New Mexico
Teen pleads not guilty in boy’s slaying

A 15-year-old New Mexico teen accused of stabbing his 12-year-old playmate to death pleaded not guilty Friday to murder.

Defense attorney Cindy Mercer entered the plea in a Los Lunas courtroom as the handcuffed teen stayed silent with his head bowed, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Mercer said her client’s low-functioning mental capabilities made her question whether he understands the proceedings or his rights, an issue she raised at his grand jury indictment.

State District Judge Violet Otero set a $500,000 cash bond.

Valencia County Assistant District Attorney Darlene Weed said the 12-year-old, Alex Madrid of Albuquerque, was stabbed repeatedly in the head by a
screwdriver-like object. The boy’s lung was punctured, and he appeared to have been struck with a tire iron, Weed said.

Prosecutors say the teen stabbed Madrid last month, then placed his body under a mattress in a field. The suspect led sheriff’s deputies to the body Feb. 18.

The teen told investigators he hit Madrid in self-defense when Madrid tried to stab him with a screwdriver after an argument over the teen’s infant daughter, according to an affidavit.

— Associated Press

Barge leaks oil after colliding with ship

A barge carrying 924,000 gallons of thick, tarry fuel oil collided Saturday with a ship in the Houston ship channel and was leaking oil, officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement that it got a call about 12:30 p.m. from the captain of the 585-foot Summer Wind reporting its collision with a barge.

The barge was being towed from Texas City to Bolivar at the time. Kirby Inland Marine, owner of the tow vessel and the barges, is working with the Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office at the scene, according to the Coast Guard. A sheen of oil was reported, but it was unknown how much oil had leaked, the statement said. Six crew members of the tow vessel were in stable condition.

Texas City Homeland Security director Bruce Clawson told The Daily News in Galveston that the barge sank and that there is no danger to the community.

— Associated Press

3 killed, several injured in landslide

A massive landslide of dirt, trees and rocks in rural Washington killed three people Saturday, injured an infant and several others and destroyed six houses, authorities said.

The slide, at least 135 feet wide and 180 feet deep, hit just before 11 a.m., Snohomish County authorities said. It blocked Route 530 about 55 miles north of Seattle. It also blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, which prompted an evacuation notice because of concerns about possible severe flooding .

The injured included a
6-month-old boy, who was in critical condition at a Seattle hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said two men were also in critical condition there.

It’s unclear if the two killed were inside the house that was swept away.Authorities believe the slide was caused by ground water saturation from recent heavy rain.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by groundwater saturation from recent heavy rainfall.

— Associated Press

Florida police officer killed in pedestrian stop: A central Florida police officer was shot and killed early Saturday, and two pedestrians he had tried to stop for questioning apparently committed suicide, law enforcement officials said. Robert German, an officer in Windermere, called for backup after seeing what he described as two suspicious individuals walking on a road about 4 a.m., Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. When officers arrived, they found German, 31, fatally wounded. A man and woman believed to be the pedestrians German had seen were found dead nearby, likely suicides, Demings told a news conference. They were not identified. Police said an investigation is ongoing.

— Reuters