Colorado shooting suspect to enter insanity plea; Delaware backs same-sex marriage

COLORADO

Massacre suspect

to enter insanity plea

Attorneys for the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater say he wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Attorneys for James Holmes said in a court filing Tuesday that they plan to ask for the change of plea at a May 13 hearing.

A judge in the case previously entered a standard not-guilty plea for Holmes, 25.

If the judge accepts the new plea, Holmes will be sent to the state mental hospital, where doctors would determine whether he was insane at the time of the July 20 shootings.

Holmes’s attorneys have said in court hearings that he is mentally ill and was being seen by a psychiatrist before the attack on a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie.

— Associated Press

DELAWARE

Same-sex marriage bill signed into law

Delaware became the 11th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage when Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed a gay marriage bill into law just minutes after its passage by the state Senate on Tuesday.

“I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer,” a smiling Markell told about 200 jubilant supporters, who erupted in cheers and applause following the 12-9 Senate vote barely half an hour earlier.

Delaware’s same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Democrat-controlled legislature barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. The bill won passage two weeks ago in the state House in a 23 to 18 vote.

While it doesn’t give same-sex couples any more rights or benefits than in civil unions, supporters say same-sex couples deserve the same dignity and respect as married couples.

— Associated Press

TEXAS

Probe confirms fertilizer detonated

Investigators have confirmed that ammonium nitrate stored at a West, Tex., fertilizer plant detonated in the devastating explosion that left 14 people dead and about 200 injured last month, the Texas state fire marshal’s office said.

The cause of the April 17 fire and subsequent blast at the West Fertilizer Co. facility is still being determined, investigators said.

The blast caused an estimated $100 million in damage to homes, businesses and schools near the fertilizer plant. The dead included 11 firefighters and other first responders who had rushed to contain the fire at the plant.

Ammonium nitrate is a dry fertilizer mixed with other fertilizers such as phosphate and applied to crops to promote growth. It can be combustible under certain conditions. It was used as an ingredient in the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City that left 168 people dead.

— Reuters

Former justice gets house arrest for abuse of office: Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice Joan Orie Melvin, 57, avoided prison time Tuesday for her campaign-corruption conviction but was ordered to send written apologies to every judge in the state because she abused her office. Melvin and her sister and former aide Janine Orie each received house arrest for illegally using the judge’s state-funded staff as part of her two campaigns for a seat on the state’s highest court.

Couple to get most of reward in manhunt for L.A. cop: Three parties will split the $1 million reward offered by the Los Angels police during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner, with most of it going to a couple tied up by the rogue ex-cop before his final shootout with authorities. According to a document posted on the LAPD Web site Tuesday, 80 percent of it will go to the couple, James and Karen Reynolds, 15 percent to a man who found Dorner’s burning truck in the Big Bear area where he was eventually discovered, and 5 percent to a tow-truck driver who spotted Dorner at a Corona gas station earlier.

— From news services

 
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