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Photo by George Frey/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A review of operations at the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah has found that another batch of live anthrax that was shipped to Australia in 2008, U.S. officials said Friday.

Like the previously reported batch, mistakenly sent over the past year to 18 laboratories in nine states and a U.S. military laboratory in South Korea, it appears that the 2008 batch of anthrax had not been fully irradiated to render it inactivated, officials said.

New testing of anthrax samples irradiated at Dugway in past years has found that a batch irradiated in 2008 still contained live spores, a U.S. official told ABC News. Most of that batch was shipped to Australia for research in that country.

Officials are trying to determine what institutions in Australia received the possibly live anthrax and its whereabouts.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon acknowledged the mistaken shipment of live anthrax possibly sent to private companies and academic institutions for research.

Last Friday, a private laboratory in Maryland informed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it had received a live sample of anthrax. Further investigation determined that the batch of anthrax that had been the source of the shipment had not been fully irradiated in March 2014 and contained both live and inactivated anthrax spores, according to a Department of Defense official.

The other laboratories have located their samples and sent them to the CDC for testing to determine if they too received live anthrax.

No workers who came into contact with the samples have exhibited any symptoms of anthrax infection, according to the Pentagon and the CDC.

However, as a protective measure, three lab workers in the United States and 22 military lab workers in South Korea are receiving antibiotic treatments, officials said.

The Department of Defense on Friday said it had ordered a comprehensive review of lab procedures, processes and protocols related to inactivating spore-forming anthrax. The review, ordered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, comes after 24 labs in 11 states and two foreign countries -- South Korea and Australia -- are believed to have received potentially live samples of anthrax.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) – Police in Northern Colorado say two fatal traffic shootings in the area now appear to be connected, based on their investigation.

Cori Romero was shot as drove onto the freeway in Fort Collins on April 22nd. Then on May 18th, John Jacoby was shot dead as he was riding his bicycle on a county road in Windsor at around 10 am.

The FBI is joining local authorities to investigate the two shootings, which appear to be random.

Since April, there have been at least nine reports of car windows shattering while drivers were on the interstate in the area, ABC’s Denver affiliate KMGH-TV reports.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – The man who created and operated the “Silk Road” website that was used to traffic more than $200 million in illegal drugs and other goods and services was sentenced to life in prison Friday in New York.

Ross Ulbricht, known to some as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life for owning and operating what was known as Silk Road, a hidden website for anonymously buying and selling illegal goods. Ulbricht was found guilty on all seven charges filed against him, including distributing narcotics by means of the internet.

“Ulbricht was a drug dealer and criminal profiteer who exploited people’s addictions and contributed to the deaths of at least six young people,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Ulbricht went from hiding his cybercrime identity to becoming the face of cybercrime”

According to court documents, Ulbricht, 31, created Silk Road in January 2011 and operated the site until it was shut down in October 2013. During that time, Silk Road was used by over 100,000 people to buy drugs and other illegal goods.

The identities and computer locations of Silk Road users were hidden -- routed through computers around the world using a system called ‘Tor’ that hides IP addresses. Categories for goods and services on the site included “cannabis,” “opioids,” “psychedelics” and “dissociatives.” Purchases were paid for with bitcoins, which are untraceable.

Narcotics sales on the site contributed to at least six overdose deaths, charging documents said.

The court found that Ulbricht raked in roughly $13 million in commissions running site. In addition to his life sentence, Ulbricht has been ordered to pay over $183 million.  

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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An undated booking photo of Otis Byrd, 54. Mississippi Parole Board(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice said Friday that it would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the death of Otis Byrd, a Mississippi man who was discovered hanging from a tree in March.

The body of Byrd, 54, was found in Port Gibson, Mississippi on March 19. Justice Department investigators, along with state and local officials, conducted an investigation into the circumstances of Byrd's death in the hopes of determining whether it was the result of homicide.

"Under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an individual willfully caused bodily injury because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or disability," the DOJ explains in a statement.

"After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents determined that there was no evidence to prove that Byrd's death was a homicide," the DOJ added, saying that it had closed its investigation into Byrd's death.

