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CLEVELAND — Federal authorities say an Ohio woman who describes herself as an animal-welfare activist has been charged with soliciting murder in a plot to kill someone wearing fur.

Court records show 27-year-old Cleveland Heights resident Meredith Lowell appeared Tuesday in federal court in Cleveland and was ordered held by the U.S. Marshals Service pending a hearing next week.

Investigators say the FBI was notified in November of a Facebook page Ms. Lowell created with an alias offering $830 to $850 for the hit. The employee, posing as a potential killer, then learned via email correspondence, according to authorities, that Ms. Lowell wanted the victim to be at least 12 years old and wanted to be on site when the slaying took place so she could distribute “papers” afterward.

A defense attorney has declined to comment.

TEXAS

El Paso woman first border-bullets victim

EL PASO — A 48-year-old woman is the first reported victim of bullets flying across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, into El Paso, Texas.

Authorities say the woman was hit in the calf by an assault-rifle-type bullet while shopping on a busy street downtown. The wound was not a serious one.

El Paso’s mayor asked Tuesday for residents to remain calm because there is “no way to prevent incidents like this from happening.” He said the odds of getting hit by a stray bullet are minimal.

At the same time the woman was struck, Juarez police and carjacking suspects exchanged about 50 shots near the border. Three El Paso schools were put on hazard alert.

NEW JERSEY

Jury pool cut in half in spying case

NEW BRUNSWICK — The jury pool for the trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man was cut Tuesday after the judge reviewed answers from questionnaires.

Just 85 potential jurors for the trial of 19-year-old Dharun Ravi remained by Tuesday afternoon. Judge Glenn Berman said Tuesday that most of the roughly 190 prospective jurors who filled out questionnaires last week said they had heard about the case.

Mr. Ravi is charged with 15 criminal counts. The most serious are two bias intimidation counts that accuse him of acting against roommate Tyler Clementi because he’s gay. Those hate crime charges are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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