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Trump Vows to Protect, Cherish Christian Values


Donald Trump is promising religious activists that he will cherish, protect and defend Christian values like they've "never seen before." 

The thrice-married New York billionaire delivered a speech Friday afternoon at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. It's among the largest gatherings of conservative Christians ahead of the November election.

Trump declared that political leaders have "abandoned" people of faith in America. And he said that today's "media culture often mocks and demeans people of faith."

He made the religious conservatives a promise: In "a Trump administration, our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended like you've never seen before."

Trump also promised to repeal the so-called "Johnson amendment." The law prevents religious institutions and other tax-exempt groups from endorsing political candidates.

On Friday evening, Trump held a rally in Pensacola, Florida, where he said he'd order an attack on Iranian boats if they harassed the U.S. Navy.

He was referring to a recent incident in which Iranian boats harassed a Navy destroyer near the Strait of Hormuz. 

Trump said the boats were "taunting us" and "toying with us." He says if Iran's "little boats" circle our "beautiful destroyers" when he's president, "They will be shot out of the water." 

Trump and Hillary Clinton have clashed over national security for much of the week. Each says the other doesn't have the temperament to be commander in chief.

The New York billionaire added another accusation Friday night, saying, "Personally, I think she's an unstable person."

2 Armed Suspects Rob Norwalk Pawn Shop


Police are searching for two suspects who robbed a pawn shop in Norwalk on Friday.

At 11:10 a.m., police responded to the Gold Rush Pawn Shop on 495 Connecticut Avenue for a robbery.

The first suspect is described as a 6'1" man with a muscular build and long dread locks. 

The second suspect, who displayed a handgun, is described as a 5'9" man with a medium build. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Norwalk Police Department at (203) 854-3034. 

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

Wisc. DOJ Appeals Ruling on 'Making a Murderer' Nephew


Wisconsin's attorney general on Friday appealed the overturned conviction of Brendan Dassey, the man accused of helping his uncle kill a women in a case profiled in the popular Netflix series “Making a Murderer." 

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a notice of appeal 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, keeping the 26-year-old Dassey behind bars, according to a release from the DOJ.

“We believe the magistrate judge’s decision that Brendan Dassey’s confession was coerced by investigators, and that no reasonable court could have concluded otherwise, is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law,” Schimel said in the release. “Two state courts carefully examined the evidence and properly concluded that Brendan Dassey’s confession to sexually assaulting and murdering Teresa Halbach with his uncle, Steven Avery, was voluntary, and the investigators did not use constitutionally impermissible tactics.”

"The Halbach family has been notified of the appeal and fully supports the State’s decision to seek justice on behalf of their daughter," he added. 

Judge William E. Duffin ruled in August that investigators tricked Dassey into confessing that he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. The judge ordered that Dassey, who was 16 at the time of the killing, be freed within 90 days unless prosecutors appealed or decided to retry him.

Dassey and Avery were sentenced to life for Halbach's murder. was killed on Halloween 2005, after she visited the Avery family's salvage yard in Manitowoc County to take pictures of a minivan. Investigators allege Avery lured her to the junkyard by asking her to take the photos.

Dassey's attorney, Steve Drizin, said he was disappointed in Schimel's decision to prolong Dassey's case by appealing.

"We look forward to continuing to defend his rights in court," Drizin said. "Like Brendan, we remain grateful to his many supporters for their continued loyalty and strength."

The Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth legal team, based in Chicago, first took Dassey’s case to federal court in Wisconsin in 2014 in hopes that he would be granted a writ of habeas corpus, which would have forced the government to examine his case and rule whether he has been imprisoned illegally. 

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

Most recently, the show's filmmakers said a juror from Avery's murder trial claims he was not proven guilty, but the juror had 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.

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 at the time. “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 focused 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 didn't believe it would 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, File

SUV Dangles Off Parking Garage


It looked like a scene from a Hollywood movie, a driver escaping his SUV as it dangled from the side of a parking garage in Austin Friday afternoon.

Austin police say the driver drove off the parking garage at the corner of Congress Avenue and East Sixth Street just after 2:30 p.m.

