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Man Charged in Death of 93-Year-Old Mother


A 62-year-old New Britain man accused of neglecting his 93-year-old mother has been arrested in connection with her death.

Police said Frank Simonetti was supposed to be caring for his elderly mother, Michaealina Simonneti, after she broke her hip, but medics who went to check on her found an emaciated woman who had not been bathed regularly, police said.

In April 2014, six months earlier, Michaealina Simonneti went through hip surgery, but she was still not walking, so medics checked on her on Sept. 2 because of failure to thrive.

She complained of pain to her right hip, her lips were dry, she was weak and her pulse was irregular, police said. 

During the visit, Frank Simonetti told police he called 911 and his mother had not been eating well.

When Michaealina Simonneti was admitted to the Hospital for Central Connecticut's New Britain campus she was covered in feces and had 11 pressure ulcers and skin irritation, according to the police report.

Police went to the hospital on Sept. 11 to meet with her, but Michaealina Simonneti could barely speak and hospital staff told authorities she was likely to pass away within days. 

Two weeks later, she was dead, police said.

The office of the chief medical examiner said her death was ruled a homicide and she died of complications of hip fracture, status post non-repair with non-ambulation, and atherosclerotic and hyper-intensive cardiovascular disease.

Police arrested Frank Simonetti at 12:46 p.m. on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree manslaughter. 

Simonetti's sister died in January 2014 and he was investigated but not charged, police said.

The medical examiner also ruled her death as a homicide caused by malnutrition, dehydration, skin ulcers, bed ridden and bronchial pneumonia.

He appeared in court on Thursday afternoon and bond was set at $250,000.


Photo Credit: New Britain Police

No Extra Prison for Marine: Jury


A U.S. Marine sergeant found guilty of murder in the retrial of an Iraq war crimes case involving the slaying of a retired Iraqi policeman is a free man after a jury recommended he should get no additional prison time Thursday.

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III was found guilty of murder, larceny and conspiracy in a verdict reached Wednesday evening by a military jury of three enlisted men and three military officers.

Because of a previous conviction on this charges, Hutchins has already served seven years of an 11-year sentence. The jury decided Hutchins should be free on time served, but he will be discharged from the Marine Corps for bad conduct.

His attorney, Chris Oprison, told NBC 7 his case will go up for appeal in the next couple of years.

"There are so many assignments of error in this case, and we think we've got some reversible error locked in, so there's no question in my mind that it's going to go up," said Oprison.

Hutchins still has a $52,000 bill to pay to the U.S. government as well.

The 2006 killing involved 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad from the village of Hamdania.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 2,379 days in prison, minus time served for Hutchins.

Oprison said the men in Iraq with Hutchins credit him with saving their lives.

"Every single one of those guys says they came home alive because of Sgt. Hutchins," the defense attorney said. "They don't blame him, they thank him for getting them out alive because of his leadership. They did what they had to do." 

Over the years, Hutchins has had his conviction overturned twice by military courts after rulings that there were errors in the handling of his case.

Under the military justice system, the Navy was allowed to order his case to be retried.

7M Gal of Water Floods Shopping Ctr


Seven million gallons of water flooded a busy Northwest Philadelphia shopping center and forced some to be evacuated from stores using an inflatable raft after a major water main break Thursday afternoon.

The 120-year-old, 48-inch main broke open around 3 p.m. at the Bakers Square shopping center at Fox Street and Roberts Avenue in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, water department officials said.

"All of the sudden the water is flooding and it came very, very fast," said Kal Rotbard, who works at Got the Look, a clothing store in the center.

Water gushed from under the parking lot next to Got the Look and flooded a ShopRite supermarket, Ross discount store, Fine Wine and Good Spirits and several other businesses. Several cars were left underwater as well.

"It wouldn't even start so there's water inside," said Joyce Coker, who was inside the Dollar Plus store when the break happened. "There's water up to the wheels so, just turn in to my insurance agency. That's all I can do."

