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People Found Hiding in Hartford School


Hartford parents are calling for more security at the Fred D. Wish school after two people were caught after breaking into the school early Tuesday morning.

“I didn’t know about it,” said Latosha Pierce, the mother of three children who attend the Wish school.

She was one of many parents who had no idea the school her children attend was the scene of a break-in just hours before students began their school day.

A silent alarm tipped off Hartford police around 1:30 a.m.

When they arrived, they found a smashed window on one side of the building. They went inside with a K9, which led them to the second floor of the Wish school, where police found two individuals locked inside a room.

People in the area said crime has been escalating.

“Times are hard. People are trying to get by, so they’re doing whatever they could do,” said Skye Camby.

Other parents agreed with Camby and said the break-in, coupled with Tuesday night’s fatal shooting on Blue Hills Avenue less than two miles from the school, has them worried for children’ safety.

“There’s a lot of drugs, and now all of a sudden, there’s a lot of shootings,” Lydia Mayeres said.

Pierce said she believes her children will be safer with increased security.

“They need more security guards outside and more people around the school so it won’t happen again,” she said. 

Both people accused of breaking into the school have been charged with burglary and criminal mischief.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Incident on School Bus Prompts Lockdown on CREC Campus


Schools on the Learning Corridor campus of the Capitol Region Education Council in Hartford were locked down on Tuesday because of an incident on a school bus. 

The lockdown was issued around 1 p.m. after a student made a joke on the bus about having a firearm, according to school officials.

The bus driver immediately stopped. The Hartford Police Department was contacted and no firearm was found when officers searched the bus, school officials said.

The student was removed from school and the police are handling the situation.

The lockdown was lifted and students were never in danger, school officials said.

 All schools on campus are following normal dismissal procedures. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Shopping Outlets Coming to Cheshire


Outlet shopping is coming to Cheshire next year.

The Massachusetts-based WS Development company plans to build The Outlets at Cheshire, a 585-square-foot open air shopping center along Interstate 691.

“With its convenient highway location and super regional access, the project is perfectly positioned within the state for outlet retail.” Mark Roberts, senior vice president of leasing at WS Development, said in a news release.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2014 and the outlets should open in the summer of 2015.

“Our goal is to create an exceptional outlet shopping experience to serve this growing market area with a great selection of designer fashions focusing on in-season and attractively priced merchandise while also delivering a project relevant to the local community. We look forward to being a great partner to the Town of Cheshire and to bringing this world class fashion destination to New Haven County,” Dick Marks, a partner at WS Development, said in a news release.

The address will be 2037 Highland Avenue,  at the I-84/I-691 Interchange in Cheshire along Route 10.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Attorney: OJ Simpson's Defense Operated "on Shoestring"


A former OJ Simpson defense attorney testified that he wanted to put the former NFL Hall of Fame running back on the stand during a trial that ended with his conviction on robbery and kidnapping charges stemming from a 2007 hotel room raid in Las Vegas.

Timeline: OJ Simpson in Court

But attorney Gabriel Grasso told the court that it was another defense attorney, Yale Galanter, who was obsessed with cutting expenses to the detriment of Simpson's defense during the 2008 trial. During his first day of testimony Monday, Grasso said Galanter "controlled the purse strings."

"I was under the impression that we were operating on a shoestring," Grasso said Tuesday. "There were no experts to be had. We didn't have any money to hire experts."

The court proceeding called a writ of habeas corpus examines how Galanter handled the trial that led to Simpson's robbery and kidnapping conviction. Attorneys for the former USC Trojan are arguing this week in a Las Vegas courtroom that Simpson's conviction should be tossed.

The money spent on Simpson's defense was not Grasso's only criticism of Galanter.

"I had the distinct feeling that OJ had to testify in this case," Grasso said. "That was our only shot."

Simpson is expected to testify later this week, possibly Wednesday. He wants a new trial because he says his longtime lawyer Galanter failed to disclose that he knew about the hotel room raid in advance, told Simpson it was legal and provided bad advice at trial.

"If it really did happen, I would hope that OJ gets a new trial," said attorney Eric Brent Bryson, who represented one of Simpson's co-defendants. "If not, I would really feel sorry for Mr. Galanter getting drug through the mud like this."

