreme weather conditions. Kimura said they were "very aware of the red flag warning," which is a warning from the National Weather Service that indicates warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds may combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

She said that preemptive power shutdowns are not part of their wildfire mitigation plans, but that the company is reexamining their protocols.

Forecasters were indicating that it would be 35 to 45 miles per hour winds with gusts of 60 miles per hour. They later indicated as this was happening, that they had been forecasted that parts of the state were experiencing much higher winds and gusts of about 80 miles per hour," said Kimura, but she did not know when the warning came in about higher winds.

When asked in questioning, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission chairman Leodoloff R. Asuncion, Jr. said that HECO, the electric company, has the authority to proactively de-energize their power lines when they receive warnings from the National Weather Service.

Chief Energy Officer of the Hawai'i State Energy Office Mark B. Glick was questioned on changes to the policy to reduce vegetation that could cause a fire, as the ability of the electric company to clear brush and vegetation is limited.

According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, evidence of a downed power line sparking dry brush on the island indicated that Hawaiian Electric equipment may have contributed to the fires. The committee also questioned what actions Hawaiian Electric took in hardening and modernizing the Maui electric grid amid growing wildfire threats.

Kimura said that community members have said they want to have power lines underground as a form of wildfire prevention and mitigation.

However, she added: "On a small island like Maui, with only 70,000 customers, that can get very expensive in a place where ... we have the highest rates in the nation. And we're already facing an economy where many of our people who have lived in Hawaii for a long time can no longer afford to live in Hawaii. So those are the kinds of considerations we have when we make these kinds of decisions."

The lawsuit alleges that Maui Electric Company, Limited, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaiʻi Electric Light Company, Inc., and Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. acted negligently by failing to power down their electrical equipment despite a National Weather Service red flag warning on Aug. 7.

A separate class-action lawsuit was also filed against Hawaiian Electric that alleges that the company "inexcusably kept their power lines energized" despite forecasts of high winds that could topple power lines and potentially ignite a fast-spreading blaze.

Kimura said in a statement that the allegations in the lawsuit from Maui County were "factually and legally irresponsible." She claimed the company's investigation showed it responded to both fires promptly.

"Our immediate focus is on supporting emergency response efforts on Maui and restoring power for our customers and communities as quickly as possible. At this early stage, the cause of the fire has not been determined and we will work with the state and county as they conduct their review," Jim Kelly, a spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric Industries, said about the lawsuit.


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Two found dead after plane crash launched massive search

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(NEW YORK) -- Two bodies were found Thursday morning following a plane crash in Ohio County after a widespread search had been launched for an instructor and student pilot, according to Kentucky State Police.

A severe thunderstorm had developed in the area the time of the suspected crash, according to the Ohio County Sheriff's Department.

Officials had been searching for an instructor pilot and a student pilot after the small plane crashed on Wednesday near Whitesville, Kentucky.

The plane was found in a heavily wooded area behind a church and a massive search and rescue operation was launched by foot and air to locate the two pilots.

The plane was reported missing by the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday. The plane was en route to Owensboro from Bowling Green when the tower lost contact.

A debris field was located by drone Thursday morning. An initial search was set up based on the flight path, the pilot's cellphone pings and the Life360 app.

Once the weather cleared, an airplane and three drones were launched to search the area.

Kentucky State Police and the FAA are investigating the crash.


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Powerball jackpot soars to $925 million ahead of next drawing

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(NEW YORK) -- An estimated $925 million jackpot is up for grabs in the next Powerball drawing on Saturday night.

It's the fourth-largest purse in the American lottery game's history and the second-largest this year, according to a press release from Powerball.

The grand prize, which has an estimated cash value of $432.4 million, ballooned passed the $900 million mark after no ticket matched all six numbers drawn on Wednesday night. However, four tickets -- purchased in California, Kansas, Maryland and New York -- matched all five white balls to win $1 million prizes, Powerball said.

The jackpot was previously won on July 19, when a ticket purchased in California matched all five white balls and the red Powerball to claim $1.08 billion. Since then, there have been 30 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner.

Jackpot winners can either take the money as an immediate cash lump sum or in 30 annual payments over 29 years. Both advertised prize options do not include federal and jurisdictional taxes.

