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Man Wrongly Convicted of 4 Murders at 14 to Be Freed


A 23-year-old man who has been wrongly incarcerated for the murder of four people at a Detroit drug house will walk out of prison a free man, NBC News reported.

In September 2007, police found Davontae Sanford — who was 14 at the time — in his pajamas near the crime scene, and announced that he confessed after two days of interrogation. Sanford was sentenced to 37 to 90 years in prison. 

Prosecutors now acknowledge Sanford didn’t commit the crime. 

A hit man who is already in prison for other murders gave police a detailed affidavit in March 2015 saying he was responsible for the homicides — and that Sanford had no part in the crime. 

Sanford’s upcoming release adds him to a list of convicted Americans later found to be wrongly imprisoned. Last year, 149 people were exonerated or had their convictions overturned, according to the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations.

Photo Credit: AP

Pot Hidden in Tanker


Millions of dollars in marijuana was found hidden amid lead oxide in a tanker truck at the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday.

U.S Customs and Border Protection officers say a K-9 alerted to the tanker when it arrived at the Otay Mesa cargo export facility.

The officers moved the metal tanker through the port’s imaging system. It was then that they noticed anomalies throughout the tanker.

With the help of a hazardous materials team, officers removed the lead oxide from the tanker and found 301 large bundles hidden inside.

The bundles tested positive for marijuana, federal officials said. The street value of the 7,276 pounds of marijuana was estimated at almost $4 million.

The driver of the tractor pulling the tanker was identified as a 31-year-old Mexican citizen. He was taken into custody by Homeland Security Investigations.

Lead oxide is used in the manufacture of batteries, anti-rust paint and some optical glass.

Because it is harmful if inhaled or swallowed, protective clothing must be worn when it is handled.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
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20-Year-Old Norwalk Man Arrested for Stabbing: Police


A 20-year-old Norwalk man was arrested on Wednesday morning for allegedly stabbing another man, police said. 

Police were responded to a disturbance on Main Avenue at 10:10 a.m. and found a man suffering from a stab wound. 

The suspect, Plinio Chavez, had left the scene on foot prior to police getting there, officials said. 

Police located Chavez in a wooded area on Linden Terrace and took him into custody. 

The stabbing is under investigation but police said the incident escalated due to prior issues between the men.

Chavez is accused of first-degree assault and carrying a dangerous weapon. His bond was set at $20,000 and he's expected to appear in court on June 17.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call (203) 854-3111.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

Man Hit Milford Police While Fleeing: Police


A man police were trying to stop for not wearing a seatbelt crashed into the officers, led them on a chase and swallowed heroin to try and hide it from investigators, according to Milford Police. 

Police said detectives were on anticrime patrol in the area of the Super 8 Motel on Boston Post Road on June 2 when they tried to stop Allen Boulware, 40, of Bridgeport, because he was not wearing a seatbelt. 

Boulware fled, hit the two detectives with his car and led police on a chase onto Interstate 95 south into Stratford, police said. 

Investigators identified Boulware as the suspect and arrested him on a warrant the next day, police said. 

Police said Boulware had heroin and ingested some to try to hide it. 

Boulware was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, no seatbelt, driving the wrong way on a divided highway, engaging police in a pursuit, failure to obey officer’s signal, interfering with police, possession of narcotics and destruction of evidence. 

He was unable to post $150,000 bond and was arraigned in Milford Superior Court on June 7.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Law Enforcement Officers Carry Torch for Special Olympics


Early Wednesday, law enforcement officers from across the state revved their engines and laced up their sneakers to light the torch for Special Olympics and kick off the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The 30th anniversary of the torch run brings out more than 1500 officers and agents from all levels of law enforcement.

The fundraiser raises awareness and is the highlight of the very special relationship between police and the Special Olympics.

“We are dubbed the guardians of the flame. We are the ones who run with it, kind of guard it all the way through opening ceremonies,” Detective Sgt. Tim Bernier of Guilford Police, said.

“Globally, law enforcement has kind of adopted Special Olympics as their charity of choice. We raise over half a million dollars a year through law enforcement here in Connecticut and we raise over $50 million worldwide,” Jackie Turro, director of special events for Connecticut Special Olympics, said.

The Torch Run lasts three days and covers 530 miles before reaching the opening ceremony of the games which is being held at Southern Connecticut State University.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police

Fallujah Residents Fear ISIS, Starvation


Civilians trapped in the city of Fallujah are living in fear of being killed by militants and bombing by the U.S.-led coalition, NBC News reported. 

A source who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity said ISIS is using civilians as human shields to deter bombing by warplanes. The United Nations has also cited reports of human shields. 

There are an estimated 750 to 1,000 fighters in and around the Iraqi city center, with many militants having shaved their beards to blend in with the civilian population, according to the source. 

