Inaugural pastor withdraws over anti-gay remarks – Yahoo! News

Giglio withdraws The evangelical pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration withdrew from the ceremony Thursday after remarks surfaced that he made two decades ago condemning the gay rights movement.

The Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta said in a statement he withdrew because it was likely that the “prayer I would offer will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”

Addie Whisenant, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said the committee had chosen Giglio because of his work to end human trafficking. Giglio organizes the Passion evangelical conferences that draw tens of thousands of young people.

“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural,” Whisenant said in a statement.

The liberal website ThinkProgress posted audio of the sermon Wednesday. In the talk, which the pastor said he gave 15 or 20 years ago, Giglio cited Scripture and called same-sex relationships sinful and an abomination. He warned congregants about what he called the “aggressive agenda” for acceptance of the “homosexual lifestyle.” And he recommended the writings of an advocate for therapy that aims to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexuals. Repeatedly in the sermon, Giglio urged congregants to welcome gays and lesbians to the church and said God loves them.

“Speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past 15 years,” Giglio said, in announcing he would withdraw. He framed the conflict over his participation as a question of religious freedom.

“The issue of homosexuality … is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate,” he wrote on his church blog. “However, individuals’ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve.”

via Inaugural pastor withdraws over anti-gay remarks – Yahoo! News.

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“Dating Game” killer sentenced for 1970s murders – Yahoo! News

dating game killer trialNEW YORK (Reuters) – Convicted California serial killer Rodney Alcala, a contestant on “The Dating Game” television show more than 30 years ago, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday for murdering two New York women in the 1970s.

Alcala, 69, already on death row in California for killing four women and a 12-year-old girl in that state, was extradited to New York in June to face charges in the slayings of flight attendant Cornelia Crilley, 23, and Ellen Hover, 23, the daughter of a nightclub owner.

Known as “The Dating Game” killer because of his appearance on the show, Alcala pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional murder on December 14.

Judge Bonnie Wittner choked back tears as she sentenced Alcala to a concurrent 25 years to life in prison and described his crimes as “an inexplicably brutal, horrible act” and the most gruesome case she had dealt with in her three decades on the bench.

Authorities will transport Alcala back to death row in California, but should his murder convictions there be overturned on appeal, he would be returned to New York to serve out his sentence, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance told reporters on Monday.

The cold case unit of the Manhattan district attorney’s office brought charges against Alcala last year after conducting more than 100 new interviews with witnesses.

“Rodney Alcala is the face of evil. He has been responsible for so much death, so much loss and unbearable pain,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Spiro told the court.

Alcala appeared in court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and grey hair that extended down past his shoulders. He declined to address the court.

A professional photographer, Alcala lured his victims by offering to take their pictures, according to authorities.

Crilley was found strangled in her Manhattan apartment in 1971. Hover’s body was found in Westchester County, north of New York City in 1977.

Dozens of members of the victims’ families packed Wittner’s courtroom in Manhattan, many wearing stickers portraying black-and-white images of Crilley and Hover.

“You broke my parents’ heart. They never really recovered,” Crilley’s sister Katie Stigell told the court. “It saddens me to think that that pretty smile of hers, you were the last one to see it.”

Hover’s death caused her estranged brother to become addicted to drugs and commit suicide and caused her mother to drink alcohol excessively to the point of developing dementia which slowly killed her, Hover’s sisters Charlotte Rosenberg and Victoria L. Rudolph said in a statement that Spiro read at the sentencing.

via “Dating Game” killer sentenced for 1970s murders – Yahoo! News.

Fox: No content changes to drama on serial killer – Yahoo! News

the following crime trialPASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Fox’s entertainment chief said Tuesday that the network did not change the content of “The Following,” its upcoming drama about a serial killer, because of the Connecticut school shooting or other real-life acts of violence.

The drama, featuring Kevin Bacon chasing a grisly killer who recruits murderous disciples, is simultaneously the most stomach-churning and most anticipated new dramas on television’s docket. Debuting Jan. 21 on Fox, the Kevin Williamson-created series opens by showing the bloody aftermath of knifed prison guards, has a woman commit suicide by gouging her eye and piercing her skull with an ice pick, and shows a man set on fire at a coffee stand.

While Kevin Reilly, Fox entertainment chairman, initially said the series’ promotion wasn’t affected, a spokesman later noted that some ads for the show were softened immediately following the Connecticut shooting. Electronic billboards depicting a woman with an ice pick were changed to pictures of Bacon, said Fox’s Joe Earley. Some on-air ads with action sequences were also changed to focus on Bacon, and Fox combed its promotions to make sure none of them depicted actors with guns, Earley said.

Williamson, creator of the “Scream” movie franchise, said he was traumatized by the events of Dec. 14, when 20 first graders and six educators were gunned down in a Newton, Conn., elementary school.

“I know it affected me,” Williamson said. “I know what happens in the real world affects me. So when I take pen to paper, there is a reaction to it and it sort of finds its way into what I do.”

He doesn’t know how the latest attack will affect his work. “It just happened,” he said. “We’ll see.”

But Williamson said “The Following” is partly inspired by the Columbine school shootings of a decade ago. He said he wonders how people like the Columbine killers are attracted to evil as a way of filling a void in their lives. The serial killer in “The Following” is a charismatic figure who attracts followers by trying to provide them with something they are missing.

