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Arrest in Texas Student's Death


Police in Denton arrested a man Tuesday in connection with the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old University of North Texas student.

Police said they obtained an arrest warrant for Eric Jamal Johnson, 20, in connection with the shooting death of Sara Mutschlechner on Jan. 1. U.S. Marshals found Johnson in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday morning and took him into custody.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Denton police said Johnson has military ties and was arrested on a base. He is currently being held on a murder warrant in Arizona.

No further details about the arrest have been released. Information on an attorney for Johnson was not immediately available.

Witnesses told Denton police that Mutschlechner and three passengers were in a sedan on New Year's Day when a gray Honda Pilot SUV drove up next to them. Passengers in each vehicle exchanged words.

Police said one of the SUV passengers fired multiple shots at the sedan, and a bullet struck Mutschlechner in the head. The sedan then crashed into another vehicle and an electrical pole.

Mutschlechner and one of the sedan's passengers were transported to Denton Regional Medical Center.

Mutschlechner was taken off life support later that day.

NBC 5's Brian Scott and Holley Ford contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Denton Police Department

Mechanical Issue Delays American Airlines Flight for Hours


An American Airlines flight from Connecticut to Charlotte, North Carolina was delayed for almost three hours this morning because of an unspecified mechanical issue.

American Airlines Flight 1795, an Airbus A319 with 68 passengers and a crew of five onboard, was scheduled to leave Bradley International Airport at 6 a.m., but did not leave until 8:53 a.m., after the maintenance team fixed the mechanical issue, according to a statement from American Airlines.

“We apologize to our customers for delay they experienced this morning,” a statement from the airline says.

The issue affected only this plane and other early-morning flights left as scheduled, according to American Airlines.

Embattled Manhattan Chick-fil-A Reopens


New York City's first stand-alone Chick-fil-A reopened its doors Tuesday.

The fast-food chicken restaurant voluntarily shut last week after being cited for several health code violations that would have earned it a "C" rating from the city.

"Chick-fil-A at 37th and 6th has re-opened for business. We opened on Jan. 5 at 6:30 a.m. following the completion of our voluntary shut-down to perform maintenance and facilities updates," the company said in a statement.   

The chain closed the restaurant last week so it could correct the issues — primarily "the presence of fruit flies."

A sign posted on the door said the restaurant was closed for "restaurant maintenance and facility updates," and that it would reopen at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

But in a statement Monday, Chick-fil-A said there was "a little more work to be done" and would remain closed until it feels everything "exceeds standards."

The Chick-fil-A opened in early October and was the first location in Manhattan. 

Photo Credit: AP

2 Charged in Burglary at Mohawk Mountain Ski Resort


State police have arrested two men accused of stealing thousands of dollars and several ski passes from Mohawk Mountain Ski Resort in Cornwall on Monday.

State police responded to the ski resort at 12:32 a.m. on Monday to investigate reports of a burglary and found that the burglars had forced their way in through a basement window.

When they looked at surveillance video, it showed two people destroying three security cameras, smashing a wooden office door and breaking a metal door to the money vault, police said.

The two robbers then took 10 money drawers, which contained $2,050 in cash; several ski passes worth $60 each; and a large bucket of loose change.

Police said two robbers went into the ski resort, while a third person stayed outside, acting as a lookout.

Troopers also identified a vehicle suspected of being involved.

Police obtained four search warrants and said they found all of the cash drawers, ski passes, $1137.12 in cash and evidence of the crime -- including clothing worn during the burglary – as well as burglary tools, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The amount of the damage caused was estimated at around $5,000.

Police took Ralph Baldelli, 20, of Winsted, into custody at 6 a.m. on Monday and they took Terrance Edwards, 20, of Winsted, into custody at 1 p.m. on Monday

Baldelli was charged with third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, first-degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

He remains in custody and is due in court on Feb. 3, according to online court records.

Edwards was charged with third-degree larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, first-degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

Police are also applying for an arrest warrant for a third suspect in the case.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Waking Up to Single Digit Temperatures in Connecticut


Across the state, people woke up on Tuesday to temperatures in the teens and single digits, but it felt like it was below zero.

People in the drive-thru line at a Stratford Dunkin’ Donuts said it was simply too cold to get out of their cars for their morning coffee.

“It’s freezing! I had to warm the car up today for the first time in weeks,” Dan Staton, of Stratford, said.