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Kuzma/iStock/Thinkstock(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) --  A judge from an Ohio town named "Painesville" ordered a woman to be "pepper sprayed" in court Thursday by a man she attacked with the tear-inducing substance in order to give the victim a "feeling of vengeance."

Judge Michael Cicconetti meted out the unusual punishment, captured on video, after giving Diamond Gaston a choice between that and jail time. But unbeknownst to her, the liquid sprayed at her was just saline -- the judge's attempt to scare her straight without harming her.

"It was a family-feud type situation at a Burger King and the victim ended up losing five hours of work that day he got pepper-sprayed,” Cicconetti told ABC News Friday. “I like to give the victims a feeling of vengeance.”

Surveillance footage of the courtroom shows the man aiming for her face and spraying the substance, Cicconetti said.

Half the punishment was just intimidation since Cicconetti said it wasn’t real pepper spray. The judge had his bailiff spray him in the eyes three separate times before court to make sure the saline mixture, which the police department uses for training, didn’t hurt like real pepper spray.

“I don’t want people coming back to my courtroom so I’m not afraid to scare them straight,” he said.

Gaston told Cicconetti she learned her lesson.

This wasn't Cicconetti's first time dealing out an unusual sentence. In his 22 years as a judge, he told ABC News his most memorable punishment was forcing a woman to spend the night in the woods after she tried to abandon 35 kittens.

“It’s not necessarily only about an eye for an eye,” he said. “I want everyone in my courtroom, including the victims, to feel like justice was served."

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Not even one month after two gunmen opened fire outside of an event in Texas celebrating artists’ portrayals of the Prophet Mohammad, the FBI is warning authorities across the country to be vigilant as a similar event gets underway in Arizona.
A demonstration dubbed the “Freedom of Speech Rally II” is scheduled for Friday outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

The FBI, Phoenix Police Department and other law enforcement partners will have a stepped-up presence at the event, authorities told ABC News.

And while authorities have found no specific, credible threats to the Phoenix event, the FBI issued an intelligence bulletin ahead of the demonstration noting the "anti-Islam" event "may trigger some U.S.-based violent extremists to mobilize to violence."

Extremists inside the United States “remain largely unconnected to each other, and their behaviors are often highly individualized, impeding our ability to predict their reactions with a great deal of confidence,” the FBI warned in its bulletin.

The FBI pointed out that Tweets or texts can escalate into something far more dangerous, citing one Twitter user who posted a message online saying, “May Allah send one of his soldiers to Phoenix ameen.”

“Although the most frequent reaction among U.S.-based violent extremists is discussion and verbal disapproval via online communication platforms, the [May 3] shooting in Garland [Texas] illustrates the unpredictable nature of violent extremists and the potential for a single event to generate violence,” the FBI noted in its bulletin.

In addition, the bulletin raises the possibility that technologically savvy extremists could launch cyber-attacks against people or organizations perceived to be defaming Islam.

Like the Texas incident -- during which two alleged extremists were killed by police providing security at that event -- the Phoenix event is set to feature what it calls a “Muhammad Cartoon Contest.”

About 3,700 people were invited online to the Phoenix event, and at least 315 had confirmed their attendance by the time the FBI issued its bulletin Thursday.

Adding to the volatility surrounding Friday’s event, the FBI document noted that a Facebook page associated with the Phoenix demonstration encourages individuals to “utilize their second amendment rights should their first amendment rights be violated” during the event, referring to the right to bear arms and the right to free speech, respectively.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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New York State Police(ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y.) -- Angelika Graswald pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that she intentionally killed her fiance, Vincent Viafore, on a kayaking trip on New York’s Hudson River last month.

Graswald, 35, did not speak during her arraignment in Orange County Court in Goshen, New York; her attorney made the plea. She appeared attentive but did not portray her emotions, with her hair up, glasses on and cuffed hands in front of her.

Graswald's being held on $3 million bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for June 22.

Graswald has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of her fiance, whose body was found last weekend in the Hudson River after he disappeared on their kayaking trip last month.

