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Police: Woman stole 1969 Preakness Cup from South Florida storage unit

The 1969 Preakness Cup trophy, the prize of a major thoroughbred horse race won by a stallion that nearly landed a Triple Crown, was among the items an alleged looter grabbed from a storage unit in South Florida, police said.

>> Read more trending news

Alicia Elaine Murphy, 59, of Boca Raton, faces several charges of burglary and grand theft. Investigators said she cut the locks on at least 12 storage units at a CubeSmart in Delray Beach and took electronics, household items, musical instruments and taxidermy.

And one storage unit had more than $300,000 worth of goods, including family heirlooms and memorabilia from the 1969 Preakness Stakes. Majestic Prince, a thoroughbred colt, won the race that year, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby.

Murphy sent the Preakness Cup, and other mementos including gilded horseshoes, to an auction house in New York that specializes in sports collectibles, police said.

The auction company had given Murphy a $15,000 advance on the cup before detectives arrested her Wednesday.

Police value Murphy’s total haul at between $350,000 and $400,000, the report says.

Murphy told detectives that she rented a storage unit at CubeSmart for 24-hour access, and routinely broke into other units using bolt cutters. She rented a large vehicle and hired laborers at Home Depot to help load trucks with stolen merchandise, according to the police report.

Murphy broke into the lockers at night when workers weren’t present, police said.

Murphy has been convicted of several felonies since the early 1990s, including cocaine possession, fraud, grand theft and forgery, according to state records. Most recently, Murphy served eight months in the state prison in 2005 on charges of grand theft and fraud.

The lucrative horse race memorabilia belonged to Francine McMahon, a Delray Beach resident whose father, Canadian industrialist Frank McMahon, owned Majestic Prince, according to news reports. Frank McMahon helped develop lucrative gas and crude oil pipelines in Canada.

Majestic Prince nearly won the Triple Crown, a rare feat in thoroughbred racing earned when a horse wins three prestigious races in a six-week span — Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Only twelve horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 2015 by American Pharoah.

Majestic Prince was the first horse to enter the Belmont Stakes undefeated in 1969. But he had injured a ligament in his right front leg before the race, according to news reports. McMahon had wanted to rest “The Prince” as media called the champion thoroughbred, but changed his mind.

Majestic Prince finished second by 5½ lengths to Arts and Letters in the Belmont and never raced again.

'Stand your ground' claim denied for Florida man charged in ax murder 

A judge on Friday denied a 22-year-old South Florida man’s request to have charges against him thrown out in the 2015 killing of a Hispanic teen under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

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Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer on Friday denied David Harris’ claims that he was defending himself and his younger brother, Jesse Harris, when the Jupiter resident swung an ax and hit Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos, 18, in the back of the head during an April 2015 confrontation.

Harris, charged with his younger brother and a third young man, Austin Taggart, had claimed that the three of them were headed to a park to smoke marijuana when they were confronted by Lopez-Ramos, his older brother, Elmer, and others drinking outside a home they shared.

But he also told investigators after his arrest that Taggart had told him before the altercation that he wanted to go “Guat hunting,” a street term for robbing Hispanic men.

And despite the self-defense claims from defense attorney Franklin Prince, Assistant State Attorney Jill Richstone in a two-part hearing on the matter told Feuer that Harris had never made the self-defense claims at the time of his arrest.

With the judge’s ruling, Harris’ case survives one of the first major tests of a shift in Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.

Under the old law, a defendant hoping to get a case dismissed would have to prove to a judge that he or she was immune from prosecution. Now, prosecutors are the ones who have to prove to a judge that defendants who claim “Stand Your Ground” were not acting in self-defense.

Harris’ trial is set to begin April 2. The other two men will face trial separately.

Russia investigation: Special counsel Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization


Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump and his associates, according to multiple reports.

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The subpoena is the first directly connected to one of Trump’s businesses, The New York Times reported Thursday. The newspaper was the first to report on the subpoena, citing two unidentified sources briefed on the situation.

The breadth of the subpoena was not immediately clear, although some documents sought were related to Russia, the Times reported. According to the newspaper, the subpoena was served “in recent weeks.”

