CHICAGO (Reuters) – A Wisconsin judge on Tuesday denied a bid for a new trial by Steven Avery, who is serving life sentence for a 2005 slaying featured in the popular Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.”
Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz ruled Avery had not met the legal standard to receive a new trial, according to a copy of the decision posted online by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
“Given the totality of evidence submitted at trial and the ambiguous conclusions stated in the experts’ reports, it cannot be said that a reasonable probability exists that a different result would be reached at a new trial based on these reports,” Sutkiewicz wrote in the ruling.
Kathleen Zellner, Avery’s attorney, who argued his conviction was based on planted evidence and false testimony, said in a statement Tuesday she would seek to vacate the judge’s order to allow her to finish further scientific testing and witness affidavits.
Avery and fellow defendant Brendan Dassey were convicted in separate trials of killing freelance photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery’s home and scrap yard in 2005. Her charred remains were found in an incineration barrel and a burn pit on Avery’s property, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Milwaukee.
Both were sentenced to life in prison.
In August, a U.S. appeals court agreed to reconsider the decision of a federal judge who overturned Dassey’s conviction by ruling it was based on a coerced confession he gave as a 16-year-old with a learning disability.
The case was the subject of a 10-part documentary, “Making a Murderer,” which questioned the handling of the investigation and the motives of Manitowoc County law enforcement officials.
The documentary recounted how Avery was convicted of an earlier, unrelated rape and sent to prison in 1985, serving 18 years before DNA evidence exonerated him, and he was released.
He filed a $36 million federal lawsuit against the county, its former sheriff and district attorney in 2004. A year later, he and Dassey were accused of killing Halbach.
The Emmy-winning documentary suggested authorities planted evidence against both defendants, a claim rejected by the current sheriff.
Reporting by Chris Kenning; Editing by David Gregorio
Currently sitting seventh with 12 points, Liverpool are already seven adrift of the impressive joint-leaders Man City and United.
And Aldridge fears the ‘game will be up for Liverpool’ if they fall to defeat against Mourinho’s United on October 14.
‘I’m not Jose Mourinho’s biggest fan for a variety of reasons,’ ex-Liverpool star Aldridge told the Irish Independent.
‘But he gets his teams winning if you give him time and with Romelu Lukaku scoring goals for fun and his defence looking like the best in the Premier League, United are ready to push for the title for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s retirement as their manager.
‘It may still be too early to write off teams like Chelsea and Tottenham, but if United were to win at Anfield and open up a ten-point lead over Klopp’s side, the game would already be up for Liverpool.
‘That would be very hard to take for a team that continues to make the same mistakes week-after-week, with Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle the latest example of the frustrating story we watch every time they take to the field now.’
While Liverpool have only managed to record two draws from three of their last league fixtures, United have won their last three games and thrashed bottom-placed Crystal Palace 4-0 at the weekend.
Premier League legend Ryan Giggs believes the title will indeed be heading to Manchester at the end of the season.
‘I think Chelsea will still be in the mix but you’ve got to say City and Manchester United have been impressive and are the teams to beat,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘I think we are seeing the managers, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, imprinting their own visions on their teams.
‘In Pep’s case, with the goals they score and the chances they are creating, it’s exciting for City fans right now.’
A man was filmed eating chicken nuggets using cutlery.
The diner, the identity of whom remains unknown, was ‘caught’ tucking into McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets with a fork, and has caught the attention of thousands. People are upset.
The footage was posted to comedy page Brown Cardigan. In the film, the man chomps happily on his dinner, blissfully unaware that he will soon be the cause of culinary outrage.
The man uses a fork to pick up his chicken nuggets and dunk them into his sauce, which appears to be ketchup. He does the same thing with his fries.
Some have labelled him an “animal”, others have said that he must be “sick in the head”. Indeed, his eating habits are not entirely popular. Some have even questioned whether the diner is a “serial killer”.
Not everyone’s so averse. Others see the practical side – no greasy hands, minimal spillage. Is it maybe okay?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Supreme Court justices clashed on Tuesday over whether courts should curb the long-standing U.S. political practice of drawing electoral maps to entrench one party in power, with conservative Anthony Kennedy likely to cast the deciding vote.
