American Scene: California serial killer arraigned in NYC case

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NEW YORK

NEW YORK — A convicted California serial killer pleaded not guilty Thursday to murdering two women in New York City in the 1970s, charges lodged just last year after suspicion swirled around him for decades.

Rodney Alcala, a former dating-show contestant who has spent the past 33 years tangling with authorities in a series of trials and overturned convictions, was arraigned Thursday in the deaths of Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover.

A former photographer with an IQ said to top 160, Alcala was convicted in 2010 of killing four women and a 12-year-old girl in Southern California in the 1970s.

OHIO

Pro-life group falls short in bid to add referendum

COLUMBUS A pro-life group in Ohio is facing a significant shortfall in the number of signatures needed to force a voter referendum this fall on whether the state constitution should declare that life begins when a human egg is fertilized, throwing up another obstacle for the “personhood” movement.

With less than two weeks before a crucial July deadline, the group’s director says it has close to 20,000, or 5 percent, of the roughly 385,000 signatures required for the proposed personhood constitutional amendment to appear on November ballots.

Stacks of signatures have yet to be counted, and more arrive each day.

Still, Patrick Johnston, the director of Personhood Ohio, acknowledges that the group might not secure enough signatures in time to make the ballot in a state considered key to the presidential election.

TEXAS

Boy, 6, dies of wounds suffered in hotel shooting

McALLEN — Six-year-old Jaydin Thompson died after authorities say he was shot by his mother’s boyfriend at a South Texas hotel in an attack that also killed his 1-year-old half-brother.

Jaydin’s 21-month-old half-brother, Davian Bluntson, died in the shooting in the Laredo hotel. Demond Bluntson, the younger boy’s father, is charged with capital murder and aggravated assault in the attack.

Mr. Bluntson, 36, is being held on $2.5 million bond and could face yet more charges in El Campo where police believe he killed his 28-year-old girlfriend, Brandy Cerny.

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