It was a different kind of pain at the pump for drivers at the Cumberland Farms gas station in Milford, where people were trying to deal with shock of Mother Nature’s brutal blast.

“I went to go start the car and I kind of had to shake it off,” Jonathan Bria said.

In downtown New Haven, you could barely make out the faces of many people on their way in to work because they were all bundled up.

“I’ve got on two long johns, a sweater and a top to try to stay warm,” Errol Richards, of Waterbury, said.

One of New Haven’s downtown ambassadors, Patrick Collins, said he thinks the cold is especially brutal because of how warm the winter began.

“Sixty degrees on Christmas, you can’t beat that. But I guess now we’re paying for it,” he said.

Because it’s sure to get this cold a few more times before spring rolls around, some people said they’re trying to take the weather in stride.

“What’s your alternative? Just bundle up and get out there,” Eileen Mars, of Milford, said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Billionaire Philanthropist Dies at 85


A billionaire businessman and philanthropist who made one of the largest private donations for scientific research has died in Connecticut. Ted Stanley was 85.

Son Jonathan Stanley said Monday he died overnight at his home in New Canaan (KAY'-nuhn) but didn't say the cause.

In 2014, Ted Stanley committed $650 million to the Broad Institute, a biomedical research center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the study of psychiatric disorders.
Stanley became involved in the cause in the 1980s, when his son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while in college.

Stanley made a fortune selling collectibles, beginning with a series of medals commemorating the moon landing in 1969. His Norwalk-based company, MBI, specializes in marketing consumer products.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Teen Arrested in New Year's Stabbing Homicide Released on Bond


The suspect in the stabbing death of 20-year-old West Hartford man just after midnight on New Year’s Day in Hartford appeared in court on Tuesday facing a murder charge, police said.

Tequile Walwyn, 19, of Hartford, is charged with murdering Jonathan Douglin, 20, by stabbing him in the abdomen and chest, police said.

He was released on a $250,000 bond and is being required to wear an ankle bracelet. Walwyn is forbidden from contacting the victim's family. 

The victim, Douglin, 20, of West Hartford, was a former Conard High School student who played football for the high school team, as well as other teams, according to his obituary. 

Officers found Douglin when they responded to the Eight Sixty Skate Shop, an indoor skate park, at 41 Francis Ave. at 12:09 a.m. on Friday to investigate reports of a stabbing.


Police said he had been stabbed in the abdomen and chest and was transported to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:11 a.m.

Police obtained a warrant on Monday for Walwyn and he turned himself in to police around 11 a.m. after learning of the warrant. 

His bond was set at $250,000, which he posted, so he was released from custody. Walwyn has no prior criminal history in Hartford.

This was the first homicide in the city in 2016. In 2015, there were 31 homicides in Hartford.

A vigil will be held for Douglin on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 5:00 pm by Mothers United Against Violence. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Hartford Police

'Intimidation That Undermines Liberty': Reaction to Obama on Guns


House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Obama’s executive orders on gun ownership amounted to “a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”

“No matter what President Obama says, his word does not trump the Second Amendment,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Obama’s efforts to expand background checks to cover more firearms would no doubt be challenged in the courts and would overturned if a Republican is elected president in November, Ryan said.

Ryan accused Obama of failing to respect the right to safe and legal gun ownership that the country has valued since its founding.

“He knows full well that the law already says that people who make their living selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of venue,” Ryan said. “Still, rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that Obama's new actions to more tightly regulate gun sales were not worth the paper they were written on, the Associated Press reported.

During a campaign stop in Onawa, Iowa, the Republican presidential candidate repeated his promise to repeal all of Obama's executive actions, including the latest ones on guns.

Cruz said that "when you live by the pen, you die by the pen." And he added that his own pen "has an eraser on it."

GOP front-runner Donald Trump vowed to "un-sign" the president's measures, the AP reported. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that on his first day in the Oval Office, "those orders are gone."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in a guest column in The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, accused Obama of trying to do an end-run on the Second Amendment.

“Obama’s declaration that he will impose his gun control agenda by executive order shows an utter disregard for the Second Amendment as well as the proper constitutional process for making laws in our nation,” he wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that at a time when Americans were looking for leadership from the commander-in-chief to counter terrorist threats from the Islamic State and al Qaeda, they were instead getting “lectures, distractions, and attempts to undermine their fundamental Second Amendment rights.”

“In the wake of the President’s vow to ‘politicize’ shootings, it’s hard to see today’s announcement as being about more than politics,” the Kentucky Republican said.