The Orange County, New York, District Attorney's office alleges Graswald tampered with Viafore's paddle and removed a plug from his kayak so it would fill with water.

"It is also alleged that she moved the paddle away from him as he was struggling to stay afloat with water temperatures in the 40-degree range, and failed to render him assistance including timely calls for help," the District Attorney's office said in a news release Tuesday.

But Graswald's attorney, Richard Portale, said the plug wasn't in Viafore's kayak in the first place.

"Vince knew that it wasn't in the kayak. He had taken several kayaking trips without it," Portale told ABC News Tuesday.

Portale said Graswald is looking forward to clearing her name.

"This is a terrible rush to judgment, and now I think that... the government's trying to backfill the evidence," Portale added.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Brandon Burchett(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A civil lawsuit filed against Fort Lauderdale, Florida claims that one of the three children injured in the Memorial Day beach bounce house incident suffered physical and mental trauma due to the city's negligence.

Brian Greenwald, the attorney representing the injured 5-year-old, claims when she fell out of the bounce house, she hurt her wrist and suffered emotional distress, according to ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV.

Greenwald's notice says the city acted with gross negligence by allowing the girl to enter the bounce house, according to WPLG.

Greenwald did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

After a waterspout came ashore on the Florida beach on Monday, it hit an inflated bouncy castle, tossing it into the air and injuring three children.

Video provided to ABC News by Brandon Burchett shows the swirling column of wind and ocean water head straight towards the amusement ride. The bouncy castle then got caught in the wind and flipped over repeatedly before it was swept even further up in the air.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said three children were injured. One was held overnight for observation and two were treated for minor fractures and released, police said.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor John Seiler called the incident "a freak act of nature that no one could have prepared for or predicted."

Seiler said in a statement: "The change in weather was sudden and severe. An intense waterspout came ashore rapidly and without warning, bringing forceful winds that meteorologists have estimated were between 65 and 85 miles per hour. Its powerful unpredictable path knocked down street lights and destroyed a cement basketball support structure."

The city said it has already put the bounce house vendor, All Star Events, on notice of their responsibility as "we continue to investigate the incident."

All Star Events may also face legal action on behalf of an 11-year-old boy injured in the bounce house. According to WPLG, a notice sent Tuesday from the law firm of Cohen and Cohen said the city and the event company acted in a negligent manner.

The city and the event company are expected to respond within 30 days or face legal action, WPLG reports.

All Star Events said in a statement: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by this freak occurrence. We are glad to learn that there were no serious injuries and that the three children affected have already been released from the hospital. We were as surprised as anyone by the events occurring yesterday during Memorial Day festivities on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. It still seems difficult to comprehend how merely yards away blankets and tables were left undisturbed. With safety as our top priority we are cooperating with the City and law enforcement to see what, if anything, might be done to prevent such an incident in the future."

Cohen and Cohen did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The skies have been less than friendly to several commercial flights traveling over New York recently.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it was investigating a report of an unmanned aircraft being operated illegally near LaGuardia Airport around 11 a.m. Friday as a plane prepared to land. The crew of Shuttle America Flight 2708 said it had to climb 200 feet to "avoid" the aircraft as the plane traveled over Brooklyn at an altitude of 2,700 feet, officials said.

In addition, pilots on four commercial flights reported being targeted by green lasers during flights over New York on Thursday night, the FAA said.

According to the FAA, the flights -- American 185, Shuttle America 4213, Delta 2292 and Delta 2634 -- were flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet about 4 miles northwest of Farmingdale on Long Island when the pilots reported that lasers were illuminating their aircraft, a federal crime.

"In addition, Sun Country Airlines Flight 249 reported a green laser illuminated the aircraft when it was 14 miles southwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport at around 11:30 p.m. There were no injuries reported. The FAA notified the New Jersey State Police last night," the FAA said in a statement.

The planes were flying out of John F. Kennedy international Airport.

No injuries were reported, and the flights all continued without further incident.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Friday, "Green laser pointers have been a repeated danger to pilots across the metropolitan area and country. Their use is on the rise and we must do something soon -- not after a plane crashes. The [Food and Drug Administration] should use its authority to do what I asked months ago: ban green, long-range, high-powered laser pointers once and for all. They're quickly becoming the weapon of choice for those who want to harass our pilots and should be abolished."