Andrew Miller shot video of the driver escaping from the SUV caught in the tension wires on the side of the parking garage.

"The driver was still in the driver seat when I came outside," Miller told KXAN-TV. "It looked pretty dangerous even though it wasn’t swinging."

Miller said it was a close call for a Jimmy John's delivery person who was bicycling below where the SUV came over the garage.

Emergency crews worked to get the suspended vehicle down.

Photo Credit: Andrew Miller

Maine Man Tries to Cross Into Canada on Air Mattress


A Maine man was arrested after authorities say he tried to cross into Canada without legal authorization on an air mattress, according to multiple reports.

Border patrol officials detained 25-year-old John Michael Bennett after he took an inflatable mattress across the St. Croix River to New Brunswick Wednesday, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Bennett was reportedly found walking down a road, dripping wet.

The Calais resident plead guilty Thursday to crossing into Canada illegally. He says he was motivated by love and that he was trying to protect his pregnant fiancée from a violent ex-boyfriend.

Bennett attempted to travel across to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, from Maine legally Wednesday, but was turned away because of a pending criminal mischief charge in Calais, the Press Herald reports. He then returned to the U.S., bought a mattress and paddle at Wal-Mart and set sail across the river.

According to the Press Herald, Bennett was sentenced to two months in a Canadian jail and will be deported when he is freed.

Photo Credit: WCSH

State Prison Population Dips Below 15,000


For the first time since Jan. 3, 1997, there were fewer than 15,000 inmates in the state's prison system this week.

The figure follows a trend that's been going down, the right direction, for Governor Dannel Malloy and his administration, for the past several years.

"Our prison population is now down 25 percent from its all time high 19,893 inmates in 2008," Malloy said at a press conference touting the lower figures.

Earlier this week the state's prison population sunk to 14,984. The figure fluctuates daily and even went above 15,000 slightly for the week, but the trend of the prison population is on the way down.

Correction Commissioner Scott Semple said of the reduction, "We are here today to celebrate a turning point in an effort to change the way we think about crime and punishment."

Crime rates across all categories are also down in Connecticut. All of those factors, the governor says, are proof that his criminal justice and "Second Chance" initiatives are paying off.

"You can’t argue with the fact that our crime is at the lowest it’s been in 50 years while our population is at the lowest place it’s been since 1997," Malloy said. 

Correction spending is down by $60 million over the past year which is a result of both steep budget cuts and a reduced need to pay for higher numbers of inmates than in the past.

On average, it costs taxpayers $168 per night per inmate housed in state prisons.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bradley Airport Much Different Since 9/11


Some of the most glaring changes to security and safety 15 years after the Sept. 11 attacks are visible at Bradley Airport.

Before 9/11, the Federal Aviation Administration would provide guidance but wouldn't operate security at individual airports like Bradley, and now the Transportation Security Administration is in control.

"I think there’s been a lot of significant improvement and standardization brought by the TSA," said Kevin Dillon, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Airport Authority.

The requirement that people take off the shoes, screen every bag and every passenger are things that people didn't consider before the deadliest terror attack on American soil.

Even with those improvements, Dillon still describes the TSA as a "work in progress" because some items have still made their way through even tightened security.

Governor Dan Malloy panned that while the TSA has made airports safer since there hasn't been an airplane attack on American soil since, there are still some tweaks needed.

"I think when I see elderly and infirm people take their shoes off at the airport I think we may be overdoing it from time to time," Malloy said.

Also, checked bags are screened more than ever with almost all of them being x-rayed or examined before they're stowed on a plane. Previously, individual airports would develop their own security procedures and monitoring for checked bags.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mike Pence Releases 10 Years of Tax Returns


Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence released 10 years of tax returns on Friday evening.

The returns date from 2006 until 2015. Last year, Pence's gross adjusted income was $113,026; he paid an effective tax rate of 12.4 percent and gave about $9,000 to charity, according to the campaign.

Since 2006, the family's income has fluctuated between about $188,000 in 2010 to just north of $110,000 now. In 2015, the family's earnings were its lowest in the last 10 years.