Starvation is also a problem, as many residents do not have food or money to buy supplies, according to a chairman of Fallujah’s local council. He told NBC News it is “very, very expensive to buy food there.” 

An estimated 30,000-40,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in Fallujah.

Photo Credit: AP

1 Person Transported After Harwinton Horse Riding Accident

New Elements Named After Japan, Moscow, Tennessee


Four new names are going to be added to the periodic table of elements, according to NBC News.

Three of the new elements will honor Moscow, Japan and Tennessee. The fourth is named for Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian. The names were recommended Wednesday by an international scientific group. 

Joining the table will be Moscovium, with the symbol Mc for element 115; tennessine, symbol Ts for element 117; Nihonium, symbol Nh for element 113; and Oganesson, symbol Og for element 118. 

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which rules on chemical element names, presented its proposal for public review. The public comment period will end on Nov. 8.

Photo Credit: AP

Michigan Teen Challenging Warrantless Breathalyzer Law


A Michigan teen has filed a federal lawsuit against a police officer who fined her for refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test, NBC News reported. 

Casey Guthrie, 17, who was a passenger in a car with other seniors, was fined $100 last month. She said she refused to take the test because the detective didn’t have a warrant. 

The honor student also is challenging the constitutionality of a Michigan law that makes it an infraction for anyone under the age of 21 to refuse a police officer’s request to take a Breathalyzer test — and doesn’t require the officer to produce a warrant. 

Guthrie's lawyer told NBC News the law violates her Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches. Township Supervisor Brian Loftus, and the officer, Detective Kenneth Pelland of Gross Isle Township, didn’t immediately respond to the lawsuit.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Man Fraudulently Purports Sponsorship for Vietnam Immigrants


A man allegedly scammed people in Vietnamese communities in Connecticut and other states by promising legal United States sponsorship in exchange for cash, prosecutors said. 

The grand jury returned a 23-count indictment charging Hai Van Nguyen, 31, of Lynwood, Washington, with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, two counts of mail fraud and 20 counts of wire fraud.

Nguyen allegedly promised his victims an avenue to legal sponsorship in the country from Vietnam through advertisements on Facebook, the U.S. attorney's office said. 

Nguyen, who said he the company New Saigon Entertainment, guaranteed clients a green card upon their arrival to the U.S. and citizenship within five years, prosecutors said. 

Two Connecticut residents were convinced by Nguyen to help him recruit clients for his fake company. The residents collected deposits towards Nguyen's $35,000 fee pursuant to more than 50 contracts from people in Connecticut, South Carolina, Maine and Arizona.

Ngugyen stole more than $500,000 in total.

it is not clear if he had an attorney. 

Florida Woman Hid Miscarriage in Adoption Fraud Case: Cops


A Florida woman was charged Wednesday with stringing along a Minnesota couple who planned to adopt her baby — seven months after she miscarried, NBC News reported. 

Carrie Cutler, 31, who miscarried last August, took more than $13,000 from Todd and Alyssa Holmstrom to cover rent, food and medical expenses, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. 

She sent messages to the couple telling them she was having a girl and that the baby was "fine."

When the couple traveled to Tampa for the birth, Cutler told them the doctors miscalculated her delivery date. The Holmstroms didn’t suspect Cutler wasn't pregnant because she is heavyset. 

Police arrested Cutler after a three-month investigation. She does not have an attorney.

Photo Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Some Republicans Discuss Anti-Trump Convention Coup


Some Republicans are raising the possibility that a new nominee could replace Donald Trump, NBC News reported. 

Bob Vander Plaats, a supporter and campaign co-chair of former candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, suggested to NBC News that a convention coup at next month's Republican nominating convention in Cleveland is possible. 

The notion comes after a nearly week-long firestorm surrounding Trump and his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage. Trump’s comments have led to harsh criticism from some of his supporters. 

Two Republican National Committee rules committee members said they reject the idea of a coup, and Cruz’s own top delegate aide quashed the notion on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: AP

Clearing Skies, Cool Overnight


A beautiful stretch of weather is ahead.

Skies will clear tonight and the weather will be great for sleeping with the windows open as temperatures fall back to around 50 degrees.

Tomorrow turns out mostly sunny, with a continued lack of humidity.

Friday looks gorgeous with abundant sunshine and temperatures in the middle 70s.

The weekend will be mainly dry, save for some showers Saturday night.

Expect increasing clouds on Saturday with temperatures near 80 degrees.

It's an approaching cold front that will bring a shower or two through the state at night.

By Sunday, a morning sprinkle is possible, but most of the day will be dry with increasing sunshine and breezy conditions. Highs will be in the lower 80s.

