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State Police Dispatcher Charged With Enticing a Minor


A Connecticut State Police dispatcher has been arrested on charges of risk of injury and enticing a minor.

Middletown police arrested 48-year-old Jeffrey Norton on Wednesday night. Police did not release details on the investigation that led to Norton's arrest.

Norton, of Waterbury, is a dispatcher at State Police Troop I in Bethany and has worked for the state police since 2004, according to Trooper Kelly Grant.

He was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday, Grant said.

According to Connecticut state statutes, the charge against Norton involves any person who uses a computer service to entice a minor under 16 into sexual activity.

Norton posted $1,500 bond and is scheduled to be in court on March 16.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Lawmakers Considering Bill to Raise Smoking Age to 21


Lawmakers in Connecticut are considering a new bill that would raise the smoking age to 21. 

Senator Mae Flexer co-sponsored a bill that would require anyone buying cigarettes, electronic cigarettes or vapor porducts be 21.

The current law allows anyone over the age of 18 to purchase tobacco products. 

According to Flexer, the CDC said the number of teens buying cigarettes from their peers has doubled from 2001 to 2009. 

The senator said raising the smoking age to 21 would eliminate the avenue some teens take to get cigarrettes. 

Connecticut's Public Health Committee has until Mar. 23 to take action on the bill. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cook's Throat Slashed at Restaurant


A woman working at a South Philadelphia restaurant died after police say someone slashed her throat inside the basement of the open eatery Thursday night.

The owners of Lee's Cafe and Bistro on Washington Avenue near 5th Street flagged down patrolling officers just after 9 p.m. after they found the 54-year-old woman beaten and bloodied in the basement, which serves as the kitchen of the Vietnamese restaurant, said Philadelphia Police.

"She had a deep cut to her neck and she was pronounced dead," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small outside the restaurant as investigator searched for clues inside.

There were signs of a violent struggle.

"There is a lot of blood next to her body, there is some overturned kitchen equipment -- a piece of kitchen equipment is actually laying on her body," said Small. "In addition to her throat being slashed, she also has some facial injuries."

Lee's Cafe normally closes at 10 p.m. There were four other employees and about five customers inside the eatery that features take out on the ground floor and sit-down tables on the second floor, said Small.

Police identified the victim as Thoung Nguyen of Emily Street. Lee's owner found Nguyen dead after it took about 10 minutes for an order to come out. She was working in the kitchen with another employee at the time of her death, said police.

Police interviewed the witnesses and looked for surveillance video from outside the restaurant in hopes of tracking down the woman's killer.

The eatery is well-received on Yelp, getting four out of five stars.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philly police.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Wilbur Cross Parkway Reopens After Crash


A crash closed the southbound lanes of the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Hamden Friday morning.

The accident happened just before 10:30 a.m. just south of Exit 60, according to Hamden Fire officials.

There is not word on injuries.

The road reopened shortly before noon.

U.S. Stocks Close at 2-Month High After Jobs Report


U.S. stocks closed higher Friday, boosted by a rise in oil prices and a jobs report that showed economic growth without forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, CNBC reported. 

The S&P 500 rose for the first time in intraday trading since Jan. 6. The Dow Jones traded about 60 points higher as of 3:30 p.m. ET.

February saw 242,000 jobs created, well ahead of expectations, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent. Some analysts said the report was generally supportive of stocks.

The report helped crude oil gain, with futures trading at almost $36 a barrel, the best week for oil since August.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Playboy Says It Looks Better Not Naked


Playboy's first non-nude issue has been on sale for the past month, and the media empire claims its re-robed strategy is working with advertisers, NBC New reported.

The 63-year-old magazine's March issue featured 42 advertising pages, which is a 55.5 percent increase from the same issue last year.

In addition, 1,200 more newsstands carried the issue, and Playboy claims it's selling well. About 75 percent of the stock has sold out at Barnes & Noble. 

The company claims that ever since it announced the new direction in October, it has held more than 300 meetings with new and existing advertisers.

