- - Thursday, August 4, 2011

FLORIDA

NASA: Debris in lake from Columbia shuttle

CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA confirmed Thursday that a large piece of debris from space shuttle Columbia, which was destroyed in 2003, has been found in a drought-stricken lake.

The component of the ill-fated spaceship is one of its 18 gas tanks, the space agency said.

Columbia disintegrated as it attempted to fly through the atmosphere for a landing in Florida on Feb. 1, 2003. Undetected damage in its heat shield caused it to break apart over East Texas and Louisiana, killing its seven-member crew.

The Nacogdoches Police Department called NASA late last week to ask for help identifying a 4-foot-diameter spherical metal tank found in a newly exposed bed of Lake Nacogdoches.

GEORGIA

Mom opts for retrial in jaywalking death case

ATLANTA — A woman convicted of vehicular homicide after her 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a van as they jaywalked across a busy Atlanta-area street said she accepted a judge’s offer to have her case retried.

Raquel Nelson, 30, said she was taking Judge Kathryn Tanksley up on the unusual offer of a new trial after a jury in Cobb County convicted her in July of vehicular homicide and other charges for not using a crosswalk.

The judge sentenced Nelson last week to a year of probation, sparing her the three-year prison sentence she could have received for the charges.

A new trial could wipe out the probation sentence, but it could also mean enduring an emotional new proceeding that could end with an even tougher penalty.

The trial is scheduled for Oct. 25.

HAWAII

Human trafficking case charges dropped

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