The nine justices heard an hour of arguments in the major voting rights case out of Wisconsin involving the practice known as partisan gerrymandering. Their ruling, due by June, could have an impact on U.S. elections for decades by setting standards for when electoral districts are laid out with such extreme partisan aims that they deprive voters of their constitutional rights.
Kennedy, who sometimes sides with the court’s liberal justices in big rulings, did not definitively tip his hand on how he would rule but posed tough questions to Wisconsin’s lawyers that signaled his aversion to electoral districts drawn to give one party a lopsided advantage in elections.
Liberal justices voiced sympathy for the Democratic voters who challenged the Republican-drawn legislative map in Wisconsin as a violation of their constitutional rights. Conservative justices expressed doubt about whether courts should intervene in such highly political disputes, and questioned the challengers’ legal standing to bring the case. The court has a 5-4 conservative majority.
Gerrymandering, a practice that began two centuries ago, involves manipulating boundaries of legislative districts to benefit one party and diminish another.
Democratic and Republican critics argue that gerrymandering is becoming more extreme because it now can be guided by precise voter data and mapmaking technology, distorting the democratic process by letting politicians choose their voters rather than the other way around.
Legislative districts in the 50 U.S. states, redrawn every decade after the national census to reflect population changes, represent the individual components of representative democracy.
Kennedy pressed Erin Murphy, a lawyer for Wisconsin’s state Senate, on whether it would be unconstitutional for a state law to contain explicit provisions favoring one party over another. Murphy conceded it would be.
A federal three-judge panel ruled 2-1 last November that Wisconsin’s redistricting plan violated the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression and association and 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law because of the extent to which it marginalized Democratic voters. Wisconsin appealed that ruling to the high court.
In a 2004 ruling in another case, Kennedy parted with his conservative colleagues to suggest that if partisan gerrymandering went too far, violating the Constitution, courts may have to step in if a “workable standard” for deciding when to do that could be found.
“Gerrymandering is distasteful,” conservative Justice Samuel Alito said.
But Alito voiced doubt over whether the metrics used to measure gerrymandering, drawn from social science and endorsed by the lower court, were manageable. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts called those metrics “sociological gobbledygook.”
Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives to speak after oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford and to call for an end to partisan gerrymandering in electoral districts at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch said a court-approved formula for identifying unconstitutional gerrymandering would be hard to achieve, comparing various standards proposed to spices on a steak dinner. “What’s this court supposed to do? A pinch of this, a pinch of that?” he asked.
He voiced doubt that the Constitution authorizes courts to step in at all.
‘TIME TO TERMINATE’
The challengers received some muscular support. “It is time to terminate gerrymandering,” Republican former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star of the “Terminator” movies, told a rally outside the courthouse.
Redistricting typically is done by the party controlling a state’s legislature. Gerrymandering is usually accomplished by concentrating voters who tend to favor a particular party in a small number of districts to reduce their statewide voting power – called packing – while scattering others in districts in numbers too small to be a majority – called cracking.
The Supreme Court for decades has been willing to invalidate state electoral maps on the grounds of racial discrimination but never those drawn simply for partisan advantage.
Roberts raised concerns about the high court approving or rejecting future state electoral maps, suggesting the public could start viewing the court as a political body.
“That is going to cause very serious harm to the status and integrity of the decisions of this court in the eyes of the country,” Roberts added.
Some liberal justices wondered what would happen to voters if partisan gerrymandering made election results preordained.
“What incentive is there for a voter to exercise his vote?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked. “What becomes of the precious right to vote?”
Wisconsin’s electoral map, drawn after the 2010 U.S. census, enabled Republicans to win a sizable majority of Wisconsin legislative seats despite losing the popular vote statewide to the Democrats. The party’s majority has since expanded.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Paul Smith, urged the justices to act. “If you let this go,” he said, “in 2020 you’re going to have a festival of copycat gerrymandering, the likes of which this country has never seen.”
“You are the only institution in the United States … that can solve this problem,” Smith added.
Reporting by Andrew Chung; Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham
SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team will be looking for lost speed as Formula One wraps up its Asian leg in Japan this weekend.