"We could not go out of the store," Rotbard said of the flooding. Firefighters used an inflatable raft to evacuate some people from the area. Others walked through the water holding firefighters' arms. In all, about 100 people were evacuated, according to Philadelphia Fire Executive Chief Clifford Gilliam.

The shopping center is built on the site of the former Tastykake factory and is a few blocks away from the Philadelphia Water Department's Queen Lane Reservoir.

It took crews nearly an hour and a half to shut down the water flow. Water department spokesman John DiGiulio said crews must make several hundred manual turns to a valve to stop the flow.

Rotbard said this is the second time in the past year a water main break flooded the shopping center. He said one broke right before the center opened last year.

DiGiulio confirmed a water main did burst last January, but said it was a different pipe. There are four 48-inch mains in this location, he added.

The shopping center main break comes less than a week after a major main ruptured in West Philadelphia sending more than 12 million gallons of water rushing through a part of that neighborhood.

Photo Credit: NBC10

"We Cannot Make It Like a Fortress": How Houses of Worship Strike Security Balance


Nearly three years after a gunman opened fire in a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing six people, the congregation has formed its own security force, police officers patrol its parking lot and its members have had to learn how to be both welcoming and cautious.

They watched newcomers for suspicious behavior and felt secure again only with time, said Amardeep Kaleka, whose father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was killed in the August 2012 attack at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.

“As a congregation we had trouble with trusting and opening our doors up again,” Kaleka, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, said. “But we did, based on the community’s response. We did start to feel more and more secure as people would come through and say nice things and positive things.”

On Wednesday another tragedy gripped the country: Nine people were shot to death during Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, was arrested in what officials are calling a racially motivated attack. Police say he joined the prayer meeting about an hour before the attack. 

Attacks are not new, but what is unprecedented are mass casualties, said Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit organization serving the American Jewish community, and the co-chair of the Department of Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Advisory Council.

“There has been a paradigm change,” he said. “Ten years ago we saw graffiti on synagogues and AME churches and we saw cemetery desecrations. Now we actually see people going into our houses of worship and committing mass killings.”

Security experts say that is it possible to balance openness and vigilance in protecting houses of worship but that congregations must take part in keeping themselves safe.

Churches and synagogues need to train people within the community to spot someone who is planning an attack — the volunteers, ushers, administrators or people who cut the lawns — and to encourage them to speak up immediately if they see something odd, he said.

“We have only minutes sometimes to save lives,” Goldenberg said. He advocated having video cameras, panic buttons and lighting at night and training in what to do if there is a shooter.

“It’s about empowering members of congregations, not scaring them,” he said. “So they want to continue coming and praying and participating.”

The Department of Homeland Security provides grants to help protect non-profit organizations that are at a high risk of a terrorist attack and that are located within eligible areas. For the 2015 fiscal year, $13 million was available for security improvements.

Bishop William P. DeVeaux Sr. of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who is based in Washington, D.C., said that so far the bishops have been focused on bringing solace to the family of the slain pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney, but that they would have to turn their attention to increased security.

“I think that’s going to have to be carefully worked out and to be honest with you it has not been done so,” he said. “Now we cannot make it like a fortress obviously and we’ll have to work out some other arrangement where we have to be more attentive to security.”

Emanuel AME Church had cameras, which did not prevent the attack but did help in Roof’s capture, he said. Other measures will have to be considered too, he said.

“That’s a tough one in terms of how do you make people welcome especially if you come anywhere near profiling,” he said. “You wouldn’t want to do that.”

Rabbi Seth Limmer of Chicago Sinai Congregation leads a synagogue in the heart of the city’s downtown. Before he arrived, the FBI was called in to investigate what he called a threatening package that he declined to describe further.

“We’re a place that really has to confront these issues in a real way,” he said.

The hope is that the synagogue’s members will think of the building as a sanctuary, not a fortress, he said. Its staff meets with the Department of Homeland Security every year to review its security measures, from entrances and locks to policies should a shooter get in the building.

