American Scene: Soldier gets life sentence for killing two roommates

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GEORGIA

FORT STEWART — A soldier was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for the 2010 slayings of two Army roommates, both shot at a U.S. base camp in Iraq hours after the suspect complained their room was too messy.

A military jury at Fort Stewart spent just an hour deliberating before returning with a sentence for Army Spc. Neftaly Platero, 34, of Kingwood, Texas. The same court-martial convicted him Tuesday of premeditated murder in the killings of Pfc. Gebrah Noonan of Watertown, Conn., and Spc. John Carrillo Jr. of Stockton, Calif.

Under military law, premeditated murder carries a minimum life sentence. The only decision for jurors was whether to deny Platero the possibility of parole. Commanders at Fort Stewart, where all three soldiers served in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, decided last year not to seek the death penalty.

William Noonan, the father of one of the slain soldiers, said Wednesday he would have preferred the death penalty for Platero but got some solace that jurors decided he should never be freed from prison.

ARIZONA

State asks for haikus to promote storm safety

PHOENIX — Arizona transportation officials are getting the message out about dust storm safety in precisely 17 syllables.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is encouraging Twitter users to tweet haikus around the theme safe driving in haboobs - severe dust storms that hit Phoenix in the summer.

An example, from Phoenix resident Mindy Lee, who goes by the Twitter handle mindyblee: “Haboobs blow through town / In one instant it is dark / Pull over and wait.”

Transportation Department spokesman Timothy Tait says the agency was looking for a creative way to engage residents in its “Pull Aside Stay Alive” campaign.

So far they’ve seen more than 30 entries and are re-tweeting some of the best ones.

The haiku challenge runs through Friday. Tweeters are asked to include the hashtag (hash)HaboobHaiku.

MONTANA

Driver clocked at 134 mph charged by trooper with DUI

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