The jackpot grows based on game sales and interest, but the odds of winning the big prize stays the same -- 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.

Powerball tickets cost $2 and are sold in 45 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball drawings are broadcast live every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET from the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee. The drawings are also livestreamed online at

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Hawaii energy officials to be questioned in House hearing on Maui wildfires

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(WASHINGTON) -- A congressional hearing seeks answers about how the deadly Maui wildfires started, could have been prevented or mitigated.

On Aug. 8, a series of deadly wildfires broke out across the Hawaiian island of Maui. At least 97 people were killed and thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed.

"We must come to a complete understanding of how this disaster started to ensure Hawaii and other states are prepared to prevent and stop other deadly wildfires," the committee stated in a recent letter. "To that end, we seek a fuller understanding of the role, if any, of the electric infrastructure in this tragic event."

According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, evidence of a downed power line sparking dry brush on the island indicated that Hawaiian Electric equipment may have contributed to the fires. The committee is also questioning what actions Hawaiian Electric took in hardening and modernizing the Maui electric grid amid growing wildfire threats.

The company is at the center of several lawsuits following the tragedy.

On Thursday, the committee will question three Hawaiian Electric and local officials about the blazes. President & CEO of Hawaiian Electric Shelee Kimura, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission chairman Leodoloff R. Asuncion, Jr., Chairman, and Chief Energy Officer of the Hawai'i State Energy Office Mark B. Glick are expected to be in attendance.

Maui County has filed a lawsuit against the local electric company over the damage.

The lawsuit alleges that Maui Electric Company, Limited, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaiʻi Electric Light Company, Inc., and Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. acted negligently by failing to power down their electrical equipment despite a National Weather Service red flag warning on Aug. 7.

A separate class-action lawsuit was also filed against Hawaiian Electric that alleges that the company "inexcusably kept their power lines energized" despite forecasts of high winds that could topple power lines and potentially ignite a fast-spreading blaze.

Kimura said in a statement that the allegations in the lawsuit from Maui County were "factually and legally irresponsible." She claimed the company's investigation showed it responded to both fires promptly.

"Our immediate focus is on supporting emergency response efforts on Maui and restoring power for our customers and communities as quickly as possible. At this early stage, the cause of the fire has not been determined and we will work with the state and county as they conduct their review," Jim Kelly, a spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric Industries, said about the lawsuit.

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Former employee of Virginia Walmart files $20 million lawsuit against retailer

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(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Merlo, a former employee of the Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart, filed a new $20 million lawsuit against the retailer and the estate of shooter Andre Bing for injuries she suffered after the November 2022 mass shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia, that left six dead.

Merlo alleges that years prior to the November 2022 mass shooting, Walmart had been aware of numerous complaints about Bing’s “erratic, disturbing, violent and harassing behavior,” including a complaint Merlo made directly to the company. The lawyers allege that Bing was “acutely paranoid and delusional, believing that he was the victim of conspiracies and unspecified efforts to hack his phone, and was suffering from religious ideations.”

Six people were killed and four others were injured before the suspect -- wielding a pistol -- shot himself dead, according to the Chesapeake Police Department.

Her lawyers said in the court filing Bing directed “disturbing and harassing behavior towards Sarah due to his personal animus towards her.” They also allege Bing disclosed to Merlo that he liked to kill animals and described how the dead animal carcasses smelled. Merlo’s lawyers also claim that Bing made “veiled threats of active shooter situations to other employees.”

According to Merlo’s account, Bing’s “threatening nature and concerning conduct” had been known to Walmart for more than two years before the November 2022 shooting. The lawsuit alleges that Walmart conducted an investigation but “did nothing at the time and then failed to monitor or respond to additional evidence of Bing’s instability and violent tendencies.”

The alleged shooter chose when to pull the trigger; however, the lawsuit claims that the attack was “fueled by his long-standing paranoia and delusions.”

Merlo also alleges that Bing told another employee to leave before he shot. He later pointed the gun at her as she hid behind a table on her hands and knees. He smiled as he shot her in the face and later six more times, including once in the neck, twice in her upper chest, once in the right elbow and twice in her stomach.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Merlo’s lawyers claim that she has had to “undergo multiple surgeries and faces a lifetime of medical care from these physical injuries and emotional distress.”