Photo Credit: AP

Farthest Galaxy Yet Smashes Cosmic Distance Record


The Hubble Space Telescope just calculated the distance to the most far-out galaxy ever measured, providing scientists with a look deep into the history of the universe.

The far-away galaxy, named GN-z11, existed a mere 400 million years after the Big Bang, or about 13.3 billion years ago.

Because the light from such a distant galaxy must travel huge distances to reach Earth, scientists are seeing the galaxy as it looked over 13 billion years ago.

"We've taken a major step back in time, beyond what we'd ever expected to be able to do with Hubble," Pascal Oesch, an astronomer at Yale University and lead author of the research paper announcing the new measurement, said in a statement from the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre in Germany. 

Photo Credit: NASA via Getty Images, File

Extra Police at Hartford Schools After Threat


There will be increased police patrols and beefed up security at Hartford schools on Friday after a threat was made against the Board of Education.

Members of the Board received the emailed threats late last night, according to Hartford police.

Investigators determined the threats are not credible and are consistent with other threats meant to disrupt schools that have been sent in the past, police said.

Hartford schools are operating on a normal schedule Friday, school officials said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Offshore Storm Brings Coating of Snow


Light snow fell across the state Friday morning as a clipper transfered its energy to a powerful storm south of Connecticut.

As the power coastal storm strengthens today, the snow will vanish over central and northern Connecticut, but southeastern Connecticut could be clipped by the far northwest edge of the storm.

That said, flurries or light snow will continue through midday in southeastern Connecticut, not accumulating on the roads, but making for some coatings on the grass and elevated surfaces.

The steady snow is mere miles south of the coastline, so it's a very difficult forecast. First Alert forecasters will be updating the forecast all day long. Download the NBC Connecticut App for interactive radar.


The strong March sun, even with a thin layer of clouds, will prevent roads from deteriorating as the day progresses. Additionally, temperatures will rise above freezing.

The flurries and light snow will wrap up early this evening.

Tonight will be windy and cold.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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Temperatures Soar to 70 Degrees Next Week


The first weekend of March will be seasonable and dry, before a major warm-up next week.

Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with highs in the lower 40s. Clouds roll in late.

Sunday will feature a blend of clouds and sunshine, though high temperatures will still be in the lower 40s.

Noticeably warmer air moves in on Monday, when high temperatures will be in the middle 50s with lots of sunshine.

Temperatures skyrocket come Tuesday.

A blend of clouds and sunshine will couple with highs in the middle 60s. Spring will be in the air!

The first 70-degree day of the year is likely on Wednesday, but the shoreline will be closer to 60 degrees with a component of the wind off the relatively cold Long Island Sound.

As is typically the case this time of year, a backdoor cold front will move through on Thursday.

That means it won't be as warm, but it will still be in the 50s – a solid 10 degrees above average!

Showers are possible Thursday with the front in the area.

Friday continues the downward trend, with a mix of sun and clouds and highs only in the lower 40s.

Players Sodomized Teammate: Pros.


Editor's Note: The details in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.

A month after hazing allegations came to light at a Chester County, Pennsylvania, high school, the district attorney announced charges against three football players accused of sodomizing a younger teammate with a broomstick.

"This is a simple case about ignorance, violence and a shocking lack of supervision," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

Hogan announced the charges at a news conference Friday while discussing hazing allegations against football players at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. The boys were not identified since they are minors. Hogan said the investigation goes back three or four years.

"If you call this hazing or you call this assault, what we are really talking about here is bigger, stronger kids picking on smaller, weaker kids — this is just bullying and in Chester County. We won't stand for bullying," said Hogan.

Older boys are accused of putting their genitals on younger boys' heads, and on Oct. 15, three 17-year-olds allegedly forced a broomstick into the anus of a younger, smaller boy.

It happened after the younger player opted out of cleaning the locker room in his underwear, authorities said. When the boy tried to leave, an upperclassman told teammates, "stick a broom up his a--," according to Hogan.

Two boys — one weighing around 280 pounds — held the younger player down while a senior began poking him between his legs, said Hogan. Some of the players said the victim was a outcast who was unpopular among the players.