Simpson, in prison since his conviction about four years ago, appeared in court wearing blue prison clothes and shackles. Simpson was allowed to have one hand uncuffed Tuesday, allowing him to take drinks of water and write notes on a legal pad.

The 65-year-old former Heisman trophy winner appeared weary as he listened to attorneys argue over issues that could determine whether he spends the remainder of his life in prison. He has already served four years in prison, but must serve nine of the maximum 33-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Simpson's daughter Arnelle and Grasso were among the first witnesses to testify in the proceeding.

Simpson's attorneys must prove that his trial lawyers botched the 2008 trial, stemming from a confrontation at the Palace Station hotel. Simpson has claimed he was not aware two of the five men with him brought guns during the caper, which involved sports memorabilia dealers who Simpson thought had personal belongings he lost following his acquittal in 1995 in the slaying of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Crowds at the courthouse Monday morning were small, unlike the 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles and the 2008 robbery and kidnapping trials.

The new challenge follows the Nevada Supreme Court's denial of Simpson's 2010 appeal, also handled by Galanter. Simpson's new attorney filed the writ of habeas corpus in May 2012, seeking her client's release from prison and reversal of the conviction.

As for the sports memorabilia that was the subject of the hotel room raid, the items were delivered to Simpson's civil case attorney.

Texas Roadhouse Fundraiser Benefits Boston Fund


One month after the Boston Marathon bombings, fundraising efforts for the victims and one will be held in Manchester and New Haven.

Ten percent of all food sales at Texas Roadhouse on Tuesday night will be donated to “The One Fund Boston,” which Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino set up to help the bombing victims and their families.

The restaurants will also be accepting additional donations.

Texas Roadhouse has locations in Manchester and West Haven.

The One Fund Boston has raised more than $30 million and is expected to start distributing money to victims by the end of this month.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man, 75, Ran Prostitution Ring in NJ Senior Complex: Cops


A 75-year-old resident of a New Jersey senior citizen housing complex is suspected of running a prostitution ring that employed some elderly residents as sex workers, NBC 4 New York has learned.
The suspect, James Parham, 75, was also accused, along with Cheryl Chaney, 66, of allowing residents and visitors to use crack in their apartments, police said.
Both are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance, and Chaney is also charged with possession of crack cocaine.
In Parham's case, the nuisance charge relates to allowing prostitution in his apartment and in Chaney's case, it relates to allowing drug use in hers.
Englewood Police Chief Arthur O'Keefe told NBC 4 New York on Tuesday that Parham ran the prostitution ring through his apartments, and employed a mix of young women and older residents. 
None of the alleged prostitutes were arrested.
O'Keefe says there was also sex and drug use going on in common areas of the complex, and that some seniors were afraid to venture into certain areas because they were afraid for their lives.
Richard Allaway, a resident, says he and others were aware of "a lot of nonsense going on."
A lack of security in the building is believed to have contributed to the problem.
Kevin Thomas, who has loved ones living in the complex, said he couldn't understand why older people were turning to crime.
"Why they wait so late in life to start doing stuff they should have did years ago, or shouldn't have touched period, why do you wait this late?" he said.
Information about attorneys for the suspects was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Englewood, N.J. Police

Authorities ID Bones of NJ Teen Who Went Missing in 1972


For 40 years, Ron Soden and his sisters have been haunted by a painful family mystery: their 16-year-old brother's disappearance from a New Jersey orphanage.

With each year that passed without finding Steven Soden, their expectations faded — but never entirely.

"We always had hopes that we'd somehow find him alive," Ron Soden, 73, told NBC 4 New York Tuesday from his home in Tacoma, Wash. "In this day and age, it's so much easier to find someone over the Internet."

They also had to be realistic. That is why, when Soden saw on the news last year that Illinois authorities were looking for help identifying the remains of several possible victims of 1970s serial killer John Wayne Gacy, he dialed the hotline. It was just a hunch.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office arranged for Soden and his sisters to give DNA samples, which would be sent to a lab to see if their genetic material matched those taken from the remains.

