Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Missing Family on Airboat Ride in Fla. Everglades Found Safe


A family of five from Ohio that went missing after taking an airboat ride was found unharmed on Friday, authorities said.

The family of two adults and three children had been missing since 3 p.m. Thursday, said Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They were taking a ride on a camouflaged airboat, he said.

They were identified as Scott Schreck, 44, Carie Schreck, 42, and their three children, 9-year-old Drew, 7-year-old Luke and Zane, who is between 3 and 4 years old.

They had been taking a ride on a camouflaged airboat , he said. There were showers and thunderstorms in the area.

"It is my understanding that it's their own airboat," said FWC spokeswoman Carli Segelson.


Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Olson

West Hartford Police Arrest Jewelry Robbery Suspects


West Hartford police have arrested four suspects accused of stealing $60,000 worth of gold chains from a local jewelry store on Saturday night.

Three men wearing masks, hoods and gloves broke into Solid Gold Jewelry, 38 Kane Street, around 8 p.m., fired a round into the ceiling, took the chains and fled, according to police. 

Police have charged four people in connection with the robbery.

Thomas Ibbison, 26, of Norwich, Edward Makara, 34, of Jewitt City, Luis Carlos Burgos, 39, of Norwich, and Kenneth Bryant, 38, of Norwich, have been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, first-degree larceny and first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

While police were attempting to apprehend Ibbison, he fought with two West Hartford detectives, who both required medical attention, police said.

Ibbison was also charged with two counts of assault of public safety personnel. 

The West Hartford Police Department was assisted by the Norwich, Willimantic, and New Britain Police Departments during the investigation. 



Anyone with information should contact the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-5203.

5 Hikers Reported Lost OK, Unaware of Rescue Effort


Five hikers reported lost in Eaton Canyon in Pasadena, Calif., were found safe late Friday morning and unaware a search-and-rescue effort was even in progress.

Abby Rodeo, 20, and four other hikers were found beyond the second waterfall, an elusive mountain-side destination that involves a treacherous and sometimes-deadly hike that Los Angeles County Parks Department warns visitors not to attempt.

Rodeo and her companions — who were described as experienced hikers — were in the area to practice rappelling. They stayed overnight, and when Rodeo's father visited the park Friday morning and found her car with his daughter's gear and cell phone in the trunk, he became worried and called 911.

"I started driving around looking for all the entrances to Eaton Canyon, and at 6 o'clock, I found her car here," Elvin Rodeo said.

Search teams were sent out about 8 a.m., and the group was found safe shortly before 11 a.m.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department led the rescue effort with support from its Altadena Search and Rescue, Sgt. Booker Hollis said.

The search effort comes on the heels of another high-profile rescue in in a Southern California forest. Kyndall Jack, 18, and Nicholas Cendoya, 19, were saved after a multi-day search.

Intern Finds Suspicious Letter to State Rep.


The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is investigating a suspicious letter addressed to a state representative that a legislative intern discovered on Friday.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said the intern on Friday opened a waxy envelope that had an unidentified powder.

The intern was being kept in the room, accompanied by a state Capitol police officer, until hazardous materials staff from DEEP arrived, Sharkey said, and "she seems fine."

State Capitol police said they determined that there was no threat.

Last month, authorities investigated two suspicious pieces of mail sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

One of those letters was sent by someone who called the governor's constituent services office, claiming they had sent anthrax. A field test showed the letter tested negative for the infectious disease, which is caused by a type of bacteria.

Photo Credit: NBC10

High School Student Receives Congressional Award


An Avon High School student has made it his mission to give back to the community, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty presented 16-year-old Jeffrey Lewis, of Avon, with the Congressional Award Bronze Medal at Avon High School on Friday afternoon.

The award, established in 1979, recognizes young Americans between the ages of 14 and 23 who have set and achieved goals in public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.

Lewis met his public service goal by donating 100 hours of his time to Gifts of Love, a local charity that gives back to families in need. He also traveled to Peru with his church group last summer, where he helped build an adobe-brick classroom.

Lewis' personal development goal involved reading daily Christian Science lessons. He improved his physical fitness by joining the school cross country team and accomplished his expedition goal by organizing an eight-day backpacking trip in Colorado.

