<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:02:50 -0600 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:02:50 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Judge Bows Out of Garner Hearing]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:54:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/eric+garner+death+inset+new.jpg

The state Supreme Court judge who was set to preside over a hearing Friday to decide whether the documents from the Eric Garner grand jury proceedings could be released to the public has recused himself from the case, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Judge Stephen Rooney removed himself from the case because his wife works at Richmond University Medical Center, the same hospital where the EMTs who responded to the Garner call worked, multiple officials familiar with the case proceedings said. 

As a result, Friday's hearing will be postponed until January, when a new judge is expected to be assigned. 

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said Rooney's recusal raises more questions than answers and "further underscores the need to release the grand jury minutes related to the investigation of Eric Garner's death." 

"The only way to restore the public's faith in our justice system is to bring sunlight into the court system," she said in a statement, adding that she is directing her legal team to continue fighting in court for disclosure. 

NBC 4 New York first reported earlier this month that Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan did not ask grand jurors to consider a reckless endangerment charge in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Donovan only asked grand jurors to consider manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop seen on widely-watched amateur video wrapping his arm around Garner's neck as the heavyset, asthmatic 43-year-old yelled, "I can't breathe!" nearly a dozen times during the July 17 confrontation, the source said.

It's not clear why Donovan left the lesser charge off the table, and he has said strict confidentiality laws surrounding grand jury proceedings prevent him from discussing the details of the case.

Donovan had submitted an application to the court seeking authorization to publicly release specific elements of the proceedings but the only information released when Rooney granted his request a day later involved the number of exhibits the jurors saw, how long they heard evidence and how many witnesses they heard it from. The application was sealed, so it's not clear if he had petitioned the judge to release information about the charges the jurors considered.

Last week, the New York Civil Liberties Union formally petitioned for the public release of the grand jury record, and the hearing on it was scheduled for this Friday. 

The grand jury in the Garner case delivered a vote on Dec. 3 of "no true bill," which determined there was not probable cause that Pantaleo committed any criminal offense the panel was tasked with considering. The decision set off protests in New York City and across the country.

The NYPD said its internal review of the case is ongoing, and the U.S. Department of Justice said it also is investigating.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:49:40 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP599490609675.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cuts Didn't Kill Accused Pa. Killer]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:49:40 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Stone+Body+Found+Pennsburg+Scene+Face.jpg

How exactly the former Marine suspected in this week's killing spree in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, died is unclear after an examination by the county's coroner.

Coroner Dr. Walter Hoffman tells NBC10's Deanna Durante there was no sign of trauma to Bradley Stone's center region, contradicting information released by prosecutors on Tuesday.

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman had said at a briefing Tuesday that it appeared Stone took his own life and had "self-inflicted cutting wounds to the center of his body."  She did add, however, they were awaiting an official report by the coroner.

Hoffman initially said Stone suffered no trauma to his body, then clarified that although the 35-year-old did have a cut to his leg, the trauma was not something that caused his death. He did not say whether it were self-inflicted.

Sources said there were two medicine bottles found on Stone's body and that one contained a crushed-up powder substance. An energy drink container with powder on the rim was also recovered, sources said.

Hoffman said he is awaiting toxicology results to make a final determination on how Stone died. He has expedited the testing and expects an answer by next week.

An intense manhunt was launched Monday for Stone, after prosecutors say he shot or stabbed his ex-wife Nicole Hill Stone and six members of her family early Monday. Six of them died. Hill Stone's 17-year-old nephew Anthony Flick is the lone survivor. He suffered a gaping head wound and serious cuts to his arm.

Stone was found dead in the woods near his Pennsburg home Tuesday after two days of searching.

The coroner has also released autopsy information, along with the official causes of deaths, for Stone's victims.

Stone's ex-wife Nicole, 33, was shot multiple times, just feet away from the couple's two daughters, aged 8 and 5. Nicole's mother, Joanne Gilbert, was shot in the head and had cuts to her neck. Grandmother Patricia Hill, 75, was shot in the head.

Nicole's sister, Trisha Flick, 36, was shot in the head and also suffered gunshot wounds to her arm. Her husband A.J. Flick had "chopping" injuries to his hands and head. Tricia and A.J.'s 14-year-old daughter, Nina, also died from chopping wounds to her head.

A large handled machete and a double-bladed axe-type instrument were found near the Stone's body, according to sources. They both appear to be coated in blood.

The Department of Veteran Affairs says Stone had post-traumatic stress disorder but that he didn't have any suicidal or homicidal thoughts when he met with his psychiatrist on Dec. 8.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Influential Republicans Slam Opening to Cuba]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:30:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/121714+marco+rubio+discusses+developments+in+cuba.jpg

Reaction to changes in U.S.-Cuba relations fell mostly along party lines on Wednesday, with prospective GOP presidential candidates Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio denouncing the decision by the Obama administration.

Bush, the former governor of Florida, called the move toward easing ties with Cuba President Obama's latest misstep.

Though he said he was delighted that American Alan Gross had been released from a Cuban prison, he charged that Obama had again overstepped his executive authority.

"Cuba is a dictatorship with a disastrous human rights record, and now President Obama has rewarded those dictators," he said. "We should instead be fostering efforts that will truly lead to the fair, legitimate democracy that will ultimately prevail in Cuba."

Rubio, a Cuban-American from Florida, called the opening the latest in a long line of failed attempts by Obama to appease rogue regimes.

The president’s decision to begin normalizing relations with Cuba is inexplicable, Rubio said, while Cuba, like Syria, Iran and Sudan, remains a sponsor of terrorism.

“It colludes with America's enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear,” he said. “But most importantly, the regime's brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed.”

