Gunman in standoff after seizing boy Trial to be held in Steubenville Hotel explosion injures 3 Senator reimbursed donor for trips
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. -- A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage kept law officers at bay Wednesday in an all-night, all-day standoff that began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said.
The gunman, identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a shotgun. He had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump.
The standoff along a red dirt road began on Tuesday afternoon, after a gunman boarded a stopped school bus filled with children in the town of Midland City, population 2,300. Sheriff Wally Olsen said the man shot the bus driver when he refused to hand over a 6-year-old child. The gunman then took the boy away to an underground bunker at his home that resembled a tornado shelter.
"As far as we know there is no relation at all. He just wanted a child for a hostage situation," said Michael Senn, a pastor who helped comfort the traumatized children after the attack.
The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect 21 students.
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- A judge ruled Wednesday to keep the upcoming trial of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl in the eastern Ohio county where the attack allegedly happened.
Prosecutors opposed the relocation request by defense lawyers, who said potential witnesses had been threatened and could face intimidation or harassment outside the local courthouse.
Judge Thomas Lipps kept the case in Jefferson County, home to most of the people involved, but acknowledged concerns about witness intimidation and ensuring a fair trial. Lipps was brought in from Hamilton County to handle the nonjury trial in juvenile court. Lipps said the trial should be open to the public and media. He pushed back the trial date by a month to March 13.
SAN DIEGO -- A powerful explosion on Wednesday ripped through a hotel near SeaWorld San Diego from a room where authorities say a couple was believed to be extracting oil from hashish with butane, sending guests fleeing for safety.
A 22-year-old man in the room suffered life-threatening injuries. Also hurt were a woman in the room and a young man staying next door, authorities said.
Investigators found several boxes containing canisters of butane inside the room where the blast occurred, police Lt. Joseph Ramos said. The butane apparently was ignited by a cigarette, Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Robert Menendez's office said Wednesday night that he reimbursed a prominent Florida political donor $58,500 for the full cost of two of three trips Menendez took on the donor's plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
There was no public disclosure.
"The senator paid for the two trips out of his personal account and no reporting requirements apply," said Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright.
Details of Menendez's trips emerged as his office said allegations that the senator engaged in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are false. The Daily Caller, a conservative website, reported before the November election that Menendez traveled on Melgen's private plane to the Dominican Republic to engage in sex with prostitutes. Menendez's office said that any accusations of engaging with prostitutes "are manufactured by a politically motivated right-wing blog and are false."