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Retracing the Steps of Craig Spencer, Doctor Who Tested Positive for Ebola


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Officials are retracing the steps of a doctor who tested positive for Ebola on Thursday, with the doctor in isolation at a New York City hospital and three others under quarantine, city and state officials said.

Dr. Craig Allen Spencer, 33, was placed in isolation at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday after reporting a 100.3 fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. He had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea -- one of the West African countries battling an outbreak of the deadly virus -- for Doctors Without Borders, officials said. Spencer left Guinea on Oct. 14 and traveled through Brussels, Belgium, and arrived at JFK Airport on Oct. 17.

Spencer had contact with four people -- his fiancée, two friends and an Uber driver, according to New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. His fiancée, identified by a family friend as Morgan Dixon, is under quarantine at Bellevue Hospital while his two friends are quarantined at home, Bassett said. None of the people under quarantine are showing Ebola symptoms. The Uber driver isn't considered to be at risk for contracting the virus.

Health officials say Spencer took the A, L and 1 subway trains on Wednesday. He also went for a jog and visited The Gutter, a bowling alley in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Gutter was closed Thursday "out of an abundance of caution," Bassett said.

The New York City Health Department will check the bowling alley on Friday, Bassett said.

Spencer's apartment was sealed off after it was cleared. Since he tested positive, a team will decontaminate his apartment in the Harlem section of New York, officials said.

Neighbors were saddened to learn about Spencer's diagnosis.

"I really hope the odds are in his favor in regards to his recovery," neighbor John Roston said.

The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola, which is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, are slim -- "close to nil" that the subway rides would pose a risk, Bassett said.

Still, the news rankled some New Yorkers.

"Oh my gosh!" said Charles Kerr, 60, as his friends gathered on a Harlem sidewalk murmured. "This changes the situation. The guy must be coughing, sitting against people. Now you've got to think."

Kerr said he wasn't afraid, but he wants a stricter approach to anyone coming from the Ebola-affected countries.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking at a Thursday press conference, expressed their confidence in the staff at Bellevue Hospital to treat Spencer.

"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said. "We've been preparing for months for the threat posed by Ebola. We have clear and strong protocols, which are being scrumptiously followed and were followed in this instance."

Earlier this week, a team with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that Bellevue’s hospital staff had proper protocols and was prepared to treat Ebola patients, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said.

Cuomo said he had spoken with Ron Klain, who was appointed by President Obama as his "Ebola czar." A CDC team was also en route to New York, said Frieden.

New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center described Spencer as a "dedicated humanitarian...who went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population."

Spencer is the fourth patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, tested positive for the virus at the end of September in Dallas, where he infected two nurses who cared for him: Nina Pham and Amber Vinson.

Duncan died on Oct. 8, shortly before the nurses tested positive for the virus.

Vinson has been declared virus-free, her family announced Wednesday. Pham's condition has been upgraded from "fair" to "good."

Health officials decided to test the New York City patient for Ebola because of the patient's work, symptoms and travel history, according to a statement from Bellevue Hospital. Bellevue is the designated hospital for the diagnosis and treatment of Ebola patients in New York City.


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Hatchet-Wielding Man Who Attacked Cops 'Just an Angry Guy'


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A hatchet-wielding man who attacked two police officers in New York City before he was shot to death was likely “just an angry guy” and was not connected to any terrorist organizations, a police source told ABC News.

The attack happened at 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street in the city’s borough of Queens.

Surveillance video released by police shows the man -- later identified as Zale Thompson, 32 -- wearing a heavy green jacket, raising the 18 ½ inch hatchet, prepared to strike as he walked down the sidewalk. The man was unprovoked and did not speak before swinging his hatchet, police said.

Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital with a head wound following the attack, police said. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, is listed in stable condition with an arm injury.

Additionally, a 29-year-old woman located nearby was accidentally struck by a bullet in her lower back and is recovering from surgery, police said.

Police initially wondered if the attack was terrorism-related, but according to the police source, authorities haven’t been able to connect Thompson to any terrorist organization.

“The initial impression is that he’s just an angry guy who’s ranting about the American government and American oppression of foreign people,” the source said.