The results came back: no hit.

But the search didn't end there. A Cook County detective enlisted an investigator from the New Jersey State Police, who went through old missing persons files. The lab, at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, ran the DNA samples through a national database.

In March, Soden got another call. Finally, the mystery, at least part of it, had been solved.

It turned out that the siblings' DNA matched a different set of remains, bones found in 2000 by an off-duty New Jersey trooper walking in Bass River State Park — not far from the campground where, in April 1972, Steven Soden had traveled with a group from his Paterson-based orphanage. Steven and a friend bolted from the group and were never seen again.

Arthur J. Eisenberg, co-director of the Center for Human Identification, said the only reason his lab matched the DNA was that New Jersey had sent samples of the bones years earlier for placement into the national system.

"That's the power of this testing," he said. "Once you get the samples into the system, who knows who can be identified."

Ron Soden and his sisters struggled with the news of the identification made 40 years after their brother's disappearance. Steven was now officially dead, and they still have no idea how his life ended.

"You always hope for the best," he said. "But when you finally get an answer, a partial answer…" He trailed off.

"It's sad," he continued. "The sense of him being so young, and the way it happened, and where it was. He probably ran away because he thought nobody cared about him. It's just not a good story."

The Soden children grew up in a small apartment in Paterson, a struggling factory town on the Passaic River, Ron Soden said. They shared the same mother but had different fathers. Ron was 15 years older than Steven and left for the Army while Steven was still young. Steven's dad died, and their mother met another man.

Some time after that, Steven and one of his sisters ended up in an orphanage. Their mother never said why, and the other siblings didn't ask. "Things were just not good back there," Ron Soden said.

Ron Soden and his wife began the process of arranging to bring Steven and his sister to live with them in Washington state. Then Steven disappeared. Their mother died several years ago without revealing anything more.

Now that they know their brother is long gone—and they have to decide what to do with his remains—the Soden siblings are having a hard time adjusting. The tragedy of Steven's life weighs on them.

Ron Soden was the only one who felt strong enough to speak publicly.

He decided to do so, he said, to encourage other families of missing children to keep looking.

"Maybe it will give hope to some other families," Ron Soden said. "Maybe they still have a chance of getting answers. If there's any chance that it will help someone else, I'll talk about it."

In Illinois, meanwhile, authorities are still trying to identify the remains of the suspected Gacy victims. And New Jersey authorities are seeking information about the friend who disappeared with Steven Soden four decades ago.

His name is Donald Caldwell. Anyone with something to share is urged to call 1-800-THE-LOST.

Maryland Bar's Hand Stamp Sparks Controversy


A hand stamp used by a bar in College Park, Md., was pulled after students protested that it condoned sexual assault.

The stamp applied by front door security at the popular Barking Dog Restaurant and Pub on Route 1 read “Shut up and take it.” Facebook images of the stamp touched off a controversy and a petition drive.

Josh Rather, of the Student Government Association, said the issue went beyond a hand stamp. The university community realizes that more student-involved sexual assaults -- many of them alcohol-fueled -- occur off campus rather than on campus.

The university recently amended its code of conduct to include assaults that occur off campus.

The Barking Dog's owner said that when he learned of the hand stamp he immediately terminated its use, had a talk with his employees about the seriousness of the matter and offered to host a sexual assault awareness fundraiser.

The Barking Dog has been widely credited with improving a property that had been cited frequently for alcohol violations over the years.

Newtown Education Budget Fails Again


It's back to the drawing board for the Newtown Legislative Council as their proposed education budget failed for a second time.

The education budget failed by a count of 2407-2355, a mere 52 votes. The proposed town budget passed 2508-2262 and is now finalized.

The proposed education budget was for $71 million. The budget first failed at referendum on April 23.

The legislative council revised the budget at a April 30th meeting, reducing the increases by  $750,000.

The legilstive council will now take about a week to revise the education budget before once again putting it up for a town wide referendum, most likely on June 4.

The town was also asked if they felt the education budget was too low, to which they responded no by a vote of 3515 to 1046.

