BOSTON -- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers may try to save him from the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombing by arguing he fell under the murderous influence of his older brother, legal experts say.
The outlines of a possible defense came into focus this week when it was learned that Tsarnaev's attorneys are trying to get access to investigative records implicating the now-dead brother in a grisly triple slaying committed in 2011.
In court papers Monday, federal prosecutors acknowledged publicly for the first time that a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev told investigators that Tamerlan participated in the unsolved killings of three men who were found in a Waltham apartment with their throats slit, marijuana sprinkled over their bodies.
New trial for Skakel
HARTFORD, Conn. -- In a long and biting decision, a state judge on Wednesday set aside Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder conviction and ordered his retrial in the 1975 death of Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley because of the glaring ineffectiveness of Skakel's original trial lawyer.
Judge Thomas Bishop devoted long stretches of his 136-page decision, dated Wednesday, to a harsh critique of Skakel's original trial lawyer, Michael Sherman. Skakel is about halfway through a 20-years-to-life prison sentence for Ms. Moxley's murder.
DUI death confession case
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio man who admitted in an online video that he had engaged in a night of celebratory drinking and then recklessly drove the wrong way, crashing into another car and killing a man, was sentenced Wednesday to 61/2 years in prison.
Matthew Cordle, 22, of Powell, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, was sentenced on two counts, including felony aggravated vehicular homicide, for the June accident that killed Vincent Canzani, 61.
Study: Car costs deter teens
WASHINGTON -- American teenagers seem to get no thrill from driving in an electronic age when their friends are a finger tap away 24-hours a day, an era when Twitter, Instagram and texting have displaced the mall and the malt shop as hangouts.
On the other hand, a new report suggests, maybe it's just that driving has gotten too expensive.
The Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry research group, released the study today.
8th-graders test well
WASHINGTON -- Eighth-graders in more than half the U.S. states did better than average on an international test in math and science, but the top students lagged behind South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, according to a study released by the federal government today.
In math, public school students in 36 states scored higher than average. The lowest scoring state was Alabama and the highest scoring was Massachusetts. U.S. students did better on the science test, with students in 47 states scoring higher than average. The District of Columbia was the lowest scoring U.S. jurisdiction while Massachusetts was again the highest scorer.
Farm bill on agenda
WASHINGTON -- As the House and Senate prepare to meet next week to work out differences in their farm bills, lobbying efforts are intensifying to get last-minute changes to the 1,000-page legislation that sets the nation's farm and nutrition policies.
Work on the farm bill was delayed after contentious battles in the House over proposed cuts to the food stamp program, and the bill was stalled further by the government shutdown.