The new course announced by the White House, which covers diplomatic relations, cultural exchanges, economic engagements, religious travel and other policies, does not affect the longtime economic embargo. Only Congress can change that.

And said Rubio: “This Congress is not going to lift the embargo.”

Unlike many other Democrats, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is the second Cuban-American in the Senate, criticized the exchange of Gross for three Cubans in prison in the United States as a swap of an innocent American for three convicted spies.

"President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,” he said.

With the exchange, the president established a dangerous precedent that invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans as bargaining chips, he said.

"This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba's opposition movement and the hardening of the government's dictatorial hold on its people,” he said.

Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said that as attitudes toward Cuba have changed among younger Cuban Americans, opposition to the regime there comes with risks for politicians. Obama carried Cuban Americans in Florida in 2012, he said.

“People under 45 have a very different view than people over 45,” he said. “So it’s clearly a generational difference.”

Opinions shaped in 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion, do not necessarily still hold.

“So being opposed to the regime in Cuba is no longer a free ride for politicians,” he said. “There’s risks and costs.”

A poll done by Florida International University has tracked opinions of the Cuban-American community in South Florida for two decades. This year, it found that a slight majority of CubanAmericans in Miami-Dade County opposed continuing the embargo — 52 percent overall and 62 percent among those 18 to 29 years old. Sixty-eight percent favored diplomatic relations with Cuba and 69 percent backed lifting restrictions impeding all Americans from traveling to Cuba.

But 63 percent said they believed Cuba should continue to be designated a “State Sponsor of Terrorism,” with Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Among registered voters, 53 percent said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to vote for a candidate who supported re-establishing diplomatic relations. Fifty-seven percent said they would be very or somewhat likely to vote for someone who backed replacing the embargo with a policy that increased support for independent business owners in Cuba.

Much other reaction from national politicians fell along party lines, though some politicians took neutral tones.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who is to become the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he was pleased Gross was being reunited with his family after years of mistreatment by the Castro regime.

"The new U.S. policy announced by the administration is no doubt sweeping, and as of now there is no real understanding as to what changes the Cuban government is prepared to make,” he said. “We will be closely examining the implications of these major policy changes in the next Congress."

Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona released a joint statement on Obama's announcement.

"We agree with President Obama that he is writing new chapters in American foreign policy. Unfortunately, today's chapter, like the others before it, is one of America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline," the statement read. "It is about the appeasement of autocratic dictators, thugs, and adversaries, diminishing America's influence in the world. Is it any wonder that under President Obama's watch our enemies are emboldened and our friends demoralized?"

House Speaker John Boehner also denounced the president's policy change.

"Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom - and not one second sooner. There is no 'new course' here, only another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship that brutalizes its people and schemes with our enemies," Boehner said.

Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that although he was happy for Gross and his family, the exchange made America less safe and emboldened the dictatorship in Cuba.

“This prisoner swap sends a signal to rogue regimes and actors that taking an American hostage can be leveraged into scoring policy concessions,” he said.

But two Republicans broke ranks, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Flake, who traveled with Democrats Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland to Havana to pick up Gross, said the policies in place had done more to keep the Castro regimes in power.

Sanford said the existing travel policy was inconsistent with individual liberty and freedom of movement. The move toward establishing a U.S. embassy in Cuba was wise, he said.

Leahy, the chairman of the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, congratulated Obama and Cuba President Raul Castro for making history.

“After 64 years of animosity rooted in the Cold War, they have finally put our two countries on a new path,” said Leahy, a Democrat who had visited Gross twice in prison in Cuba and who has led efforts for fundamental changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

U.S. policy has been frozen in time and had failed to achieved its goals, he said.

Michigan Democrat Sen. Carl Levin, who also met with Gross in prison, said that Gross’ release sends a message to Americans held around the world that the country will not forget them.

“A more regular relationship between the United States and Cuba has been overdue and is now possible,” he said. “U.S. policy up to now has not worked in U.S. interests, and it has not weakened the Cuban regime.”

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said he supported Obama despite Cuba’s history, though he added: “I remain concerned about human rights and political freedom inside Cuba, but I support moving forward toward a new path with Cuba.”

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<![CDATA[Obama on Race: I've Been Mistaken for a Valet]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:09:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP860452846126.jpg

As it turns out, even the Leader of the Free World isn’t immune to racial prejudice.

In a Dec. 10 interview with People magazine, President Barack Obama discussed being mistaken for a valet and a waiter before becoming President.

"There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," said the president, also confirming that he has dealt with the experience.

The first lady discussed another incident: "He was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee."

"I think people forget that we've lived in the White House for six years," Michelle Obama said to the magazine. "Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”

The first lady also revealed her own experience with racial prejudice.

“I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf,” Michelle Obama said. “Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn't anything new."

The president said the injustices he and his wife has faced still don't compare to those faced by previous generations, but there is still progress to be made.

"It's one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala," the president said. "It's another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress."

The interview appears in the issue on newsstands Friday. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Gunned Down Hours After Getting Protection Order Against Police Officer ]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 07:59:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/STEPHEN+ROZNIAKOWSKI.JPG

“If you find me dead, he did it.”

That’s what Valerie Morrow told NBC10 Investigative reporter Harry Hairston just hours before she died, allegedly at the hand of the Delaware County police officer she feared.

Stephen Rozniakowski, an officer with the Colwyn Borough Police Department, wore a bulletproof vest when he kicked down the door of Morrow’s home on Glenfield Avenue in Glenolden, Pennsylvania around 9 p.m. Monday and began firing, according to investigators. The shooting came just three hours after police served Rozniakowski with an court order to stay away from Morrow, and days before he was due in court in a separate stalking case.

“He went there to execute the entire family, in my opinion. I have no doubt about that,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan.