He said Congress would examine the latest actions closely to determine whether they followed federal law and the Constitution.

Among the Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton tweeted “Thank you, @POTUS, for taking a crucial step forward on gun violence. Our next president has to build on that progress — not rip it away.”


U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said that he would continue Obama’s executive actions and accused Republicans of being more loyal to gun lobbyists than to Americans.

“It’s become clear that no mass shooting, no matter how big or bloody, will inspire Republicans to put children and innocent Americans over the interests of the NRA,” Sanders said in a statement.

Photo Credit: AP
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Car Fire Backs Up Traffic on I-84 in Hartford

'God Bless America' Controversy


The American Civil Liberties Union called for an end to a South Jersey elementary school’s tradition of having students say "God bless America" after the Pledge of Allegiance.

The practice has been in place at Glenview Elementary School in Haddon Heights since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It changed this week, however, after the school received a complaint from the ACLU.

Glenview Elementary School Principal Sam Sassano sent a letter to parents alerting them of the ACLU’s concerns.

"A concern has been raised by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey that this practice in invoking God’s blessing as a daily ritual is unconstitutional and in violation of the Establishment Clause, since it allegedly promotes religious over non-religious beliefs, especially with young, impressionable children," Sassano wrote. "On the other hand, it has been our view that the practice is fundamentally patriotic in nature and does not invoke or advance any religious message, despite the specific reference to God’s blessing."

Sassano also said school officials were aware of the general usage of the term and claimed the question as to whether the phrase was more patriotic than religious has "no clear cut legal answer."

Nonetheless, Sassano said the school administration decided to discontinue the practice in order to avoid a constitutional fight or legal fees.

"We will explore alternative methods of honoring the victims and first responders of the 9/11 tragedy," Sassano wrote.

NBC10 reached out to Ed Barocas, the legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey, for comment.

"It is improper and unconstitutional for a school to have a practice of telling elementary students as young as kindergarten invoking God's blessing at the beginning of every school day during an official school assembly," he said. "Parents, not the government, have the right to direct the religious upbringing of their children. If they're looking for something patriotic there are a number of ways, including the phrase 'United We Stand,' that can do that, without having the requirement of children as young as kindergarten to make this daily recitation asking for God's blessing."

Many parents at the school were upset by the decision.

"I think this is typical of the ACLU," said Christi Clark. "They’re bullying the masses. We’re going to stand up and say that we don’t agree."

Clark said her son, who is in the first grade, still decided to say "God bless America" after reciting the pledge Monday and his classmates did the same.

Sassano also told NBC10 many other parents want their kids to continue saying the phrase.

"I also want parents to understand that I recognize everyone's Freedom of Speech right," he said. "Many parents have expressed that they want their child to continue to state 'God bless America.'  I do not feel I have the authority to forbid this and have assured parents that is their right."

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

E-Cigarette Ads Target Millions of Kids: CDC


E-cigarette makers are spending tens of millions of dollars on advertising their products and their message is getting across, federal health officials reported Tuesday. 

Teens are vaping by the millions now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The CDC said that trend threatens to derail decades of progress in helping prevent kids from taking up smoking.

"The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes," said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden.

CDC said in a statement that "during 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent, and among middle school students from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent." Spending on e-cigarette ads rose from $6.4 million to $115 million during that time, CDC noted. 

Photo Credit: AP

New 'Jihadi John' May Be Briton Who Skipped Bail


The masked murderer in the latest ISIS propaganda video is believed to be a British man who fled London in 2014 after skipping bail, NBC News reported.

Two U.S. officials said that the British-born Siddhartha Dhar, a father of four, is suspected of being the man in the video — the new ‘Jihadi John.’ The video purports to show him killing five people accused of being spies.

In 2014, Dhar fled Britain while out on bail after being arrested on suspicion of encouraging terrorism. He was ordered to turn in his passport, but instead took a bus to Paris. It is believed that he then traveled to Syria.

British Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham called the case a “serious lapse in security.”

The original “Jihadi John,” was Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait-born British citizen. He and three colleagues were nicknamed after the Beatles by ISIS hostages due to their British accents.

Emwazi wielded the knife in the beheadings of Americans Steven Sotloff and James Foley. U.S. officials said they were “reasonably certain” Emwazi was killed in an airstrike. 

Photo Credit: Flashpoint

FBI, Police, Seek Information on Shootings


Authorities say they are seeking additional information about the attack that killed 14 people last month in San Bernardino.