The incident occurred on what's known among students as "No Gay Thursday," when older players allegedly commit "gay" acts upon younger ones as part of a hazing tradition, according to Hogan. Although the case centers around the football team, Hogan said other student-athletes were either exposed to or involved in hazing incidents.

Students said coaches were unaware of the alleged sodomy, which came to light after the boy's father learned what had happened and contacted police last month. Coaches told investigators they had no knowledge of "No Gay Thursday."

Hogan held the coaches responsible for leaving the teens alone in the locker room.

"All this happened under the noses of the coaches because they were not there to supervise these students and let this happen by not paying attention," Hogan said.

The school, which has been cooperating with investigators, addressed the allegations in a news release Friday, promising to make its internal investigation a top priority.

"We feel strongly that all athletes must be able to participate in team activities in an environment free from hazing," said Tredyffrin/Easttown School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Gusick. "District policies and school rules have been in place to reinforce tolerance and respect. Each season, our Athletic Director emphasizes the expectations for conduct, including no tolerance for hazing, by meeting with all coaches and all teams. Traditionally our athletes have demonstrated high standards of sportsmanship and conduct on and off the field.

"In light of the information shared by the police about the football program, we will conduct a thorough school-based investigation. The process will be designed to determine whether or not code of conduct violations occurred, the awareness and level of supervision provided by the coaching staff, and what further measures can promote inclusive and respectful behavior," Gusick continued.

The latest allegations come only a few months after a middle school sexting scandal rocked the district. At least one student was charged with sending sexually explicit images earlier in the school year.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Pakistani Diplomat Admits Taliban Leaders Are Living There


Pakistan’s top diplomat admitted the country supports some members of the Afghan Taliban and that it gives them shelter, NBC News reported.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affaris, said Tuesday that Pakistan had “some influence” in convincing the militant group to the negotiating table “because their leadership is in Pakistan.”

He said: "I think people who have dealt with this issue recognize that Taliban in the best of times … did not listen to Pakistan always…and now we have some influence on them because their leadership is in Pakistan and they get some medical facilities, their families are here. So we can use those levers to pressurize them to say 'come to the table.'"

A spokesman for Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday he would not comment on Aziz’s statement.  

Photo Credit: AP

Sex Assault Suspect Facing New Charges


A Connecticut man faces risk of injury charges connected to the sexual assault of a child.

State police arrested Albert Deschene, of Bolton, on Wednesday.

Troopers began an investigation in July 2015 after receiving a complaint from a victim. The alleged sexual assault took place in the time frame between 2005 and 2007, according to police.

Deschene was also arrested in December on charges of first-degree sexual assault to a victim under the age of 10, fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child. The alleged assaults in that case happened between 2001 and 2006, according to police. It is not clear if the cases are related.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Milford Woman Charged With Sexually Assaulting Minor


Police arrested a Milford woman on Thursday, charging her with sexually assaulting a minor.

Milford's Special Investigations Unit launched an investigation in September after getting a report of a sexual assault.

After months of investigating, police arrested 19-year-old Chyna Lipnickas. The Milford woman  engaged in sexual activity with a minor between October of 2014 and July of 2015, according to police.

Lipnickas is charged with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor, threatening and third-degree assault. She was scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Photo Credit: Milford Police

Dispatcher Urged Teen to Have Sex With Prostitute: Docs


A Connecticut state police dispatcher arrested Wednesday on charges of enticing a minor chatted with a 15-year-old boy on Facebook for months and promised to set up a sexual encounter with a prostitute for him, according to court documents.

Middletown police arrested 48-year-old Jeffrey Norton after a more than a month-long investigation.

According to an arrest warrant application, police said Norton began chatting with the teen in July 2015 and continued the online conversations until January. The teen's parents discovered the conversations and contacted police.

Police said Norton discussed several sexual topic with the teen and tried to arrange a meeting between the boy and a 42-year-old prostitute that Norton knew, the documents stated.