Windows are of bullet-proof glass. Off-duty police officers who act as security guards open the two set of doors that lead into the building. They know when to open a door and when not to, and when to go outside to talk to a drunk man who thought the synagogue was his apartment one Friday night, Limmer said.

He said his heart would be torn if nine people were killed no matter where, but that the shooting occurred in a church and was racially motivated made the tragedy even worse.

“On top of all the violations of human dignity and propriety that it happened in that sacred space, it’s so appalling,” he said.

Elise Jarvis, the associate director for law enforcement outreach and communal security for the Anti-Defamation League, said that staff and others should learn how to identify suspicious people, activity, objects, letters and packages. Evacuation plans should be in place; contacts with law enforcement made before an emergency takes place.

A secure environment is a welcoming one, she said.

“People want to feel protected and in a safe place,” she said. “We try to have people think about them as not necessarily two incompatible things.”

Photo Credit: AP
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Hospital Executives: Expect More Layoffs


Hospitals across Connecticut could see fewer staff and provide fewer services if the current budget is signed by Governor Dannel Malloy.

Jennifer Jackson, the CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, said the announcement from Hartford Healthcare that it would be forced to layoff more than 400 workers was only the beginning of what be a rash of layoffs.

“What we’re seeing play out is exactly what we anticipated when we saw the damaging effects of the budget that was passed" she said during an interview Thursday. "The increase in taxes and the cuts to hospitals, that was devastating.”

In the budget passed by the House and Senate on narrow party line votes, hospitals saw cuts to Medicaid payments as well as increased taxes for just about all of the services they provide.

They say that cut will drive many hospitals to look at their books to decide how to make the dollars and cents work differently than last year.

Jackson said, “Hospitals need a margin in advance of their mission. They have to invest in technology. They have to invest in the latest in patient safety. That takes resources. So it is absolutely vital that hospitals make money and that they invest in their communities.”

However, Democrats in power say hospitals aren't painting an accurate picture of either their finances or their decision-making.

Sen. Martin Looney, the top member of the Connecticut Senate, said decisions to make cuts in staffing or services only reflects on the hospital's values and not the demands of the new state spending plan. Looney represents New Haven with many constituents linked the Yale-New Haven Hospital System that announced closures and a possible restructuring last week that officials linked to the budget.

Looney said, “Obviously the Yale New Haven Hospital System and the Hartford Hospital System are the two most profitable systems in the state and their choice to make cuts in the way they did is a sign that they have prioritized high corporate salaries and maintenance of their profit level over community based services and the needs of patients and their employees.”

In some cases, CEOs of hospitals in Connecticut earn salaries in the millions of dollars. They say that sends a bad a message about what the hospital cares about.

Looney even went so far as to suggest that hospital systems used the budget as a scapegoat in order to reduce spending by downsizing.

“Clearly that is an option for some corporations to use the cover of the budget to attribute to that the reasons as another bases for one of the reasons" Looney said.

Governor Dan Malloy did criticize hospital CEO salaries last week, and today struck a different tune. When asked about the cuts and taxes to be imposed on hospitals in the current budget, he said the state has done more than its fair share to help hospitals be profitable in recent years.

“What we’re not able to do is simply say we can pay for everything that you want and that is on your list" he said.

Republicans, who were shut out of budget talks, say the state can't take chances with people's healthcare.

“My concern is how quickly these layoffs are occurring because they’re probably trying to stop the hemorrhaging and we may see more bleeding down the road" said Rep. Vincent Candelora, (R - North Branford).

Jackson with the Connecticut Hospital Association says the Democrats in control are overestimating the impact of high executive salaries.

“That’s not the issue" Jackson said. "Hospital CEOs run very complex organizations and their salaries are set very carefully by community boards and the costs of executive compensation are a fraction of healthcare costs.”

Lawmakers will return to Hartford and are expected to finalize the budget on June 29 during a Special Session.

Governor to Announce Plans for I-84 in Waterbury


The state will spend $300 million over the next five years to widen Interstate 84 and Gov. Dannel Malloy today will announce plans to make improvements to ease congestion in Waterbury.