He shot and killed Morrow then shot Morrow’s teenage daughter in the arm before Morrow's husband Thomas Morrow, an off-duty Morton officer, returned fire.

After the shooting, Rozniakowski called in the shooting on his police-issued radio.

“I am the actor,” the 32-year-old told dispatchers.

Earlier in the day, Morrow reached out to Hairston because he previously covered past stalking allegations against Rozniakowski.

Morrow told Hairston she dated Rozniakowski for months before ending the relationship in August to reunite with her husband. In the weeks and months that followed, she said Rozniakowski called and texted her repeatedly with threatening messages. She agreed to come in for a Tuesday interview. but it never happened after she was killed in her own home.

At the time of the shooting, Philly police were working on an arrest warrant for Rozniakowski after he allegedly keyed Morrow’s car while parked at a Center City garage.

Before the fatal shooting, Rozniakowski called the Colwyn Borough Police Department to announce his resignation, investigators said.

About three hours before the shooting, Norwood Police served the suspect with an emergency court order to stay away from Morrow. At the time they took away his service weapon and asked if he had any other weapons but Whelan said Rozniakowski told them he didn’t.

He used a private weapon in Monday’s attack, said police.

Rozniakowski was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center where he remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday night, according to officials.

Whelan said he will consider pushing for the death penalty when Rozniakowski is tried.

Hairston put a spotlight on Rozniakowski earlier this year when the officer was placed on "administrative leave" after his former fiancee filed a protection from abuse order against him.

Plymouth Township Police arrested Rozniakowski and charged him with 25 counts of stalking and 50 counts of harassment for allegedly contacting his former fiancee with repeated phone and text messages.

"As a police officer, he knows the bounds and what the boundaries are and what the laws are," said Marty Mullaney, an attorney for Rozniakowski, told NBC10 in April. "I think his emotions got the best of him."

At that time, Rozniakowski had his police-issued gun taken away, Hills said.

The suspect was scheduled to appear in court Thursday on those charges.

]]>
<![CDATA[Raw Video: Alan Gross Arrives on U.S. Soil]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:47:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/alan-gross-arrives-AP836775464835.jpg Alan Gross, released by the Cuban government after five years in prison, arrives at Joint Base Andrews around 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Sen. Jeff Flake]]>
<![CDATA[From Cigars to Travel: Key Changes to U.S.-Cuba Relations]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:36:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/219*120/cuba+flag.jpg

In historic news on Wednesday, the United States and Cuba are to start talks on normalizing relations between the two countries. The congressional embargo remains in place,but President Obama in a noon addressed announced major changes in travel and business policies, saying that increased commerce was good for both Americans and Cubans.

“We should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help," he said.

What will it mean to ordinary Americans and companies wanting to do business in Cuba? Here are some key changes:

Diplomatic relations

Secretary of State John Kerry will begin discussions with Cuba on re-establishing diplomatic relations that broke off in January 1961. In the coming months, the United States will open an embassy in Havana and initiate high-level exchanges between the two governments.

Travel

Tourist travel to Cuba is still banned, but restrictions will be eased in 12 categories: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and some intergovernmental organizations; journalists; professional research and meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations and research and educational institutes; export or import of information; and export transactions that may be considered under existing regulations. Only Congress can lift the ban on tourist travel.

Money

Americans will be able to send $2,000 a quarter to Cuba, up from $500. Donations to humanitarian projects, to support Cubans and for the development of private businesses will not longer require a specific license.

Imports

Travelers to Cuba will be able to bring back Cuban cigars for personal use. Overall, Americans will be allowed $400 worth of goods, $100 for tobacco and alcohol. They will be able to use U.S. credit and debit cards while traveling to Cuba.

Exports

To help build the private sector in Cuba, the sale of commercial goods and services will be eased to include agricultural equipment for small farmers, building materials for private residences, and goods for use by Cuban entrepreneurs. U.S. institutions will be able to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions

Internet Access

Telecommunications providers will be allowed to establish infrastructure in Cuba to provide commercial telecommunications and Internet services. Cuba has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates at 5 percent. Telecommunications services are limited and expensive.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Twitter Reaction to U.S., Cuba Normalized Relations]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:09:19 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/121714+cuban+flag+american+flag.jpg

Reaction on Twitter and Facebook to the developing news of a re-established diplomatic relationship between Cuba and the United States was swift and varied.

President Barack Obama outlined the new relationship Wednesday afternoon as Cuban President Raul Casto spoke concurrently via live television.

The newly formed relationship opens economic and travel ties between the U.S. and the communist nation. This historic shift in U.S. policy was encouraged by Pope Francis. 

The tensions between the two countries had existed since the Cold War.

American prisoner Alan Gross's release from a Cuban jail was the first step toward the new relationship. 

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arrests Made in Deadly Meningitis Outbreak]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:19:15 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/barry-cadden-2012-hearing-FILE-getty-156385872.jpg

In the biggest criminal case ever brought in the U.S. over contaminated medicine, 14 former owners or employees of New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, were charged Wednesday in connection with a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people.

US attorney Carmen Ortiz in Boston obtained a grand jury indictment alleging that under the laws of 7 states, 25 of those deaths amount to second-degree murder because pharmacy owner Barry Cadden and supervising pharmacist Glenn Adam Chin acted in "extreme indifference to human life" in allowing the contaminated steroid pain medicine to be shipped out. Beyond the 64 who died beginning in the late summer of 2012, another 687 were sickened.

"That indictment charges 14 individuals with offenses ranging from RICO murder to conspiracy to defraud the government to other charges as well," Ortiz said. "Production and profits were prioritized over safety."

Attorneys for Cadden, of Wrentham, Massachusetts, and Chin, of Canton, Massachusetts, said they were stunned by the second-degree murder racketeering charges and stressed the men have fully cooperated with the probe.

