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

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

(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.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Remains of Suzanne Morphew found 3 years after her disappearance

Morphew Family via AP

(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.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(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."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Suspect wanted in murder of Baltimore tech CEO linked to attempted murder case: Police


(BALTIMORE) -- A convict accused of murdering a Baltimore tech CEO has also been linked to an attempted murder, arson and rape that occurred last week, police said, as a manhunt for the suspect continues.

Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, of Baltimore, is 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 said.

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. Billingsley was announced as a suspect in the case on Tuesday.

Amid the investigation, Baltimore police said on Wednesday that Billingsley is also wanted in connection with an attempted murder, arson and rape that occurred on Sept. 19 in the 800 block of Edmondson Avenue.

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.

"Multiple warrants have been issued for Billingsley and detectives continue to work with all of our law enforcement partners in apprehending him," the Baltimore Police Department said in a statement.

Police are offering a $6,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest and charges against Billingsley.

Detectives are also reviewing all cases since October 2022 "in order to determine any other connections."

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.

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 is a registered sex offender in the state's database.

He is believed to be "armed and dangerous," Worley told reporters during a press briefing on Tuesday while urging anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 911.

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

A vigil is scheduled to be held Wednesday evening for LaPere, EcoMap said.

LePere'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 LePere, "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 and Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Over 50 arrested after groups of masked teenagers loot Philadelphia stores, police say


(PHILADELPHIA) -- Large groups of teenagers stormed into shops in the heart of downtown Philadelphia on Tuesday night and looted handfuls of merchandise before fleeing, police and witnesses said.

The stores that were ransacked in Center City included Foot Locker, Lululemon and Apple, happening in "quick succession" at around 8 p.m. ET, according to a press release from the Philadelphia Police Department.

A total of 52 arrests were made and two firearms were recovered that night as officers responded to the reports of looting, police said. There were 49 adults and three juveniles among the arrests.

Police described the looting at the Foot Locker on Chestnut Street as a "coordinated attack" by a "group of males dressed in black attire and wearing masks." A number of juveniles fled the scene, police said, but at least one adult was arrested.

Officers also "successfully apprehended multiple individuals" involved in the looting at the Lululemon on Walnut Street, police said.

One witness, who only gave her first name, Dolly, said she saw "30 plus people" flee from police at the Lululemon. Her friend, another witness who also only gave her first name, Lisa, said there were "clothes everywhere."

"I've never seen anything like that before," Lisa told ABC News' Philadelphia station WPVI.

No arrests have been made yet in connection with the looting at the Apple Store on Walnut Street, where mobile phones and tablets were snatched. Though numerous stolen items have since been recovered, according to police.

"The Apple store looks pretty cleaned out," Dolly told WPVI. "Except for like computer monitors, but like all the Apple watches, iPhones."

Police said they are also investigating other reports of property damage and thefts throughout the city that night, vowing to maintain "public safety and order."

"We are actively investigating these incidents and working diligently to identify and apprehend those responsible for these unlawful acts," the Philadelphia Police Department said in the press release.

The incidents occurred after peaceful protests over a judge's decision to dismiss murder and other charges against a Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot the driver of a car -- identified as 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry -- through a rolled-up window. However, police said the looting was not connected to the earlier demonstrations.

ABC News' Jessica Gorman and Jason Volack contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Gilgo Beach suspect Rex Heuermann not a 'monster,' maintains his innocence: Attorney

WIN-Initiative/Neleman/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The attorney for Gilgo Beach, New York, murder suspect Rex Heuermann on Wednesday denied that his client is a "monster of a person" and maintained Heuermann's innocence.

Heuermann returned to court Wednesday following his July arrest for the murders of three sex workers -- Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello -- whose bodies were found on Long Island in 2010. He has pleaded not guilty.

Heuermann is also the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in 2007, though he has not been charged in that case. Prosecutors said the investigation into Brainard-Barnes' murder is ongoing.

The sisters of Barthelemy and Brainard-Barnes were among the relatives at Wednesday's hearing.

Male hair was recovered from the burlap used to wrap Waterman's body, and that DNA was found to be a match to leftover pizza crust Heuermann threw into a Manhattan garbage can in January 2023, according to court documents. Prosecutors on Wednesday confirmed that the pizza crust DNA was consistent with the DNA swab provided by Heuermann after his arrest.

Defense attorney Michael Brown said he's been given very little discovery and hasn't received any DNA evidence, but noted that he received a flash drive of materials Wednesday morning that include an additional 5,000 pages of discovery and 10,000 photos.

Brown said the five hard drives he received in August included over a year's worth of video surveillance of Heuermann outside his Long Island home capturing the New York City architect "heading to work, spending time with family, chopping wood and hanging out on his porch."

Heuermann told the judge that he's allowed to view up to four hours of discovery materials a day, but has been viewing two to three hours of material each day.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney told reporters the case will "be a lengthy process."

