CALIFORNIA
Armed F-16 fighter jet crashes near air base

An F-16 fighter jet that crashed through the roof of a Southern California warehouse was armed with live ammunition and authorities planned to dispose of its ordnance Friday, authorities said.

The Air National Guard jet was carrying a “standard armament” package, Col. Thomas McNamara, vice commander of the Air Force Reserve’s 452nd Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base, said at a news conference.

The F-16 can carry bombs and missiles. McNamara didn’t provide details of the ordnance but said the weaponry had been removed from the jet, which remained inside the warehouse.

The F-16 crashed Thursday afternoon when the pilot reported hydraulic problems and started losing control of the aircraft, authorities have said. The plane crashed into a commercial warehouse near the base, which is southeast of Los Angeles.

The pilot ejected safely before the crash and was in good condition, McNamara said. The pilot’s name was not released.

There was no explosion and no serious injuries among workers at the business. Three trauma patients remained hospitalized in stable condition and 10 others, including sheriff’s deputies who entered the warehouse to search for possible victims, were treated for exposure to debris and released, authorities said.

Authorities cordoned off an area for three-quarters of a mile around the scene, including a section of heavily traveled Interstate 215.

— Associated Press

TENNESSEE
Death row inmate dies after friend is executed

A Tennessee death row inmate died in prison on Friday, less than three months before his scheduled execution and less than a day after a fellow inmate was executed.

Charles Wright, 64, was pronounced dead of natural causes at 11:57 a.m. at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Wright was convicted in the 1984 shooting death of two men in a Nashville park during a drug deal. He was sentenced to death for killing Douglas Alexander and to life in prison for killing Gerald Mitchell.

Assistant federal public defender Kelley Henry had unsuccessfully sought compassionate release for Wright, saying the inmate was dying of cancer.

Henry said Wright had many friends on death row who took care of him after he became ill.

They included Don Johnson, who was pronounced dead Thursday night. Henry was one of the witnesses to Johnson’s execution. Autopsies are planned for both men.

Courts have rejected challenges to Tennessee’s midazolam-based lethal injection protocols. The state is scheduled to execute two more inmates later this year.

— Associated Press

KENTUCKY
Trial of accused school shooter changes venue

A Kentucky judge has ruled that the trial of a teenager accused of killing two schoolmates will be moved to another county.

News outlets reported that Marshall County Circuit Judge James Jameson on Friday granted a request sought by lawyers for Gabriel Parker, 17. Parker is accused of shooting and killing Preston Cope and Bailey Holt and injuring 14 others at Marshall County High School in Benton on Jan. 23, 2018.

Marshall County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust said the June 2020 trial will be held in Christian County, about an hour away.

Defense lawyers requested the change of venue, citing heavy publicity and “sensational” allegations. They said members of the community have contact with the high school and the victims and their families. Foust said he felt the change of venue was the right thing to do.

— Associated Press

Iowa
Teen finds prehistoric mastodon jawbone

A teen searching for arrowheads in southern Iowa found something much bigger: the prehistoric jawbone of a mastodon.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported that the 30-inch bone belonged to a juvenile mastodon, an elephant-like animal believed to have roamed Iowa some 34,000 years ago.

Officials with the University of Iowa Paleontology Repository, which now has possession of the bone found last week, say the mastodon might have stood around 7 feet tall.

The farmers who donated the jaw and related bones to the repository did so anonymously, saying they didn’t want to encourage people to trespass on their property looking for fossils. The owners found other mastodon remains there decades ago.

— Associated Press