Cadden's attorney Stephen Weymouth said, "I certainly didn't expect racketeering in connection with second degree murder and mail fraud. My client's charged with, I couldn't even count that high, 77 counts or something like that? Yes, I was totally shocked by this indictment."

"He's pleading not guilty. He will be proven not guilty of that and the other charges," Chin's attorney, Bruce Singal, added.

Additionally, 12 other people from the pharmacy are facing multiple other charges, including pharmacy co-owners Doug and Carla Conigliaro of Dedham, Massachusetts, being indicted on charges of "structuring" or in effect seeking to hide $33 million in assets from the bankruptcy court now overseeing the liquidation of NECC.

Earlier this month lawyers announced a $135 million fund from NECC assets to pay victims and their families in the case.

Attorney Kim Dougherty of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, who represents 100 victims of the pharmacy's contaminated steroids, said, "The charges are serious because what's happened to them is very serious. The suffering is very serious."

Dougherty said she hopes the new indictments may yield additional relief money beyond the $135 million. "What we're also hoping through the criminal trial is that the government will also set up a victim compensation fund so that they will further receive compensation for their suffering," Dougherty said.

Ortiz was asked why it had taken more than two years after the first fungal meningitis outbreaks tied to the contaminated back pain steroid medications for comprehensive indictments to be brought.

"In many ways, I've been frustrated by how long it's taken, because we've been anxious to get to this point, but we wanted to be sure we got it right," Ortiz said. "We wanted to be thorough. We wanted to be careful. We did not want to rush to judgement. There have been tens of thousands of documents that our team has been reviewing. There have been hundreds and hundreds of potential victims. ... It's not the kind of investigation where you just snap your fingers and it's done."

In all, the tainted medication was shipped to and used on patients in 20 states. According to Centers for Disease Control data released by Ortiz's office, Michigan had the most people affected with 264, followed by 153 in Tennessee, 93 in Indiana, 54 in Virginia and 51 in New Jersey. The only New England states reporting cases of fungal meningitis caused by the NECC medication were New Hampshire (14) and Rhode Island (3).

The 14 individuals charged in the indictment are Barry J. Cadden, 48, of Wrentham, Massachusetts; Glenn A. Chin, 46, of Canton, Massachusetts; Gene Svirskiy, 33, of Ashland, Massachusetts; Christopher M. Leary, 30, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; Joseph M. Evanosky, 42, of Westford, Massachusetts; Scott M. Connolly, 42, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island; Sharon P. Carter, 50, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts; Alla V. Stepanets, 34, of Framingham, Massachusetts; Gregory A. Conigliaro, 49 of Southborough, Massachusetts; Robert A. Ronzio, 40, of North Providence, Rhode Island; Kathy Chin, 42, of Canton, Massachusetts; Michelle Thomas, 31 of Cumberland, Rhode Island; Carla Conigliaro, 51, of Dedham, Massachusetts and Douglas A. Conigliaro, 53, of Dedham, Massachusetts.



Photo Credit: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call via Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Pot-Smoking Santa Riles Neighbors]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:37:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/221*120/12-16-14-Pot_Smoking_Santa.JPG

A Southern California medical marijuana dispensary has agreed to remove its holiday decorations after it found itself at the center of a town controversy.

The Harbor House of Dank in San Pedro hired an artist last week to paint Christmas decorations, including a pot-smoking Santa, on its store front.

The paintings also depict a snowman holding a prescription pill bottle.

Hundreds of people expressed their anger about the décor on the "Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Watch" page, a closed Facebook group which had 2,784 members as of Tuesday afternoon.

On Facebook, one man posted "have some damn sense, kids walk by that place all the time." A woman posted "just couldn't understand why?"

"What do you tell your kids about that?" asked Tony Apodaca, who posted the picture of the store front on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, his post had more than 190 comments.

"I was shocked when I drove by in the morning knowing there's a junior high school a block away," said Apodaca.

The store manager told NBC4 he was not aware that so many people were angry about the paintings. Within a few hours of learning the news, he called the artist who painted the images to have him scrape off the paintings.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, the paintings had been removed.

But the controversy may have opened up a whole new set of legal issues for the store, which  Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino's office says is illegal because it does not fall under the guidelines of Proposition D.

Los Angeles voters passed the proposition in May, which allows for only 135 dispensaries that registered before a 2007 moratorium took hold, to stay in business.

The Harbor House of Dank opened a few weeks ago, according to the store manager.

The City Attorney's Office is working with LAPD to investigate the legality of hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries within the city of LA, including this one.

As for the paintings, after hearing that the store manager had agreed to remove them, Apodaca commended the store and his fellow members of the Coastal San Pedro Facebook page.

"It's the right  thing to do for the owner to take it down," he said.

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<![CDATA[Raw Video Inside Turbulent AA Flight]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:22:40 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Turbulance+on+AA+Plane.jpg

Five people were injured Tuesday morning when an American Airlines flight en route from Seoul, South Korea, to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport encountered severe turbulence while cruising at altitude.

Flight 280 to DFW was diverted to Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday morning after encountering the turbulence.

Dallas attorney Marc Stanley was onboard the flight and captured pictures and video on his cell phone.

He says he says the turbulence came with no warning and lasted, on and off, for nearly an hour.

"Without warning whatsoever, the plane just dropped and people started, you know, people were screaming," said Stanley.

His video and pictures show a passenger with an ice pack to her head and a woman in a neck brace. He says they were warned not to step the ground without shoes because of broken glass.

Andrea Huguely with American said everyone on board Flight 280 was evaluated by medical personnel and that four passengers and one member of the crew were hospitalized for further treatment. 

Huguely also said none of the injuries are were life-threatening.