Photo Credit: NBC 5

Simpson: Guns "Never a Subject" in Hotel Raid


O.J. Simpson testified Wednesday in court -- something he did not do during his 1995 murder trial or 2008 robbery-kidnapping case -- about events leading up to the Las Vegas hotel room raid that resulted in a sentence that could keep him in prison for the rest of his life. 

Simpson testified Wednesday about events surrounding the 2007 raid and his relationship with the trial attorney Gale Galanter, who is the key figure in this week's hearing. Simpson is attempting to prove that he did not receive adequate legal representation from the lead attorney during the 2008 trial. Simpson wants a new trial because he says his longtime lawyer Galanter failed to disclose that he knew about the hotel room raid in advance, told Simpson it was legal and provided bad advice at trial.

Galanter gained an acquittal for Simpson in a 2000 Florida road rage case, but Simpson testified Wednesday that he socialized with Galanter, such as going out to dinner. It was at one of those dinners that Galanter and Simpson discussed the recovery of the sports memorabilia, including autographed footballs and framed photos.

The former USC Trojans star and Heisman trophy winner said the items went missing after his acquittal in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Simpson testified Wednesday that once he learned the collection included family photos, he wanted them back.

"That's when I got interested," Simpson said.

Simpson, 65, repeated his assertion that he was not aware two of the men who accompanied him on a mission to retrieve the sports memorabilia at the Palace Station hotel had guns. He testified that he just needed "a couple of big guys" to help carry items from the hotel.

"I don't need security," Simpson said he told others involved in the conversation, adding that weapons were not discussed.

Several of the questions from Simpson co-counsel Patricia Palm addressed his consumption of alcohol on the night before and day of the raid. Simpson was in Las Vegas for a wedding and the memorabilia dealers were "essentially, down the street," he said.

"I wouldn't have gotten behind the wheel of a car," Simpson said of his activities the night before the raid. "I'm in Las Vegas with a lot of friends. We were in a very celebrative mood."

He started drinking alcohol again the next day at the Palms hotel, Simpson said. That's when plans to retrieve the memorabilia were discussed, he said.

He was asked whether he ever asked the men to bring weapons.

"No, never was a subject," he replied.

Crowds at the courthouse had been small, unlike the 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles and the 2008 robbery and kidnapping trials, until Wednesday. A court marshal turned people away, sending more than 15 people to an overflow room where video was streamed live.

During Tuesday's testimony, attorney Gabriel Grasso said he was contacted to work on the robbery-kidnap case and believed Galanter did not spend enough money to win an acquittal.

"I was under the impression that we were operating on a shoestring," Grasso said Tuesday. "There were no experts to be had. We didn't have any money to hire experts."

He also told the court he thought Simpson should have testified at trial.

"I had the distinct feeling that OJ had to testify in this case," Grasso said. "That was our only shot."

The sports memorabilia dealer in the hotel room during the raid told NBC4 he believes Simpson was a "pawn." Bruce Fromong said one of the men pointed a gun to his head and told him he would be shot if he did not cooperate.

"OJ was stupid that night," said Fromong. "In many ways, OJ Simpson was a pawn just as I was."

The new challenge follows the Nevada Supreme Court's denial of Simpson's 2010 appeal, also handled by Galanter. Simpson's new attorney filed the writ of habeas corpus in May 2012, seeking her client's release from prison and reversal of the conviction.

He has already served four years in prison, but must serve nine of the maximum 33-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Simpson has appeared in court in blue prison clothes and shackles, although the judge Tuesday allowed him to uncuff his right hand so he could take notes during testimony.

Four Simpson co-defendants pleaded guilty to felonies and testified for the prosecution. A fifth defendant, Clarence "C.J.'' Stewart, was convicted and served more than two years in prison before the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that Simpson's fame tainted Stewart's conviction.

A judge eventually ruled that the items should be delivered to Simpson's civil case attorney.

Neighbor Call Cops Over Frog Mating Calls


Police responding to a noise complaint in Baraboo, Wis., found that the loud noises were actually the loud sounds of frogs fornicating.

It was the second time this month that a neighbor called police to complain about "loud music" coming from Debbie and Jeff Alsip's backyard, Baraboo's News Republic reported.

