National briefs: Army sergeant guilty in deaths

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Army Sgt. John Russell was found guilty Monday of the premeditated murder of five fellow servicemen in 2009 at a mental health clinic in Iraq, a charge that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Families of the victims embraced each other and wept as Col. David L. Conn, the military judge, delivered the verdict, rejecting the defense's plea to consider the severe depression and post-combat stress they said led the 48-year-old sergeant to commit the killings.

The case marked the worst incident of violence committed by a U.S. serviceman on fellow soldiers during the Iraq War, and initially was tried as a death penalty case until Sgt. Russell agreed to plead guilty to the murders.

The weeklong court-martial turned on the question of whether Sgt. Russell premeditated the killings of Maj. Matthew Houseal, 54, Cmdr. Keith Springle, 52, Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, Spc. Jacob Barton, 20, and PFC Michael Yates, 19.

Prior complaints on Castro

CLEVELAND -- A man charged with holding three women captive for about a decade had been accused of threatening his neighbors, attacking his common-law wife and committing violations during his career as a school bus driver, according to records released Monday.

The records do not track what happened to the complaints after they were taken.

Ariel Castro, 52, is charged with kidnapping and rape, but prosecutors expect to file more charges. The three women whom he is accused of holding captive disappeared between August 2002 and April 2004. They were rescued last week when one of them escaped the home.

Suspect in parade shooting

NEW ORLEANS -- Police are identifying a suspect in the shooting of 19 people during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans.

Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Monday night that they were looking for 19-year-old Akein Scott. He said multiple people identified Mr. Scott as the shooter.

Angry residents said gun violence -- which has flared at two other city celebrations this year -- goes hand-in-hand with the city's other deeply rooted problems such as poverty and urban blight. The investigators tasked with solving Sunday's shooting work within an agency that's had its own troubles rebounding from years of corruption while trying to halt violent crime.

Detroit to reach bankruptcy?

DETROIT -- The first report by Detroit's emergency manager declares that the city is broke and at risk of running completely out of money -- a financial meltdown that could mean no paychecks for workers, no pension benefits and even deeper cuts in services.

The 41-page report was filed with the state Treasurer's office Monday. If the city cannot avert disaster, the only remaining option appears to be bankruptcy, a threat that looms large over Kevyn Orr's urgent efforts to make deals with creditors and debt holders.

Minn. OKs gay marriage

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gay couples will be permitted to wed in Minnesota starting in August, making it the 12th state to permit same-sex marriage and the first in the Midwest to take such a step outside of a court ruling.

The state Senate, controlled by Democrats, voted 37-30 on Monday to allow same-sex marriages, following approval by the state House last week. Gov. Mark Dayton, also a Democrat, had urged lawmakers to pass the measure and said he would sign the bill today.

nation


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