$1.2 million bail set for mother who drove kids into ocean; Ind. couples sue over gay marriage


A lifeguard carries one of the three children rescued from a minivan that their mother, Ebony Wilkerson, drove into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 4, 2014. (Simon Besner/AP)
March 8
Florida
Bail set for mom who drove kids into ocean

A Florida judge set bail at $1.2 million Saturday for the pregnant woman accused of trying to kill her three children this week by locking them in a minivan that she drove into the surf off Daytona Beach.

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, remained in custody as of Saturday afternoon, according to Volusia County jail records. The mother from South Carolina was charged Friday with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of child abuse causing great bodily harm.

Investigators say that on Tuesday afternoon Wilkerson locked the doors of a black Honda Odyssey, rolled up the windows and told her three children to close their eyes as she took them to a “safer place” far away from her allegedly violent husband. She fought attempts of the oldest child and a rescuer to save the siblings, Volusia County sheriff’s investigators said.

Beachgoers and safety officers rescued the children two girls, ages 3 and 10, and a boy, age 9 — from the minivan.

The children were in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families. None suffered serious injuries, the sheriff’s department said.


Lifeguards rescue children from a minivan that their mother drove into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 4, 2014. (Simon Besner/AP)

— McClatchy-Tribune

Indiana
Four couples sue over gay marriage

Four same-sex couples in Indiana, including two who were legally married in other states, filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking to invalidate the state’s definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The plaintiffs want either to be allowed to wed or to have their marriages recognized by Indiana, granting them in either case the same legal protections as opposite-sex couples.

At the center of their argument is the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that it discriminated against same-sex couples. Since then, several federal judges have made rulings favorable to gay men and women.

The plaintiffs in Indiana said Friday that the ban had caused them troubles with tax returns, health care and adoptions, among other things.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, a Republican, vowed to defend the law.

— McClatchy-Tribune

Veteran gets Purple Heart 70 years later: An 89-year-old U.S. World War II veteran who was wounded when his plane crashed in occupied France in 1944 received a Purple Heart medal Saturday, an honor he declined 70 years ago. Richard Faulkner had was a 19-year-old staff sergeant when the B-17 bomber in which he was flying collided with an allied aircraft. All aboard were killed except Faulkner, who parachuted to safety and was stranded behind enemy lines. He escaped and was offered the Purple Heart, but he declined it. He had a hard time accepting the tragedy, he said before the awards ceremony at his retirement community in Auburn, N.Y.

— Reuters

Woman survives killer bee attack: A 71-year-old woman is believed to have suffered around 1,000 stings in Southern California after being attacked by a swarm of killer bees that covered her entire body. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams said the woman was expected to recover after Thursday’s attack in Palm Desert. He said five firefighters were also hospitalized for stings. A bee removal specialist told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that up to 80,000 Africanized honey bees in an underground electrical vault stung a Verizon employee who opened the vault. The bees then attacked the woman, who had gotten out of a car nearby.

— Associated Press

Victor in marathon spelling bee: A marathon spelling bee between two Kansas City, Mo., students ended after 29 more rounds Saturday, when one of them stumbled over the word “stifling.” For more than an hour, seventh-grader Kush Sharma and fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman went toe-to-toe in the continuation of the Jackson County Spelling Bee, which began two weeks ago but had to be extended after the two breezed through the word list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, then 20 more words picked out of the dictionary. After being given his final word, Kush properly spelled “definition” and won.

— Associated Press

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