Malloy is expected to provide information on expansion plans, as well as the possible reconstruction of the Mixmaster.

The I-84 Waterbury Project involves widening the road and adding a third travel lane, as well as full-width shoulders in each direction.

It also includes realigning the highway near Harpers Ferry Road to eliminate the “S” curve alignment.

The news conference will be held at 1 p.m. in the commuter lot off exit 23 in Waterbury.

Learn more on the project at I-84Waterbury.com.

Brian Williams: "It Had to Have Been Ego"


Former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams says he didn't lie about his experiences as a journalist, but rather that his ego clouded his memories of them and made him embellish his retellings of them, he told the "Today" show in an interview that aired Friday.

"What happened is the result of my ego getting the better of me," he told Matt Lauer in a one-on-one interview, a day after the network announced he wouldn't be returning to the "Nightly" anchor desk.

The comments were Williams' first since NBC suspended him as "Nightly" host in February for misrepresenting his experiences as a journalist, after he admitted to erring when he said on-air that he had been in a helicopter hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. His helicopter had not been hit.

"I told the story correctly for years before I told it incorrectly. I was not trying to mislead people. That to me is a huge difference here," he told Lauer. "It got mixed up. It got turned around in my mind."
Still, Williams acknowledged Friday that despite his care with his words as a journalist, his own ego had made him become "sloppier" outside the realm of work, mostly on late-night talk shows.

"Looking back, it had to have been ego that made me think I had to be sharp, funnier, quicker than anybody else -- put myself closer to the action, having been at the action in the beginning," he said.

NBC announced Thursday that Williams would not be returning to the anchor desk and that Lester Holt, who has anchored the show since Williams' suspension, will take over that position permanently. Williams will take on a new role anchoring breaking news for MSNBC.

After NBC first suspended Williams for six months on Feb. 10, the network subsequently ordered an internal investigation into his reporting and the way he described his experiences, most often in talk show appearances.

The review found Williams made a number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field. The statements did not for the most part occur on NBC News platforms in the immediate aftermath of news events, but usually years later.

This TV station is owned by parent company NBCUniversal.

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Police Search for 2 Suspects in Hartford Shooting


Hartford police have arrest warrants for three people suspected in a shooting in May that injured one man and damaged houses and cars early on the morning of Tuesday, May 12.

Police received reports of several gunshots coming from the rear of the Ranch House at 3281 Main Street around 12:30 a.m. that morning and encountered a chaotic scene.

A 24-year-old man suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the head and four vehicles, a house and the back of 3281 Main Street were damaged by gunfire.

Investigators found 29 shell casings from three different caliber guns, as well as other ballistic evidence, and determined that three shooters were involved.

Police obtained arrests warrants on June 1.

Kenneth Jewell, 24, of Hartford, was charged with first-degree assault with a firearm, conspiracy assault in the first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment. Police took him into custody on June 5.

Carlton Forbes, 22, of Hartford, was charged with first-degree assault with a firearm, first-degree conspiracy assault, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment.

Shawn Robinson, 24, of East Hartford, was charged with first-degree assault with a firearm, first-degree conspiracy assault, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment

Police have not yet apprehended Forbes or Robinson and said they should both be considered armed and dangerous because the weapons involved have not been recovered.

Bond for each was set at $750,000 each.

Photo Credit: State Department of Correction

Man With Knife Robs Manchester 7-Eleven


Manchester police are investigating an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven and they are asking for the public’s help to find the robber.

A man with a small knife robbed the 7-Eleven at 706 Main Street around 2 a.m. and ran onto Linden Street

Police are looking for a man between 5-8 and 5-11 who was wearing a baggy black running suit with red briefs underneath, bright white sneakers, and a yellow plastic bag over his head.
Anyone with information is asked to call Manchester Police at (860) 645-5510.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police

Fugitive in Motel Murder Caught


An Ohio fugitive wanted in connection with a Miami murder has been captured in Kansas along with his wife, authorities confirm.