In another conversation, Norton allegedly urged the teen to have sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend and that the two could come to Norton's Waterbury apartment to have sex, according to the court documents.

Norton is a state police dispatcher at Troop I in Bethany and has worked for state police since 2004. He has been placed on administrative leave, according to Trooper Kelly Grant.

According to the court documents, Norton also sent the teen a video of himself having sex with the prostitute.

When he was interviewed by police in January, Norton allegedly admitted to chatting with the boy and said he was only trying to give the teen relationship and sex advice, police said.

He faces charges of enticing a minor and risk of injury and is scheduled to be in court on March 16.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Man Convicted of Lewd Acts


A 42-year-old man charged with kidnapping and raping his ex-girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter, with whom he had a child, was found guilty of lewd acts by an Orange County jury.

A mistrial was declared on a rape charge against Isidro Garcia, of Bell Gardens, who faced one felony count of forcible rape, three felony counts of lewd acts on a minor and one felony count of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. He was found not guilty on the kidnapping charge.

Jurors reached verdicts on some counts Thursday, but could not decide on other counts. The panel of three men and nine women was asked to return Friday, when the verdict was announced.

Sentencing is scheduled for April.

The woman who was allegedly abducted by Garcia and forced to marry and have a child with him testified during the trial that the abuse started within months of arriving from Mexico with her sisters. Now 26, she testified Garcia began sexually abusing her when she was just 15. She said he told her they would both be in trouble if she told her mother, who also testified against Garcia, and that he would call immigration authorities.

Prosecutors said Garcia kidnapped the teenager and changed both of their names using fake documents. They said he told the girl she could not leave him because she would be deported.

They lived in a Bell Gardens apartment, where they married and had a daughter who is now 3. A missing-person report was filed in 2004 — the year of the alleged kidnapping, according to prosecutors. Garcia allegedly forced the woman into marriage in 2007 and had a child with her in 2012.

He sexually assaulted the girl three different times and raped her once, prosecutors allege.

Neighbors said they never suspected there was anything wrong.

The woman was reunited with her mother in 2014. The alleged victim contacted her sister through Facebook on her birthday in April of that year, marking the first time her family had heard from her in years. A domestic dispute involving her and Garcia in Bell Gardens led to the suspect's arrest, police said.

Defense attorneys claimed the woman went willingly with Garcia, married him and had a child with him. They portrayed the woman as a rebellious teen who later plotted with her mother after their reunion to find a way to stay in the U.S. by claiming they had been abused by Garcia.

They contended the woman had multiple opportunities to escape over the course of a decade. Prosecutors said the woman was a mental captive, even if she wasn't physically held against her will.

February's Job Growth Doesn't Mean Wage Increases


The economy added 242,000 jobs in the month of February, higher than the 190,000 expected by economists. But the gains aren’t enough to propel wage growth forward, according to NBC News.

Hourly wages fell by three cents and dragged the annualized growth number from 2.5 to 2.2 percent. Productivity gains should lead to pay gains for workers, but labor economist Gary Burtless said that hasn’t happened so far.

"We certainly don't seem to have workers in strong enough bargaining positions so they can get bigger pay packages each year," said Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution. "The big problem is that workers have seen their share of the output of American corporations decline."

Many of the jobs created in February were in the high- and middle-wage jobs like healthcare and construction, according to the Labor Department.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Suspect Arrested in 1980 Homicide


Maine State Police have made an arrest in the 1980 homicide of Joyce McLain in East Millinocket.

Philip Scott Fournier, 55, is charged with murder. He is on the registered sex offenders list for possession of child pornography.

McLain was 16 when she died. She disappeared while jogging on a summer night not far from Schneck High School. Her body was found a few days later. McLain had injuries to her neck and head.

Community members pooled their money in 2008 to have McLain's body exhumed in hopes of finding any shred of DNA evidence that could be linked to her killer.

Police conducted a new search in Nov. 2015.

Fournier will be arraigned Monday in Penobscot Superior Court.

In their affidavit, police say Fournier confessed to McLain's murder or made statements indicating he had knowledge about her death to several people.