"His accomplishments are exceptional examples of the hard work and dedication young people throughout our district are showing to improve their communities," Esty said.

The ceremony took place Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the Avon High School Gallery at 510 West Avon Road.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Dog Alerts Diabetic Boy When Blood Sugar Needs Testing


For about a year now, Aidan Sgandurra, 2, of Monroe, has been living with Type 1 diabetes.

His blood sugar is tested about 10 times a day and monitored so it doesn't go too high or too low. 

But now, it's not just mom and dad who will be keeping an eye on Aidan. 

Trooper, a 4-month-old lab, will also be helping. 

Trooper is a diabetic alert dog, which is a specially trained pup that can detect fluctuations in blood sugar about 20 minutes before a normal meter can.

“He's already alerted three times that Aidan's sugar is high, so it's just been amazing,” Denise Sgandurra, Aidan’s mother, said.

That was just in the first three hours the dog was at the family's Monroe home. 

“It's not going to take away from us testing him. It's actually had us test him more,” Sgandurra said.
In addition to getting Trooper, the family is working with a trainer for four days.

“We do a lot of public access work, so they know how to handle them when they take him out in public, in case they run into a situation where someone says, ‘you can't have the dog here,’ going to restaurants, teaching them how to get him to behave when they're sitting down and eating, and recognizing what's an alert and what's not at this point,” said Philip Farris, a dog trainer with Warren Retrievers.

The alerts can mean the difference between life or death for someone with diabetes.

City Worker Pens Must-Read Pothole Press Release


You might think working for city government is a thankless, dull job. But as a press release circulated early Friday about potholes illustrates: Working for city government is a non-stop joyriding blast.

To encourage Chicagoans to report potholes to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the CDOT is billing the coming weekend as the inaugural “Potholepalooza.” Perry Farrell will not be participating, but the four-paragraph fake-out dupes readers giving the release a passing glance that bands like Minor Threat, The Cars, The Cure and even completely improbable bands like Nirvana are playing some sort of pothole-themed festival.

A closer look, though, reveals that whoever wrote this release has instead constructed a lengthy series of band-related puns to trick readers into following the whole press release — it’s rather ingenious, actually, except that it’s also kind of sad. Here, take a look: 


CDOT Encourages Chicagoans to Report Potholes in “Weekend Festival of Pothole Reporting”

Tired of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ in Traffic over the Minor Threat of potholes in the Pavement?  Ready to see nothing but White Stripes on the roadway and not worry about The Cars swerving to avoid potholes?

This weekend, if you are motorist or a Motörhead, participate in the first-ever “Potholepalooza,” the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) call to Chicagoans to report as many street potholes as possible.  Then watch the show next week as CDOT has The Cure for your Moody Blues and fills all of the potholes reported from Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7 so that your car doesn’t do the Harlem Shake and give you Divine Fits.

Thus far in 2013, CDOT crews have filled nearly 250,000 potholes with asphalt, Rolling Stones and Tar, with as many as 27crews out on the street each day.  In March, Men at Work gave Blood, Sweat and Tears to fill more than 116,000 holes with more than 1,200 tons of patching material, creating Nirvana for many drivers, and in the first week of April have addressed nearly 20,000 more, making roadways fit for the Queen.

This show won’t sell out, and even Wallflowers can have fun. and report potholes to CDOT through not just one Tool, but a number of venues, including:

·         Making The Call to 311

·         Using the City’s website at www.cityofchicago.org/311 or various Open 311 smartphone apps including: SeeClickFix and Chicago Works. For more web and smartphone civic apps, visit Chicago Digital.

·         Using ChiText by texting “Chicago” to 311311  to start the reporting process

“We are making great progress in filling potholes this spring, but we need Chicagoans to help us identify all of the locations where work needs to be done,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “This weekend surge in reporting will allow us to address as many potholes as possible until we switch many of the pothole crews to street resurfacing in mid-April.”   

Either city government just discovered Wikipedia or — what was it I said at the beginning? Oh yeah. Working for city government is a thankless, dull job.

It could be that. But it’s still a pretty slick press release, in a very strange way. 