Man Suing Chicago Is Arrested


Just moments after a man announced a $15 million lawsuit against the city of Chicago in a 2014 police shooting, he was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Dominiq Greer, 25, was taken into custody Wednesday shortly after a news conference announcing his lawsuit. Police said he was arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder stemming from a fatal shooting in the city's Washington Park neighborhood on May 27.

In that shooting, a 22-year-old man was killed in an apartment in the 5600 block of South Wabash. The man, identified as Kevin Larry, was pronounced dead at the scene and a criminal investigation indicated Greer was the shooter, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Further details on the shooting weren't immediately known, but charges were pending, authorities said.

Shortly before his arrest, Greer alleged police used excessive force when they shot him numerous times during a foot pursuit on the Fourth of July in 2014.

According to his attorneys, Greer was walking in the 7400 block of South Princeton Avenue when officers pulled up in a marked vehicle and Greer ran into an alley. The officers followed Greer and ultimately shot him seven times.

"When they tried to grab me, I ran. I feared for my life, so I kept running," Greer said during the news conference. "When I got in the alley that's when I heard gunshots."

Greer admitted he was carrying a handgun at the time of the chase but denied officers' claims the gun discharged during the pursuit. He said he threw the weapon away just before police opened fire.

"They said I turned around and aimed a gun, but I never turned around or nothing," Greer said. "They ain't got no gunshot residue or nothing on me. They said the gun discharged. I never heard the gun discharge, I heard their gun discharge."

Greer claims he was shot three times, then shot another four times while he was on the ground.

Surveillance footage of the incident was released by Greer's lawyers Wednesday.

The more-than-two-minute video, which has no audio, shows Greer running in an alley and appearing to throw an object. He then falls to the ground before shots are fired by someone outside of the camera's view. Greer gets up and falls again in an unlit area as police approach him with weapons drawn.

The video's release comes days after city officials released hundreds of videos, police reports and other evidence from investigations into allegations of excessive force by police. However, Greer's shooting was not among the evidence released.

"In full transparency and disclosure it should have been released," said Greer's attorney, Eugene Hollander. "Why shouldn't the public know about that?"

The city declined to comment on Greer's suit, saying it had not yet been served.

Greer's attorney declined to comment on his recent arrest.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

New Haven Fire Chief Violated Promotion Procedure: Union President


During a promotion ceremony Wednesday morning for Antonio Almodovar, the New Haven Fire Department union president, Frank Ricci, interrupted interim Fire Chief Ralph Black.

“By what authority is he getting promoted today?” Ricci said.

"I think that this is a position we are going to promote him because he finished number one and the list was approved," Black replied.

Ricci maintains Black violated the proper procedure to promote someone because there was no motion to approve the chief’s recommendation at the meeting. The city charter requires the board to vote on a promotion.

“The chief unilaterally violated that process and then today he doubled down on it by looking right at the cameras and lying,” Ricci told NBC Connecticut. “He’s a stranger to the truth and he is unfit for his position.”

New Haven’s Chief Administrative Officer Michael Carter is defending interim Chief Black.

“According to my knowledge,” he said. “The list was accepted and it was unanimous.”

Almodovar is the right choice to become the new director of training, Ricci said.

“I’m not going to have one of my members who scored number one and earned the promotion be demoted because he was not promoted legitimately,” Ricci said during the promotion ceremony.

After Ricci finally left the room, the interim chief addressed what had just occurred.

“I apologize for what just transpired,” Black told the crowd, “it’s his right to say what he wants, but I don’t believe this is the forum for that and I stick by that.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Firefighters Test Demo for Sprinkler Systems


Firefighters tested on Wednesday in a demonstration why it’s so important to have a sprinkler system in your home.

Firefighters first ignited a fire in the room without the sprinkler system in it. The fire grew quickly taking over the entire room. In 2 minutes and 23 seconds you could hear an explosion from the fire.

It was a very different scenario in the second room which has a sprinkler system. Once the first was ignited it took 49 seconds to activate the sprinkler system and the fire was contained.

“Three minutes or less that whole room was flashing over and that leaves no time for survivability and we know that sprinklers are the most effective and fastest way to get water in the fire," said David LaFond with the National Fire Sprinkler Association.

Fire officials said having smoke detectors in your house isn’t enough. If you have them, you have a 50 percent chance of getting out alive, but add a sprinkler system -- you’ll have an 80 percent chance of getting out alive.

New Britain To Upgrade Traffic Signal System


Getting where you need to go in less time -- that's the goal behind a major traffic signal upgrade in New Britain.

Now the city plans to modernize its downtown traffic signal system to reduce wait times at the light and pollution in the air.

For example: the intersection of East Main and Myrtle Street will reducing wait times by nearly 40 percent and cut down on carbon monoxide emissions by 16 percent.