"Every spring, this happens," Debbi Alsip told the News Republic. "It has woke us up before, if we have our windows open."

Officer Mike Pichler told the News Republic that when he arrived he found about a dozen frogs in the Alsip's backyard koi pond mating and emitting their load, shrill mating calls.

The paper reported the Alsips have had the pond since 1994 and that each spring female frogs lay their eggs in the area outside Madison and look for Mr. Right.


Photo Credit: FILE-Getty Images

2 Killed, 11 Wounded Ahead of Police Graduation


Two people were killed and 11 others injured in gun violence overnight across Chicago, hours before the city is set to graduate its largest class of new police recruits in years in an effort to tackle the spike in violence.

Graduating rookies already have been tapped to patrol hot zones where the most crime takes place, but it will be months before they hit the streets to battle the city's epidemic of gun violence.

It's part of the Chicago Police Department's plan to beef up forces on the street via a targeted effort called "Operation Impact" that police leadership say is already working. Supt. Garry McCarthy last month touted a 43 percent decrease in April murders and said the city saw 84 fewer murders in the past seven months.

Still, he said, "we're going to have good days, we're going to have bad days."

Veterans out in high-crime zones had a very busy Tuesday night. At West 63rd and South May streets in Englewood, police said two men were shot and one was killed. A 36-year-old was shot in the shoulder and a 22-year-old was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.

Police said the men were in a car driving down the street when a gunman came out of a gangway and opened fire. Police were still looking for that shooter Wednesday morning.

In a separate incident, police say a 21-year-old man was driving in the area of South Damen Avenue and West 78th Street on the city's West Side when he was shot in the neck.

The man made it a few more blocks to 74th Street where he was pronounced dead. Police are still looking for the shooter in this incident as well.

After Wednesday's police graduation, the largest since 2005, the department said it will have 105 more officers to join foot patrols. Before they can hit city streets, though, they must undergo 12 weeks of training. That means Chicago won't see them until late this summer.

Tuesday night's wave of shootings wasn't the first of the spring season.

Ronald Baskin, a relative of long-time Chicago peace activist Hal Baskin, was one of two people killed last weekend. Seven others were wounded in weekend gun violence. Police said Baskin was gunned down after visiting his great-grandmother's home in the Englewood neighborhood for Mother's Day.

Less than two weeks ago, as temperatures reached the 80s, three people were killed and 20 others were wounded in shootings across the city. About a dozen were shot in 12 hours, police said.

Tuesday temperatures reached 88 degrees, but McCarthy this week downplayed weather's effect on crime.

"Weather is an influencer on crime. It's not a cause, nor does it prevent crime," McCarthy said at a 9th District news conference held to showcase the latest stash of illegal guns confiscated by police officers.

"Obviously there's more crime in the summertime, and that's because of a number of things. Kids aren't in school, there's more people in the street, and sometimes we have to realize that that's not weather -- that's seasonal," McCarthy said.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com

Plans Axed for State Police Gun Range in Glastonbury


Plans for a new state police gun range were axed tonight during a heated town council meeting.

A group opposing the new state police firearms training facility had made their opinions known to the town council in earlier meetings and finally got the answer they were looking for during a Monday night meeting.

"I'm so excited," said Jeanne Rubano. "As long as you all come together you can accomplish someting and we proved that tonight."

Rubano lives a half mile from the proposed gun range site.

The town council announced that Governor Malloy would sign a letter on Tuesday declaring that the 30-acres of state forest land bordering Marlborough would no longer be considered for the facility.

"While securing a site for a new shooting range has been a top priority for a number of years, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is no longer considering the Town of Glastonbury as a potential site. The Department will explore all available options as we continue our statewide search for a suitable location," said Scott DeVico, Public Information Officer Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The proposed plans for the 55,000-square-foot  state police training facility  included two single-story range control buildings, a pistol range, an active shooter training range, rifle range, shotgun range and 125 parking spaces.

A large building that would house classrooms, vaults for ammunition and firearms was also in the plans.

The new facility will replace the current training facility in Simsbury which is outdated and prone to flooding.