Violence in movies, video games and television has received attention since the Newtown shootings, along with the availability of guns and mental health services. Reilly said people “can’t be reactionary and you can’t draw a direct linkage.”

The series is intense, but it needs to be to compete in the world of thrillers, Reilly said.

Reilly said he believes there have been shows that are more violent than “The Following” on broadcast television, but they haven’t been noticed, partly because they were bad. Fox is trying to provide escapist entertainment, which include moments that can make you laugh or be your worst nightmare, he said.

via Fox: No content changes to drama on serial killer – Yahoo! News.

Tips and Tricks for Attorneys to Use Google Maps and Google Earth – Cogent Legal Blog

You’ve probably used Google Maps for driving directions. But have you tried using it for your case? From a litigation standpoint, there is no quicker and easier way to start building useful demonstratives for your client than with Google Maps and its relative Google Earth. The tech know-how required is pretty minimal, and the payoff can be big.

This post will help you get started making do-it-yourself graphics for your case using these Google mapping tools, and will reveal some lesser-known features that can give attorneys an edge in preparing and presenting their case.

Can I legally use images from Google Maps and Google Earth?

First, let’s deal with some of the legal stuff. Google obviously is rightfully cautious of their copyright interest in these products, but luckily for professional presentations, Google states as follows: “You may use Google Maps and Google Earth for reports, presentations, proposals, and related items professional documents. We request you still retain attribution.” If you use any image from Google Maps or Earth, you should include the logos and other data identifying Google as the source. However, if you intend to use the image outside your business, you may need a Google Pro License, which is about $399 per year (“If your business is looking to use Google Earth for any external purpose, you will need to license Google Earth Pro. Examples of external use include using screen captures from Google Earth in reports and presentations or otherwise creating materials that will be displayed or distributed outside of your organization.”) If you’re still unsure about the legality of using the images, check out the Google permissions page to determine if your particular use is allowed.

How can Google Maps help my case?

While most everyone reading this post has used Google Maps to find a street address, and perhaps route the address for driving, Google Maps also provide some handy features for use in litigation as well. You can easily use Google Maps to create a diagram that shows the incident of a location. Google Maps allows you to type in any address in the U.S. and most of the world to reveal a well-drawn map of that area.

via Tips and Tricks for Attorneys to Use Google Maps and Google Earth – Cogent Legal Blog.

Prosecutors rest case against California boy who killed neo-Nazi dad – Yahoo! News

RIVERSIDE, California (Reuters) – Prosecutors rested their case on Monday against a 12-year-old California boy charged with killing his neo-Nazi father, and a defense lawyer said the boy may testify on his own behalf as the trial neared a conclusion.

Defense attorney Matthew Hardy said he would confer with his client, Joseph Hall, before deciding whether to call him as the final witness in the juvenile case, which resumed in Riverside County Superior Court following a two-month break.

The defense concedes that Hall, then 10 years old, shot his father at point blank range in May 2011 but argued that he should not be held criminally responsible. The gun belonged to his father, Jeffrey Hall, 32.

If the boy does not testify, both sides could present closing arguments on Wednesday in a case that has drawn attention because of the father’s neo-Nazi associations and the rarity of a parent being slain by a child so young.

Hardy also formally withdrew a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and said that he would probably ask for the charges against Hall to be dismissed on the grounds that prosecutors had not proven the boy was culpable.

Kathleen Heide, a criminologist who specializes in juvenile offenders, has said that 8,000 murder victims over the past 32 years were slain by their offspring, but only 16 of those were committed by defendants aged 10 or younger.

Since Hall is a minor, the purpose of the trial is not to determine guilt or innocence but whether certain allegations about his motives are true. If he is found responsible for the crime, he could be sent to a juvenile facility until he is 23.

‘HE DID KNOW IT WAS WRONG’

The outcome of the case, which is being heard without a jury, hinges in large part on the boy’s understanding of right and wrong at the time. The judge could render a verdict as early as Wednesday or Thursday.

via Prosecutors rest case against California boy who killed neo-Nazi dad – Yahoo! News.

Alaska couple sentenced to prison for plot to kill judge, others – Yahoo! News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A Fairbanks-area man convicted of plotting to kill federal judges and other government officials was sentenced on Monday to nearly 26 years in prison, while his wife was sentenced to 12 years for her part in the conspiracy.

Lonnie Vernon, 57, a member of an anti-government group called the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia, was convicted last summer of conspiring to murder federal and state law-enforcement agents, judges and other officials and of amassing an arsenal of illegal weapons to carry out those plans.

In a separate case, Vernon and his wife, Karen, pleaded guilty to plotting to kill U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, members of Beistline’s family – including young grandchildren – and other government employees in retaliation for the judge’s rulings on the couple’s income tax case.

When the two were arrested in March of 2011, they had weapons and a Fairbanks map with homes of Beistline’s family marked and routes to those homes highlighted.

Lonnie Vernon, a member of a “sovereign citizens” movement that considers individuals to be separate nations, spoke out angrily at the hearing, where he received combined sentences in both cases against him.

In sometimes profanity-laced comments, he railed against the prosecutors, the agents who investigated him and even his own public defenders, and he said he did not recognize the judge’s authority over him.

Attorney M.J. Haden, who represented him, said the defense was disappointed at the sentence. She said she was not sure if Vernon’s courtroom outbursts had affected the outcome.

“I can say it probably didn’t help,” she said.

via Alaska couple sentenced to prison for plot to kill judge, others – Yahoo! News.