"American Airlines Flight 280 will not continue on to DFW today. Passengers have been transported to hotels and will continue their travel to DFW tomorrow. Our team in Tokyo will continue to provide all necessary support to take care of our passengers and crew," said Huguely.

The Boeing 777-200 was due to arrive at DFW Airport just after 3 p.m. on Tuesday. American Airlines said the plane had 240 passengers on board and 15 crew members.

Many passengers are expected to arrive at DFW on a new flight Wednesday morning.

NBC 5's Bianca Castro contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Marc Stanley]]>
<![CDATA[NH Man Nears End of 12K-Mile Walk]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:28:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/greg+hindy+walking.jpg

Greg Hindy’s yearlong vow of silence and cross-country trek came to a close in July, when he reached Los Angeles. But that was just the beginning for this 23-year-old Yale graduate.

Although he’s now talking and taking advantage of technology, Hindy has kept his beard long and his shoes laced up for the return trip to his hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire.

He’s almost there.

Hindy hit New Haven on Tuesday, striding down Route 34 from Derby. He wore a backpack and pushed a bag full of camera gear, the same one he towed when he started the trip in 2013. He’s since walked more than 12,000 miles and hopes to be home for the holidays.

“I think I was surprised at the simplicity of it,” Hindy said. “It’s really a matter of walking each day. Every day that I’m walking, I’m walking through someone else’s every day place.”

Hindy, who graduated from Yale in 2013 with a degree in photography, said it’s all part of a performance art project.

“I felt like I wanted to somehow combine photography with some sort of performance art,” he explained. “I was drawn to the idea of making photographs in a way in which the process is really integral to the whole thing.”

Hindy took a vow of silence on July 9, 2013 – his birthday – and stuck with it as he journeyed across the country on the first leg of his trip.

"It was mostly about making a point, the point being that I'm dedicated to what I'm doing, and it affects me throughout the day," Hindy said of his decision to stay silent. "It was also an experiment. What would it be like to walk in silence for that long, and how would it affect my photography? How would it affect my thinking in general?”

He took photographs as he went, capturing images of the people and places he encountered and sending the footage back to his father.

Now Hindy is in the final leg of his journey. He plans to stay in New Haven through Thursday morning to catch up with some old friends – and catch his breath. A pulled muscle has put a limp in his step, and he’s hoping a short break will give him the extra energy to finish strong.

You can track Hindy's progress online here.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Killing Spree Suspect Found Dead]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:50:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Stone+Body+Found+Pennsburg+Scene+Face.jpg

UPDATE: Bradley Stone Did Not Die by Cut Wounds, No Trauma to Center Part of Body: Coroner


The former Marine believed to have killed his ex-wife and five of her family members and seriously stabbed another was found dead in the woods near his Montgomery County home Tuesday, after apparently killing himself with a knife, authorities say.

Bradley Stone appears to have killed himself with “self-inflicted cutting wounds to the center of his body," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said. A knife was found nearby, she said.

Stone's body was found at 1:38 p.m. near West 4th Street and Schoolhouse Road North Hanover Township, Vetri Ferman said. That is about a half mile from his home, where SWAT teams had been methodically searching for him for the past two days.

Police also found a video recorded by Stone on a cellphone on or near his body, law enforcement sources said.

Stone, 35, had not been seen since just before 5 a.m. Monday as he rushed his screaming children out of their mother's apartment in Harleysville. Moments before, neighbors and police said he gunned down the woman, Nicole Hill Stone. She was the last of seven family members he shot or stabbed that morning, prosecutors said.

The children were left in his neighborhood in Pennsburg, and he fled, officials said. The girls, along with Stone's current wife and child, are now in protective custody, Vetri Ferman said.

Newly released search warrants offered more detail into how the victims were fatally wounded.

Stone Hill was shot in the face and head, according to the documents. Her mother Jo Anne Koder was shot and cut in the neck, and her grandmother Patricia Hill was shot in the arm and head. Stone Hill's sister Trish Flick was shot in the face and cut, brother-in-law Aaron Flick was shot in the head and hands; and 14-year-old niece Nina died of cutting wounds.

Autopsies were being conducted to determine official causes of death, the DA said.

The lone survivor is Stone Hill's 17-year-old nephew, Anthony Flick, who officials believe tried to fight off the attack. He suffered a "gaping skull fracture" and lacerations to his arms and fingers, according to court documents.

Despite being left injured in his Souderton home for some time as police worked to determine whether it were safe to enter, the teen survived. He remains in serious but stable condition and is surrounded by family at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, the DA said. Friends tell NBC10 he is expected to recover.

"We are gonna be here for him," friend and former eighth-grade sweetheart Sarah Sewell said. "We are his family now, because that is all he has left is us. We are going to be his family."

A GoFundMe account, Funds for Flick, was set up to help assist with Anthony's medical bills and has raised more than $8,500 in nearly a day.

The Souderton-Telford Rotary also announced plans to set up a fund for Stone's children.

Stone served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and was briefly deployed to Iraq in 2008. Fellow Marines who served with him described the man as odd and said that he had a tumultuous relationship with his ex-wife. Hill Stone's neighbors and friends told NBC10 the woman warned Stone would kill her and they pointed to the couple's bitter custody dispute as motive for the killings. Prosecutors, however, have not released an official motive.

"We can speculate why. I could look at some of the court filings and say he wasn't getting his way and he was dissatisfied with that, but there's no excuse. There's no valid explanation. There's no excuse for snuffing out these six innocent lives and then injuring another child," Vetri Ferman said.

The two day manhunt for Stone sent eight SWAT teams rolling through at least four Montgomery County towns in assault gear and military-grade vehicles. They lobbed gas canisters and flash bangs into homes and searched neighborhoods and the woods. Federal agencies and police in other counties assisted in the search, schools were closed and neighbors spoke of the fear they were feeling.