Authorities are asking anyone with knowledge about this 36-year-old crime to contact them at 1-800-432-7381.

Photo Credit: WCSH

UConn Considering Closing Torrington Campus


UConn may be looking to close its regional campus in Torrington.

The move would be response to the millions the state plans to cut from the university's budget.

UConn officials met with lawmakers about the Torrington campus on Thursday and Friday, according to a source familiar with the situation. They're planning to propose closing it.

Torrington mayor Elinor Carbone said she did meet with UConn last week, and was assured no decisions have been made. She asked UConn to keep an open line of communication. The mayor calls the campus a critical asset to Torrington and she wants to talk with UConn on how to keep the campus open.

In a statement, a UConn spokesperson said:

As president Herbst told legislators last month, because of the challenging budget climate, UConn is looking very closely at all costs and expenditures and is actively exploring the possibility of closing some departments, programs and campuses. Those discussions are ongoing and no final decisions have been made."

UConn adds Torrington is the only regional campus it may close.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Trump Rivals Attack His 'Flexibility' on Policies


With an eye on the general election — and suddenly "flexible" on immigration — Donald Trump has backed off from some of the hardline rhetoric that has fueled his presidential campaign, at least for the moment.

"Believe it or not, I'm a unifier," Trump offered during a raucous rally Friday in suburban Detroit. "We are going to unify our country."

Republican adversary Ted Cruz wasn't having it. "Donald is telling us he will betray us on everything he's campaigned on," he said as he campaigned in Maine, one of five states voting in weekend primaries and caucuses.

Trump's apparent outbreak of moderation on several fronts, including the most inflammatory one, immigration, comes largely after a dominant Super Tuesday performance that extended his reach for the Republican nomination and as GOP establishment figures stepped up to assail him.

In the rollicking Republican debate Thursday night, Trump retreated from a position paper on his website, saying he had swung in favor of more temporary H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers. His stance against that had been one of the few specific policies he had laid out.

"I'm changing, I'm changing," he said. "We need highly skilled people in this country." Hours later, his campaign released a statement backing away from the new position, deepening the sense that Trump's agenda may be less strategic than improvisational.

More broadly, he spoke of the virtues of compromise.

"In terms of immigration — and almost anything else — there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal," Trump added. "You have to be able to have some flexibility, some negotiation."

Cruz and others lashed out at Trump's sudden embrace of flexibility on the central issue of his campaign.

"Flexible is Washington code word that he's going to stick it to the people," Cruz said Friday.

Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, followed up a lacerating speech against Trump by declaring Friday he would not vote for the billionaire if he became the standard-bearer in the fall. Even Trump's 2016 rivals, some of them mercilessly denigrated by him, said they'd support the GOP nominee even if it's him.

Romney told NBC's "Today" show he would "do everything within the normal political bounds to make sure we don't nominate Donald Trump."

Also this week, Republican foreign-policy luminaries from diverse flanks of the party wrote an open letter opposing Trump's candidacy, for his "hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric," his "embrace of the expansive use of torture" and more.

Trump is showing new sensitivity on these matters.

He said Friday he understands the U.S. is "bound by laws and treaties" and he will not order U.S. military officials to violate or disobey those laws if elected president. His statement attenuated earlier comments that he would revive waterboarding in interrogations — which is now illegal — and "a lot worse," and that he would target the wives and children of suspected extremists.

This was a switch of sorts from the debate the night before.

"These animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding?" he offered in the debate. "We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding."

Despite the softened tone on some issues, though, Trump is still Trump.

He canceled an appearance at the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference, often a can't-miss event for candidates catering to the right. His decision to skip it "sends a clear message to conservatives," the unhappy group tweeted.

And Trump showed no mercy for his critics when he spoke at the Detroit-area rally.

He repeatedly called Marco Rubio, "Little Marco," Cruz, "Lying Ted," and introduced a new pet name for Romney: "Stupid Mitt."

"He is a stupid person," the 2016 Republican front-runner said of the party's 2012 nominee. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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