National briefs: O.J. Simpson testifies

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LAS VEGAS -- His leg shackles rattling as he shuffled to and from the witness stand, O.J. Simpson made his own case Wednesday for a new trial on armed robbery charges with testimony that he relied on the advice of his trusted attorney when he tried to reclaim mementos from his football glory days.

"It was my stuff. I followed what I thought was the law," the 65-year-old former NFL star and actor said. "My lawyer told me I couldn't break into a guy's room. I didn't break into anybody's room. I didn't try to muscle the guys. The guys had my stuff, even though they claimed they didn't steal it."

Simpson said he took the advice of his longtime former lawyer, Yale Galanter, and didn't testify in his Las Vegas trial at which he was convicted in 2008 of armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.

Simpson's bid for freedom hinges on showing that Mr. Galanter had conflicted interests and gave him bad trial and appellate advice.

Arias eligible for death

PHOENIX -- The same jury that convicted Jodi Arias of first-degree murder last week took less than three hours Wednesday to determine that the former waitress is eligible for the death penalty in the killing of her one-time lover.

The swift verdict sets the stage for the final phase of the trial to determine whether 32-year-old Arias should be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty for the 2008 murder of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home.

Not guilty plea expected

CLEVELAND -- Ariel Castro, facing kidnapping and rape charges in connection with the Cleveland case of three women held prisoner for about a decade, will plead not guilty, his lawyers announced on television Wednesday.

Mr. Castro, 52, has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, but prosecutors have indicated that he will face more charges, possibly including aggravated murder for allegedly beating one of the women to force miscarriages, which could bring the death penalty.

Boston funding formula

WASHINGTON -- Everyone killed or injured in last month's Boston Marathon bombings will receive some compensation from the $30 million in donations pledged for victims so far, according to a formula released Wednesday morning by the administrator of the One Fund Boston.

The protocol issued by Kenneth Feinberg lists no specific dollar amounts because money is still trickling in, Mr. Feinberg said. But it sets out four categories of injuries, reserving the most compensation for the families of the people killed, double amputees and those who suffered permanent brain damage.

Gosnell gets life in jail

PHILADELPHIA -- Kermit Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday for the murder of a baby born alive in a botched abortion, who prosecutors said would have survived if the doctor had not "snipped" its neck with scissors.

The sentence was part of an agreement that Gosnell, 72, reached with the Philadelphia District Attorney's office under which he waives his right to appeal the first-degree murder conviction and two others that a jury returned Monday in exchange for being spared the death penalty.

Also in the nation ...

The House of Representatives is set to vote today on a new bill to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, the 37th attempt so far.

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