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation

The Trump Organization has already provided investigators with a range of documents, most focused on the period between when Trump announced his candidacy for president, in June 2015, to his inauguration, in January 2017, CNN reported in January. Citing an unidentified source familiar with the situation, the news network reported that the recently issued subpoena was meant “to ‘clean up’ and to ensure that all related documents are handed over to the special counsel.”

In a statement released to several news outlets Thursday, Alan Futerfas, an attorney representing the Trump Organization, said reports of the subpoena were “old news.”

>> Related: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates to plead guilty in Mueller investigation

“Since July 2017, we have advised the public that the Trump Organization is fully cooperative with all investigations, including the special counsel, and is responding to their requests,” Futerfas said. “This is old news and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remains the same today.”

The decision to subpoena the Trump Organization, which is owned by the president and managed by his children, appeared to mirror the strategy employed by Mueller with the Trump campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper noted that the campaign “voluntarily gave documents to the special counsel for months before receiving a subpoena in October.”

>> Related: Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe

Mueller, who headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, was appointed by the Justice Department in May 2017 to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His investigation has thus far led to several indictments and a handful of guilty pleas from people connected to Trump.

Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities last month on accusations that they interfered with American elections and political processes, starting in 2014. On Twitter, Trump claimed that information in the indictments proved his innocence on allegations of colluding with Russia to win the election.

Five people have pleaded guilty to charges levied against them in Mueller's investigation. Most recently, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to making false statements and conspiring against the United States.

Oklahoma woman pleads guilty, sentenced to 2 years in prison for incest 

An Oklahoma woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for incest after marrying her daughter.

The Oklahoman reported that Patricia Ann Spann, 45, once married her son and later married her daughter, 26-year-old Misty Spann.

>> Read more trending news 

On Tuesday, Patricia Ann Spann pleaded guilty to a felony count of incest in exchange for two years in prison, The Associated Press reported.

Related: Woman accused of marrying mother after the two ‘hit it off’ gets deferred sentence

In November, Misty Spann pleaded guilty in exchange for probation and got a 10-year deferred sentence. The AP reported that a deferred sentence is not allowed under state law, so her plea was withdrawn.

Patricia Ann Spann’s marriage with one of her sons was annulled in 2010. Her marriage with her daughter was annulled in October 2017.

Man who claimed he buried Natalee Holloway killed trying to kidnap woman, police say

A man who once claimed he helped bury the remains of missing Alabama girl Natalee Holloway has died after police said he was stabbed during a foiled kidnapping in North Port, Florida.

>> Read more trending news

John Christopher Ludwick, 32, tried to kidnap a woman Wednesday as she left her driveway on Wesley Lane in North Port, police said.

>> Related: Forensics results are in for the Aruba remains believed to be Natalee Holloway’s

Authorities said the woman fought back and Ludwick was stabbed in the struggle. He ran, but officers found him in a wooded area on South Biscayne Drive between Coco Solo Avenue and Herbison Avenue.

Ludwick died at a hospital.

>> Related: Private investigator in Natalee Holloway case finds human remains

Holloway disappeared in 2005 on a post-high school trip to Aruba. Her disappearance has remained a mystery, as no one has been charged.

Ludwick was a friend of Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the Holloway case. Holloway was last seen at a bar in Aruba with van der Sloot.

>> Related: 11 years later, Natalee Holloway's mother is still searching for justice

Van der Sloot is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for killing student Stephany Flores on the fifth anniversary of Holloway’s disappearance in 2010.

North Port police said they've informed authorities involved in the Holloway case of Ludwick's death.

Father shoots, kills armed intruder to protect kids, police say

A Georgia father home with his two children wrestled an armed intruder to the ground and shot him to death early Thursday, DeKalb County police said.

>> Read more trending news 

About 12:20 a.m., three people broke into the man’s Covington Glen apartment in the 1700 block of Thicket Way, Lt. Lonzy Robertson said.

The other two intruders got away, police said.

“The homicide unit responded and declared this a justified shooting,” Robertson said.