Authorities said they are investigating, but at this point no one has been taken into custody.

Pointing a laser into the cockpit of a plane carries a maximum of five years in federal prison and a quarter of a million dollars fine.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

(OXON HILL, Md.) -- The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended on Thursday night with not one, but two winners!

Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar were named co-champions Thursday night after running out of words.

This was the second consecutive year where the bee ended with co-champions, after Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar each earned a share of the title last year. Prior to 2014, the last tie was in 1962.

Shivashankar spelled the word scherenschnitte correctly to earn a share of the win, while Venkatachalam forced a draw by correctly spelling nunatak.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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God Gazarov is seen in this undated photo posted to LinkedIn. Courtesy God Gazarov(NEW YORK) -- His prayers have been answered. 

A Brooklyn, New York man named God won a battle with the credit reporting agency Equifax, which finally recognized his name after years of problems getting loans and higher limits, according to a court settlement. 

The 27-year-old sued the agency last year in Brooklyn Federal Court because Equifax claimed its computer systems wouldn't allow it to issue a credit report under the name God despite several pleas that his name was real. 

But now, the credit agency said it has made the "necessary alterations" so that its system recognizes the name for Gazarov and anyone else. His credit score is now near perfect, he told ABC News. 

"I never claimed I'm the almighty leader of the world," Gazarov joked. "This country is built on immigrants, and there's nothing wrong with people carrying non-American names. It's not like I'm trying to say I'm Mickey Mouse and my address is Disney World in Orlando." 

Equifax has also agreed to pay Gazarov an undisclosed amount of money to settle the lawsuit, said his lawyer James B. Fishman of Fishman & Mallon, LLP. 

"I realized this is something American companies need to be able to deal with," Fishman told ABC News Thursday. "There are plenty of people who come here from other countries, who have unusual names, and American companies need to understand they are real people with real names that should be recognized." 

According to court records, Gazarov, who came to the U.S. from Russia as a child, was denied a higher credit line from Capital One and a car loan from Infinity in recent years because Equifax reported he had no credit history. 

"Our claim was that they were put on notice four to five times he was a real individual and that God was his real name," Fishman said. "He gave them his driver’s license, social security card, tax return and even a letter from his landlord to prove he’s real." 

An Equifax representative even told Gazarov, a jewelry store owner, that he should consider changing his name, court documents said. 

"But I'd never want to change my name," Gazarov told ABC News. "I was named after my grandfather who's also named God, and I'm proud to carry his name. He was a very big commander in army and well respected back home."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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MariaArefyeva/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) –  Thousands of service members will be getting paid back by their student loan company this June. But this isn't a paycheck, it's more like a rebate.

That's because tens of thousands of service members in school were overcharged on their student loan interest rates by Navient (the loan company that includes the former Sallie Mae).

By law, service members' student loan rates are supposed to be capped at six percent.  But Navient charged some of these students more. The company will pay the students back this June, according to a Justice Department settlement announcement on Thursday.

“This compensation will provide much deserved financial relief to the nearly 78,000 men and women who were forced to pay more for their student loans than is required under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery said in a release. 

Checks for the students, which will be mailed out in June, range from 10 bucks to over $100,000. 

The department’s investigation of Navient came after service members complained about their student loan rates. The Department of Education is changing their system, adding a database that automatically identifies students who are are eligible for the lower interest rate, instead of requiring service members to apply for the benefit.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Bowe Bergdahl was investigated earlier this year following an allegation of harrassment, but the U.S. Army North said Thursday it cleared him of wrongdoing.

Bergdahl was accused by a fellow soldier who lived in his barracks at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. U.S. Army North spokesperson Lt. Col. Tim Beninato said in a statement Thursday that "the Army takes any allegation of Soldier misconduct very seriously," and that an investigation found the accusation to be untrue and "determined that no disciplinary action was warranted" in Bergdahl's case.

