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Judge: Kids must return to dad under suspicion

ORLANDO | A judge has ruled that twins of a Florida mother missing after a television appearance must be returned to their father, who is the prime suspect in the woman’s disappearance.

The judge ruled Wednesday that the twins face no imminent danger in the custody of Dale Smith, 40. He is the focus of detectives’ investigation into the disappearance of his ex-fiancee, Michelle Parker, 33.

Detectives looking for Miss Parker are currently searching a lake area.

Child welfare workers removed the 3-year-old twins from Mr. Smith’s home Tuesday.

Miss Parker disappeared Nov. 17, the same day an episode of “The People’s Court” aired in which Miss Parker and Mr. Smith argued over who was responsible for the cost of a missing engagement ring.

Mr. Smith’s attorney says his client has done nothing wrong. He hasn’t been charged.

TEXAS

Judge won’t step down in Fort Hood case

FORT HOOD | A military judge refused Wednesday to step down in the case of an Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage, saying it had no effect on him.

Maj. Nidal Hasan’s attorneys argued that the judge, Col. Gregory Gross, should recuse himself. They claimed there was an appearance of bias since he was on the Texas Army post the day of the 2009 shootings that left 13 dead and more than two dozen wounded.

Col. Gross has said he was presiding over a trial on Nov. 5, 2009, when someone handed him a note instructing him to take a recess immediately. He said he then called his wife, who was shopping on the post with some other relatives, but they were fine and left before Fort Hood was locked down.

Col. Gross said he hasn’t read news articles about Maj. Hasan’s background, hasn’t heard statements made at different Fort Hood ceremonies by President Obama and then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, and has never seen Fort Hood’s memorial to the victims.

Maj. Hasan, 41, faces a death sentence or life in prison without parole if convicted in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation. He’s charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

NORTH CAROLINA

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