Donald Trump has declined to released his tax returns, saying he's being audited by the IRS. Trump's press secretary Hope Hicks said in a statement Friday, "When the audit is complete, Mr. Trump will release the returns."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Highlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail


The 2016 presidential race has been contentious and full of surprises. Check out scenes from the campaign trail.

Photo Credit: AP

Shore Line Trolley Museum Dedicates 9/11 Subway Car Exhibit


The Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven is holding a dedication ceremony for the 9/11 PATH Subway Car 745 exhibit this Sunday on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“This car is like unbelievable,” museum president Wayne Sandford said, while taking NBC Connecticut inside the subway car.

While posters, advertisements and signs have been replicated, stepping inside the train car takes you back to that Tuesday morning in September 2011.

“This is a living part of history, this is a witness,” Sandford said. “If you were on this car when it was stopped where we found it, and you looked out the windows that is exactly the sign you would have seen outside the window, it was in the world trade center path station”

Like many Americans, Sandford vividly remembers where he was on 9/11.

“Fifteen years ago, I was the fire chief in East Haven and I sent 17 firefighters to New York City on that Tuesday afternoon,” he said.

This 21st century relic recovered from the rubble beneath the South Tower remarkably stayed intact.

“If you go to the 9/11 museum in New York City you see a lot of twisted steel,” Sandford said.

All the passengers and PATH employees made it out alive. Now, this subway car that dropped off passengers under the World Trade Center, but never made it back to its home station in New Jersey, will be on display for the public in East Haven.

“Instead of taking people to and from work," Sandford said. "It gives people an opportunity for a place for healing and that’s what we hope this is."

And it is a place for thousands of school children to visit each your to make sure this country never forgets.

“9/11 is our Pearl Harbor in our generation,” Sandford said. “We just hope and pray the next generation doesn’t haven one.”

A children’s book called Poppy’s Purpose has been written about this train car’s story to teach younger generations about the 9/11 attacks. The author Marie Betts Bartlett will be at the noon dedication ceremony on Sunday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Combating Illegal ATVs and Motorcycle Dirt Bikes In Hartford


Illegal ATV’s and motorcycle dirt bikes driving recklessly is causing a major problem on Hartford Streets for not only neighbors, but police as well.

On Monday, 911 dispatchers received several calls from a Harvard Street neighborhood along New Britain Avenue with neighbors complaining about illegal ATV’s and off road motor bikes driving through. Photos exclusively given to NBC Connecticut show several lined up along Harvard Street.

Neighbors described the group as a nuissance, many of them revving their engines, getting on sidewalks and one of them even ran over a woman’s foot, according to one of the 911 calls received by dispatchers.

“Yeah it was a nasty night,” said Joseph Baker who watched the off-road motor bikes and ATV’s line up in front of his home.

He said it happens often, but he’s fed up with it because the reckless drivers terrorize neighbors like him.

“There’s a lot of kids in the neighborhood, there’s a lot of pets in the neighborhood you know and people walk their dogs, walk around and you know it’s just not safe," said Baker.

While Baker says he never saw police patrol the area after the 911 calls were made, police say they did.

The biggest problems police face with these groups? They’re difficult to catch.

“I’ve been here 22 years. I’ve never seen a dirt bike or ATV pull over when an officer activates his lights and sirens and our cops on the street are powerless to do anything about,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley with the Hartford Police Department.

With the department’s hands tied and residents', as well, Deputy Chief Foley said there’s one thing you can do to help police reduce the problem.

“We need to know where they park and where they’re stored. Those are the tips we need. We get so many calls about where the motorcycles are riding and where they are now but by the time our officers get there they’re long gone in most circumstances,” said Foley.

If you see this kind of activity in your neighborhood, police say regardless, you should call 911.

And again, investigators are asking anyone who has any information as to where these illegal ATVs and motorcycle dirt bikes are stored to call police.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Wesleyan Students Report Multiple Electronics Stolen


Students on are on alert at Wesleyan University with a burglar on the loose, snatching pricey electronics from students’ homes.

There’s been nearly a half-dozen thefts since the school year started last week.

“It was definitely kind of shocking to see how many break-ins there were,” said freshman Emily Koh.

Just nine days since most students started arriving at Wesleyan University and the number of burglaries is adding up around the Middletown campus.