"There is a lot of material that [the prosecutors] have to provide to the defense," he said. "You don't take a 13-year investigation and turn it over in a day or two."

Brown said he hopes to have all of the discovery by Heuermann's next court date, which was set for Nov. 15.


Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

200 people have died from gun violence in DC this year: Police

makenoodle/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A student was shot and killed on Tuesday just blocks from his high school, according to police. The student's death marks the 200th homicide in the District of Columbia this year, according to police statistics.

The number of homicides in the nation's capital has risen 28% since 2002, according to police. The city has recorded more than 200 homicides every year since 2021.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith called the shooting "senseless."

"We have too many guns on our streets and as a community we need to do everything we can to stop this violence from plaguing our city," she said.

The victims were all members of the D.C. community and died of gunshot wounds, according to Smith.

MPD has lost 1,400 officers since 2020. The police union has blamed the city council's actions for the rise in crime.


Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Husband of owner of Bronx day care where child died of fentanyl arrested in Mexico: Sources

U.S. Southern District of New York

(NEW YORK) -- The husband of the owner of a New York City day care where a 1-year-old boy died following fentanyl exposure has been arrested, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Felix Herrera Garcia was arrested in Mexico, on a bus in Sinaloa, after a manhunt that lasted more than a week, the sources said.

Following Garcia's arrest, Mexican authorities who apprehended him provide further details regarding his capture in a statement. "In a coordinated manner, elements of the State Preventive Police and Municipal Police detained in Culiacán, a man of Dominican nationality with two arrest warrants in the United States," the statement read.

"The police in the first instance detained the man for administrative offenses, so he was taken to Court in the state capital and due to his nationality, his details were checked with foreign authorities, who reported that the man had two arrest warrants for the crime of drug conspiracy and homicide of a child," the statement said.

"Following these events, he was placed at the disposal of the corresponding immigration authorities in order to determine his situation and carry out the pertinent procedure established by the law of the neighboring country."

Garcia was allegedly seen in surveillance images running out of the Bronx day care with heavy shopping bags as the children were suffering from fentanyl exposure, according to court records.

On Sept. 15, Nicholas Dominici, a 1-year-old, died following exposure to fentanyl at the day care.

Three other children, ranging in age from 8 months to 2 years, were hospitalized and treated with Narcan, police said. An analysis of urine from one of the victims confirmed the presence of fentanyl, officials 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.

The first two to be arrested were day care owner Grei Mendez, who is Garcia's wife, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who is Garcia's cousin and Mendez's tenant. They face federal charges of narcotics possession with intent to distribute resulting in death and conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death as well as state charges including murder.

Federal authorities last week promised to hold accountable anyone linked to the day care.

This weekend, a third person, Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, was arrested. He was charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

A day after judge rules against Trump Organization, attorneys return to court for pre-trial conference

ftwitty/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Attorneys for former President Donald Trump and the other defendants in the New York attorney general's $250 million civil fraud case return to court Wednesday for a final conference ahead of a trial that's scheduled to begin as early as Monday.

In a scathing order issued Tuesday, Justice Arthur Engoron ordering the cancelation of the Trump Organization's business certificates in New York after finding that Trump and his co-defendants engaged in "persistent fraud" by inflating the value of his assets.

But the judge wrote in Tuesday's ruling that a trial was still required to decide six remaining causes of action alleged by the attorney general, as well as the scope of the penalty, which could include barring Trump from making real estate acquisitions and applying for loans in New York.

Wednesday's final pre-trial conference is also likely to address the outstanding motions filed by the defense to limit testimony and evidence before the scheduled start of trial on Monday.

Tuesday's order, granting partial summary judgment, severely restricts Trump's ability to conduct business in New York going forward.

Engoron wrote in the order that Trump, his adult sons, Eric and Don Jr., and the other defendants fraudulently inflated the value of properties including Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida and his own triplex apartment in New York City, as well as 40 Wall Street, Trump Park Avenue, multiple golf courses, and an estate in upstate New York.

Responding to the order, Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization's day-to-day operations, said on X, previously known as Twitter, "We have run an exceptional company -- never missing a loan payment, making banks hundreds of millions of dollars, developing some of the most iconic assets in the world. Yet today, the persecution of our family continues..."

Defense counsel filed multiple motions in the lead-up to trial, including requests to exclude the testimony of six expert witnesses proposed by the government, motions to prevent evidence they argue is outside the statute of limitations, and requests to limit potential surprise witnesses during trial.

During a pre-trial conference last week, Engoron expressed frustration at defense counsel for rehashing flawed arguments he had already ruled against, leading the judge on Tuesday to sanction five defense lawyers $7,500 each for reiterating "frivolous arguments."

Trump attorney Alina Habba said her client plans to immediately appeal what she called the judge's "fundamentally flawed" decision Tuesday.