Police executed several search warrants and found other axes and hunting knives, the source said.

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Red Hot Lava Flow Edging Toward Hawaiian Town


iStock/Thinkstock(PAHOA, Hawaii) -- A lava flow threatening homes and a town on the Big Island of Hawaii has gained speed in recent days, advancing more than five football fields in just the last 48 hours.

Hawaii civil defense authorities and scientists are closely monitoring the lava’s progress, which is steadily encroaching on the small town of Pahoa and several Big Island subdivisions. The flow is now less than a mile from Pahoa, Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Thursday.

Oliveira said changes in topography may help slow or change the path of the red-hot lava flow, which emerged from the Kilauea volcano East Rift Zone on June 27 and has traveled roughly 11 miles since then.

Authorities now say they are preparing for the inevitable. About 10,000 residents on the island could be affected, Oliveira said. When the lava gets too close -- and Oliveira says he doesn’t yet know when that is -- the plan is to give residents three to five days warning before they need to evacuate.

“We’d like to allow people adequate time to make whatever plans they need to make on a comfortable timeline,” Oliveira said.

Authorities said the lava traveled 425 yards from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning. The lava devoured another 130 acres of terrain by Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Emergency roads are already being constructed in case the lava cuts off people living in the lower Puna area. Power company officials began efforts Thursday to protect electrical transmission lines.

Big Island residents are used to living with one of the world’s most active, and sometimes destructive, volcanos. Since the current eruption began in 1983, unstoppable lava flows have added 500 new acres to the island and destroyed at least 181 homes, a visitor center, a church and a community center, according the National Park Service.

Oliveira says past efforts to slow or divert lava flows simply don’t work, and can create more problems.

“Any redirecting of the flow would likely push it into another subdivision in another area, basically putting new properties at risk that would not have been at risk before,” Oliveira told ABC News.

“If we divert it, we are going to push it into someone else’s backyard,” he said.


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US Taking a Tougher Stance Against Animal Cruelty


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- People who hate animal cruelty should be happy about an important change in federal law that will go into effect next year.

Beginning in 2015, the FBI will consider animal cruelty as a crime against society, falling into the same category as homicide, kidnapping, burglary and arson. Animal cruelty crimes will also be included in the Uniform Crime Report -- National Incident Based Reporting System.

The change should help law enforcement authorities get a better handle on understanding the motivation behind these crimes as well as stopping future ones from occurring.

Animal cruelty crimes will be reported to the UCR under the following classifications: simple/gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse; and animal sexual abuse.

Besides protecting animals from some unspeakable acts, the FBI also believes that the new system will help prevent violent crimes against humans since studies have shown that people who commit heinous acts such as serial killing often abused, hurt and killed animals during their adolescence.

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Murder Suspect Back in Custody After Accidental Release


DPSCS(BALTIMORE) -- A murder suspect who was mistakenly released from a Baltimore detention center is back in custody, authorities said.

Baltimore police captured Rodriguez Purnell about 6 p.m. He was accidentally allowed to walk free from the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center on Friday, police said.

Purnell, 30, has been in and out of jail for drugs and robbery over the years. He was recently incarcerated on a first-degree murder charge, accused of fatally shooting T.J. Rheubottom, 27, last year.

Purnell was in custody waiting to be retried for Rheubottom’s murder after his first trial ended in a hung jury, but after corrections officers confused his current case with the old charges, they let him go. Authorities didn’t realize the mistake until two days later when the victim’s family said they called the jail after Purnell was spotted hanging out in the neighborhood.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections said in a statement Wednesday that it placed an employee on paid administrative leave for mistakenly releasing Purnell.

“Preliminary results indicate a lapse in release procedures that would otherwise have identified the pending charges at the time of release,” the statement said.

Rheubottom’s mother, Jackie Davis, was stunned by Purnell’s release and worried for the safety of her family and witnesses in the murder case.

“This should have never happened,” Davis told ABC News.

The incident remains under investigation.

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Jodi Arias Trial Hit With Another Juror Issue


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Jodi Arias trial ended early on Thursday because of a "juror issue," the latest incident in the four-day-old trial involving jurors.