Michael Douglas Evans and his wife Kristy Evans were apprehended by U.S. Marshals late Thursday in a motel room in Hays, Kansas, roughly three hours northwest of Wichita, officials with the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office have confirmed.

Kristy's 7-year-old daughter Jala Barnett was safe and in the custody of child protective services in Kansas, the sheriff's office said. She will be given to a relative in Ohio for custody.

"We are relieved that this dangerous fugitive is now in custody and that this innocent young girl is now safely removed from potential harm," Tuscarawas Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell said in a statement.

The couple has been on the run with the girl since early May. Michael was wanted in Ohio for failure to appear for aggravated robbery and felony assault charges, and is also a suspect in the murder of 46-year-old Joe Moniz, whose body was found at the Sunshine Inn Motel in Miami.

The family was staying in the same Miami motel room where Moniz's body was discovered on June 6.

Shortly after the body was discovered, a missing child alert was issued for Barnett.

Authorities also recovered a 2005 Audi A4 convertible in a WalMart parking lot near the motel in Kansas. The vehicle is believed to be the one Moniz was driving before his murder, officials said.

Moniz's ex-wife expressed relief at the arrest.

"This happened last night and today is his birthday and it is just so odd that everything happened all at once and I could not be happier," Elaine Moniz said in a phone interview Friday.

Michael and Kristy Evans are awaiting extradition to Ohio, and investigators from Miami are on the way to Kansas to continue the homicide investigation of Moniz.

"That is something that we do routinely," Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat said. "If someone that we need to speak with is in a different state then absolutely we will take that extra mile and travel up to them."

If charged in Moniz's murder, Michael Evans could be extradited to Miami.

Photo Credit: Ellis County Sheriff

Thirsty Burglar Arrested in Milford


A man who police arrested twice in Milford in two days told officers he broke into local businesses because he was thirsty, police said.

The first burglary was at 982 Bridgeport Avenue at 1:10 a.m. on Thursday, which is listed as Napoli Deli.

When police responded to a burglar alarm, they found the front door broken.

Officers detained David Lopez, 21, of Bridgeport, who was in the Milford Center area.

He admitted to breaking the front door -- causing $2,800 in damage -- and stealing two two-liter bottles of soda worth a combined $5.58, police said.

Lopez is also accused of breaking into 240 Broad Street, which is listed as the Friendly Liquor Shop, on Friday morning.

When police responded to a burglar alarm at 1 a.m., they discovered an attempted robbery and again found Lopez in the Milford Center area,

He admitted to breaking the front glass door, which caused $200 in damage, police said.

In both instances, he claimed he was thirsty, according to a news release from police.

Lopez was charged with second-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny and first-degree criminal mischief in the first burglary.

In the second burglary, he was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and criminal attempt robbery.

He was held on $25,000 bond in both cases. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 202 in Litchfield Reopens After Motorcycle Crash


Lifestar medical transport helicopter responded to Route 202 in Litchfield after a motorcycle crash.

The road was closed for a while, but has since reopened.

No additional information was immediately available.

Newt Gingrich Takes on New Job: Tech Reviewer


Newt Gingrich's long resume just got longer.The former presidential candidate, House speaker and political consultant is now also a tech reviewer for Mashable.

His first post, a review of the Apple Watch, hit the site today, saying while there are some hiccups with the wearable gadget, it's a step in the right direction and fun for many people.

"At the moment, the Apple Watch seems best suited for busy people who need quick access to information on the go, those who want access to their schedules at a glance and anyone who likes being an early adopter of the newest technology," he wrote. "In many ways, the Apple Watch is like a beta product, but one promising a new direction, much like the first BlackBerrys and first iPhones." 

The idea to have him write for the site arose on Twitter two years ago, after Gingrich tweeted about virtual cars. A then-Mashable employee tweeted back, saying he wished the Republican would review the car for the site. 


While that review never happened, the prolific writer and technology fan later gave the site another reason to ask. In May 2015, he wrote a post for his own website about the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Mashable again took to Twitter to hint at the idea of him writing for the site.