Beninato added that the U.S. Army North Command "promptly addressed [the allegation] with the Soldiers involved."

"Since February," he noted, "no further issues have been brought to the attention of this command."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- A potential trial date was set Thursday for the University of Virginia student who was left bloodied after being arrested outside of a Charlottesville bar, but the charges against him could still be dropped.

Honors student Martese Johnson was arrested by state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents outside a bar near campus on March 18 and the incident sparked protests over police brutality.

In late March, Johnson was expected to enter a not-guilty plea but did not because the prosecution asked for a continuance in the case.

Johnson was charged with public intoxication and obstructing justice.

The Commonwealth's Attorney Office has until June 12 to determine if they will drop the charges or not. If the charges are not dropped, the trial date has been set for Sept. 30.

"We are optimistic that once the investigation has been included, the prosecution will agree that the ABC officers did not have reasonable suspicion to apprehend and arrest Martese and that the charges will be dismissed," Johnson's attorney's office said in a statement.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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This file photo dated 17 December 2001 shows a truck approaching the main gate at the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground, from which samples containing live anthax spores were sent to 18 laboratory facilities. Credit: RGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Eighteen laboratories in nine states have begun turning over samples of anthrax to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if they contained live anthrax mistakenly provided to them by the U.S. military, the Pentagon said Thursday.

In a precautionary move, 22 employees at a military laboratory in South Korea that also received a shipment of the spores have been ordered to take the antibiotic Cipro because they may have been exposed to live spores during lab training conducted late last week, officials said.

The Pentagon has said that there is no threat to the general public from the inadvertent shipping of live anthrax and that none of the personnel in South Korea have demonstrated any signs or symptoms of exposure to anthrax.

The anthrax distributed to the 18 laboratories originated in one milliliter of live anthrax known as AG1 that was irradiated on March 18, 2014, a Defense Department official told ABC News.

The irradiation was supposed to have left the sample fully inactivated, but subsequent testing has shown it still left some live spores in the sample, the official said.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the Dugway facility provided samples of the AG1 batch to 18 private and academic laboratories in nine states as well as a U.S. military laboratory in South Korea. Each of the institutions was provided samples of the AG1 anthrax for various forms of anthrax research or product development.

On April 29, 2015, the military’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland shipped some of the AG1 anthrax to eight companies in six states, according to the Pentagon. It was a private company in Maryland that notified the CDC on May 22 that it had received live anthrax as part of that shipment.

Since then, the CDC and the Pentagon have been working to secure all of the samples of AG1 anthrax that had been sent by FedEx to 18 laboratories.

"We are confident that the packaging and transport of these items was in accordance with the procedures outlined to ensure that the public is not at any risk," said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Since the CDC and the Pentagon were notified last week that the AG1 stock might contain live spores, the remaining AG1 stock at the Dugway Proving Ground has been tested and found to contain a mix of both live and inactivated anthrax.

Stanford University confirmed Thursday that its medical school had received a vial of anthrax last July, but that it had not been used by school personnel since it was initially received 10 months ago.

After the school was notified by the CDC that it may have received minute amounts of live anthrax, the university launched “a safety review of the laboratory where the material was handled by two individuals under appropriate biosafety guidelines," the university said in a statement.

“Stanford secured the vial in question for shipping to the CDC for evaluation to determine whether, in fact, the material was not completely inactivated. Stanford has not received any reports of incidents or reactions over the 10 months since the material was last used in the laboratory," the university said.

U.S. military commanders at Osan Air Base in South Korea ordered the destruction of the AG1 sample they had received early last year.

“Emergency response personnel from the 51st Fighter Wing responded and destroyed the sample located in a self-contained contingency facility at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, after it was discovered the bacteria might not be an inert training sample as expected,” the 51st Fighter Wing said in a statement.

The 22 personnel may have been exposed during training on laboratory equipment conducted between May 21 and 23.

“The lab workers were wearing standard lab apparel, including lab coat, eye protection, gloves and using a bio-safety cabinet with filter," according to Col. Amy Hannah, a spokesperson for U.S. Forces Korea.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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