The FBI says federal and local law enforcement officials will hold a press conference at 12 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities will appeal to the public for information related to the Dec. 2 shooting by a county health department employee and his wife at a holiday luncheon for his co-workers.

The couple were killed by authorities in a shootout later that day.

Photo Credit: Getty

Police Arrest 3 Observed Making Drug Deal in Hamden: Police


Hamden police arrested three people they said they caught in the middle of a drug deal. 

Officers from the department's Street Interdiction team arrested Corey Bland, 32, of New Haven, Dwayne Lee, 22, of New Haven, and Keyondis White, 20, of New Haven, on multiple narcotics charges. 

Police saw them conducting a drug transaction at about 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4 in the parking lot of a convenience store on State Street, police said. In the drug bust, police seized 28 bags of crack cocaine, five bags of heroin and $900 from Bland's car. 

They had been conducting a narcotics investigation that they've now concluded in charging Bland, Lee and White with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with the intent to sell and conspiracy to possess narcotics. Lee was also charged with three counts of violation of probation. All three were held in custody on a $100,000 bond and they're scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on Jan. 19. 

Arrest in Pregnant Woman's Death


A 22-year-old Bronx woman has been indicted for allegedly stabbing her pregnant childhood friend to death and slashing her abdomen in order to remove the nearly full-term baby, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Ashleigh Wade pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, kidnapping and criminal possession of a weapon in the Nov. 20 death of 22-year-old Angelique Sutton. Prosecutors said Wade and Sutton had been childhood friends and had recently reconnected via Facebook when Sutton went to visit Wade at her Wakefield apartment that night. When Sutton arrived, authorities said she was met with a knife.

Wade allegedly stabbed Sutton repeatedly and cut Sutton's baby girl from her womb. Sutton, who died of her injuries, was 12 days from her due date.

The baby girl survived and is being cared for by Sutton's family.

Wade initially claimed that she had just given birth and requested medical attention, law enforcement sources previously told NBC 4 New York. She later told investigators she had attacked Sutton in self-defense when the very pregnant woman came at her with a knife after the two got into a fight about the past, the sources said. The sources said Wade claimed she only cut Sutton open to try to save the baby after she realized the pregnant woman was dead.

Wade was remanded following Tuesday's court appearance and is next due in court in April.  

A message left with her lawyer wasn't immediately returned.

Photo Credit: Handout

Half of Man's Body Burned in Putnam Fire


One middle-aged man has been hospitalized with severe burns after a fire at a multi-family home on Park Street in Putnam and officials are praising the resident who helped pull him out of the burning building.

Officials have not identified the resident, but said he sustained second- and third-degree burns on about half of his body and has been transported to the Rhode Island Burn Center.

Five other adults from four families live in the building and one tenant helped get the injured man out of the home when a fire broke out at the building. 

"She was able to get in and help him, so praise her," Putnam Fire Chief Bob Campbell said.

Everyone else got out safely.

The fire department was at the scene just before 2 a.m. and shut down the power on the street so they could fight the fire safely with a ladder truck. Power has since been restored.

Fire officials believe the fire started on the first floor, toward the back of the building. Smoke was still rising from the collapsed roof as of 5:36 a.m. and the fire department brought in a machine to knock down some of the walls and get to the fire.

The bitter cold weather also posed a challenge for firefighters, who were outside for several hours, and a lot of the water used to extinguish the fire froze.

Firefighters did whatever they could to stay warm and drank hot  beverages after people brought hot coffee and snacks.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bitter Cold Grips Connecticut


Bitter cold continues today with wind chill values in the teens.

Low temperatures plunged into the single-digits this morning, after Monday registered the first sub-30 degree high temperature since March 6, 2015.

Temperatures will be in the 20s with mostly sunny skies for the balance of today with northerly winds at 5 to 15 miles per hour.

Wind chill values will make it feel like teens and low 20s this afternoon.

While no snow is in the forecast, it will be ideal snowmaking weather for local ski areas.

Frostbite is most common on your fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin and can happen in 30 minutes, so make sure to bundle up.

To protect your car, AAA suggests checking your battery because your car can have a tougher time starting in colder temperatures. Also, check your tire pressure and fluid levels.

Mostly sunny weather is the call Wednesday. High temperatures will rise to near 40 degrees by Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday both look nice with temperatures in the lower 40s.