ABC News has reached out to Walmart for comment. A rep for Bing’s estate couldn’t immediately be located. The courts have no record of response filings to Merlo’s suit.

Following the shooting in 2022, Walmart said in a statement: "We are shocked at this tragic event.”

“We're praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We're working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates,” the Walmart spokesperson’s statement concluded.

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Idaho authorities probe Amazon 'click activity' for knives possibly connected to college killings

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(NEW YORK) -- Investigators probing the murders of four University of Idaho students sought records of Amazon purchases, Apple data and communications and payments made through PayPal/Venmo, according to newly released records.

Among the Amazon click history that investigators sought was information concerning knives, the search warrant shows. Police say they believe Bryan Kohberger, 28, the suspect charged in the Moscow, Idaho, killings on Nov. 13, 2022, used a knife to commit the murders. Although a knife sheath was found near the body of one of the victims, authorities say the murder weapon has not been found.

In a series of search warrant documents posted late Tuesday to the court docket, though they are dated Sept. 8, authorities requested purchase history and payment method details for an Amazon customer whose identity has been redacted.

The warrant also included a request for "all detailed customer click activity pertaining to knives and accessories," as well as a long list of information that could flesh out the customer's full shopping movements and interests on the site, including items saved to the cart, suggestions for future purchases and items reviewed by that customer.

The Moscow Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

The warrant requests all details from the account for two precise time periods: March 20, 2022, through March 30, 2022, and Nov. 1, 2022 through Dec. 6, 2022.

It was served in mid-May, several months after Kohberger's initial arrest, and just a week before a North Idaho grand jury handed up an indictment against him.

The requested data was received by law enforcement by the beginning of July, inventoried, and placed into evidence at the Moscow Police Department, according to an affidavit included in court documents.

Also included in the newly posted documents are search warrants for Apple and PayPal/Venmo, for account identities that were also redacted.

In the Apple search, authorities requested extensive account information, including all devices, addresses and numbers linked to the account, means and source of payment, all emails associated with the account and attachments "in order to locate any materials referencing the planning or commission" of the quadruple murders, according to the warrant.

The warrant also requested the contents of any instant messages associated with the Apple account, as well as the contents of all files and other records stored on iCloud.

The warrant for the Apple search was served on Aug. 1, and the data was received by law enforcement on Aug. 9, according to a Moscow police detective's affidavit.

The documents for the PayPal/Venmo warrant show that authorities asked for records specifically from June 22, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, requesting subscriber details like billing information, payment records, all financial transactions and to whom those payments went, geo-location data, screen names, and all associated email addresses and phone numbers.

Law enforcement received the data on Aug. 1, a week after the warrant was served, according to an affidavit from a forensic detective with the Moscow Police Department. An inventory was prepared and the information was placed into evidence at the police department.

PayPal/Venmo declined to comment when reached by ABC News.

Representatives for Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors allege that in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University, broke into an off-campus home and stabbed to death four University of Idaho students: Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

After a six-week hunt, police zeroed in on Kohberger as a suspect, tracking his white Hyundai Elantra and cellphone signal data, and recovering what authorities said was his DNA on the button snap of a KA-BAR knife sheath found by one of the victims' bodies at the crime scene.

He was arrested on Dec. 30 and indicted in May, charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. At his arraignment, he declined to offer a plea, so the judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

In court filings, lawyers for Kohberger have said that on the night of the killings, their client was driving around, alone -- which, they said, had long been a habit of his -- adding he is "not claiming to be at a specific location at a specific time; at this time there is not a specific witness to say precisely where Mr. Kohberger was at each moment of the hours between late night November 12, 2022, and early morning November 13, 2022."

Kohberger was "out, driving during the late night and early morning hours" on the night in question, his attorneys added.

Though the trial was initially set for Oct. 2, Kohberger waived his right to a speedy trial in August, postponing the trial indefinitely.

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Vulnerable children's education at risk if government shutdown takes place

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(NEW YORK) -- Renee Kline's 4-year-old son attends the local Head Start program in Hampshire County, West Virginia, where he spends his days learning the alphabet and counting.

However, if the federal government shuts down next week, tens of thousands of kids, like him, will be forced to stay home.

