- - Sunday, February 6, 2011


Writing samples sought from shooting suspect

PHOENIX — Prosecutors are seeking handwriting samples from the suspect in the shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people to compare with documents seized in a search of his home.

The request was made Thursday in a court filing in which prosecutors also said they plan to introduce documents at trial that were found at suspect Jared Loughner’s home and make references to Ms. Giffords, guns and bullets.

Other notebooks containing handwriting were found at the house, but no further details were provided on those documents.

Investigators who searched the home of Mr. Loughner after the Jan. 8 shooting found other handwritten notes in a safe that read, “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords.” One note said “Die, bitch,” which authorities think was a reference to Ms. Giffords.

Instead of agreeing to provide handwriting samples, Mr. Loughner’s attorneys offered to review the documents and perhaps make an agreement about the handwriting. Prosecutors declined that request and said Mr. Loughner’s handwriting samples would be taken at the federal courthouse in Tucson if permission is granted by U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns of San Diego.


National security rocket launch called a success

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE — A rocket carrying a national security payload was successfully launched Sunday from a base on California’s central coast, Air Force officials said.

The Minotaur 1 rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:26 a.m. amid clear skies, said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander and the mission’s leader. The launch, which was scheduled for Saturday, had been delayed by a day because of power problems with the rocket’s safety equipment.

The four-stage, solid-fueled rocket was carrying a research and development spacecraft for the National Reconnaissance Office, but officials gave no further details on the craft’s purpose or cost.

The 63-foot Minotaur 1 is among the smallest of the many rockets that launch from the base 160 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The rocket is assembled from retired Minuteman stages combined with technology from Orbital Sciences. It can carry up to 1,278 pounds to low-Earth orbit.


Confederate artwork removed from exhibit

Story Continues →