Victim Outraged by Rape Case Plea Deal


The man accused of raping a jogger in West Hartford is expected to be sentenced next week after being offered a plea deal that has outraged the victim.

Eddie Monroig-Rosario is charged with first-degree sexual assault, unlawful restraint, and second-degree strangulation in the October 2010 attack that happened in the front yard of a home on Fern Street.

Monroig-Rosario is expected to receive 18 years in prison, according to Stephanie Blozy, who is the owner of Fleet Feet Sports in West Hartford and is also a friend of the victim.

He was just sentenced in December to 15 years in prison for a string of burglaries and Blozy says the sentences are expected to be served at the same time.

"In the end that just means two to three years that he'll be serving for rape and what strikes me is the lady that was raped, her scars are really deep," said Blozy. "Something as heinous as a rape is, just to get a slap on the wrist it doesn't seem fair." 

Calls to the attorneys on the case were not returned.

Blozy is now writing a letter to the judge and she hopes to speak at the sentencing. She's also getting the word out on Facebook. By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, her post already had 1,300 likes. She's planning to attach all of those names to her letter.

"It's not that he hurt just her. He hurt the entire running community. He took away our freedom to go out for a run," said Blozy.

Jill Karno is a runner who lives blocks away from where the crime happened.

"We want to make sure that if this happened to another runner that someone wouldn't be able to just come out and do the same thing again," said Karno.

They're hoping to convince the judge to change the deal so Monroig-Rosario will serve longer in prison.

"He took our freedom and that deserves more than a two to three year sentence," said Blozy.

Monroig-Rosario is due back in court May 23 and is expected to be sentenced at that time.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Man Rescued From House Fire in Naugatuck


A Naugatuck man was hospitalized after a fire in his home on Culver Street Monday.

Firefighters responded to 44 Culver Street around 8 a.m.

"All of a sudden, I saw the room fill up with smoke," said Barbara Leary, who lives in the home.

She was able to get out of the house, but her husband was trapped on the second floor and needed to be rescued by firefighters, Leary said.

"They took him in an ambulance. He has kidney disease and other health issues," Leary said.

Leary's husband was being treated for smoke inhilation at a local hospital, according to fire officials.

The first and second floors of the home were extensively damaged by the fire, officials said. The cause is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Weather Service Faulted for Sandy Storm Surge Warnings


The National Weather Service did a good job forecasting the approach and impact of Hurricane Sandy but did not give enough warning about massive storm surges that did much of the damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report released Wednesday.

NOAA, the government agency that oversees the weather service, said that officials in New York and New Jersey didn't get storm-surge forecasts early enough, or in formats that were easy to use.

"We found that …forecasters performed well predicting the track of this extremely large and complex storm, which undoubtedly saved lives," NOAA official Peyton Robertson said in a statement. "But we also found problems with NOAA's ability to communicate the impacts associated with storm surge, one of the most significant hazards associated with Sandy."

The 66-page "service assessment" details the development of the October 2012 storm, and how the weather service tracked its approach and communicated that information to authorities along the Atlantic coast.

At nearly 1,000 feet across, Sandy was one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, affecting 24 states in some way. In the most hard-hit areas, such as New York and New Jersey, storm surges rose above eight feet. Further inland, it dumped more than three feet of snow.

In the end, 72 people died as a direct result of the storm. The damage has been estimated at more than $50 billion.

The NOAA report recommended nearly two-dozen changes at the National Weather Service, starting with a revamp of its storm-surge forecasting system to include better maps and warnings that provide local details on projected impacts.

The weather service said it is already moving on many of the report's suggestions in time for the 2013 hurricane season, which begins June 1. The National Hurricane Center, for example, has agreed to issue forecasts and warnings for storms that are dangerous but don't maintain all the technical aspects of hurricanes. That was the case with Sandy, which was downgraded to post-tropical cyclone just before it made landfall.

National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini said in a statement that his agency hadn't been thoroughly modernized in two decades. Most of its communications systems date to the 1980s, he said.

The agency will get help from a newly passed bill that provides NOAA with $48 million to supplement its "response and recovery capability," including better computers and higher-resolution forecasting models.