The jury is not expected to return to court until Monday. The court did not make clear what the issue was.

But so far, the panel has already lost two alternates.

The judge ordered a group of 19 jurors to sit through what is expected to be a two-month trial that will determine whether Arias should be condemned to death for the 2008 murder of her boyfriend Travis Alexander. Arias, 34, was convicted last year of killing Alexander with a gunshot, 27 stab wounds and by slitting his throat. But the jury was split on whether Arias should be executed, requiring a second jury for the sentencing phase of the trial.

The plan to have seven alternate jurors for the sentencing phase was whittled to six on the first day when one juror didn't show up because of a family emergency.

On Wednesday, a second juror was dismissed because of improper contact with a member of the media that the juror mistook for ABC News legal analyst Nancy Grace, and for not wearing her juror badge.

If a third juror gets booted, the trial will be left with four alternates as the lengthy trial is just beginning.

The trial promises to be an ordeal with lots of grisly testimony and photos about the wounds, as well as raunchy photos, texts and phone message between Arias and Alexander. On the first day of the trial prosecutor Juan Martinez showed the jury a photo of Alexander's gaping neck wound.

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Putting New Football Helmets to the Test: What's Safest?


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Preventing concussions has become a top priority for elite players and anyone with a child sporting a football jersey, and new technology and research is racing to try to make the game safer for all.

Virginia Tech University, which has tracked more than 300,000 impacts on its football team, is the epicenter for research into safer helmets. Their method uses a simple but critical test: lifting a football helmet rimmed with sensors six feet into the air, then dropping it onto a rubber-coated concrete and steel block.

The test mimics what players can face on the field, researchers told ABC News. Then a one- to five-star safety rating is assigned for each helmet tested. Helmets with more stars provide a reduction in concussion risk compared to helmets with fewer stars.

"If you don’t make a five-star helmet, a lot of times you can’t even bid on the sale of helmets. If a school puts out a call for proposals, it’ll say we are only taking bids for 5-star Virginia Tech rated helmets,” Stefan Duma, the director of the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences at Virginia Tech, told ABC News. “I think if you are a manufacturer, you can’t be in the business unless you are making 5-star helmets.”

ABC News got an exclusive look inside the Virginia Tech lab, where engineers are doing something not unlike crash testing for automobiles.

“When you go buy a car it’s very clear this is a 4-star car, it’s a 5-star car. A lot of work goes into that. We basically wanted to develop a system analogous for helmets,” Duma said. “So when you go buy a helmet you can look at our website and see an independent way to see which perform better than others.”

Researchers took ABC News into the lab as they tested three new helmets on the market, each boasting new technologies -- two from manufacturer SG and one from Riddell. The SG helmets are lighter, weighing half as much as other helmets.

“The interesting thing about this helmet,” Duma said in reference to the Simpson or SG helmet, “is that the shell is carbon fiber or Kevlar, so it’s super light and they use a different padding on the inside.”

And one from Riddell -- the Speed Flex helmet, just released this fall.

“For the first time you've got a company making a non-ridged shell so you see this part right here, it actually deforms, that’s very unusual,” Duma said.

“You can push on that and see how easy it bends in,” Duma explained, noting that the flexibility is expected to be an additional safety feature. “That’s their claim.”

After two straight days of testing, all three helmets tested received a 5-star rating. The helmets they are testing are for kids 14 years and older.

Virginia Tech found Riddell's new flex design reduced head acceleration better than any helmet they've tested.

Click here for a full list of their tested helmets and ratings.

The 5-star rating for both SG helmets came with two significant points: cracking was found in the helmet padding, or liner, in both helmets tested.

SG told ABC News: "The helmets are safe to use through the season" even with some cracking of the liner. “Annual reconditioning of helmets includes replacing liners," a cost SG estimates around $16 per foam liner.

Virginia Tech also noted that SG indicates their helmets have a two-year lifespan -- much shorter than the 10-year lifespan most other helmet companies claim. The company offers the possibility of re-certifying the helmet after two years.

Regarding the two-year lifespan, SG said "the helmets are new technology...and they haven't been available long enough to know if they will last beyond two years."