Either way, can someone in the CDOT please make me a mixtape? 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. (He also co-runs a blog behind the DePaul class, DIY Game Dev.) He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

Estate of Yale Tailgating Victim Suing School, City


The estate of a Massachusetts woman who died after she was struck by a U-Haul truck while tailgating before the Harvard-Yale football game in 2011 has filed a suit against Yale University, as well as the city of New Haven, and a Yale fraternity.

Nancy Barry, 30, of Salem, Massachusetts, was killed in the crash on Nov. 19, 2011.

You can read the complaint, which was filed on March 28, here.

Her estate has also named the city of New Haven, U-Haul, as well as the Yale students who rented and drove the truck, the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Contemporary Services Corp., an event security and crowd management company hired to provide services of the Yale Bowl.

The complaint states that the injuries, death and losses were the result of the “negligence and carelessness” on behalf of the defendants named in the complaint.

“I expect that even Yale will agree that it was foolish to permit and encourage the use of these U-Haul trucks for student tailgating parties,” Paul Edwards, an attorney for Barry’s estate, said in a statement.

The complaint said Barry and other people who were struck were at Contemporary Services Corp’s checkpoint when the accident happened.

The attorneys said the city of New Haven had an obligation to provide police protection and witnesses described the scene that morning as chaotic and disorganized.

They are asking for monetary damages in excess of $15,000.

Sarah Short, of New Haven, who was also injured in the crash, also filed a suit against the driver, http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Yale-Student-Injured-in-Yale-Harvard-Tailgating-Crash-Sues--147003985.html Brendan Ross. That case is ongoing. http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=NNHCV126028521S

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Killed in Killingly Crash


A 54-year-old Woodstock woman was killed in a crash in Killingly just after 8 a.m. on Friday.

Susan Langlois was driving south on Tracy Road near Country Club Road at 8:09 a.m. when she crossed over into the northbound lane, went off the road, onto a bike trail and hit the concrete bridge abutment of interstate 395, according to state police.

Langlois was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy.

Anyone who saw the crash is asked to call Killingly resident state trooper William L. Kuckel Jr.

Mysterious Tiny Door Replaced with Inferior Model


Nothing like whimsy to bring out the best in people — and everyone's worst thoughts about  government.

A tiny, finely crafted, stained-wood door affixed to a hole in a tree in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park — so fine that many attributed it to a fairy, elf or other mythical woodland creature — was removed by San Francisco Recreation and Park Department workers and replaced with a less-than-equal model, according to the RichmondSF blog.

The original little door had touched peoples' hearts and made headlines around the world. But for some reason, it disappeared on Tuesday. Rec and Park responded to the outcry and replaced it... sort of.

PHOTOS: The Mysterious Tiny Door in Tree

"But there’s a catch — what they put back is not the ORIGINAL door," the blog reported. "Rec & Park, despite telling local media that they had no plans to remove it, did just that."

The department said that it's policy to remove anything bolted to a tree. So it's odd that they would do so, only to replace it with a different door custom-made to fit the opening in the tree.

At some point in the future, the door — as in, all doors — will be removed permanently.

WATCH: The Mystery of the Tiny Door in a Tree

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.

Regulator Clears Way for Chevron Refinery


California's workplace safety regulators concluded their review of a Chevron oil refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday morning, clearing the way for the company to resume full production at the facility. 

The Richmond, Calif., refinery had been running at 60 percent capacity since a fire erupted at the plant last August. The California Occupational Safety and Health program had previously issued an order barring use of the refinery's crude distillation unit — the heart of the plant — where the fire broke out.

WATCH: Raw Video of Chevron's Richmond Refinery Fire

Ellen Widess, chief at Cal/OSHA, told NBC Bay Area that Chevron has made changes to safety procedures in the wake of the disaster.

State regulators had strongly criticized Chevron for what they said were 25 examples of unsafe maintenance at the refinery and fined the company $1 million — the maximum amount allowable under law.

The company did not replace the corroded pipe that ruptured and caused the fire, and Chevron did not "follow its own emergency shutdown procedures" and did not protect workers, regulators found.

Chevron was pleased by the announcement and has previously said it planned to resume operations before the end of June.


Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez

Princeton Alum Defends Op-Ed Piece Urging Women to Marry


Susan Patton, the Princeton alum whose controversial op-ed piece for The Daily Princetonian has outraged feminists, defended her words Friday and said women need to keep an "open mind."

Patton's piece urging women Princeton students to find husbands before they graduate has gained nationwide attention since it was published last week — so much so that it caused The Daily Princetonian site to crash.

The op-ed garnered strong reactions from opinion writers across the web, from the Huffington Post to Slate, prompting the alumni to speak out and defend her opinion.

"Women do aspire to having children and marriage," she said on CNN. "However, the messages that have been given to young women today are so totally focused on developing their careers, no one is saying to them, 'If addition to your career, you also want to be married and have children, you should really be thinking earlier about it.'"

Patton, who was the president of the class of 1977 and who has two sons currently attending her alma mater, had addressed her op-ed to "the daughters I never had."

"For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you," she wrote.

She also warned women that they would be frustrated to discover a dearth of smart men in the post-graduation world outside of Princeton.

"Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them," she wrote. "And, you could choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect. But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you."

That comment brought accusations of elitism, in addition to the charges that the piece was anti-feminist.

"This is the elitism of meritocracy: a reflexive belief that, not only are the best and brightest at the top, but outsiders are lesser and duller," Maureen O'Connor wrote in New York magazine.

The Daily Princetonian's opinion editor Sarah Schwartz solicited feedback from readers on Friday in a new post to "continue the conversation," and the response has not been pretty.

"Congratulations to Susan Patton ’77, who gets my vote for the Troll Award for 2013," wrote one reader. "As any good troll knows, the way you get attention these days in not by subtlety, but by going way over the top."

Photo Credit: AP

Multiple Crews Respond to Mansion Fire in Prospect


Fire crews from multiple towns responded to a fire at a historic mansion in Prospect Friday evening.

According to fire officials the fire started in the attic of a home on New Haven Road. Route 69 is closed while firefighters battle the blaze.

Neighbors in the area say the house belongs to designer Louis Nichole DiMuzio. 

The cause of the fire is unclear at this time. We will have more information as soon as it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Rhonda Calabro

New Haven Police Create Special Victims Unit


The New Haven Police Department has added a special victims unit, to investigate and cut down on sexual assaults, domestic violence cases and crimes committed against the elderly in the city.

The department had a unit until a year ago. It was disbanded for staffing concerns, but it back, as of today.

The unit, made up of three detectives and one sergeant, is returning as police search for the man who sexually assaulted a 41-year-old woman near Union Station as she was heading to work early Monday morning.

Police Chief Dean Esserman held a news conference at police headquarters at 3 p.m. on Friday.

"Some of the most vulnerable among us are children, are women who are being victimized, are the elderly. They need the special attention of experts, and what these detectives are, are experts," Esserman said.

Anyone with information about the sexual assault is asked to call New Haven police.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspect in L.A. Kidnapping Fled to Mexico: LAPD


A parolee suspected of kidnapping a 10-year-old Los Angeles girl was recorded on a border security camera entering Mexico, the Los Angeles Police Department chief said Friday.

"Tobias Summers was seen via video surveillance crossing a footbridge into Tecate from the United States. We have no way to know whether or not he has returned since that journey, but we are focusing our efforts on that region," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who did not disclose when the video was recorded.

Tecate, Mexico, is located about 30 miles east of Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego.

"Summers is unlikely to blend in to the general population," Beck said. "We assume that he is hunkered down, hiding someplace and we need the public to be aware of what he looks like and what he's done so that we can get cooperation."

Police confirmed they have obtained the video, but are choosing not to release it to the public. Police also declined to discuss how Summers got to the border, or whether he got assistance; however, Chief of Detectives Kirk Albanese said, "Anybody that has aided or will aid Summers will be subject to arrest."

An official with Baja California state police confirmed Friday that they are investigating a lead that Summers may be hiding out with a girlfriend who lives in Tijuana, but so far, that has not panned out.

"We might be getting bogus tips, but we still need to check them out just to make sure. We're taking every tip seriously and we're checking every tip that we get," he said.

Summers, 30, allegedly entered a home in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles and kidnapped a girl on March 27. The girl was found alive about 12 hours after her disappearance.

