Bob Self / Florida Times-Union via Reuters Marissa Alexander appers in a Duval County courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2012.
By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News
A Florida woman serving 20 years in prison for firing a shot into the wall during a fight with her husband will get a new trial in March and can argue next week to be released on bail, a judge ruled Thursday.
The plight of the woman, Marissa Alexander, drew national attention because of perceived parallels to the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense and was acquitted in July of second-degree murder.
Alexander claimed that she feared for her life on Aug. 1, 2010, during a fight with her estranged husband, Rico Gray, who was under a restraining order.
She testified that she fled into a garage and got a gun but couldn't leave the house because the garage door was stuck. She testified that she went back into the house and fired the shot.
Gray testified that Alexander was the aggressor and pointed the gun at him before she fired. She was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and the trial judge said he was bound by state law to give her 20 years.
In September, a state appeals court ordered a new trial. The appeals court said that the trial judge gave the jury incorrect instructions on self-defense.
It said, however, that the judge was correct to block Alexander from invoking the Florida law known as Stand Your Ground, which generally removes a person’s duty to retreat when he or she is confronted with perceived deadly force.
State prosecutors said, and the trial judge agreed, that Alexander acted in anger, and showed by going back inside the house that she was not afraid for her life.
Alexander’s bail hearing was set for Nov. 8, and her retrial for March 31.
Alexander’s supporters want state prosecutors to drop the case. Prosecutors have said that Alexander aimed the gun at the man and his two sons, and that the bullet she fired could have ricocheted and hit any of them.
Prosecutors said Thursday that they would oppose bail.
“The State Attorney’s Office has no intention of dropping the very serious charges against the defendant,” Jackelyn Bernard, a spokeswoman for the state prosecutor handling the case, said in a statement. “The SAO will continue to pursue justice for our two child victims and their father who were endangered by the shot the defendant fired at them.”
A lawyer for Alexander did not immediately answer a request for comment.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/31/21264038-new-trial-set-for-florida-woman-given-20-years-for-firing-shot-in-domestic-dispute?liteThis story was originally published on Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:15 PM EDT
By Arata Yamamoto, Producer, NBC News
TOKYO -- A Japanese man who was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest person in recorded history died on Wednesday.
Jiroemon Kimura, a 116-year-old former post officer worker, was born in 1897 -- the same year as aviator Amelia Earhart and the year Britain's Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee. He died of natural causes in Kyoto prefecture.
In December, Kimura was recognized by Guinness as the oldest man documented in history when he reached the age of 115 years and 253 days. He was also dubbed "the last known man to live across three centuries," with Guinness noting:
When the supercentenarian was born, Marconi had yet to send the first radio communication over open sea, Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" had yet to be published, and the composer George Gershwin had not even been born.
RUSSIA METEORITE, ASTEROID FLYBY NOT CONNECTED, SAYS FLEET SCIENCE CENTER
By R. Stickney
| Friday, Feb 15, 2013 | Updated 8:58 AM PSTThe meteorite that injured up to 1,000 in Russia is not connected to the 150-foot asteroid expected to flyby Earth Friday afternoon according to astronomy experts in San Diego
The two events were not related according to Lisa Will, resident astronomer at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The 10-ton meteor was going at least 33,000 mph when it streaked across the sky over the Ural Mountains the Russian Academy of Sciences reports.
It shattered about 18 to 32 miles above the ground, releasing several kilotons of energy above the Ural Mountains officials said.
“It looks really, really cool actually but I’d bet if you were there you’d probably be terrified,” Will said. “Especially since it was accompanied by a boom which sounds like a large explosion.”
The air blast from the meteor formed a sonic boom. That force caused windows to shatter and injured up to 1,000 people.
Will called the Russian fireball occurrence rare because it was witnessed by humans.
The Earth gets hit by several tons of material every day but most of it really small and burns up in the atmosphere she told NBC 7 San Diego.
She said a meteor the size of the fireball in Russia occurs possibly every couple of months but statistically ends up in the water so humans don’t see a lot of them.
Later Friday, an asteroid is expected to fly past Earth, missing the planet by 17,150 miles. That distance is closer than many communication and weather satellites.
Watch Asteroid Live Stream at 2:00 p.m. PT
Today’s event will help scientists learn how to better predict asteroids' trajectories.
“Understanding how they reflect light which gives us better idea of how big they are when they come in which gives us a better idea of if they are a danger,” Will said.
The asteroid will be too small to see with the naked eye. The best viewing locations, with binoculars and telescopes, will be in Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.
As asteroids go, this is a shrimp. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles across.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego
By NBC News staff and wire reports
CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia was bracing on Monday for days of "catastrophic" fire and heat-wave conditions, with fires already burning in five states.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured fire-ravaged Tasmanian townships and promised emergency aid for survivors, who told of a "fireball" that engulfed communities across the thinly populated state on Friday and Saturday.