The championship leader is thankful to have extended his advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 34 points with five races remaining but he is also conscious that there is work to be done.
Mercedes were slower than Ferrari and Red Bull for the second successive race in Malaysia after similarly struggling for pace in Singapore.
That represented unfamiliar territory for the reigning champions, even if they came away with a tidy points haul as Ferrari self-destructed.
Hamilton has won twice before at Suzuka, and three times in Japan when Fuji is included in the reckoning, while Mercedes are unbeaten there in three years.
On paper it should suit them again, but there is also an air of uncertainty with Red Bull very much in the mix after Max Verstappen’s victory at Sepang.
”There are a lot of question marks generally which we need to assess,“ said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. ”I think we should have been quicker than we were (in Malaysia) but Suzuka should be much more in the window.
“I‘m very much looking forward to Suzuka to see how the car behaves there because it should be completely different.”
Last year, Hamilton arrived in Japan ill at ease and still feeling the agony of an engine failure at Sepang while leading from pole position — a blow that ultimately cost him the championship.
He played around on Snapchat and then moodily refused questions from ‘disrespectful’ media who criticized his behavior.
Formula One F1 – Malaysia Grand Prix 2017 – Drivers’ News Conference – Sepang, Malaysia – September 28, 2017 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton speaks to journalists. REUTERS/Edgar Su
This time he is riding a run of good fortune, with an opening lap crash for Vettel in Singapore dealing the German a significant setback in a race that the Briton went on to win.
In Malaysia he finished second after his rival raced to fourth place from last on the grid due to a power unit problem in qualifying.
Vettel had a new engine for Sepang and the four times winner in Japan will expect to be quick on Sunday, with fears for his car’s gearbox subsiding since he and Canadian Lance Stroll collided on the post-race slowing down lap.
“It’s been a difficult weekend, but nevertheless the speed is there,” said the four-time champion, who has four wins this year to Hamilton’s seven.
But both he and Hamilton also have to contend with a resurgent Red Bull.
“The Red Bulls are right in it now,” said former racer and television commentator Martin Brundle.
“You think of Suzuka, it’s just one corner after another. You always want power but they should be mighty in Suzuka, the Red Bulls.”
Sunday’s race will also be Honda’s last home grand prix as power unit suppliers to McLaren, with the Japanese manufacturer set to tie up with Toro Rosso next year.
The Woking-based team head into the weekend having chalked up their first consecutive points finishes of the season.
A third race in the points this weekend, at a track owned by Honda, will see McLaren, who are switching to Renault power next year, equal their best successive run of top-10 finishes since joining forces with the Japanese firm.
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – The investigation into the motives of a Las Vegas retiree who killed 59 people in the bloodiest mass shooting in modern U.S. history turned on Tuesday to the gunman’s girlfriend in the Philippines, where she turned up after the massacre, authorities said.
Stephen Paddock, who killed himself moments before police stormed the hotel suite he had transformed into a sniper’s nest on Sunday night, left no clear clues as to why he staged his attack on an outdoor concert below the high-rise building.
But law enforcement authorities are hoping to obtain some answers from a woman identified as Paddock’s live-in companion, Marilou Danley, who Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said was a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Lombardo, who on Monday said Danley was believed to be in Tokyo, told reporters on Tuesday she had been located in the Philippines and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was in the process of trying to bring her back to the United States.
“We are in conversations with her,” he said at an afternoon news briefing. But he reiterated police had no other suspects in the shooting itself.
Danley, an Australian citizen reported to have been born in the Philippines, had been sharing Paddock’s condo at a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, about 90 miles (145 km) northeast of Las Vegas, according to police and public records.
Investigators are examining a $100,000 wire transfer Paddock, 64, sent to an account in the Philippines that “appears to have been intended” for Danley, a senior U.S. homeland security official told Reuters on Tuesday.
The official, who has been briefed regularly on the probe but spoke on condition of anonymity, said the working assumption of investigators is that the money was intended as a form of life insurance payment for Danley.
The official said U.S. authorities were eager to question Danley, who described herself on social media websites as a “casino professional,” mother and grandmother, about whether Paddock encouraged her to leave the United States before he went on his rampage.
