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Mar 19, 2014

New York jail probing death of inmate in unusually hot cell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The death of a mentally ill, homeless man who was being held in a New York City jail cell is under investigation, and there are indications that the cell was overheated, the city’s Department of Correction said on Wednesday.

Jerome Murdough, 56, was found dead in his cell at Rikers Island, the city’s main jail complex, on February 15, according to Ivan Vogel, the public defender handling his case. Vogel said jail officials told him of Murdough’s death three days after it happened.

Mar 14, 2014

Two men found guilty in New York kidnap fetish case

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – A federal jury in New York found a mechanic and a former high-school librarian guilty on Friday of conspiring to kidnap women to satisfy their sexual fetishes for rape and murder that they had originally nursed online via Internet message boards.

Michael Van Hise, 23, and Christopher Asch, 61, were found guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan of planning to abduct Van Hise’s wife, sister-in-law, and nieces in a case that hinged on whether it was possible to define the exact point at which fantasy slips into reality.

Mar 12, 2014

NY jury to decide: bizarre sex fantasy or real murder-kidnap plot?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – For the two men charged with hatching a kidnap conspiracy on a website catering to violent sexual fetishes, their own Internet musings about abducting and brutalizing women are so outlandish, they only bolster their defense, their lawyers argued in a New York courtroom on Tuesday.

Michael Van Hise, 23, and Christopher Asch, 61, were clearly engaged in sheer fantasies, and even their most graphic online ruminations betray an obvious lack of intent to act them out, the attorneys told jurors in closing arguments at their trial.

Mar 5, 2014

New Jersey archbishop comes under fire for pricey retirement home plans

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Roman Catholic archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, is facing mounting criticism over his plan to spend $500,000, mostly from the sale of church assets, on a extension to a countryside house where he will soon spend his retirement.

Some local Catholics are refusing to contribute to church collections in protest at Archbishop John Myers’ planned 3,000-square-foot (280-square-meter) extension, saying he is failing to follow the austerity of both Pope Francis and Jesus Christ.

Mar 1, 2014

Gay rights group to march in Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – A gay rights group will be allowed to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, event organizers said on Saturday, reversing a 20-year-long stance after the city’s new mayor intervened.

It was unclear, however, if marchers from MassEquality, one of the largest gay rights advocacy groups in Massachusetts, would be permitted to carry signs or use slogans identifying themselves as gay men and women, which may yet prove a sticking point.

Feb 27, 2014

New York librarian with tools to rape, kill woman was fantasizing -defense

NEW YORK (Reuters) – It ended up requiring two bags to carry all the tools he thought they would need to capture, torture, rape and kill the woman they had been watching.

The items gathered by Christopher Asch, 61, a former New York City school librarian whose federal kidnapping conspiracy trial began on Thursday, included a stun gun, meat hammer, dental retractor, leg spreader, rope, duct tape, bleach, 12-inch skewers, two speculums and pliers.

Feb 25, 2014

New York Knicks guard Felton faces weapons charges

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – New York Knicks guard Raymond Felton was arrested on gun possession charges on Tuesday after his wife’s divorce attorney took a weapon that was allegedly his to a local police station, authorities said.

Felton, 29, was not registered to have the gun in New York City and was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and with criminal possession of a firearm, authorities said.

Feb 12, 2014

1.3 million ‘like’ friendless Michigan boy’s Facebook birthday surprise

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – A Michigan mother’s attempt to cheer her 10-year-old son, who suffers from a disorder similar to autism and told her he had no friends, with a Facebook page has won the boy some 1.3 million fans on the social media site by Wednesday.

Jennifer Cunningham created the site early this month after her son told her he did not want a birthday party because he did not have friends, the Richland, Michigan, woman wrote on the “Happy Birthday Colin” page.

Feb 12, 2014

Sky’s the limit: wire fox terrier wins Westminster dog show

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A wire fox terrier named Sky won “best in show” at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Tuesday, besting canines in six other groups at one of the oldest sporting events in the United States.

Betty Regina Leininger of Frisco, Texas, awarded the top prize to Sky at this year’s event in Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The win makes it the 14th time the wire fox terrier has won the competition, more than any other breed since the show started awarding the “best in show” prize in 1907.

Feb 12, 2014

Westminster Kennel Club closes in on year’s top dog

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Irish water spaniel named Riley won the sporting group on Tuesday to become the fifth of an eventual seven furry finalists vying for “best in show” honors at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

The top dog in each group will go nose-to-nose at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan in the championship round that concludes one of the oldest sporting events in the United States.