"I'm committed to implementing these recommendations to give America a National Weather Service that is second to none," Uccellini said.

Photo Credit: AP

WATCH: AG Holder Testifies Before House Committee

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. The U.S. government accused Standard & Poor's of inflating ratings on mortgage investments to boost its bottom line, taking aim at a key player in the run-up to the financial crisis. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WATCH: White House Press Briefing


White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is holding the daily press briefing.


Gosnell Juror: "Hard to Admit This Kind of Evil Exists"


Jurors who convicted Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell of murdering babies during late-term abortion procedures opened up about the case and how they came to the guilty verdict.

Three of 12 jurors spoke to a throng of reporters outside the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center Wednesday.

David Misko, juror No. 5 and the foreman, described the case as emotional, but that the jury did their best.

"It wasn’t easy, but we did the best with all of the information we got," he said. “Once we figured out what happened it was easy to determine between first and third-degree murder."

Juror No. 6, Sarah Glinski, says the fact that she is not a mother, helped her decide the case.

"It was almost easier for me to detach myself emotionally and look strictly at the evidence because of that," she said.

The 23-year-old Department of Defense employee admitted the reality of the graphic imagery and descriptions shared in court were difficult to handle.

“Seeing those photos and having to say to myself ‘This happened to those kids. There were children that died at the hands of this man.’ That was hard for me to admit that this kind of evil exists in this world,” Glinski said.

Jurors felt it was easy to see premeditation on Gosnell's part, according to Misko.

"It was just business as usual and he slipped the necks no matter what happened,” he said.

Speaking about Gosnell's demeanor in court, Misko, 27, said it was difficult to measure the doctor's personality.

“He gave me nothing to give him an impression on, he just sat there for the past eight weeks smirking,” the juror said.

Of the smirk many described seeing, Misko said he "didn't care for it.”

"The guy fights for his life and he sits back and smirks. It doens't rub you the right way."

However, the jurors said they believed Gosnell, at one time, tried to help women who couldn't afford proper care, before something went wrong.

"I think somewhere, something went wrong in his mind perhaps that made him do these things to these children that were born alive," Glinski said.

“He started out as a good practice doctor, but eventually just became a money-generating machine,” added juror No. 3 Joseph Carroll.

Carroll, 46, says the group also questioned how much blame should be levied against the mothers who chose to undergo the late-term abortions.

“Women know when they’re pregnant and if they didn’t know after 25 weeks they were pregnant…they should have taken appropriate action before that,” he said.

The trio's admissions come on the same day Gosnell was given a third life sentence for the murder of the baby and other crimes he had not been previously sentenced for.

"This case is over," Gosnell's attorney Jack McMahon said outside court Wednesday. "He's 72-years-old and he has resigned and accepted his fate."

McMahon said Gosnell does not have remorse because he still believes he did not commit murder, but respects the jury's decision.

“Dr. Gosnell, he believes that what he did was not commit homicide," McMahon said. "He believes he never killed a live baby."

"Nobody gave him a second chance," the veteran attorney said of Gosnell.

On Tuesday, Gosnell struck a deal with the Philadelphia District Attorney to avoid the death penalty by giving up his right to appeal.

Gosnell, who was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies, was given two consecutive life sentences in two of those verdicts.

The 72-year-old was sentenced Wednesday to a third consecutive life sentence for the murder of the third baby, the involuntary manslaughter of former patient Karnamaya Mongar, as well as, 229 violations of Pennsylvania abortion regulations.

“Today marks the end of a long, sad chapter in Philadelphia’s history," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference. “I’ve seen a lot of senseless violence and cruel acts during my short tenure as the Philadelphia District Attorney. This case is arguably the most gruesome, the most vial.”

Williams thanked the hard work of the prosecution, police and jury as he explained how

“Kermit Gosnell will never kill another baby. He will never kill another woman seeking his medical assistance," Williams said.

"Employees will never have to clear sewage pipes clogged with mangled bodies and squirming, crying, breathing babies will never have their spines severed by his scissors."

Before the sentencing began, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart, prosecutors and the defense went behind closed doors to thank the jury for their service in the emotional and hot button case.

A gag order was in effect in the case since it went to trial two months ago.