With an excited response from Gingrich, a plan was set: he would be reviewing the Apple Watch. The 1,000-plus word review, which covered use of the watch during a cross-country flight and managing a busy schedule, got more than 1,000 shares within hours of hitting the Web. And the cub Mashable reporter seemed to be enjoying the job, too. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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State Trooper, Passenger Injured in Pomfret Crash


A state trooper and a passenger in the cruiser sustained minor injuries during a crash in Pomfret on Thursday night.

Police said the trooper was responding to a domestic disturbance just before 8 p.m. on Thursday and was traveling west on Route 244, Brayman Hollow Road, near Peterson Road, when he lost control f the vehicle.

The cruiser struck a tree, veered across the road and hit another tree, according to a news release from state police.

The trooper and a 19-year-old Sterling man who was in the passenger seat suffered minor injuries, police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate Hammonasset Car Break-In


Police are looking for the man who stole a credit card from a car at Hammonasset last weekend.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

Burglar Stole Credit Card from Car Parked at Hammonasset


Someone broke into a vehicle parked at Hammonasset State Park on Saturday, stole a credit card and charged more than $2,000 to it, according to police.

Clinton police have released surveillance photos of the man they are looking for and his vehicle in the hopes that someone can help identify him.

The victim was at Hammonasset State Park for a walk when the burglar broke into the car.

Police said he used the stolen credit card in Clinton and Waterford.

The burglar is between 5-feet-8 and 5-feet-10, has a goatee and was wearing a black ball cap, black shirt and fake eyeglasses, police said.

He was with a female with short black hair and acne scars on her face. She is between 5-feet-2 and 5-feet-4 and was wearing a gray crewneck T-shirt, and distressed blue jeans.

They were traveling in a white Suzuki Kazashi with no front plate.

If you can identify either of the people, call Officer Reed or Officer Santiago at the Clinton Police Department at 860-669-0451.

The man was with a female companion.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

Governor Malloy Reaches Out to South Carolina Governor After Tragedy


Gov. Dannel Malloy placed a call to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on Friday, reaching out to her after nine people were shot and killed during a Bible study in Charleston.

Malloy dealt with unimaginable tragedy here in Connecticut in December 2012 when a gunman shot and killed 20 first graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

In the days that followed, Malloy met with the families of the victims before pushing for stronger gun control in the state. He also launched the Sandy Hook Commission, to take a wide sweeping look at several factors, including mental health, in Connecticut.

Few details are yet available on the discussion Governor Malloy had with Governor Haley, other than it focused on to move forward after and respond to what happened.

The two spoke for awhile and Haley welcomed the call, according to sources.

Malloy also spoke with Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.


State Police Major Crimes Responding in Norwich


The State Police Major Crime Squad has responded to Crossway Street in Norwich to assisted Norwich Police in a case.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Man Sentenced for Shooting Boy


The man convicted of shooting an 8-year-old boy in the face was sentenced to 45 years in prison Friday, NBC 5 has learned.

Brian Cloninger, 48, claims he does not remember shooting Donald J. Maiden in September 2013 because of amnesia after taking prescription medication and drinking lots of beer that day.

Cloninger Found Guilty

Cloninger was found guilty last week.

There was no jury in the trial. Retired Judge Gary Stephens heard the case. 

Speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest, Cloninger began his testimony Tuesday afternoon with an apology.

"More than anything I wanted to say something to the family, that I'm sorry about what happened that day," Cloninger said.

The plumber went on to explain how he arranged to meet a transsexual prostitute for a massage at the boy's apartment complex that day because he was distraught over being laid off from his job.

He said he'd left a gun in his pick-up truck from an excursion the weekend before.

Cloninger said he was taking the medication Vyvanse for attention deficit disorder and he had a strange reaction to the drug. He also admitted drinking numerous cans of beer and said he went "lights out" before he left the prostitute's apartment.

"I do not ever recall seeing Donald, a child. I don't remember picking up the gun. I don't remember firing the gun. I don't remember setting the gun back down. I wish I could sit here and tell you I did.