A supposed sighting of a man who fit Stone's description involved in an attempted carjacking in Doylestown Monday night prompted lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders. In the end that report "did not appear to be valid," Vetri Ferman said.

The district attorney thanked the public for their assistance and patience.

"This is just a horrific tragedy that our community has had to endure," she said. "I think we're really numb from what we had to go through over the past two days."

Vetri Ferman could not say how long Stone's body was in the woods and when he might have died. She deferred to the coroner who picked up the man's body Tuesday evening and will determine a manner of death.


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.



Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Family Creates Bucket List for Dying Dog]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:48:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cane-pic.jpg

Instead of sitting inside on a chilly, mid-December evening, Anna and Justin Carter are bundled up and headed out. They have to - it was Cane's idea.

"It was a way for us to cope and turn a tragic event into something positive," Anna Carter told NBCDFW about her and her husband's idea to start "Cane's Bucket List."

Cane is the Carter family pit bull, a 6-year-old they rescued from the Wylie Animal Shelter the day after Christmas, 2008.

"In the past six years, he's proven time and time again how incredibly resilient and loving and unconditional this breed is," Carter said. "All they really want is to love and to be loved."

So that is exactly what the Carters have done since.

That love lead them to trust their gut and get a lump in Cane's throat checked out last month. And when the veterinarian told them it was Thyroid cancer, it was that same love that made the decision to begin expensive chemotherapy treatments an easy one. And it was love that convinced the Carters the best way to spend their dog's final days and months was to do so completing a bucket list of stuff Cane enjoys.

"Because it keeps us focused on keeping him happy, watching him be excited getting, anticipating his reactions to these experiences. Capturing those special moments," Carter said.

And the couple is dedicating as much free time as they can find to cross off the 15 items on the list.

Items like:

Number 3 on Cane's Bucket List - "Tuxedo and bow tie pictures by the Christmas tree."

Number 4 - "Parks. Lots and lots of parks all around DFW."

"And surprisingly I've been telling my family and friends it's been incredibly therapeutic and we truly believe that by doing this we'll be able to look back and know that we've done everything we can both medically, but more importantly emotionally," Carter said about the process. "For the sake of his happiness [to know] that we won't be looking back regretting that we didn't do everything we could."

So bundled up on this Tuesday night, the Carters are checking off list Number 10 - "Pictures in front of the Dallas skyline."

Justin Carter asked Anna to marry him while they were visiting Reunion Tower and the couple later married inside the Bank of America Plaza, so the two prominent features of the skyline have a deep meaning to the Carters.

The couple also has a deep affection for the pit bull breed, the inspiration for Bucket List Number 15 - "Paw it forward."

"By sharing his story, if it can lead to one additional person viewing the pit bull breed in a positive light, if it can lead to one additional pit bull in shelter death row from being rescued into a very loving family [then it is worth it,]" Carter said.

"I think we've succeeded in giving Cane a larger purpose and helping others see how incredibly amazing the pit bull breed can be if given the chance to be part of a very loving and cared for family," Carter told NBCDFW.
 

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<![CDATA[Mass Dog Graves at Rescue: Cops]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:22:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/54908eda26f98.preview-620.jpg

The owner of a dog rescue in northwest Indiana has been accused of animal neglect after police found a mass dog grave and several dogs in "deplorable conditions" at the rescue.

Police began investigating Paws Here Foundation, Inc., in the 22900 block of Harrison Street in Lowell, Indiana, in October after volunteers told police that dogs were being neglected, police said in a statement.

A detective spoke with the rescue's owner, Kenneth D. Wilson, about the allegations and Wilson said he would address the concerns, according to authorities.

After "a reasonable amount of time," the detective said she saw no improvements and obtained a search warrant, the statement said.

Officers executed the search warrant Tuesday at the rescue and found 10 dogs in "deplorable conditions," two dead dogs and a mass grave with "numerous canine remains," the statement said.

The dogs were housed in outside dirt runs and inside a barn and a garage in kennels.

Detective Michelle Dvorsak told the Northwest Indiana Times the facility is the "worst rescue operation I've seen."

Police said the 10 live dogs were "victims of advanced neglect" and are in need of medical and foster care.

The foundation posted on its Facebook page in September that it would close its doors to the public "due to some inhouse issues with a volunteer stealing a lot of our records."

The rescue could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and a phone number listed on its Facebook page was disconnected.

Animal neglect charges were pending against Wilson Tuesday.

Anyone interested in assisting with medical care, donations for supplies or foster care can call Detective Michelle Dvorsak at (219) 755-3346.



Photo Credit: Bill Dolan/NWI Times]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dressed as Santa Robs San Francisco Bank]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:10:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic-santa.jpg

San Francisco police are looking for one bad Santa.

A man dressed up as Santa Claus robbed a bank near the intersection of Sutter and Stockton on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

The Santa, described as 40-50 years old, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, handed the teller a note and then walked out with cash.

Police say the robber did not look unusual because the robbery happened at the same time as SantaCon, the annual event in which hundreds of people dressed as Santa swarm Union Square.

SFPD was unable to provide any surveillance images or photos of the suspect as of Monday night.

No arrests have been made and anyone with information about the suspect is urged to contact San Francisco police and may do so anonymously by calling (415) 392-2623 or may text a tip to 847411 with "SFPD" in the text field followed by the message.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Stranded for 6 Days on Island]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:57:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/121614+coast+guard+rescue+bahamas.jpg

An American man who spent six days stranded on an island in the Bahamas was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, officials said Tuesday.

Larry Sutterfield, 39, was on a dinghy that went adrift and landed on an island in Cay Sal Bank, Coast Guard officials said.