A second suspect, 29-year-old Daniel Martinez, was arrested last week and has since pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and burglary charges.

Summers previously served three prison terms, has a history of substance addiction and allegedly has been active in a San Fernando Valley White supremacist gang.

Man Killed in New Haven Deli Shooting


Police are investigating a homicide at the Super Deli 7 on Chapel Street Friday night.

According to authorities, 26-year-old Richard Eichler, of New Haven, was found shot inside the deli.

Investigators said there was a dispute between Eichler and another man on Chapel Street.  The shooter then followed the victim into the deli and shot him.

Eichler was taken to the St. Raphael's campus of Yale-New Haven hospital by a private car and pronounced dead a short time later, police said. 

Police describe the suspect as a short black man wearing dark purple pants and a blue sweater.

Anyone with information is urged to contact New Haven Police at 203-946-6304 or 203-946-6316. Calls may be made anonymously.

NYC Restaurant Patrons Possibly Exposed to Hepatitis A: Officials


New York City health officials are urging patrons of a restaurant in the city's West Village to receive a vaccination after learning of a food handler there diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

Any patron who had dessert at Alta, a Spanish and Mediterranean tapas bar, between March 23 and April 2 is considered at risk, the New York City Health Department said. It's recommended they get a Hepatitis A vaccine as a precautionary measure. 

As many as 3,000 people may have visited the restaurant during the week in late March, and about 15 percent is estimated to have eaten dessert, the Health Department said.

Officials said an employee in the pastry department contracted Hepatitis A when she traveled to Mexico.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease spread by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea.

"We are working closely with the Health Department to ensure the safety of our customers," said Christopher Chesnutt, owner of Alta restaurant. "This is an isolated incident, and the infected employee is no longer on premises." 

The Health Department said it is working with the restaurant to obtain as many names as possible of people who may have been exposed and to contact each of them. Patrons can also call 311 for more information. 

People who have been exposed should be vaccinated within 14 days for the shot to be most effective. Those who were exposed but have already received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated. 

Once its symptoms appear, Hepatitis A cannot be treated with special medicines or antibiotics. 

The Health Department said it was notified of the case on April 4, began the investigation, and inspected the restaurant Thursday. Alta was given the OK to reopen Friday night, though the restaurant will not be serving dessert again until Saturday.

An average of 65 cases of Hepatitis A occur in New York City each year, with one to two cases occurring in food handlers. 

Judge to Decide Fate of Renoir Stolen in 1951


The Virginia woman who says she bought an authentic Renoir painting at a flea market is no longer anonymous.

According to the Washington Post, her name is Marcia Fuqua — and her mother is an art expert.

The Post reports that Fuqua, who lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs in Virginia, is now in a legal battle to get the painting back after the FBI seized it when she tried to put it up for auction last fall.

The reason: It had apparently been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art back in 1951.

Fuqua said she bought the painting, Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Paysage Bords de Seine," for $7 at a flea market in July 2012.

After it was appraised at $75,000 to $100,000, she made arrangements to have it sold through an auction to be conducted by the Potomack Company. The auction house announced shortly before the sale that it was pulling the painting from its listings after a Washington Post reporter uncovered its history.

The FBI took control of it after that.

The Post reports:

[Fuqua's] mother -- who goes by the professional name Marcia Fouquet in homage to a French ancestor -- is a painter who specialized in reproducing the pieces of several famous artists, including Renoir, according to an online biography and people who used to work at her art studio.

Fouquet, 84, has artistic roots in Baltimore. She graduated from Goucher College with a fine arts degree in 1952 and earned a master’s degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1957. In her thesis, she briefly analyzes a Renoir portrait.

A federal judge will now determine the painting's owner.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Student Abducted, Sexually Assaulted in Pa.


La Salle University in Philadelphia has offered counseling services to a student who reported being abducted and raped on Easter Sunday.

The school is also defending its decision not to notify students of the off-campus assault when it happened, saying administrators did not view it as an ongoing threat to their campus community.

"This case is still very active," said Captain John Darby, who heads up the Special Victims Unit (SVU) of the Philadelphia police department.