Virginia Tech researchers said they hope the work done inside the lab to rate and improve helmets will make football a safer sport.

“We want parents to learn that getting out of the old helmets, getting into the new better helmets, that’s gonna reduce [your kid’s] risk,” Duma said.

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Missing Nashville Boy Told Police He Rode Megabus Solo to Atlanta


iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- An 11-year old boy from North Nashville who went missing earlier this week has been found safe in Atlanta after apparently hopping a Megabus near his hometown to make the trip by himself.

Police said Wednesday that they discovered the boy walking in downtown Atlanta early Tuesday morning. He had last been seen the previous day in downtown Nashville.

The fact that the boy, identified as Nathan Long, made it from Tennessee to Georgia has raised questions about how he was able by himself to buy a ticket and board the Megabus.

The policy of Megabus, outlined on its website, states, "All children under 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult (17 years of age or over) when traveling on Megabus.com. Unaccompanied children under the age of 17 are not permitted to travel on Megabus.com. We recommend that young adults be prepared to produce a photo ID with proof of age to avoid being refused from traveling on our buses."

Sean Hughes, associate director of corporate affairs for Megabus, told ABC News that the bus line is investigating the report. "We're looking into it and we take it very seriously," Hughes said. "Safety is our number one priority."

Asked if Long actually boarded the Megabus in Nashville, Hughes said, "Were not sure. We're actively looking to piece it together."

Hughes said that if the surveillance video, referenced in a Tennessean article, that places Long at 28th Avenue North and Buchanan Street at 7:15 p.m. Monday is accurate, it's unlikely that he actually took a Megabus. The timing would make it incredibly hard for the boy to catch the one bus headed to Atlanta that night. The Megabus website shows only one departure to Atlanta Monday night, at 7:30 p.m.

Long was last seen at about 6 p.m. Monday leaving his home in the Cumberland View public housing complex. Siblings told police that the boy took his backpack, the Tennessean reported.

Metro Nashville Police told ABC News that Long's mother was scheduled to go to Atlanta to pick up her son Thursday.

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Nebraska High School OKs Guns In Senior Portraits


iStock/Thinkstock(BROKEN BOW, Neb.) -- A Nebraska school district changed its policy to allow seniors to pose with guns for their yearbook photos, and the school's superintendent says he's just catching up with the rest of the Midwest.

Students can pose with any type of prop, from rifles to basketballs, as long as what they're wearing meets the school's dress code and the photo is "tasteful and appropriate," according to the new policy introduced this week.

"We are a very rural community right in the center of Nebraska where hunting and other shooting sports are very popular," Broken Bow Public Schools Superintendent Mark Sievering said. "We have something that is known as the One Box Pheasant Hunt that is a hunt attended by people all over the nation."

While hunting is huge, the city of Broken Bow is small. In fact, the district only has one high school, so the new policy doesn't affect many students.

"We're a town of about 3,500 people," Sievering said. "On any given year, we might have 60 to 70 seniors. We're not talking about hundreds of kids or several schools in a district."

Still, when news of the new rule broke in the Omaha World-Herald, Sievering said he got calls from people across the nation who pictured "a fourth-grader coming into school and having their picture taken with a gun."

"That is not what this is about," he said, adding that students take the senior photos off campus. Sievering said he realizes that it could be easy for people who live in other parts of the country, where yearbook photos are taken at school, to "misconstrue" his policy.


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There was never a ban on weapons in senior photos at Broken Bow High School, but the district generally didn't allow it, the superintendent said. Last year when a yearbook adviser asked about the policy, Sievering realized there wasn't one, and he and the school board decided hunting was an important hobby to many students, and should be represented in the yearbook if students choose.

"I'm confident that students across the country are already taking photos like this. This is not a new thing," he said.

Photographer Brian Baer said he takes yearbook photos for students throughout the state of Nebraska, including in Broken Bow, and has never heard of anyone banning weapons in photos.

"I've been in business for 20 years doing senior portraits, and this is the first time it's been called to attention," he said. "And I think it was addressed because of some sensitivity of school shootings that are becoming more common across the country, unfortunately."

