Digest: Mass. teen charged with killing teacher; FDA probes tainted pet treats

October 23, 2013
MASSACHUSETTS
Student, 14, charged
with killing teacher

Massachusetts authorities on Wednesday charged a 14-year-old high school student with the murder of a math teacher after finding the teacher’s body in woods near the school.

The student, Philip Chism, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Colleen Ritzer, 24, and was ordered held without bail in a brief proceeding at Salem District Court, according to the clerk’s office. Chism has been charged as an adult.

Police in Danvers, about 20 miles north of Boston, began an investigation late Tuesday after receiving calls that a student at the school and a teacher had not gone home, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. After discovering blood in a second-floor bathroom, police extended their search to the woods behind the school, where they found Ritzer’s body.

Prosecutors said in court papers that an interview of Chism and surveillance video from the school showed that Chism killed Ritzer and dumped her body behind the school.

— Reuters

HEALTH
FDA investigates
tainted jerky for pets

The Food and Drug Administration has turned to pet owners for help in an ongoing investigation into jerky products, most of them made in China, that have killed nearly 600 dogs and cats.

Since 2007, about 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have fallen ill — and more than 580 have died — from eating the sliced and dried meat products, the food inspection agency said in an update Tuesday.

Pet owners and veterinarians were asked to report more cases in “one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement posted on the FDA’s Web site.

Symptoms reportedly displayed within hours of eating the jerky include decreased appetite and activity, increased drinking and urination, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe cases involve gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure.

The jerky products were made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and dried fruit and were sold under many brand names, most imported from China. An FDA spokeswoman declined to name any of the brands.

— Reuters

COLORADO
Ramsey indictment ordered released

A Colorado judge Wednesday ordered the release of the 1999 grand jury indictment in the killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, possibly shedding light on why prosecutors decided against charging her parents in her death.

Senior District Judge J. Robert Lowenbach ruled that the indictment signed by the grand jury foreman constituted an official action and must be released Friday. A reporter for the Boulder Daily Camera and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a lawsuit to seek the records.

JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled in her family’s home in Boulder on Dec. 26, 1996. The girl’s mother, Patsy, died of cancer in 2006.

— Associated Press

Owner convicted in blast at gunpowder plant: The owner of a gunpowder plant where an explosion shook nearby buildings and killed two workers was convicted on Wednesday of negligent homicide and manslaughter. Craig Sanborn owned the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, N.H., where the 2010 explosion killed Donald Kendall, 56, of Colebrook, and Jesse Kennett, 49, of nearby Stratford.

Man who admitted to drunken driving in video gets 61 / 2 years: An Ohio man who admitted in an online video that he had engaged in a night of celebratory drinking, then recklessly drove the wrong way, crashing into another car and killing a man, was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1 / 2 years in prison. Matthew Cordle, 22, of Powell, a suburb of Columbus, was sentenced for the June accident that killed Vincent Canzani, 61. Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fais said he looked at the case from all angles, both Cordle’s acceptance of blame and the Canzani family’s loss.

Saudi found guilty of sexual assault on boy: A jury on Wednesday found a sergeant in Saudi Arabia’s air force guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy at a Las Vegas casino-hotel last New Year’s Eve. Mazen Alotaibi, 24, could face a sentence of 35 years to life in prison. Prosecutors said Alotaibi forced the boy into sex in a bathroom at the Circus Circus hotel. Alotaibi told police the boy consented to sex for marijuana or money. Nevada state law says a child under 16 can’t give consent.

Police kill boy playing with toy assault rifle: Northern California sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 13-year-old boy after repeatedly telling him to drop what turned out to be a replica assault rifle, sheriff’s officials and family members said. Two Sonoma County deputies on patrol saw the boy walking with what appeared to be a high-powered weapon Tuesday afternoon in Santa Rosa, Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis O’Leary said. The replica gun resembled an AK-47 with a black magazine cartridge and brown butt, judging by a photograph released by the sheriff’s office. Rodrigo Lopez identified the boy to a newspaper as his son, Andy.

— From news services

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