The attack happened about a mile away from the school. The 20-year-old woman told police she was walking on the 4800 block of 10th Street around 10 p.m. She said a black van pulled up beside her and four men jumped out, grabbed her and forced her inside. Police are not revealing where the men took her, but the woman told detectives she was sexually assaulted several times before the attackers dropped her off in an unknown location and fled.

Police say the men are between the ages of 20 and 25. One had "MM" tattooed on his face.

"We here at SVU take these reports very seriously. We have a very good working relationship with the University and we're in constant communication with them," Darby said.

As news of the incident spread around campus, students like sophomore Karla Fernandez were concerned. "It couldv'e been anyone," she said.

Some students complained that the school didn't notify them about the attack. Federal law requires universities to issue safety alerts and advisories when there are serious or ongoing threats to the student or staff. This specific case, did not fit those guidelines, according to the school.

"Based on what we know, (which we cannot detail) it was decided a safety alert/advisory was not required, as we believed there was no serious or ongoing threat to our students or employees as a result of the reported incident," said Jon Caroulis, La Salle's Director of Media Relations.

Four days later, the school sent out a Safety Reminder to students, notifying them of the attack and offering the following tips:

  • Refrain from walking alone, particularly at night, in off-campus areas.
  • Travel in well-lit areas. Avoid shortcuts through driveways.
  • Report suspicious persons to Security and Safety or Philadelphia Police.
  • Be constantly aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Use University Shuttle and Escort services.

"This is a very pro-active approach," said Capt. Darby. "They took this opportunity to remind folks of the steps that could be taken to minimize risk."

The latest crime statistics from La Salle are complete through the year 2011.

They show that on the main campus, a total of 4 on-campus sex assaults were reported in 2011, none in 2010 and two in 2009.

The bulk of student offenses are drinking and drug-related and most of that behavior goes on in the school's residence halls, according to the statistics.

The 10-year trend is down for drinking, and up for drug-related cases where students were disciplined:

La Salle University is located in the northwestern section of Philadelphia, on the edge of Germantown. According to the school website, the total student body is made up of over 7,300 students.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Kaufman Co. Men Deny Threat Allegations


Two men in Terrell, Texas accused of threatening county officials in unrelated cases both say they are upstanding citizens who would never hurt anyone.

Investigators say Nick Morale, 56, phoned in a threat to a tip line established for the investigation into the deaths of the Kaufman County district attorney and his wife.

Morale told NBC 5 that he called the Crime Stoppers tip line with a warning, not a threat. He said he wanted to report a conversation he had with a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Paris, Texas, but ended up leaving a partial message because his dog knocked his phone from his hand.

He said the gang member told him that a judge and Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland were the targets of the Jan. 31 shooting that killed Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. Morale said he chalked up the conversation to boastful ranting until McLelland and his wife were found shot to death in their home.

Morale said he then decided to call Crime Stoppers to tell someone what he had heard. He said he called the tip line and said, "The next victim is judge" before his dog knocked the phone out of his hand. The phone fell two stories and broke, he said.

Robert Miller, 52, was arrested Thursday on a charge of a terroristic threat in connection with a Facebook posting and an email. Investigators said the posting made a threat to the safety of an assistant district attorney.

Miller said he sent what he called an op-ed of the Kaufman County courthouse and members of the district attorney's office to news media, including NBC 5. In an interview, he denied that the post was a threat of any kind.

The Facebook post contains harsh words for courthouse employees and warns that a specific assistant district attorney could be the next prosecutor targeted.

Miller said he only referred to the prosecutor by name because the person was listed third on the Kaufman County District Attorney's Office's website, beneath the names of McLelland and Hasse.

In the post, Miller suggested that the assistant district attorney seek other employment, perhaps in another state.

He said the post was his opinion and that interactions at the courthouse prompted him to write the post. It was only intended to be an expression of his First Amendment rights, he said.

Neither Miller nor Morale are suspects in the McLellands' deaths or are connected to them in any way, say authorities investigating the case.

Both say that the current climate of fear and a zero-tolerance stance for anything that can be construed as a threat against the courthouse is what landed them behind bars.

Miller and Morale are each being held on a single count of making a terroristic threat, which can carry state and federal penalties. Bond for each was set at $1 million.

Photo Credit: NBC 5
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live