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COLORADO

Mom accused of murder had filed for bankruptcy

DENVER — A Colorado mother accused of killing her two children was going through divorce and bankruptcy proceedings when she allegedly called police to tell them she was committing suicide, according to court documents.

Kelli Murphy, 41, appeared Tuesday in a courtroom in Castle Rock with her wrists covered in bandages. She was arrested Monday on two counts of first-degree murder after police found the 6-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy dead in their home.

Police say Mrs. Murphy had called 911 on Monday morning and said she was going to commit suicide. When a dispatcher asked whether there were any children home, Mrs. Murphy said they were in heaven, police said.

Police say Mrs. Murphy and her husband had been living separately, and he didn’t arrive until after officers responded. Court documents show Mrs. Murphy and her husband filed for bankruptcy last June and then for divorce in February.

FLORIDA

Casey Anthony defense: Caylee drowned in pool

ORLANDO — The defense attorney for a Florida mother charged with murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter said Tuesday during opening statements that the girl drowned in the family swimming pool and claimed the toddler’s grandparents covered up the accident.

Prosecutors, however, said Caylee Anthony died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose. Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, waited a month before telling her own mother that the toddler was missing.

Miss Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.

An autopsy was never able to conclude a cause of death. Miss Anthony previously said a baby sitter kidnapped the girl.

Miss Anthony’s attorney said she was abused by her father as a child and alleged that Casey’s brother made advances toward her and was given a paternity test to see if he was Caylee’s father. All those secrets eventually led to the cover-up of Caylee’s drowning, attorney Jose Baez said.

LOUISIANA

Mississippi reopens to ships headed south

BATON ROUGE — The Coast Guard has reopened a stretch of the Mississippi River to southbound vessels several days after three barges sank amid high water and fast currents.

Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann said southbound traffic resumed Tuesday afternoon, a day after northbound vessels were allowed to travel upriver.

Traffic is being restricted in both directions, and southbound vessels can only pass through the area in daylight. Tows are limited to 20 barges. At least 27 vessels were waiting Tuesday to proceed southbound.

The barges that sank on Friday are owned by Archer Daniels Midland Co. and were part of a string of 20 barges headed downriver. One of the barges struck a dock. Two struck a bridge.

TEXAS

NASA finds new mission for moon-travel craft

HOUSTON — NASA announced Tuesday that it had found the ideal spaceship to take astronauts far from Earth — the same one on which it has been working for several years and on which it has spent $5 billion.

All the Orion capsule needed was a new name — the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

NASA said it decided the spacecraft would be what takes astronauts to a still-to-be-determined destination. The disposable capsule would take four astronauts on 21-day trips.

The Orion capsule was a cornerstone of former President George W. Bush’s plan to return astronauts to the moon. NASA gave Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin a $7.5 billion contract in 2006 to build it.

The Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is the same ship with almost no changes, said NASA associate administrator Douglas R. Cooke during a Tuesday teleconference.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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