"When we do senior portraits, we ask our students to consider an activity that they're interested in, that they're passionate about," Baer added. "Sometimes it's dancing, sometimes it's basketball, sometimes hunting is the activity they're interested in."

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Toddler Slams SUV into Virginia Automotive Shop


iStock/Thinkstock(CHESTERFIELD, Va.) -- A 2-year-old girl in Virginia escaped with no injuries after she put her mother’s car in neutral, cruised through four lanes of traffic and crashed the car head-on into an automotive shop.

“I was just sitting behind my desk and all of a sudden heard a tremendous boom and jumped up to check and an SUV had hit the wall of the building,” Tony Price, the manager of Adam’s Automotive, told ABC News Thursday.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. Wednesday after the toddler’s mother, who was not identified, went in to pay at a gas station across the road from the auto shop.

“As soon as I looked out the window, the mom was at the vehicle and was scooping the daughter out,” Price said.

The road that the toddler crossed in her mom’s Ford Expedition includes four lanes of traffic that, miraculously, did not have any traffic at that time.

“Nobody hit it. No one had to avoid it. It was amazing,” said Price.

The mother told police officers and Price that her daughter managed to get out of her car seat and put the car in neutral, which then caused the Expedition to drift across the usually busy road.

No charges were filed in the incident according to both Price and local ABC News affiliate WRIC.

Calls placed to the Chesterfield Police Department by ABC News were not returned as of this writing.

The toddler emerged from the crash with only a slight bruise on her face, according to Price.

His business, however, received what he described as “extensive damage.”

“We’re getting estimates on it today,” Price said.

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Statue of Liberty to Get Dressed Up for Halloween


Courtesy of Nick Graham(NEW YORK) -- Even for her 125th birthday, Lady Liberty didn't get this dressed up. But this Halloween, the Statue of Liberty will be decked out, sporting snazzy bow ties to promote the launch of a new menswear brand from designer Nick Graham.

"I was just thinking of something that would be fun to do, dressing up something very large," Graham said. "Mount Rushmore is too far from here, so the next best thing is the Statue of Liberty."

So even if the polka-dot bow ties don't match Lady Liberty's robe, they'll have to do, he joked.

Graham isn't really planning on wrapping the ties around the statue because that would require permission from the National Parks Service.

Instead, helicopters will dangle massive, 35-pound nylon bow ties in front of the statue for a few minutes on the morning of Oct. 31 so it will appear to spectators on Manhattan that she's dressed up.

The National Park Service told ABC News it doesn't have a say in Graham's project because the Federal Aviation Administration controls the airspace around the statue -- but if it did, it wouldn't let it happen.

"We have not been asked for a permit and, if we were, we would not permit such activity within our property," NPS spokeswoman Mindi Rambo told ABC News.

Graham, known as the creator of Joe Fresh but who has since launched a namesake line, said his plan is meant all in good fun.

"Let's dress up America," he said. "That's what I'm really all about!"

After getting a snapshot of Lady Liberty "wearing" the bow tie, the helicopters will fly up and down the Hudson and East Rivers to promote Graham's new line of neckwear and dress shirts.

A third-party company will handle the banners and helicopters and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration, Graham said.

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

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Neuroscientist Faces Trial in Wife's Cyanide Poisoning Death


iStock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday at the trial of a University of Pittsburgh neuroscientist accused of poisoning his neurologist wife with an energy drink laced with cyanide.

Dr. Robert Ferrante, 65, allegedly gave his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, 41, the drink on April 17, 2013, telling her that it would help her get pregnant. That same day, the couple exchanged text messages about how a creatine regimen could help them conceive.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News, Klein wrote, “Will it stimulate egg production too?”

Ferrante allegedly responded with a smiley face.

Klein collapsed in her home. She died on April 20, 2013, at UPMC Presbyterian, where she was chief of the division of women's neurology and an assistant professor of neurology, obstetrics and gynecology.

Police documents allege that Ferrante did not want an autopsy performed, and instructed that Klein’s body be cremated. Despite those instructions, an autopsy was performed, revealing a lethal amount of cyanide in her system.

Ferrante -- considered a leading researcher of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS -- allegedly had a bottle of cyanide shipped overnight to his lab at the University of Pittsburgh two days before his wife collapsed, using a university credit card.