"The trees just exploded," local man Ashley Zanol told Australian radio, recounting a wall of flames that surrounded his truck as he carted water to assist fire crews in the hard-hit township of Murdunna, which was largely leveled by the inferno.
By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter, NBC NewsA long-lost relative of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, who could have inherited $19 million of her $300 million fortune, has been found dead under a Union Pacific Railroad overpass in Wyoming.
Children sledding found the body of Timothy Henry Gray, 60, Thursday afternoon in Evanston, a small mining town in southwestern Wyoming near the Utah border. The coroner said it appeared he died of hypothermia. The low temperature that day was 10 degrees, and had hit zero in the previous week. Lt. Bill Jeffers of the Evanston Police Department said there was no evidence of foul play, and Gray was wearing a light jacket. Gray's siblings said they hadn't heard from him since their mother's funeral in 1990, when he disappeared without a word. It wasn't clear whether Gray was living under the overpass, where transients have been known to camp.
Tim Gray was an adopted great-grandson of former U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark, known as one of the copper kings of Montana, a banker, a builder of railroads and the founder of Las Vegas. The senator's youngest daughter, Huguette Clark, was a recluse who died in 2011 in New York City at age 104, after living in hospitals for 20 years while her palatial homes sat unused. Gray was her half great-nephew.
Archaeologists have uncovered a 2,750-year-old temple near Jerusalem, along with pottery and clay figurines that suggest the site was the home base for a ritual cult, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.
The discovery was made during excavations at the Tel Motza archaeological site, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) west of Jerusalem, during preparations for work on a new section of Israeli's Highway 1, the agency said in a statement
"The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple," excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz were quoted as saying in the statement.
The Bible says the First Temple was built in Jerusalem by Solomon, son of King David, and archaeologists estimate that construction was undertaken in the 10th century B.C. The excavation's directors say the Tel Motza temple must have been active in an era "prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem."
Tel Motza was thought to be associated with the ancient settlement called "Mozah" in the Book of Joshua
. During previous work, archaeologists uncovered a large structure with storehouses and a number of silos. They said that structure might have served as a storage
facility for Jerusalem's grain supplies.
At least two firefighters were killed and two others were wounded after arriving at the scene of a fire early Monday morning in Webster, N.Y. WHEC-TV's Amanda Ciavarri reports.
By Jason White, NBC NewsFour firefighters were shot -- two fatally -- as they responded to a large fire early Monday in Webster, N.Y., in the northwestern part of the state.
When firefighters arrived on the scene of the blaze around 6 a.m. ET, they were fired upon by one or more shooters, police and fire officials said.
Firefighters were forced to flee by the gunfire. The two firefighters who were hit but survived are being treated at a local hospital for their wounds.
“I’m not aware of anything like this happening in Webster, obviously not a firefighter being fired upon,” Webster Fire Marshal Rob Boutillier said, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Police say there is no longer an "active shooting" situation, but residents of the area are being evacuated, and police are searching them as they leave, the newspaper reported.
After the shooting, the fire grew to engulf at least three homes and one motor vehicle.
Michael Damico was among those forced to flee, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.
“The whole strip’s been evacuated,” Damico said. “They’re evacuating all of the houses and going through them.”
Please check back for more on this breaking news story.
By NBCMiami.comOne of the U.S. Marshals Service's 15 most wanted fugitives
was arrested Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla., authorities said.Murder suspect Felipe Alex Torrealba
was being transported to the Broward County Jail Thursday night, according to U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden.
Earlier this year, the Broward Sheriff's Office described Torrealba as a suspect in the murder of Kris Smalls, 42, of Weston, Fla.
, who was found dead in his SUV in March a week after he was reported missing.
Two handguns, about $15,000 in cash, a pair of binoculars and a wig were found inside the two-story townhouse where Torrealba was arrested, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement.More stories from NBCMiami.com
A rental vehicle with two different Texas license plates, which was parked outside the townhouse, is believed to be the vehicle that Torrealba used to elude law enforcement, the agency said.
Torrealba's attorney, Jim Lewis, said he has not heard from his client since February.
By Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News
A six-year-old girl may get the pony she has dreamed of owning, thanks to the record Powerball jackpot her family just won.
The Hill family of Dearborn, Mo., who won half of the jackpot worth $587.5 million, appeared at a press conference on Friday with six-year-old Jaiden, who was adopted from China, clutching a stuffed horse as her parents were handed an oversized check made out for their share: $293,750,000.
"We’re still stunned by what’s happened. It's surreal and people keep asking us, 'What are you going to buy with it?' I just want to go home and be back to normal," Cindy Hill, 51, said at the press conference in which she, her husband Mark, their three adult sons and daughter Jaiden were introduced to the nation.
Since winning, the couple has considered adopting again, according to the lottery. Mark has spoken of getting a red Camaro; they also would like to take Jaiden to the beach, since she's never been to one. And they plan to start college funds for their grandchildren and nieces and nephews, as well as set up a scholarship fund at the local high school in Mark's father's name.