A Coast Guard C-130 airplane spotted the man on Monday, waving his arms in distress. The crew of the plane dropped a radio, food and water to Sutterfield.

Sutterfield was picked up by a Coast Guard boat and taken back to Key West with no major injuries.



Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard]]>
<![CDATA[Odd Google Searches That Trended in 2014]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:08:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453920462.jpg

Google has released its 2014 list of its most common search requests. Many popular searches weren't surprising, like The World Cup, Robin Williams, and Disney's “Frozen.”

However, the search engine also revealed other searches that were also, somehow, popular this past year. People of the web turned to Google for odd info about dogs, beauty, diets, memes, fashion and famous selfies.

Take a look at searches that also trended in 2014: 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA["Clifford" Author Dead at 86]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:48:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/clifford-norman-bridwell-AP11050417642.jpg

Norman Ray Bridwell, author of the popular children's book series "Clifford the Big Red Dog," has died. He was 86 years old.

"Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor," said Dick Robinson, the chairman, president and CEO of Scholastic, which published Bridwell's books. "Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children — kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude — through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than 50 years."

Bridwell died on Friday at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, according to his death notice. He was a resident of Edgartown and had lived on Martha's Vineyard since 1969.

Bridwell was a prodigious author and illustrator: 129 million copies of his more than 150 books are in print, according to Scholastic. Besides the Clifford series, he also authored books like "The Witch Next Door" and "A Tiny Family."

Bridwel's lovable dog jumped onto the small screen in 2000 with an animated series on PBS Kids.

According to Bridwell's publisher, Scholastic, he grew up in Kokomo, Indiana. After high school, he studied art at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and at Cooper Union in New York City. While attempting to get a job as a freelance illustrator in 1962, he drew a picture of a huge bloodhound and a little girl, the basis for what would eventually become "Clifford." The first book was published in 1963.

The Martha's Vineyard Times said Bridwell was involved in the community, and was an annual contributor to the Possible Dreams auction, a major fundraiser for Martha's Vineyard charities.

Bridwell is survived by his wife, Norma (Howard) Bridwell, and his children, Tim Bridwell and Emily Bridwell Merz.

A memorial service will be held in the summer of 2015.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes]]>
<![CDATA[Marines Talk About Spree Suspect]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:03:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Montco+Shooting+Spree+suspect+Bradley+Stone.jpg

As police intensified their search for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, shooting spree suspect Bradley Stone, Marines who served with him described the man as an odd person who had well-known troubles with his now slain ex-wife.

“Honestly, you can say anyone’s crazy, but you wouldn’t think that they’d go and kill their family,” Adam Perone said Monday night as he tried to make sense of the six person killing spree law enforcement accused his former sergeant of carrying out.

The 27-year-old served under Stone’s command in the 3rd Battalion 14th Marine regiment based out of Northeast Philadelphia. The two spent more than a year working together before being deployed to different parts of Iraq in 2008.

“It’s just horrific. Completely horrific,” he said.

Joe, a fellow Marine who asked that his last name not be used, remembers Stone as a quiet man who didn’t mesh well with others.

“He was a younger Marine and very quiet and quite frankly a little odd,” said Joe, a higher-ranking officer in the regiment. “The common theme was always that he was a little out there.”

Stone joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in October 2002, according to military records. He enjoyed the job, Perone said.

“I think the Marine Corps was everything for him. It gave him something to hang his hat on. I guess he liked that role of leadership,” Perone said.

Stone’s time in the service was not always smooth.

In April 2008, the Artillery Meteorological Man — someone who assists with military fire accuracy — began a tour in Ramadi, Iraq and returned home just two months later after health issues cropped up with his wife, Nicole Hill Stone, the men said.

While they were home, Stone would regularly discuss the tumultuous relationship with his wife, Perone said.

“He would openly talk about it. He always talking about how she was crazy and they were going through divorce at that time,” the Marine said. “He was so defeated at that time. He was broke. A lot of his money is going toward that.”

The turbulent relationship turned deadly Monday, police said, when Stone allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife, her mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law and niece, and critically wounded her nephew in a shooting spree that spanned three towns across Montgomery County.

Perone said years went by without him seeing Stone until 2011 when the 35-year-old re-enlisted. Stone wasn’t the same man though, according to Perone. He would talk about having troubles with post-traumatic stress disorder and the medication prescribed by doctors with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for it, he said.

“The lasting image in my head is when he came back and talked about the VA doctors and prescriptions. You know someone long enough, you can tell that there was a difference,” Perone said. “He had a new girlfriend, but obviously he was still very stressed with the situation with his ex-wife.”

Stone missed two other tours of duty, according to Perone, and within a few months he would just disappear. Fellow Marines made attempts to contact him, but they went unreturned. Marine Corps records show he was discharged in May 2011.

While Stone talked about having PTSD, his fellow Marines raised questions about whether the man actually suffered from the disorder. They cited his short tour of duty and apparent lack of combat action as reasons.

“I don’t think he necessarily had PTSD,” Perone said. “It affects everyone differently, though.”


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.



Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Dispute Over Bill Results in Brawl]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:11:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/big+bear+brawl+121514.jpg

A fight over a bill at a popular South Florida restaurant spiraled into a brawl Sunday, as angry patrons hurled glass mugs, chairs and Christmas ornaments in a melee that left a waiter hospitalized, police say.

A large party at Big Bear Brewing Company, located at 1800 N. University Dr. in Coral Springs, started arguing with employees upon receiving their bill. The fight escalated quickly, and Coral Springs police received multiple 911 calls from employees who feared for their safety.