No other injuries were reported in the incident.

Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof's sister charged with bringing weapons, drugs to school

The sister of Dylann Roof, the man who shot and killed nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015, was arrested Wednesday after authorities said she brought weapons and drugs to school.

>> School walkouts: What are student’s rights?

According to WIS-TV, Morgan Roof, 18, is accused of bringing a knife, pepper spray and marijuana to A.C. Flora High School in Forest Acres. She was arrested on charges of carrying weapons on school property and simple possession of marijuana, the station reported.

Authorities also said one of Morgan Roof's social media posts about the National School Walkout, a protest against gun violence in schools, worried other students.

>> Read more trending news 

"Your [sic] walking out for the allowed time of 17min, they are letting you do this, nothing is gonna change what tf you think it's gonna do?" she posted on Snapchat, according to WACH. "I hope it's a trap and y'all get shot we know it's fixing to be nothing but black people walkin [sic] out anyway."

>> See the post here

Morgan Roof's bond reportedly was set at $5,000.

Washington man who shot, killed mother after mistaking her for intruder won't be charged

The Pierce County, Washington, prosecutor says no charges will be filed against a Tacoma man who shot and killed his mother.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On Tacoma police investigating after man says he killed mother

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says 28-year-old Julian Anderson-Randle shot and killed his mother, 63-year-old Rhonda Randle, after mistaking her for an intruder. He has no criminal history.

Lindquist said when Anderson-Randle called 911 from his home on East N Street, he was hysterical and screamed that his mother was dead and he was the one who shot her.

Officers arrived to find the front door slightly ajar. Anderson-Randle was inside, extremely distraught and screaming, “Oh my God … I shot her … she’s dead … mom … I killed my mom! I thought I was being robbed,” according to authorities.

>> Read more trending news 

The body of Rhonda Randle was found just inside the front door. She had been shot multiple times.

Anderson-Randle told investigators when he heard someone on his front porch, he thought someone was trying to break into the house, so he opened fire to protect himself and his home. 

He then discovered he had shot his mother and immediately called 911.

Lindquist said after investigating the circumstances and discussing the case with the victim’s family, he made the decision not to charge Anderson-Randle.

Anderson-Randle, who is in custody on suicide watch, was scheduled to be released Wednesday.

Man sentenced to life without parole for murder of 4-year-old with Down syndrome

A Savannah, Georgia, man has been sentenced to life in prison plus 80 years after beating a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome to death and injuring her 3-year-old sister. 

James Emmanuel Robinson, 25, got the maximum sentence Monday, according to the Savannah Morning News.

>> Read more trending news 

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass Jr. called Robinson’s crimes “unbelievably horrendous” during sentencing.

“My sympathies are with the victims in this case,” he said.

Robinson was convicted of felony murder March 2 for striking Lalia Hawthorne in the abdomen with his hands and committing other crimes Oct. 24, 2015, the newspaper reported. Jurors also convicted Robinson on an aggravated assault charge after he bit Nakeita Hawthorne in the leg and also hit her in the abdomen. 

Prosecutors said Robinson and the girls’ mother argued over alleged cheating and that Robinson attacked the children to get back at her.

Teacher accidentally fires gun in class, injures students, police say

A California high school teacher unintentionally fired his gun Tuesday while leading a lesson on firearm safety, injuring three students, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

According to KSBW and CNN, Seaside High School teacher Dennis Alexander, a Sand City Police Department reserve officer and the mayor pro tempore of Seaside, accidentally fired at the ceiling during his Administration of Justice class. Three students were hurt – including a 17-year-old boy with bullet fragments "lodged into his neck" – as debris fell from the ceiling, KSBW reported. Seaside police said the students' injuries were not serious.

>> School walkouts: What are student’s rights?

The 17-year-old victim's father, Fermin Gonzales, said Alexander was preparing to show the students how to disarm a suspect and was checking whether his gun was loaded when the incident occurred.

Alexander, who "was not authorized to have a gun on campus," is now on administrative leave from the school and police department, KSBW reported.

Read more here.

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