As many as 10,000 children around the country would lose access to Head Start programs during a government shutdown, according to the White House, which as of publication, would start at midnight on Oct. 1.

Ten Head Start programs are due to receive funding on Oct. 1 and if that funding isn't available, they'd risk having to close their doors.

Childcare isn't readily available or affordable in Hampshire County, Kline says. If Head Start has to shut down, many people -- including her -- will have to stay home from work to care for their kids.

"That is a direct result of Congress not doing their job and not coming up with an agreement," says Tommy Sheridan, the deputy director of the National Head Start Association, a central association for the Head Start workforce and national voice of early childhood education. "This is really a punch to children and families who are already struggling and who really need the support provided by Head Start and Early Head Start."

Head Start is a free, federally funded early childhood development program, to promote school readiness for infants, toddlers and preschoolers from low-income households.

In the event of a government shutdown, Head Start programs would not be able to draw on funds to pay staff and operating expenses, says Lori Milam, executive director of the West Virginia Head Start Association, where over 7,000 children are enrolled in Head Start.

All Head Start programs are funded federally, but they all vary in how they receive funding and if they receive additional support from other programs. Some may not even be able to cover expenses for a week, according to Miliam.

Head Start also supports children with identified needs, such as physical and developmental delays, children in foster care and children experiencing housing instability. The federal government funds Head Start programs through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

"Head Start provides children from the most marginalized backgrounds with the opportunity to reach their full potential through learning, development, health and wellness support in the earliest years of life," says Justin van Fleet, president of Theirworld, a global charity focused on early childhood development.

Since its inception in 1965, Head Start programs have helped more than 38 million children and families across the U.S.

Children enrolled in Head Start have a higher likelihood of graduating high school and attending college. Head Start programs have also been seen to break the cycle of poverty by decreasing teen parenthood and criminal engagement. The programs received nearly $12 billion in funding in 2023.

The programs due to pull funding on Oct. 1 will be most immediately impacted by the shutdown -- like the program ran by Community Action Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, where 311 children are enrolled.

That program was affected by the 2013 shutdown, says Clare Higgins, the executive director of Community Action Pioneer Valley.

"We stayed open through a combination of some different funding. We had extended our credit line at the bank so we could keep the program open. So that is our goal right now," she says.

Right now, they have enough cash on hand to keep the program open for up to two weeks.

"After that, we won't be able to," she says.

Kids enrolled in programs like these would lose out on nutritious meals and learning essential skills, experts say.

And it's not just the 10,000 children who might immediately lose access that would be affected.

"If the shutdown should last it would then impact many more children," Milam says.

Kline says that Head Start has been a huge help to families like hers. Along with her 4-year-old, she also has a first-grader who previously went through Head Start. She says that it has been extremely helpful in getting her daughter ready for school and working on her social-emotional skills.

"Head Start helps families to be able to work. In addition to that, (it) helps our children learn and grow and get them ready for society," she says.

"We take some of the most families with the lowest income and large challenges, in terms of meeting the needs of their families," Higgins says. "This is the place where their kids are cared for educated and fed."

This would all be jeopardized by a shutdown.

"We're deeply concerned that Congress is putting children and families at risk by not passing [the bill] for the next fiscal year and we are very concerned about what's going to happen over the next couple of weeks," Sheridan says.

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Judge rejects Trump's effort to have her recused from his federal election interference case

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(WASHINGTON) -- A district judge has denied former President Donald Trump's effort to have her recuse herself from presiding over his federal election interference case.

Washington, D.C., District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected the argument from Trump's legal team regarding statements she made during her sentencing of pro-Trump rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021.

In an October 2022 hearing cited by Trump's attorneys, Judge Chutkan described the Capitol assault as "nothing less than an attempt to violently overthrow the government" by Trump's supporters, who "were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man. It's a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day."

In arguing for Chutkan's recusal, Trump's attorneys said that "the public meaning of this statement is inescapable -- President Trump is free, but should not be. As an apparent prejudgment of guilty, these comments are disqualifying standing alone."

In another example, Trump's attorneys cited a December 2021 hearing in which Chutkan, addressing a convicted rioter, said that "the people who exhorted you and encouraged you and rallied you to go and take action and to fight have not been charged."