Additionally, hours after a police interview following Klein’s death, Ferrante allegedly performed a Google search, writing, “Would ECMO or dialysis remove traces of toxins poisons?”

Police say Ferrante suspected his wife was having an affair. He was arrested in July 2013, charged with one count of criminal homicide. He has pleaded not guilty.

ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said the trial will likely become a battle of medical experts.

“How much cyanide was in her body is the crucial piece of evidence,” Abrams said. “The defense is expected to dispute the reliability of the blood tests. That will be a big part of the case.”

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Polo Mogul Blames Faulty Brakes for Fatal Crash


iStock/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Polo mogul John Goodman took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, blaming faulty brakes -- and not alcohol -- for a fatal 2010 crash.

Goodman, the owner of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, insisted that the brakes on his $200,000 Bentley weren’t working properly, causing the car to slam into a Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson, 23. The crash sent the Hyundai into a canal, where Wilson drowned.

“I went to grab my gear shift, and that’s the last thing I remember,” Goodman said.

Goodman testified that he was on his way to the fast-food restaurant Wendy’s to buy a Frosty frozen dessert when the accident happened.

“The first thing I remember after that was, I was seeing white everywhere,” Goodman said.

“Stars?” his attorney asked.

“Yes, and not really knowing where I was,” Goodman said.

Prosecutors have claimed that Goodman was drunk at the time of the accident after working up a $272 tab partying at The Players Club in Wellington, Florida, later registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.177, more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Goodman admitted ordering 18 drinks at the club -- but he said he only had three of those drinks.

The rest were for others, he said.

He also claimed he didn’t get drunk until after the crash, when he left the scene and stumbled upon a friend’s home, where, he said, he drank heavily.

“I drank it out of the bottle,” he said.

Goodman’s defense also called Dr. David Delonga, a medical specialist, to testify that Goodman was disoriented -- not because of the amount he had to drink, but because the crash likely gave him a concussion.

“That would have been consistent in the range of a mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, to put it in layman’s terms,” Delonga told the court.

This is the second trial for the multimillionaire, who was convicted in 2012 for Wilson’s death and sentenced to 16 years behind bars. But that verdict was thrown out because of juror misconduct.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty.

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Former Blackwater Security Guards Guilty in Shooting Deaths of Iraqis


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Four former guards of a U.S. security company hired to protect diplomats were found guilty Wednesday in the September 2007 shooting deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 17 others.

The men, who were on trial for a second time after their case was dismissed in 2009, claimed their convoy came under attack in Baghdad and were returning fire.

However, federal prosecutors successfully argued that the former Blackwater guards were the aggressors in the incident and showed "grave indifference" to bystanders who were killed or injured by their actions.

A jury convicted Nicholas Slatten of first-degree murder, punishable by a maximum of life in prison. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were found guilty of lesser charges, including multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Following the verdicts, all the defendants were ordered jailed while their lawyers said they would appeal.

Meanwhile, even after deliberating for a month, the jury still has to decide on the remaining counts in the case.

Blackwater has since been renamed Academia and bills itself as a private military company.

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Huge Academic Scandal at UNC Involved Athletes


Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- The University of North Carolina admitted Wednesday that about 3,100 students took so-called "paper classes" with no faculty oversight and no actual class attendance from 1993 through 2011.

The school estimates that half of the students were athletes, mostly from the UNC's basketball and football teams.

Wednesday's report goes much further than when the scandal first came to light in 2011, which initially stated that it was only about academics.

This revelation, however, drags the UNC's vaunted athletic program into the morass.

According to the investigation conducted by the college, two employees in the African and Afro-American Studies department organized fake classes that doled out As and Bs to students who never showed up, presumably to maintain eligibility for sports.

The employees were Julius Nyang’oro, the department's chairman, and Deborah Crowder, the department’s administrator. It was up to Crowder, the report alleged, to give out grades on single papers turned in by students, hence the term "paper classes."

The investigation does not directly implicate any high level administrators at the school. However, it does suggest they missed obvious signs of improprieties and "failed to conduct any meaningful oversight."

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