The official said investigators also have uncovered evidence that Paddock may have rehearsed his plans at other venues before ultimately carrying out his attack on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from the 32nd floor suite of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
Fresh details about the massacre and the arsenal of weaponry amassed by Paddock emerged on Tuesday.
Lombardo said Paddock strafed the concert crowd with bullets for nine minutes before taking his own life, and had set up cameras inside and outside his hotel suite, apparently, in part, to provide him advance detection of police as they closed in on his location.
Video footage caught by people on the ground showed throngs of people screaming in horror, some crouching on the open ground for cover, hemmed in by fellow concertgoers, others running for cover as extended bursts of gunfire rained onto the crowd of some 20,000.
More than 500 people were injured, some trampled in the pandemonium. At least 20 of the survivors admitted to one of several hospitals in the area, University Medical Center, remained in critical condition on Tuesday, doctors said.
The union representing firefighters disclosed that a dozen off-duty firefighters who were attending the music festival were shot while trying to render aid to other spectators, two of them while performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on victims.
“This is a true feat of heroism on their part,” said Ray Rahne of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
But the central, unanswered question to the bloodshed was what drove the gunman’s actions.
Federal, state and local investigators have found no evidence that Paddock had even incidental contacts with foreign or domestic extremist groups, and reviews of his history show no underlying pattern of criminal behavior or hate speech, the homeland security official said.
While investigators had not ruled out the possibility of mental illness or some form of brain injury, “there’s no evidence of that, either,” the official said.
People mourn during an interfaith memorial service in Las Vegas. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paddock’s brother, Eric, has described himself as mystified by the attack.
“It just makes less sense the more we use any kind of reason to figure it out,” Eric Paddock said in a text message on Tuesday. “I will bet any amount of money that they will not find any link to anything … he did this completely by himself.”
He said the family did not plan to hold a funeral for his brother, who was not religious, saying it could attract unwanted attention. He described his brother as a financially well-off enthusiast of video poker and cruises, with no history of mental health issues.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that Paddock had been “a sick man, a demented man.”
GUN DEBATE STIRRED
The attack stirred the fractious debate about gun ownership in the United States, which is protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and about how much that right should be subject to controls.
Sunday’s shooting followed the massacre of 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and the slaying of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando last year. The latter attack was previously the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Democrats reiterated what is generally the party’s stance, that legislative action is needed to reduce mass shootings. Republicans, who control the White House and both chambers of Congress, argue that restrictions on lawful gun ownership cannot deter criminal behavior.
“We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by,” said Trump, who strongly supported gun rights during his presidential campaign.
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged Trump to bring together both major parties to devise a solution to gun violence.
“I am requesting the president to call us together, Democrats and Republicans, to come up with a reasonable solution,” Schumer told journalists.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said it was too soon after the attack to discuss legislative solutions to gun violence.
“It’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this, which just happened in the last day and a half,” McConnell told journalists.
Paddock seemed unlike the troubled, angry young men who experts said have come to embody the mass-shooter profile in the United States.
Public records on Paddock point to an itinerant existence across the U.S. West and Southeast, including stints as an apartment manager and aerospace industry worker. He appeared to be settling in to a quiet life when he bought a home in a Nevada retirement community a few years ago.
Police said they found 23 guns in Paddock’s suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel. They found another 19 firearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition at his home in Mesquite, Nevada, 90 miles (145 km) northeast of Las Vegas.
Another seven guns were found at a property associated with Paddock in Reno.
A search of his car turned up a supply of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be formed into explosives and was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal office building that killed 168 people, Lombardo said.
Chris Sullivan, the owner of Mesquite’s Guns & Guitars shop, issued a statement confirming that Paddock was a customer who cleared background checks and said his business was cooperating with investigators.
Additional reporting by Lisa Girion in Las Vegas, Jonathan Allen and Frank McGurty in New York, John Walcott, Susan Cornwell, Doina Chiacu and Jeff Mason in Washington, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Steve Gorman and Scott Malone; Editing by Frances Kerry, Jonathan Oatis and Andrew Hay