"Public statements of this sort create a perception of prejudgment incompatible with our justice system," Trump's attorneys argued in their bid to have Chutkan disqualified.

In her ruling Wednesday, Chutkan also disputed that her statements were based on facts she observed through news coverage, rather than those presented to her through the defendants themselves in their arguments asking for leniency.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a "criminal scheme" to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called "fake electors," using the Justice Department to conduct "sham election crime investigations," trying to enlist the vice president to "alter the election results," and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged -- all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

Chutkan has set a start date of March 4, 2024, for the trial.

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Remains of Suzanne Morphew found 3 years after her disappearance

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(SALIDA, Colo.) -- The remains of Suzanne Morphew, a Colorado mother of two who went missing in 2020, have been found, authorities said.

Human remains located on Sept. 22 during an unrelated search in the town of Moffat in Saguache County were positively identified as Suzanne Morphew on Wednesday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said.

"Specific information about the location and the state of the remains are being withheld at this time," the agency said.

Suzanne Morphew was reported missing from her home in Chaffee County on May 10, 2020, which was Mother's Day, after she never returned home from a bike ride, the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office said at the time.

Her husband, Barry Morphew, 55, was arrested almost a year later on charges including first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with his wife's disappearance. But all charges were dropped in April 2022, just days before he was set to stand trial.

The move came after the judge presiding over the case barred prosecutors from using most of their key witnesses at trial as punishment for repeatedly failing to turn over evidence in the defendant's favor.

The case was dismissed without prejudice, which allows prosecutors to file charges against Barry Morphew again.

No arrests have been made since Suzanne Morphew's remains were located, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said.

"While this case has garnered attention from around the world, it has touched our community and the sheriff's office deeply," Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said in a statement. "We have never stopped our investigation and will continue to follow all leads in pursuit of justice for Suzanne."

Spezze said that while locating her remains "is a critical component of this investigation, and for her family, we are left with many more questions than answers."

Family notifications have been made following the formal identification of the remains, authorities said.

Barry Morphew filed a $15 million federal lawsuit in May against prosecutors, the sheriff and several investigators, claiming that his life has been ruined by false accusations.

"It's very hurtful to lose your reputation and your integrity," Barry Morphew told ABC News in an exclusive interview following the filing.

When asked whether he has anything to do with his wife's disappearance, Barry Morphew told ABC News: "Absolutely not."

"They've got tunnel vision and they looked at one person and they've got too much pride to say they're wrong and look somewhere else," he added. "I don't have anything to worry about. I've done nothing wrong."

The couple's daughters, Mallory and Macy Morphew, told ABC News that the last three years have been "literally our worst nightmare," and they never doubted their father's innocence.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Senior Baton Rouge officer on leave after son arrested in 'brave cave' case

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(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- A Baton Rouge police deputy chief was placed on leave a week after his son, an officer with the department, was arrested for allegedly tasing and handcuffing a suspect, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Troy Lawrence Sr. was placed on administrative leave while the department looks into the use of force claims against the BRPD, the source said.

The police department faces several lawsuits over the treatment of detainees, including at a now-shuttered police warehouse that officers allegedly called the "brave cave," according to complaints made against the department.

The FBI announced over the weekend they are investigating the Baton Rouge Police Department following allegations that some officers "abused their authority."

The New Orleans FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana have opened the probe, with investigators "reviewing the matter for potential federal violations," the FBI New Orleans said in a statement on Friday, while urging anyone with information on the case to contact them.

The department's police chief reported the allegations of the "brave cave" to the FBI, a source familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

In a statement to ABC News, the Baton Rouge Police Department said they are "committed to addressing these troubling accusations and have initiated administrative and criminal investigations."

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Ghost guns found at licensed Manhattan day care: Police


(NEW YORK) -- Ghost guns have been found at a licensed Manhattan day care, the New York City police announced, just weeks after drugs were found at a different day care in the city where a 1-year-old boy died from fentanyl exposure.

The Manhattan investigation began when the NYPD looked into people, including minors, who were allegedly buying ghost gun parts and materials to print 3D firearms, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner said at a news conference Wednesday.

"Some of the purchases were made through fraudulent means, including the alleged identity theft of multiple victims across the United States," Weiner said.