They are also looking forward to not working and traveling together as a family using their winnings, Hill added.
As for the pony, it will be coming -- but later.
"The pony’s not going to be for a while," Cindy said Friday. "I think we’re going to just stick with what we have planned, and maybe after the first year, go on a big vacation.”
After hearing on Thursday morning that one of the winning tickets was sold in Missouri -- the other was sold in Arizona -- Cindy dropped her Jaiden off at school, went to a convenience store for a winning numbers report, and checked her tickets in her car.
"I didn't have my glasses, and I was thinking, is that the right number? Is that the right number?" Cindy said.
Upon seeing that one of the five tickets she bought had the winning combination, Cindy said she headed straight to her mother-in-law's house and asked her to double-check the ticket. Husband Mark, 52, joined her there to see for himself.
With the odds of any single ticket winning the jackpot at 1 in 175 million
, the Hills said they hardly gave a thought to winning. They spent $10 on tickets Wednesday evening and didn't check them again until Cindy saw they had won Thursday morning.
Cindy was an office manager until she was laid off in 2010; Mark works as a mechanic for Hillshire Brands, according to the Missouri Lottery.
They don't play the lottery often, and don't have any plans to move from Dearborn, a Kansas City suburb.
The couple traveled to Jefferson City, Mo., to meet with lottery officials after discovering they had won. When packing for the trip, Mark, still in shock over the magnitude of their win, said he stopped to buy toothpaste for his travel bag, and said, "I found myself in the store still looking at the prices."
"Old habits are hard to break," he said, adding, "We don't have the money yet!"
David Troutman, a former high school classmate of the winning couple, said on TODAY that they first posted the news on Facebook.
"I was on Facebook and I saw that his wife had posted, ‘Thank you God, we won the lottery.’ Of course everybody in town, all his friends, gave all thumbs up. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy,’’ Troutman said.
The Hills are high school sweethearts. In the tiny town of Dearborn -- population, 496 -- their identity didn't stay secret for long.
“Word spread that he won so fast,’’ Troutman said. “I heard that it was a winner from Dearborn, and by the time I walked in the door my mom was on the phone, and she said, ‘He won. It was him.’ Who knows what the impact will be on Dearborn.’’
Jason, one of Cindy and Mark's sons, said Friday, "I hope we stay grounded. I hope we stay the same great people we were yesterday and the day before."
By Jeff Black, NBC News
Staten Island, just a ferry ride from Manhattan but often seen as the neglected stepchild of the New York metropolis, apparently was the city's deadliest zone in Superstorm Sandy – accounting for half the human toll.
On Thursday the bodies of two young boys who were swept away from their mother’s grasp during the storm surge were recovered, NBC News reported. A missing husband and wife were also found dead Thursday, NBCNewYork.com reported.
That brought the toll on the island to 19, NBCNewYork.com reported. On Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Superstorm Sandy is responsible for the deaths of at least 37 New Yorkers.
Indeed, Staten Island, which took a direct blow from Sandy, is a scene of immeasurable misery and utter devastation, with homes obliterated, others off their foundations in addition to widespread flooding.
"The city of New York right now is talking about getting water out of the Battery Tunnel and preparing for a marathon," U.S. Rep. Rep. Michael Grimm said. "We're pulling bodies out of the water. You see the disconnect here?"
NYPD officials have denied to NBC News that Staten Island’s working class neighborhoods have come after wealthier areas.
“We are heading into the area where there is major destruction now,” Red Cross spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego told NBC News late Thursday.
The Red Cross, Borrego said, has five emergency response stations set up at New Dorp Lane in the borough and the organization’s New York CEO, Josh Lockwood, is on the scene.
While looking over the wreckage of his cousin's house on Thursday, Tom Monigan talked about his cousin George Dresch, who died in the surge of water with his daughter Angela, 13, on Staten Island. George Dresch's wife Patricia was reported to be in critical condition at the hospital.
"Not in a million years, did I expect to see this," Monigan told NBC News. "This is unbelievable, I mean for George to lose his life and his daughter and his wife to be in the condition she's in it's a sin, it's unreal, I can't believe I'm looking at this. Terrible."
"You can replace this stuff, but it's what happens to people," Monigan said, "it changes their life forever and it's terrible. People are worried because they don't have electricity, Jesus, this is the real deal right here."
Rescue workers who are part of a task force of searchers gathered on Staten Island on Thursday have fanned out with maps to search the hardest hit areas in the city. Large trucks and other equipment with Homeland Security decals began arriving late in the day on Sunday.
Phyllis Puglia didn't lose any family members, but she did lose lose virtually everything else. "I want to go home," Puglia told NBC News' Ann Curry. "But there's no home. I can't go home and that's killing me. That's breaking my heart.”