Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spector sentenced to 19 years to life

LOS ANGELES | Phil Spector was sentenced Friday to 19 years to life in prison for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, who was shot through the mouth in the music producer’s home six years ago.

Spector, 69, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler ordered a term of 15 years to life for second-degree murder plus four years for personal use of a gun.

The judge also ordered Spector to pay $16,811 in funeral expenses, $9,740 to a state victims’ restitution fund and other fees.

Spector, dressed in his customary dark pinstripe suit with a red silk tie, was led away immediately. His attorney asked that he be transferred immediately from county jail to a state prison. It was not immediately known to which prison Spector would be assigned.

Swine flu deaths push Texas total to 5

EL PASO | Health officials in Texas are reporting that a pregnant woman and man who died earlier this month both had swine flu.

State health officials said Friday the deaths bring the number of swine flu victims in Texas to five, more than any other state.

The El Paso Department of Public Health said laboratory tests confirmed the virus in a 24-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man.

In the U.S., officials reported 8,975 confirmed cases Friday and 15 deaths. Those figures do not include the latest two deaths confirmed in Texas.

Prince Harry tours 9/11 site on visit

NEW YORK | Prince Harry bowed his head in prayer at ground zero Friday, then toured the Sept. 11 attack site and shook New Yorkers’ hands in his first official visit to the U.S.

“Big question - when is this supposed to be finished?” the 24-year-old prince asked two officials showing him rebuilding plans of the World Trade Center site.

The prince laid a wreath of peonies and yellow and white roses at a spot on the site overlooking the Sept. 11 memorial under construction, then bowed his head for several minutes.

Attached to the wreath was his handwritten note, reading “In respectful memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and in admiration of the courage shown by the people of this great city on that day.” It was signed, “Harry.”

Lawmaker seeks alcohol treatment

OKLAHOMA CITY | Congressman John Sullivan of Oklahoma said he has entered the Betty Ford Center in California to receive treatment for his addiction to alcohol.

The Republican lawmaker released a statement Friday saying he had checked himself into the treatment center Thursday night.

In the brief statement, he said he would take a temporary leave of absence from Congress and asked for the public’s support.

Land acquired for Flight 93 memorial

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. | The National Park Service has acquired about 950 acres of land for the Flight 93 National Memorial in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Friday’s announcement said it’s the Park Service’s largest single acquisition of private land for the memorial near Shanksville, about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

The land includes the only road connecting U.S. highway 30 to the crash site. This will let visitors go to the memorial without driving on local roads and disturbing residents.

The crash of United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, killed 40 passengers and crew and four terrorist hijackers who likely were trying to crash it into the White House or U.S. Capitol. The 9/11 Commission report said the hijackers crashed the plane as passengers tried to wrest control of the cockpit.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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