A search warrant was executed Tuesday at the East Harlem home of 18-year-old Jamal Coley, who was allegedly involved in 3D printing guns, police said.

Coley's home is also a licensed day care operated by Coley’s mother, police said.

In the day care, investigators found items including a 3D printer, 3D printing tools, two completed 3D printed firearms and one 3D printed assault pistol in the final stages of assembly, Weiner said.

Two minors and one adult have been arrested, police said.

Untraceable firearms, known as ghost guns, are increasingly being created with 3D printers, "demanding the attention of our intelligence division," NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said.

"They can be made in your home, they can be made anonymously, and they are cheap," Caban said, and "these types of guns have captured the attention of our kids."

The East Harlem day care opened in February 2021 and was last inspected in February 2023, according to New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The department found three violations related to documentation around feeding, sleep schedules, preferences from families and verifications from doctors, a department official said. The facility was cited and took corrective action, and then verified their paperwork was completed, a department official said.

"To the parents who are dropping their children off every day to these centers," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, "we're going to remain vigilant, we're going to continue to modify the rules ... to stay ahead of bad people that are doing bad things in environments where our children are."

On Sept. 15, just 10 days before the search at the Harlem day care, 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici died following exposure to fentanyl at his day care in the Bronx.

Three other children, ranging in age from 8 months to 2 years, were hospitalized and treated with Narcan, police said.

Investigators found a kilo of fentanyl stored on kids' play mats at the day care, along with a device to press drugs into bricks for sale, according to court records. In a trap floor under the day care's play area, investigators found fentanyl, other narcotics and drug paraphernalia, police said.

Four people have been arrested.

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Murder suspect mistakenly freed from Indianapolis jail captured after 2-week manhunt

Marion County Sheriff's Office via AP

(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A murder suspect who was accidentally released from an Indiana jail due to a clerical error has been apprehended following a two-week manhunt, authorities said.

Kevin Mason, 28, was initially arrested on Sept. 11 in connection with a 2021 murder in Minneapolis. He was mistakenly released from the Adult Detention Center in Indianapolis two days later due to a "faulty records review by civilian staff," the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators determined that he left the Indianapolis area the night of his release, with the search expanding into multiple cities. He was ultimately apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service in St. Paul, Minnesota around 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said. No additional details were released.

"I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and congratulations to the USMS for concluding this manhunt and safely bringing Mason back into custody," Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said in a statement. "Our federal partners have kept us informed throughout the entire process. We are truly thankful for their assistance and wide resources -- most specifically, their task force partnerships with local law enforcement agencies that have allowed them to pursue Kevin Mason throughout the country."

Mason was arrested on Sept. 11 and mistakenly released around 11:05 a.m. ET on Sept. 13, according to Forestal. Authorities became aware of his release several hours later, around 5:30 p.m., he said.

Investigators learned he called for a ride later that night and his girlfriend, Desiree Oliver, picked him up near the jail, Forestal said.

Oliver obtained a new cellphone, "the deceptive type of behavior we'd expect from somebody when they're assisting a criminal," Forestal said during a press briefing Sept. 20. She also purchased men's underwear, a travel kit and men's slippers from a Walmart, he said.

Investigators covertly tracked her actions, instead of going public with the search for the suspect, before arresting her on Sept. 20 on the charge of assisting a criminal, the sheriff said.

Oliver was formally charged with assisting a criminal on Monday. She was released from custody on Wednesday and is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29 for a pre-trial conference, online court records show.

Mason will not be charged in Indianapolis, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

He is accused of fatally shooting Dontevius Catchings, 29, in the parking lot of a Minneapolis church in June 2021 during a funeral service. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office charged him with murder in the second degree and firearms possession following the shooting.

The U.S. Marshals Service was offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Mason's capture.

Two Marion County Sheriff's Office employees were terminated due to Mason's release, the sheriff's office said.

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These neighborhoods in New York City are sinking the fastest, according to a new study

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- New York City is sinking at the same time that sea levels around the world are rising, which could exacerbate flooding concerns for the region.

Researchers have found a way to determine exactly which regions in the New York City metropolitan area are sinking the fastest, according to a study by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Rutgers' University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences published Wednesday in Science.