Gosnell's deal surprised many who expected the convicted murder to sentenced next Tuesday during official penalty proceedings.

"Like any deal there's a give and take on any side," Gosnell's attorney Jack McMahon said following the deal's announcement Tuesday.

McMahon believes his client chose the deal to avoid having his family part of penalty proceedings.

"They've been conspicuously absent and that has been intentional because of the media focus," McMahon said. "Bringing them all forward for a penalty phase troubled him and therefor I think this was a deal that worked out for both sides."

Gosnell has six children including a son in college and another child in high school.

The former abortion doctor's sentencing draws the end to the case closer -- after stretching on for years.

Gosnell's clinic was dubbed a “house of horrors” by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams in a 2011 grand jury report after investigators uncovered macabre and deplorable conditions inside.

Prosecutors say Gosnell delivered four babies alive during abortion procedures and then killed them by snipping their spinal cords with scissors. He was acquitted in the death of the fourth baby.

Mongar, 41, died after she was given a lethal dose of pain killers and anesthesia during a 2009 abortion procedure at the clinic. Gosnell was charged with third-degree murder in her death, but the jury delivered a lesser verdict of involuntary manslaughter.

Gosnell was also accused of regularly violating Pennsylvania's abortion laws — including performing late-term abortions. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to perform abortions on fetuses after they reach 24 weeks.

McMahon said before the sentencing deal that his client's bid for acquittal was a battle.

"The media has been overwhelmingly against him," McMahon said. "But I think the jury listened to the evidence ... and they found what they found."

Prosecutors Joanne Pescatore and Ed Cameron were pursuing the death penalty in the case because of the multiple murders. They also felt Gosnell had taken advantage of his victims.

At 72 years old, Gosnell may have died in prison appealing a death sentence before even being able to be executed.

After the criminal case is done, Gosnell will then prepare to be tried in federal court on allegations he was running an illegal narcotics operation out of his clinic. That trial is set to begin in September.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Federal Judge Scolds Donald Trump In Court


Federal Judge Amy St. Eve on Wednesday had enough of "the Donald" in court, scolding both the billionaire and the plaintiff's lawyer in a Chicago courtroom.

"This is not a boxing ring," she said, accusing Donald Trump of "dancing around the questions" and attorney Shelly Kulwin of rolling his eyes.

Trump returned to the stand for the second day during a trial involving the sale of two units inside his downtown Chicago high-rise building. Trump is fighting allegations he conned 87-year-old Jacqueline Goldberg into buying condos at Trump Tower by promising her a cut of the profit and then backing out of the deal.

Trump's testimony was prickly as he and Kulwin battled to speak. Trump continued making comments out of the line of questioning, noting "the hotel is doing very well" and "the people are extremely happy who have their units."

At one point Kulwin, who spent the morning asking questions about Trump's involvement in marketing, told him to slow down.

Judge St. Eve put a stop to it during a 10-minute break. "Do you think the jury likes this?" she asked.

"You're wasting their time," she told Trump. "Listen to the questions asked."

She told Kulwin "to control yourself" and said he was making the situation worse by rolling his eyes and asking compound questions.

A day earlier Trump testified he was pretty hands off when it came to the development of the tower and just delegated responsibilities to his employees. Kulwin suggested Trump is too detailed-oriented to not have known the finer details of the property.

During part of the hour-long testimony, Trump boasted about the tower and how he raised funding for it in a down economy, as well as what he called his good reputation.

"I don't want to be braggadocios," he said, "I build great buildings."

Goldberg says she bought the two condos in exchange for a cut of hotel profits. The properties were supposed to be a part of a revenue-sharing opportunity offered by Trump Tower, she said, but the her lawsuit claims the terms of the agreement were changed by the time the tower opened in 2008 and she was denied a deposit refund.

Trump's lawyers have called the situation buyer's remorse.

Kulwin shot back Tuesday during the real estate mogul's testimony, scoffing as Trump went on about his track record in business. At one point attorney Shelly Kulwin accused him of working infomercials into testimony and not answering questions.

Goldberg's lawsuit seeks the $500,000 deposit for the condos.

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