Public safety reports at least five break-ins since last Wednesday including at homes on Church Street and Lawn Avenue.

“I think one of them or maybe even two of them people were asleep when it was happening,” said freshman Dani Vaamonde.

Police said several the cases the thief or thieves struck late at night.

The targets included laptops and an iPad.

Each time the crook snuck in through an unlocked window or door.

“I’m closing my door but I live on the third floor so I’m not that worried about someone coming in through my window,” said freshman Rachael Crunkleton.

Securing doors and windows were just part of the steps urged by public safety.

They’re also advising students to never prop open a door and keep a light on above outside doors and a light on in common rooms.

“They were telling us to just remain alert essentially in our living areas,” said sophomore Noah Kahan.

Police have not yet released information about a possible suspect.

Anyone who sees something suspicious or knows anything about the break-ins is asked to call authorities.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Lead in 1969 Murder


Police are looking for two men in connection with the killing of a 19-year-old Canadian woman found savagely stabbed to death in 1969 near the site of the most notorious Manson family killings in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Police Department released sketches of the men Friday based on an interview with a witness in Montreal, Canada, in July.

The sketches show how the men would have looked in 1969, when 19-year-old Reet Jurvetson's body was found stabbed 150 times in the upper torso and neck.

Jurvetson, who wasn't carrying identification, became known as Jane Doe No. 59 until detectives finally identified her last year using DNA from her sister, who had recognized a photo of the young woman's body posted online.

The Montreal witness told detectives about meeting Jurvetson and a man known as either "John," or the name's French pronunciation, "Jean," at a cafe in Montreal in 1969. The witness helped detectives draw a sketch of the man and an associate of his who may go by the same name.

Jurvetson's sister, Anne Jurvetson, said in a statement in April that her free-spirited and naive sister moved to Los Angeles in 1969 after becoming smitten with a man named John.

Detectives also revealed Friday that Anne Jurvetson had recently found a postcard of the California coast that her sister wrote to their parents on Oct. 31, 1969, two weeks before her death.

It read: "The weather is nice and the people are kind. I have a nice little apartment. I go frequently to the beach. Please write to me. Hugs, Reet."

The postcard, the last Jurvetson's family would hear from her, was sent from an apartment in Hollywood.

Jurvetson's body was found in dense brush off iconic Mulholland Drive, about 6 miles from the site of the August 1969 Manson family killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, and four others.

Detective Luis Rivera said in April that LAPD hadn't found any concrete link between the cases but couldn't rule out whether they were connected, pointing to how and where Jurvetson was killed.

He said detectives uncovered no new information when they interviewed Manson about Jurvetson early this year.

Rivera could not be reached for comment Friday about whether the possible connection had been ruled out.

Manson and many of his followers had been arrested the month before Jurvetson's death, and Mulholland Drive was a well-known dumping ground for bodies in the 1960s and 1970s.

Trump: Clinton Could Shoot Someone, Not Get Prosecuted


Speaking at a packed rally in Pensacola, Florida, Friday evening, Donald Trump said his rival Hillary Clinton could "shoot somebody" and not be prosecuted. 

"She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching," Trump said, miming a gun with his fingers. "Right smack in the middle of the heart, and she wouldn't be prosecuted, okay? That's what happened. That is what's happened to our country."

Trump made a similar remark about himself during the primaries, when he told his supporters he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York and shoot somebody and it wouldn't cost him any votes.

Trump also had another violence-related comment ready for the pro-Trump crowd: "With Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people, that they shouldn't be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water."

The crowd cheered. 

Photo Credit: AP

Bradley International Hits 90 Degrees


Unseasonably warm weather is here to stay for several more days.

Bradley International hit 90 degrees Friday afternoon for the 29th time this year.

Saturday looks decent for outdoor plans, though a scattered shower is expected during the day.

It will be humid with high temperatures in the middle and upper 80s.

After a morning storm Sunday, clearing will set in in the wake of a cold front. Highs will by in the lower 80s.

Monday and Tuesday should feature complete sunshine with highs in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees.

There's another chance for showers on Wednesday, with temperatures in the lower 80s.