"We look forward to presenting the rest of our case at trial," Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mom of slain deputy devastated DA isn't pursuing death penalty: 'How dare you'

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The mother of a young sheriff's deputy who was gunned down on duty is devastated that the district attorney isn't pursuing the death penalty.

"It just seems that the district attorney wants to spare a life, when [the suspect] didn't spare my son's life -- he executed my son," Kim Clinkunbroomer, the mother of slain Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

"You can't do this to families. We need to defend our law enforcement officers, and that's not -- that's a disgrace," she said.

Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was in uniform and in his patrol car when he was shot while stopped at a red light outside the Palmdale Sheriff's Station. Sheriff Robert Luna called the Sept. 16 slaying an ambush and a suspect was arrested two days later.

LA County District Attorney George Gascón repeated his opposition to the death penalty during a news conference last week alongside sheriff's officials and the Clinkunbroomer family.

"The death penalty doesn't serve as a deterrent," Gascón said, according to ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV.

"If I thought that seeking the death penalty was gonna bring Ryan back to us, I will seek it without any reservation," he said. "But it won't."

Kim Clinkunbroomer said that the press conference last week was when she learned prosecutors wouldn't be pursuing the death penalty.

"How dare you, on national TV, tell me you're not seeking the death penalty because it won't bring my son back? My son's not coming back, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do your job," she said.

"I truly hope the people of Los Angeles realize what this district attorney is not doing for us. And I hope when the election comes next, they really think hard about that bubble they fill in," she said.

And as for California Gov. Gavin Newsom's moratorium on the death penalty, Kim Clinkunbroomer said, "Things need to change."

"People need to be punished for the crimes they commit," she said.

The LA County District Attorney's Office told ABC News in a statement Tuesday, "We have nothing but compassion for the family of Deputy Clinkunbroomer. They are experiencing an unthinkable loss. Nothing that can happen in the criminal justice system will ever repair the harm of losing someone so beloved. He is a fallen hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. May his memory be a guiding light, reminding us of the profound sacrifices made by those who wear the badge.”

The suspected killer, 29-year-old Kevin Salazar, is charged with murder with special circumstances. If convicted he'll face life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.

Salazar's attorney has entered a plea of not guilty and a dual plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf.

As the case moves forward, the Clinkunbroomer family is trying to cope with their overwhelming grief.

Ryan Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the sheriff's office. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather also served with the LA County sheriff's department.

His mother called it his calling.

"He went out to patrol as soon as he could. A couple of times he was offered a job inside, and he thought the schedule would be better with his fiancee. And he said, 'Mom, I can't do it. I need to be out in that car. I need to be out doing what policemen do,'" his mother said. "He loved it every day and he did it with pride every day."

The 30-year-old proposed to his fiancee, pediatric ICU nurse Brittany Lindsey, just four days before he was killed.

"He was just the most thoughtful, most respectful, loving, caring person I've ever met in my life," Lindsey told ABC News. "I'm just so grateful to have met and loved him."

"I know he would have made a great husband and father one day," she added.

"Every day that he went to work, I prayed for him. I prayed that he'd just come home safe," Lindsey said. "A lot of nights I couldn't sleep. I would just watch the clock waiting for him to come home."

Kim Clinkunbroomer said she wants the public to "back law enforcement more."

"These guys risk their lives every single day for us," she said.

She also showed her appreciation for the LA sheriff's department, who she said has "been nothing short of spectacular" in their shared time of mourning.

"I wish I could sit down with each and every one of them and thank them," she said.

Just 11 days after her son's slaying, Kim Clinkunbroomer said, "These are hard days, and our feet feel like they're in mud."

"But we'll get out of that mud. We'll get out of that mud for him and for the legacy that he's going to continue to live on, because we won't let his legacy die," she added.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Flight attendant found dead with sock lodged in her mouth in airport hotel room


(PHILADELPHIA) -- A female American Airlines flight attendant has been found dead with a sock in her mouth in a hotel room near Philadelphia’s Airport, according to ABC News' Philadelphia station WPVI-TV.

Cleaning staffers discovered the unnamed 66-year-old victim late Monday evening at approximately 10:45 p.m. at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott directly adjacent to Philadelphia International Airport.

Investigators told ABC News’ Philadelphia station WPVI that the woman worked for American Airlines and was supposed to have checked out of her room two days earlier.

It is unclear why her body went undiscovered during that period, but authorities were immediately notified after cleaning staff made the discovery.

“It’s very strange,” Tracee Quinn of Ferris Hills, Pennsylvania, told WPVI in an interview. “And it seems like [there are] a lot of unanswered questions. But it is very sad.”

Several sealed bottles of prescription drugs were found in the room, according to WPVI, but police also reported that there were no signs of forced entry, struggle or any weapons recovered during their investigation.

An autopsy is now pending to determine the cause of the flight attendant’s death.

Police said the case is suspicious and that the Homicide Detectives Division is now investigating, according to WPVI.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Roughriders Sports

Family Features

Loading Family Features Content Widget
Loading Family Features Article