A total of 23 traffic signals will be upgraded or replaced across downtown New Britain. City officials said many of the signals are closely spaced and not coordinated.

The plan is being paid for with $3 million dollars in funding from Department of Transportation and won’t cost taxpayers a dime. New Britain is one of 13 cities that have received the funding.

A centralized work station will also be created at the public works department where all the traffic signals can be monitored and adjusted as needed.

Work is expected to begin Spring of 2017.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Seaside State Park in Waterford to Bring Money to Town


A multi-million dollar Seaside State Park in Waterford could bring in some much needed cash according to park officials.

"State park lodge, hiking trails, fishing pier, boat launch and a place for people to go to the beach," said communications director, Dennis Schain.

Schain said the $10 million project would flow money back to the parks and state.

Back in 2009 park officials said they lost $6 million from the conservation fund which were redirected to the general fund.

"The state would benefit through a contract from some of the revenue from that lodge" said Schain.

Wendy Eckholm walks her dog Ben through the more than 30-acre area once a week. She liked the idea of a new hotel, restaurants and outdoor add-ons.

"I think it's a lovely idea. I think it should be open to the public like it has been for years," said visitor Wendy Eckholm.

As for the historic buildings peppered along the shoreline, park officials said there's plans for them too.

"There are historic buildings there, we believe they can be reused and converted into what we call a state park lodge," said Schain.

While the thought of more spending in Connecticut is no day in the sun, park officials said they're looking for long term payouts. Since this is a capital project they're hoping the bond committee will let this project shine.

"These are tough times the state is facing difficulties but it's important to make investments for the future," said Schain.

If the the project is funded the new seaside could be seen in 2020.

Troopers' Union Says Cuts to CHAMP Fleet a Risk


State troopers are speaking out about cuts to the Department of Transportation service patrols that provides free roadside assistance.

"Countless motorists and state troopers have been spared from life-altering injuries thanks to the CHAMP program," Andrew Matthews, a state police officer and president of the troopers' union. "DOT service patrols don't just reduce highway congestion, they save lives."

Since its creation in 1996, the Department of Transportation’s “Connecticut Highway Assistance Motorist Patrol,” or CHAMP, has expanded to a fleet of 15 specialized vehicles that roam the state’s busiest highways during the highest volume hours. Every weekday from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., CHAMP drivers provide roadside assistance free of charge, including pushing disabled vehicles safely out of travel lanes, changing tires and providing jumpstarts or emergency fuel. They also provide shelter for drivers awaiting a tow.

In 2011, the CHAMP fleet helped more than 21,000 drivers, an average of 1,800 calls per month, according to the most recent available DOT figures. But it’s not just commuters getting an assist. State Police said CHAMP also helps troopers work more safely and efficiently.

“They come and back us up,” Trooper First Class John McGeever, of Troop A in Southbury, explained. “Their vehicles are designed to accept an impact, our cars aren’t.”

CHAMP drivers also clear debris, alert troopers to incidents and free them up to get to more urgent calls.

“We can leave that scene, service patrol can stand by and wait for the wrecker, and we can go to more of a priority call,” McGeever said.

It’s a program funded in large part by the Federal Highway Administration, which tells NBC Connecticut they cover 80 percent of the cost, providing $3.8 million in funding every two years. The state covers the remaining costs.

A line item in the governor’s budget passed by the state legislature proposes eliminating that state funding – shown here as $641,000 - beginning July 1.

State Senator Toni Boucher, Senate Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, confirmed to NBC Connecticut the CHAMP cut was included in the final budget bill.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the DOT and the governor’s office. Neither could confirm what will happen to the program when the new fiscal year begins July 1, or whether the agency might seek to free up that funding by making cuts elsewhere within the transportation budget.

The DOT issued this statement: “We are still reviewing implications of the budget for the agency, including any impacts to our CHAMP program. While it's too early to specify what changes may occur, our goal is simple - to keep the program operating.”

The governor’s office offered this statement: “Just like the households we represent, we have to live within our means and we have to be more efficient about spending. We’ve passed a budget that doesn’t raise taxes that will require everyone to be smarter about spending. Households don’t budget based on the dollars they wish they had – they budget based on the dollars they actually have. State government should do the same, and we will need to be more efficient while providing high levels of service.”

The House and Senate have approved the state budget. It’s now awaiting the governor’s signature.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

5 Car Crash on Route 15 Closes Both Lanes in Stanford


A mutli-car crash in Stanford closed both lanes temporarily on Route 15, state police said. 

At 8:45 pm, both lanes were closed by exit 35 and 36 on Route 15 going northbound after approximately five cars crashed, police said.

Only minor injuries were reported but details weren't clear.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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