Late next week looks gorgeous on Thursday and Friday with abundant sunshine and below average highs, in the lower 70s.

Death of Willimantic Man Ruled a Homicide


Connecticut state police said Friday that the death a man found in his Willimantic apartment on Wednesday was a homicide.

Investigators initially listed William Alvarado's death as suspicious.

Police were called to the apartment complex at 621 Valley Street Wednesday after Alvarado, 73, was found dead in his apartment.

On Wednesday, Alvarado's family called his death a murder and asked anyone with information to come forward.

"William was just a sweet, generous, kind person who didn't deserve to die the way he died," Melissa Lee, Alvarado's niece, said. "Especially in his own home, where you should feel safe."

Family members said  three people were brought in for questioning and released.

Anyone with information that could be useful to investigators is asked to call state police at 860-896-3230 or text TIP711 to 274637.

Photo Credit: Family

Dog Surfing in California


Pooches of all shapes and sizes will be riding the waves and hanging paws at San Francisco's Linda Mar Beach Saturday for the first-ever World Dog Surfing Championship.

"The Dog's Guide to Surfing" author Kevin Reed organized the first dog surfing contest and has since launched a full-fledged sporting competition with annual surfing events.

While the talented canines will compete for the title of "World Surf Dog Champion," they will also be raising money for dog-related charities.

Check-in begins at 9 a.m. and surfing will go from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. before the winners are announced. A full schedule can be found online. 

Bay Area locals with aspiring surfing canines and $30 to spare, can secure a last-minute spot for the competition here. However, if your dog prefers to keep all four paws on solid ground, there is also an area on the website to sponsor a surfing dog or contribute to a partner charity. 

Until then, check out a few of the world's best canine wave riders expected to attend the inaugural event.

Abbie the Guinness Record Holder (Instagram: @abbiesurfs)

Brandy the Pug (Twitter: @Brandy_the_Pug)

Homer Henard with Skyler (Facebook Post by @nrbphoto)

Will you and your canine be surfing in one of the competitions? Send me a message at rebecca.greenway@nbcuni.com.

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Pedestrian Struck by Car in East Windsor


East Windsor police are investigating after a pedestrian was struck by a car Friday night.

Police confirmed the accident occurred near 44 South Main Street. The road was closed from Tromley Road and South Windsor Street while police investigated.

Details on the crash were not immediately available. The victim’s condition is unknown at this time.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bristol Firefighters Knock Down Fire at Vacant Home


Bristol firefighters knocked down a fire at a vacant house overnight.

Deputy Fire Chief Mark McCarthy said they received a call around midnight Saturday for a fire at a home at the Corner of Pine Street and Central Street. When firefighters arrived on scene they found a fully involved fire at a home that was under renovation.

It took firefighters about half an hour to get the flames under control. The building was completely destroyed. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: Viewer photo

Meriden Celebrates Revitalized Green


The city of Meriden has a lot to celebrate this weekend.

“This is huge,” said Harry Schwartz, a new Meriden resident.

Spread across the city’s new green Saturday were food tents and craft vendors. On stage a local high school band performed. Under the pedestrian bridge, a brook that once traveled underground meandered past new footpaths.

“Meriden has so many great assets. From Hubbard Park to the Linear Trail and now it has this, it’s a pretty unusual little community,” said Schwartz.

City officials said the green is more than just a $14 million park. It’s part of a larger decades long plan to control flooding from Harbor Brook and bring business back downtown.

“The ground we’re standing on actually is meant to flood. Everything here is built to flood. The lighting is built so that all the malfunctions are at the top instead of the bottom, there’s no underground watering,” explained Meiden Mayor Kevin Scarpati.

Flooding has been a problem in the past. Longtime resident Gail Jandreau remembers when the area was the center of activity before flooding forced businesses to move out and vacant storefronts created an eyesore. Now, they’ve turned that brown space into green space.

“You need something in a town to bring people back. All of us live on the outskirts, we don’t come downtown,” said Jandreau.

“You’re seeing a community that has been really sad for decades turn around,” added Schwartz.

Future phases of the project include a $44 million housing complex, new storefronts, and a new train station.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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