New York City is sinking at a subsidence rate of about 1.6 millimeters per year, the researchers discovered, using a new technique of modeling using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and the Global Navigation Satellite System to determine the "hot spots" that are sinking the fastest.

The neighborhoods in New York City that saw the most rapid vertical land motion from 2016 to 2023, according to the study, were LaGuardia Airport and Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the U.S. Open takes place -- both located in Queens.

When the Arthur Ashe Stadium was first built, it was outfitted with a lightweight cloth roof because the sinking land beneath the stadium could not support the weight of a regularly constructed roof, Brett Buzzanga, a post doctoral researcher at JPL and the California Institute of Technology, told ABC News.

Additionally, outside of New York City, Highway 440 and Interstate 78 were found to be sinking at faster rates than the surrounding areas, the research suggests.

The sinking is occurring due to a geological process known as glacial isostatic adjustment, Buzzanga said.

About 20,000 years ago, the northern half of North America was covered in a gigantic ice cap, and once that ice began to melt, the suppressed land that lied beneath began to rise up.

Over time, the land is reverting to its original shape and sinking down.

In addition, the mass removal of water from underground aquifers could be contributing to the increased sinking, Buzzanga said.

Notably, all of the sinking hotspots previously served as landfills in the past, according to the paper.

The area surrounding LaGuardia was used as a landfill in the 1930s and 1940s, Buzzanga said.

The process of land sinking is not a direct impact of climate change, these regions will be more susceptible to flooding from sea level rise in the future, Buzzanga said.

Conversely, the research revealed "interesting" areas of uplift, David Bekaert, a radar scientist at JPL, told ABC News. One of these regions includes East Williamsburg's Newton Creek, which corresponded with a massive engineering project to remove pollution from the creek's aquifer.

The research did not reveal the exact causal reason for the other areas of uplift, Buzzanga said.

The findings can help city planners make the best decisions for investments in coastal defenses and infrastructure, the researchers said.

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Boyfriend of missing mother of 5 Crystal Rogers arrested in connection with her 2015 disappearance

Hardin County Detention Center

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- The boyfriend of a Kentucky mother of five who vanished in 2015 has been arrested in connection with her disappearance, state and federal authorities said.

Crystal Rogers, 35, was last seen by Brooks Houck, her live-in boyfriend, on July 3, 2015, according to the Nelson County Sheriff's Office. Houck told authorities at the time that he stayed up late that night and Rogers was gone when he awoke the next morning.

Houck faces state charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence, according to online court records. His bail was set at $10 million and includes the condition that he not have any contact with Rogers' family, online records show.

In the years since her disappearance, FBI Louisville "has been laser-focused on our commitment to hold accountable those that were responsible for the disappearance of Crystal Rogers," the FBI said in a statement on Wednesday. "Today, we take the first step in making good on that promise."

Houck, 41, was arrested without incident "on charges stemming from the Crystal Rogers investigation," the FBI and Kentucky State Police announced.

The indictment remains sealed, authorities said.

His arraignment has been scheduled for Oct. 5 in the Nelson County Circuit Court. ABC News has reached out to his attorney for comment.

Houck has denied any involvement in Rogers' disappearance.

"I'm 100% completely innocent in this," he said in a phone interview with HLN's Nancy Grace early in July 2015.

"I want the emphasis to remain on Crystal's safe return," Houck added.

Rogers was reported missing by her mother on July 5, 2015, after not being heard from or seen since the evening of July 3, 2015, according to the FBI.

Her car was found abandoned with a flat tire along the side of the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown, Kentucky, on July 5, 2015, with her keys, purse and cellphone inside, the FBI said.

Among more recent developments in the case, the FBI conducted a search of a Bardstown farm in connection with Rogers' disappearance on Oct. 17, 2022.

Sherry Ballard, Rogers' mother, told reporters at the time that the farm was the last place her daughter was seen, and that Rogers would often bring her children to the property.

"I'm just praying God is giving me the answers today or tomorrow or whenever it takes," Ballard said.

"I'm ready for answers," she added. "Our family just needs answers."

Federal authorities are also investigating the death of Rogers' father, Tommy Ballard, who had created Team Crystal, a group of community members dedicated to finding her. He was shot and killed by an unknown subject while on family property near Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown on Nov. 19, 2016, according to the FBI.

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