When police arrived, the party that had started the fight left the restaurant and were outside in the parking lot. Multiple witnesses identified several of the patrons as being involved in the brawl, including 29-year-old Roosevelt LaGuerre, 29-year-old Claude Galland, 25-year-old Eurasha Fonseca and 19-year-old Abby Gay Thompson.

A waiter tried to diffuse the bill dispute by getting between the patrons and another employee, according to the police report. That's when police say LaGuerre and Galland started attacking the man, punching him repeatedly and striking him with a glass mug. The waiter was transported to Coral Springs Medical Center, where he received 13 staples for his injuries.

"Following the attack, the defendants continued to cause disruption within the restaurant, throwing multiple items, to include chairs, glass mugs and Christmas ornaments around," the police report said.

Police said Fonseca picked up a glass cup and walked into the restaurant's kitchen, throwing the glass at an employee. She was arrested while trying to flee from the restaurant in a white Nissan Altima.

Thompson was arrested for obstruction when she lied to police by giving a fake name. She told investigators that she didn't want her real name to be on the police report.

LaGuerre and Galland face several charges of felony aggravated battery, felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

It is unclear if any of the defendants have attorneys.

Big Bear's management estimates the defendants caused an estimated $2,000 in damage.



Photo Credit: Coral Springs Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Teachers Allegedly Insult Special Ed Kids in School Chat]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:56:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lincoln+elementary.jpg

Parents of special needs children in a New Jersey school district say they want three teachers who were caught in an online chat allegedly making disparaging comments about students and former colleagues fired from the district.

The chat was discovered by a co-worker after the three teachers at Edison schools spent the morning of Oct. 23 voluntarily training on Chromebook laptops, according to NJ Advance Media, which first obtained a transcript of the chat. 

One of the teachers, Tyler Van Pelt, invited the others, Maria Weber and Maryellen Lechelt, into what he called a "personal wiseass backchannel discussion" on a public chat program called Today's Meet, according to the chat transcript. 

"i like the group name 'morons,'" Lechelt allegedly wrote of one group of her special education students. "they take the tart cart home."

Van Pelt allegedly called children "short bus kids," adding that he referred to one of his groups of students as "I hate you don't waste my time." 

Lechelt allegedly said she referred to another group as "jesus christ, why the ---- did they place you with me?" 

"Middle group = just shut your mouth and do your work," she added of another group of students. 

The two are teachers at Lincoln Elementary School. Weber, a teacher at James Monroe, did not respond to those messages, transcripts show. But she allegedly participated in disparaging the woman running the computer training program that day in a conversation filled with sexual innuendo. 

The chat was discovered by another teacher in the training room, who said she heard them laugh after she turned around to shush them, according to NJ Advance Media. She suspected they were chatting about her, and found the chat transcript insulting. She reported the chat to her principal. 

The three were suspended with pay and are accused of unbecoming conduct, insubordination for misuse of school technology, failure to pay attention to the training and violating the district's sexual harassment and affirmative action policies, among other charges.

At a meeting Monday evening, the Edison Board of Education moved forward in a process to potentially terminate the teachers, putting them on paid leave for 120 days. Their case will be sent to an arbitrator, who will decide whether to fire the teachers, reduce their pay or reinstate them. 

Parent Anthony Pasquale said during the public remarks portion of the meeting: "I truthfully feel there should be an apology by those teachers to the school district and to the township." 

"If you choose to be a teacher, it's a public work. You're dealing with kids. If you don't have it in you, I feel like the decent thing for you to do is to resign," said parent Andrea Siragusa. 

A fourth teacher who participated in the chats, Jonathan Bauza, resigned rather than face disciplinary action, the district told NJ Advance Media. 

NBC 4 New York was unable to reach the teachers' lawyers Monday, but Lechelt's lawyer told NJ Advance Media prior to the vote that he believes the teachers' punishment is inappropriate. 

-- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report. 

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<![CDATA[Teen Admits Stock Millions Hoax]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:16:08 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic+money+new.jpg

A Queens teen says a viral magazine story portraying him as a stock-market whiz was all made up.

A day after New York magazine published a story online describing how Stuyvesant High School senior Mohammed Islam made millions of dollars by trading stocks in his free time, the teen admitted to the Observer that he'd lied and that he has not invested a single dollar in the stock market. 

"I am incredibly sorry for any misjudgment and any hurt I caused," he said in an interview with the Observer Monday. "The people I'm most sorry for is my parents. I did something where I can no longer gain their trust." 

Islam initially told New York magazine that his net worth was "in the high eight figures" and that he began trading penny stocks when he was 9 years old. He said that he swore off investing when he lost money that he had made tutoring, then studied up on finance and eventually began playing the stock market, trading commodities like gold and oil and quickly amassed a fortune.

But in the interview with the Observer Monday, Islam, who is the president of his school's investment club, said he only saw success in his simulated trades -- and that he led the New York magazine reporter to believe he'd made more than $72 million in those trades. 

"All I can say is for the simulated trades, I was very successful. The returns were incredible and outperformed the S&P," he said. 

After Islam and a friend, Damir Tulemaganbetov, also mentioned in the New York magazine article, canceled a CNBC appearance Monday, they decided to come clean to the Observer through an interview conducted at a public relations office. 

Islam said, "my dad wanted to disown me" and that "my mom basically said she'd never talk to me" after they read the story.

"Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me. … They knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since," he said. 

During their lunchtime interview with New York magazine, Islam and two of his friends had spent $400 on apple juice and caviar. They told the reporter they planned to attend college next year but also hoped to start a hedge fund in June, after Islam turns 18 and is old enough to get a broker-dealer license.

In an updated version of the article online, New York magazine adds in an editor's note that Islam "provided bank statements that showed he is worth eight figures, and he confirmed on the record that he’s worth eight figures." It has not yet acknowledged the Observer story.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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