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Man convicted in schoolyard murders

NEWARK | A 20-year-old man was convicted Tuesday of murder and robbery in the execution-style slayings of three college-bound friends in a Newark schoolyard in 2007.

Alexander Alfaro was one of six people charged in the gruesome attacks in August 2007. All three victims were shot in the back of the head as they knelt in front of a wall, and one was slashed with a machete. A fourth victim was slashed and shot but survived and testified against Alfaro.

Alfaro was found guilty on 16 of 17 counts. He was found not guilty of attempted murder on the survivor of the attacks.

The jury reached its verdict after about 20 hours of deliberation over four days. It received the case Thursday afternoon.

Alfaro’s half-brother and another man already are serving multiple life sentences for the killings. Three defendants’ cases are pending.


2 missing in spill at sewage plant

GATLINBURG | Two workers were missing Tuesday after a wastewater treatment plant in a Smoky Mountains tourist town failed and spilled millions of gallons of sewage.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said a holding tank at the Gatlinburg plant gave way Tuesday morning, sending the sewage into the west prong of Little Pigeon River.

Between 1.5 million and 3.2 million gallons of sewage spilled, TEMA spokesman Jeremy Heidt said.

Some of the spill entered the small river that flows past Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Both cities are top destinations for tourists visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Eric Brakins, assistant city manager for Pigeon Forge, told the Associated Press that his city is helping to look for the two workers.

The cause of the failure hasn’t been determined, state officials said. The Mountain Press newspaper in Sevierville reported that there was a mudslide or rock slide in the area after heavy rains. The paper said the breach was accompanied by what sounded like an explosion and then water began rushing out.


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