It would clear a lot of things up. I don't ever remember being out of the vehicle," Cloninger said.

The boy's family members were in the court room during Cloninger's testimony Tuesday. They became emotional and left after listening to what Cloninger said.

Earlier Tuesday, Cloninger's wife, Martha Ewing Cloninger, testified that she was shocked to hear what her husband had done that day.

"That would be an understatement," she said.

She denied knowing her husband had any interest in prostitutes and said she had had never seen him as inebriated as he was reported to have been the day of the crime. His wife said she did know Brian Cloninger was not supposed to drink alcohol or have firearms because he was on probation for drunk driving.

Dallas psychiatrist John Tallmadge testified the combination of drugs and alcohol could induce stupor and account for amnesia.

Prosecution witnesses occupied the first week of the trial and it adjourned Tuesday before Brian Cloninger was finished on the stand.

NBC 5's Holley Ford contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Blog Linked to NYC Attacks: "I Will Hit Over a Million Asian Women"


Authorities are investigating whether a man identified as the suspect in a string of recent attacks on Asian women in Manhattan is the blogger who wrote that he decided to begin his violent onslaught because he wanted "to give all Asian Women a legitimate reason to hate" him.

In a blog police are investigating as linked to 25-year-old suspect Tyrell Shaw, a writer said he would begin attacking women after following two women in SoHo and being rejected by other Asian women.

"By starting an independent civil war where I will hit over a million Asian Women in the face with a stick will change history," the blogger wrote.

Sources have said a tipster called Crime Stoppers to report the blog thought to be linked to Shaw, who is suspected of attacking four Asian women in their 20s across Manhattan. Sources also briefly investigated whether he was the man who allegedly followed two women for about an hour a few days before the first attack, but later said it didn't appear those cases were connected to the pattern.

Previous posts mention growing frustration after talking to nearly 1,500 Asian women in less than a year, while others have threatened suicide. Sources have said that they have found no indication the suspect has taken his own life. 

Shaw has been arrested 10 times in the city since 2006 for an array of offenses, including credit card theft, criminal trespassing and burglary, records show. The sources say he has been involved in four prior domestic cases; three of them involved arguments with family members and one stemmed from a fight with a girlfriend.

Police have also encountered him several times when responding to reports of an emotionally disturbed person; in April, they responded after he was running into oncoming traffic on 10th Avenue, putting himself and others in dangers, law enforcement sources say.

Police have released photos of the suspect in the case, who they say began attacking Asian women last week in Chinatown. In the first case, on June 10, he asked a 35-year-old woman, "Who is the president of the United States?" police say. When she didn't respond, police say, he walked away, then returned with a white plastic bag containing a hard object and hit her in the face.

About four hours later, a 29-year-old Asian woman was walking down Park Avenue near East 30th Street when the suspect walked past her and waited at the corner, police say. He hit her in the face with the bag when she reached the corner; she was treated at a hospital and released.

Two days later, on June 12, the same suspect attacked a 34-year-old woman walking near Second Avenue and East 60th Street. As in the earlier cases, he walked up to her, armed with the white bag containing the hard object, and bashed her in the forehead. She also was treated at a hospital.

The woman in that case said the man spoke to her, saying, "All Asian girls doesn't talk to me," the victim told NBC 4 New York. She said he complained he could never get their phone numbers; she said she ignored him.

"And then, just after next second, he just hit my face," the woman said.

She said she chased the man after the attack, but stopped when she realized she was covered in blood. The woman needed 10 stitches to close a gash above her eye. She says the wound is so painful that she can't work.

The most recent attack was Monday, when police say the suspect tried to strike up a conversation with a 41-year-old Asian woman on Mulberry Street. She ignored him and he left, but returned, this time with a gray bag containing a hard object, and whacked her in the face with it.

None of the victims were seriously injured in the attacks, which authorities are investigating as bias crimes.

Anyone with information on Shaw's whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.  

Photo Credit: NYPD
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