News & Current Affairs

September 9, 2008

Life for microwave baby killer

Life for microwave baby killer

China Arnold 3 Sept 2008

Arnold was not in court to hear the sentence

A mother who murdered her one-month-old daughter by burning her to death in a microwave oven has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

China Arnold, 28, was spared the death penalty when the jury in Dayton, Ohio failed to reach a consensus.

Prosecutors said Arnold, who maintains she is innocent, killed her daughter in 2005 after a fight with her boyfriend.

Judge Mary Wiseman said the crime was “shocking and utterly abhorrent for a civilized society”.

“No adjectives exist to adequately describe this heinous atrocity,” Judge Wiseman said, rejecting a plea by Arnold’s lawyers for a sentence that allowed the possibility of parole after 25 years in prison.

Arnold was not in court to hear her sentence, but followed proceedings by video-link from a side room.

Cell confession

The court had heard that China Arnold had argued with her boyfriend Terrell Talley about whether he was the biological father of baby Paris.

Officials investigating the case said Paris Talley had suffered high-heat internal burns but had no external marks.

Prosecutors said that the baby’s DNA had been found inside the microwave in Arnold’s apartment.

Arnold’s cellmate told the court that she had confessed to putting her daughter in the microwave and switching it on, because she was afraid that her boyfriend would leave her if he discovered that he was not the baby’s father.

The defence team said that there was evidence that somebody else was responsible for Paris Talley’s death, and says the cellmate has now changed her story.

Arnold’s lawyers now want a third trial. The first hearing was declared a mistrial when new witnessed came forward.

Arnold “has faith in the system, she is strong and will continue to fight until her innocence is proven,” said her lawyer Jon Paul Rion.

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August 9, 2008

Texas bus crash kills 15 pilgrims

Texas bus crash kills 15 pilgrims

Bus wreckage in Sherman, TX

The crash sent the bus off a bridge

Fifteen people have been killed in the US state of Texas after a bus carrying a Vietnamese church group crashed off a bridge into a ravine.

The bus, carrying 55 people, slid off a bridge in Sherman, about 60 miles (100 km) north of Dallas, at 0045 local time (0545 GMT) on Friday.

Police said the bus was chartered by Vietnamese Catholics from Houston who were on a pilgrimage to Missouri.

The operators of the bus did not have a valid licence, officials say.

Initial reports said the bus lost control and smashed into the rail guard of the bridge. It apparently then skidded along the rail before sliding off the bridge.

At the site of the crash, the crumpled wreckage of the bus lay on its right side, littered with luggage, shopping bags and scattered clothing.

Expired certificate

Twelve people died at the screen of the crash and another three later in local hospitals.

Bus crash survivor Leha Nguyen

Leha Nguyen: “I’m the luckiest one”

A large section of the highway was closed as ambulances and at least 13 helicopters rushed to the scene to ferry the wounded to several hospitals in the Dallas area.

One passenger, Leha Nguyen, 45, said people were dozing off when passengers started screaming.

“Somebody was laying on my legs. A lady next to me, she had her arm crushed up,” she said.

“I think I’m the luckiest one out of most people,” she added, stating that none of the passengers were wearing seat belts.

Accident investigators say that a tyre on the bus blew out, and that it had been refitted with a new tread, in violation of safety regulations.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that the 52-year-old driver, who survived the crash, had a commercial licence, but had an expired medical certificate.

According to Houston’s KHOU-TV, the passengers were from the Vietnamese Martyrs Church of Houston who were on their way to Carthage, Missouri, for the Marian Days festival, an annual celebration to honour the Virgin Mary.

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