The judge in penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz will soon decide whether the jury will be told about some brain exams his lawyers had conducted on him. His attorneys this week will tell Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that she should permit the tests be shown in their upcoming presentation. They say the tests bolster their claim that Cruz suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. The prosecution says the tests are junk science and should not be shown to the jury. Cruz has pleaded guilty to murdering 17 at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. His ongoing trial is to determine whether he is sentenced to death or life without parole.
Democrat Beto O’Rourke responded to a heckler at a campaign stop with an expletive after the Texas gubernatorial candidate heard a cackled laugh while criticizing the ease in which the Uvalde elementary school gunman obtained an AR-15-style rifle. By Thursday, video of O’Rourke lashing out at the person during a town hall in rural Mineral Wells had drawn millions of views on social media. It's the latest instance in which O'Rourke has gotten attention over his calls for stricter gun laws following one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history. O'Rourke has called for raising the legal age to purchase such rifles from 18 to 21 years old during his campaign against two-term incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
The nearly $50 million defamation verdict against Alex Jones for his years of lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is not a final reckoning. Jones’ attorneys plan to appeal to lower the price tag a Texas jury last week put on his false claim that the shooting that killed 20 students and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. The conspiracy theorist faces bankruptcy and other defamation lawsuits. And Jones' courtroom conduct in the trial to resolve a suit filed by the parents of one of the child victims has exposed the Infowars host to new legal perils.
A former Boston high school dean already in prison for shooting a student he recruited to deal drugs has pleaded guilty to a federal gang-related charge. Shaun Harrison pleaded guilty in Boston federal court on Tuesday to a count of racketeering conspiracy more than two years after he was indicted alongside dozens of other Latin Kings members, leaders and associates. Harrison was convicted in state court in 2018 of assault and other charges, and sentenced to up to 26 years in prison for shooting a 17-year-old student in the back of the head after a dispute over slumping drug sales. The bullet broke the teen’s jawbone and just missed his carotid artery, and he survived.
The prosecutor seeking to sentence Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz to death let the facts speak for themselves as he presented his case over the last three weeks. Former Broward County state attorney Mike Satz told the story of the 2018 massacre of 17 people by using terrifying accounts from witnesses. There were heartrending statements from families. There were chilling surveillance videos and gruesome photos. As a capstone, there was Thursday’s jury walk-through of the building where it happened. Bloodstains and Valentine’s Day cards still clinging to the floors. He then rested his case. The trial will determine if Cruz is sentenced to death or life in prison. The defense case starts in Aug. 22.
Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is facing a hefty price tag for his lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre — $49.3 million in damages and counting — for claiming the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The verdict is the first of three Sandy Hook-related cases against Jones to be decided and a punishing salvo in a fledgling war on harmful misinformation. But what does it mean for the larger misinformation ecosystem of election denial, COVID-19 skepticism and other dubious claims that Jones helped build? Courts have held that defamatory statements against a person or a business aren’t protected as free speech, but lies about things like science, history and the government are.
A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he has to pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis say they were tormented by the Infowars host’s false claims that the worst classroom shooting in U.S. history was orchestrated by the government to tighten gun laws. The total of nearly $50 million marks the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones bulled through the first trial that could decimate his personal fortune and media empire in his usual way. He was loud, aggressive and talking about conspiracies both in and out the courtroom. It was business as usual for the gravelly voiced, barrel-chested Jones. But by courtroom standards, his erratic and, at times, disrespectful behavior is unusual. It's also potentially complicated for the legal process. Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, were ordered Friday to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages on top of $4.11 million in compensatory damages to the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis. He was killed with 19 other first graders and six educators in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
A teen has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for shooting and wounding two fellow students at a Virginia high school. The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that the judge in Newport News handed down a punishment that will include time in a juvenile detention center as well as state prison. The teen was 15 at the time of the shooting at Heritage High School. Judge Christopher Papile noted that the teen fired shots in a crowded hallway. A 17-year-old student with whom the teen was fighting was shot at least three times. Another 17-year-old student who was running away was struck in her leg. Both have recovered from their injuries.
A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre over Jones' repeated public claims that the attack was a hoax. The jury’s decision Thursday marks the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for falsely claiming that the attack that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged. It might not be the last such judgment against him, as a judge in Connecticut has already ruled against him in a similar lawsuit. The Texas jury must still decide how much to award in punitive damages.
Jurors in the trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have toured the still-bloodstained building where he murdered 17 people four years ago. The 12 jurors and their 10 alternates were bused to Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Thursday along with the judge, prosecutors and Cruz's attorneys. Cruz wasn't present. The area was closed off to keep protesters away and protect jurors’ safety. The three-story classroom building was sealed after the Valentine's Day 2018 shooting. The floors remain bloodstained and the walls bullet-pocked. Rotted holiday flowers and deflated balloons are in the rooms. The jury will decide if Cruz is sentenced to death or life without parole.
An attorney for two parents suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre says the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee has requested two years’ worth of records from Jones’ phone. Attorney Mark Bankston said in court Thursday that the committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested the records. He later said he plans to comply. On Wednesday, Bankston revealed during Jones' defamation trial in Texas that Jones’ attorney had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years’ worth of texts from Jones’ cellphone. The jury is deciding how much Jones should pay to the parents of a child killed in the 2012 massacre for repeatedly claiming it was a hoax.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he now understands he was irresponsible to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax, and he now believes it was “100% real.” The jury in Austin, Texas, began deliberating Wednesday how much the conspiracy theorist and Infowars host owes the parents of one of the children who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut. Testimony wrapped up with Jones telling the jurors that any compensation above $2 million would sink his Texas-based company. Jones also acknowledged that he was wrong to push false claims that the massacre didn’t happen. The parents suing Jones testified Tuesday that an apology wouldn't suffice and that Jones must be held accountable. They are seeking at least $150 million.
The parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre say conspiracy theorist Alex Jones made their lives a “living hell” by pushing claims that the murders were a hoax. Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed at Sandy Hook, testified Tuesday on the final day of testimony in the two-week trial. They’re seeking at least $150 million from Jones. Jones was not in court when Heslin began testifying, but he was there when Lewis took the stand. Both parents said they had received death threats and harassment and experienced ongoing trauma because of Jones. Jones later testified and apologized to the parents, saying he never intended to hurt them. The 2012 attack killed 20 first-graders and six staffers at the Connecticut school.
The Texas city near where 19 children and two teachers were shot dead in an elementary school classroom has rescinded a deal for a gun group's fundraiser in a city-owned hall. The Hondo City Council voted 4-1 Monday to rescind the rental agreement for the Friends of the NRA to hold its fundraiser at the city's Medina Fair Hall. The vote came after an angry crowd denounced the event, including a raffle of a semi-automatic rifle similar to one an 18-year-old gunman used in the May 24 shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, 44 miles east of Hondo.
A grieving father erupted in anger as he told jurors about the daughter school shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered along with 16 others four years ago. Ilan Alhadeff's voice rose Tuesday as he told jurors in Cruz's death penalty trial how he can now only hear her infectious laugh in videos. And Alhadeff wept when he noted he'll never have a chance to dance with his daughter at her wedding. Alhadeff is part of a long line of victims' relatives who are telling jurors about the loved ones lost in the massacre at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day 2018. Cruz pleaded guilty to murder in October. The trial is only to determine if he is sentenced to death or life without parole.
The fear that the next school shooting could happen in their hallways hangs over school resource officers across the United States. The latest reminder of that danger came in May when 19 children and two teachers were killed in a fourth-grade classroom in Uvalde, Texas. Reminders of the threat of school shootings were omnipresent at a recent conference in Colorado where hundreds of officers gathered for training. They're called on to be battle-ready officers whom parents and students can trust to protect them. But a lot of their time is spent building relationships with students, which the officers say is also key for safety.
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)
Family members from three of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s 17 victims gave heartrending testimony about how their 2018 deaths at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have affected their lives. The families of Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty and teacher Scott Beigel detailed Monday lost loves, lost moments and even fading memories. Oliver's sister glared at Cruz as she left the witness stand, while other families appeared not to look at him. Cruz pleaded guilty to the 17 murders that happened on Valentine's Day 2018. The jurors are deciding whether he will be sentenced to death or life without parole.
A psychiatrist says that the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim live with a complex form of post-traumatic stress disorder and a constant fear that followers of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will kill them. Roy Lubit, a forensic psychiatrist hired by plaintiffs Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis to review the trauma they've faced, testified Monday at Jones’ defamation trial in Austin that the “overwhelming cause” of their ongoing trauma is Jones' claims that the 2012 massacre in which six educators and 20 students, including their son Jesse, were killed was a hoax or faked. The trial is to determine how much Jones owes the parents for defaming them. They are seeking at least $150 million.
In a story published on July 29, 2022, The Associated Press erroneously reported the name of the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action as Jason Quimet. The correct name is Jason Ouimet.
A college instructor in Georgia has been charged with murder in the Saturday shooting death of an 18-year-old student. The Carrollton Police Department said in a news release that Richard Sigman is charged with murder and aggravated assault for his involvement in the shooting death of 18-year-old Anna Jones. Police said they believe Jones was killed when Sigman shot into a parked car following an argument with a man at a pizza restaurant. The shooting happened shortly after midnight Saturday. The University of West Georgia told news outlets in a statement that Sigman’s employment had been terminated. The university said Jones was a student.
Few Americans outside law enforcement ever see the most graphic videos or photos from the nation’s worst mass shootings. In most states, such evidence is only displayed at trial and most such killers die during their attacks. They never make it to court. That makes the penalty phase in the trial over the 2018 murders of 17 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School unusual. Images of the horrific aftermath are being shown in court, but only to jurors, and to a small group of journalists. Some people believe the public should see such images also, so they can understand the carnage AR-15s and similar guns cause. Others say that would cause emotional harm to the victims’ families and perhaps stoke future mass shootings.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said that he stopped at a campaign fundraiser following the deadly school shooting in Uvalde and “let people know” he couldn’t stay, but a newspaper reports that he was there for nearly three hours. The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday that campaign finance reports and flight-tracking records show that Abbott arrived in Huntsville at 4:52 p.m. on May 24 — which was hours after the shooting at Robb Elementary School — and was then was driven about 2 miles to a local supporter’s house. He didn’t leave the city till 7:47 p.m. A spokeswoman for Abbott's campaign says that the governor has been forthright about his movements that day.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems has filed for bankruptcy, but his attorney says it shouldn't disrupt the defamation damages trial underway in Texas that seeks to force Jones to pay $150 million or more to the family of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack. The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, wrapped up its first week of testimony and is expected to conclude next week. The bankruptcy filing was announced in court late in the day. Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax.