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American Scene: Two men sentenced in Fast and Furious gun case
STERLING HEIGHTS — Prosecutors on Monday charged a man arrested in May with first-degree murder in the killing of four suspected escorts whose bodies were found stuffed in the trunk of abandoned cars in Detroit last year.
James Brown, 24, has been in custody since his spring arrest on lesser charges, and prosecutors have since been building their murder case against him. The victims, traveling in pairs, had visited his Macomb County home. Their bodies were discovered on two different days last December, miles away in Detroit, Sterling Heights police Detective Mary Whiting told a judge.
Mr. Brown said little in court and allowed his attorney to enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.
At least three of the four victims promoted themselves as escorts-for-hire on Backpage.com. Investigators think that’s how Mr. Brown made contact with them.
Some Sandy victims dream of $425M Powerball riches
LONG BEACH — Forget FEMA, insurance adjusters and construction cleanups. Some of the people hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy are hoping one thing this week answers their prayers: a $425 million Powerball jackpot.
Wednesday night’s drawing is one of the biggest multistate lottery takes in U.S. history, and the high hopes for walking away with multimillion-dollar checks extended to some New York and New Jersey communities hardest hit by last month’s storm. Many residents said that if they won, they’d even give back to the recovery effort.
With so much money in the jackpot, it would be particularly special if several victims of the storm could split the winnings, said Long Beach, N.Y., retiree Raymond Parker.
“A lot of people should win, not just one,” he said at a stationery store in Long Beach where he frequently buys lottery tickets. He said his plan was to stick with his usual $4 purchase of two Powerball tickets and that if he won, he would give money to his nieces and nephews to pay for their college educations and donate to the Red Cross as thanks for their relief efforts in Long Beach.
Wednesday’s jackpot was the record for a Powerball drawing, said Christy Calicchia, a spokeswoman for the New York Lottery.
Man says he ‘fired more shots than I needed’
LITTLE FALLS — A Minnesota homeowner who shot two unarmed teenagers in the midst of an apparent Thanksgiving Day break-in told authorities he feared they had a weapon, but acknowledged firing “more shots than I needed to” and appeared to take pride in “a good clean finishing shot” for one teen, according to investigators.
Byron David Smith, 64, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder in a criminal complaint that was chilling for the clinical way investigators said he described the shootings.
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