Storminess arrives this weekend, but it doesn't look like much.

Rain, snow and sleet showers are possible Saturday, then rain on Sunday with possibly snow at night.

Temperatures this weekend will range from the upper 30s to middle 40s.

Monday looks gloomy with high highs in the 30s.

Oregon Occupier Warns FBI He'd Take Death Over Jail


One of the armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon said he would rather die defending the building than be arrested by the FBI, NBC News reported.

"I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box," occupier LaVoy Finicum said when asked if he would rather be killed than be arrested.

As the occupation at the remote headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 250 miles from Portland, entered its fifth day Wednesday, the 54-year-old added "there are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them."

While law enforcement has not attempted to recapture the outpost, the FBI is leading efforts to resolve the impasse and several of the occupiers said they believe there are arrest warrants against them. 

Structure Fire Extinguished in Brooklyn, Connecticut

Lawyers Await Judge's Decision on 'Making a Murderer' Case


A lawsuit claiming Brendan Dassey, the young man whose case was closely documented in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” was illegally imprisoned in 2005, is now in the hands of a federal judge.

Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth legal team based in Chicago has taken Dassey’s case to federal court in Wisconsin in the hopes that he will be granted a writ of Habeas corpus, which will force the government to examine his case and rule whether he has been imprisoned illegally. The petition is pending before Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin in Milwaukee.

It’s not clear when Duffin could make his decision. An attorney for Dassey says a ruling could come any day, but will likely happen within the year.

Dassey’s case is one of two followed in the popular “Making a Murderer” series, which depicts the story of Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery. Dassey and Avery are currently serving life sentences for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer of Teresa Halbach.

Avery, a Wisconsin man who was imprisoned for 18 years for sexual assault before DNA evidence exonerated him in 2003, was suing Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, the former district attorney and the county sheriff for $36 million when he was accused of Halbach's murder. 

Most recently, the show's filmmakers said a juror from Avery's murder trial claims he was not proven guilty, but the juror voted to convict him out of fear for his/her personal safety. The two filmmakers have not yet contacted other jurors to independently verify the claim, they said. NBC News has not independently verified the allegation with any jurors.

Dassey was arrested at the age of 16 in connection with case, but his attorneys maintain his confession was coerced.

Steven Drizin, a clinical professor at Northwestern University School of Law who is among the attorneys representing Dassey, said his team of lawyers from the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern, and Wisconsin attorney Robert Dvorak, have spent years on the case.

Drizin said the team investigated Dassey’s case for two years before filing an appeal in 2010. The appeal was ultimately denied by a state appellate court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

The habeas petition was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 2014.

“We’re hopeful is what I would say,” Drizin said. “The deeper you go into this system, whether it’s in the state court system or the federal court system, the harder it is to win. We’ve won cases in federal court before and we’re hoping that this is another one that we’ll win.”

Drizin said the petition focuses largely on Dassey’s original public defender, Len Kachinsky, who was ultimately removed from the case.

“A lot of our appeal has to do with the actions that Brendan’s original attorney Len Kachinsky took, which demonstrated his disloyalty to Brendan and his willingness to work with the prosecution to try to get Brendan to plead guilty and testify against Steven Avery,” Drizin said.

He also maintains that Dassey’s confession was coerced “by [investigators] feeding him facts.”

“To me, this case is a classic example of how not to interrogate juvenile suspects and the tactics that were used during Brendan’s interrogation are a recipe for false confessions,” he said.

In a brief filed last year, the state argued Dassey failed to show that the appeals court’s decision was unreasonable.

“[Investigators] merely stated, in calm tones, that they ‘already knew’ what happened and allowed Dassey to confess that he had raped Halbach, and was involved in her murder,” the brief reads. “Dassey’s confession was not coerced, and the state court’s decision on Dassey’s voluntariness claim did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law.”

Former Calamut County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who prosecuted Dassey and Avery, recently told People magazine that he has "a great bit of sympathy" for Dassey, who he said "never would have been involved in this except for his uncle."

Dassey would have been out sooner if he had taken a plea bargain, Kratz said.

Drizin said while “Making a Murderer” has put Dassey’s case in the national spotlight, he doesn’t believe it will have an impact on the judge’s decision.

“I don’t think that the Netflix movie is going to influence a federal judge, but at the same time, judges are human beings and the Netflix film has created a context for Brendan’s case that didn’t exist at the time of his trial or his appeals,” he said.

Photo Credit: AP
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