Death Penalty Decision Pending In Baby Kidnap Case | KERA News

Death Penalty Decision Pending In Baby Kidnap Case

A judge has set a July 1 deadline for prosecutors to decide whether they will seek the death penalty in the case of a Texas woman accused of kidnapping a newborn after fatally shooting his mother.

Verna McClain is charged with capital murder in the April death of Kala Golden-Schuchardt in a clinic parking lot in the Houston suburb of Spring.

McClain appeared at the Thursday hearing in Conroe but her attorney, Stephen Jackson, tells The Associated Press no questions were posed to her.

The Montgomery County judge also approved a request by prosecutors to turn over grand jury transcripts to the defense. The prosecution isn't required to turn over grand jury transcripts, but the Houston Chronicle reports District Attorney Brett Ligon said he wanted fair play in the case.

AP

AWOL Muslim soldier guilty in Fort Hood bomb plot

A federal jury has convicted an AWOL Muslim soldier of attempting to blow up a Texas restaurant full of Fort Hood troops.

The Waco jury convicted Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo of the most serious charge, attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which could land him in prison for life.

Abdo also was convicted of attempted murder of U.S. officers or employees, and four counts of possessing a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.

Authorities arrested Abdo at a Killeen motel last July while he was AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky. Prosecutors say he had begun making a bomb and was angry about the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Defense attorneys say Abdo was innocent because he never acted on his plan.

AP

Lockheed Martin brings in replacement workers

Lockheed Martin is putting temporary workers on its Fort Worth aircraft assembly plant to replace striking Machinists' union members.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the announcement came in a memo from Larry Lawson, Lockheed's aeronautics division executive vice president. He says Lockheed must, in his words, "sustain our business rhythm and continue to meet our commitments."

Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout wouldn't say how many replacement workers were brought in Thursday but says it's a small group that will likely increase. He added that they aren't viewed as permanent replacements.

The strike by about 3,600 machinists is in its fifth week. A statement from the International Association of Machinists Local 776 says the move reflects its members' resolve in fighting company proposals that would weaken pension and health care benefits.

AP

Texan gets 20-year prison term for al-Qaida links

A Texas man convicted of trying to help al-Qaida has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

A federal judge in Houston also ordered Barry Walter Bujol Jr. to pay a $10,000 fine at a sentencing hearing Thursday.

Bujol was convicted last year of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and of aggravated identity theft.

Bujol was arrested in May 2010 after using fake identification to sneak onboard a Middle East-bound ship. He is a U.S. citizen.

Prosecutors say he was trying to join al-Qaida and had attempted to provide the organization with money, restricted U.S. military documents and GPS equipment.

The 31-year-old says he never intended to help al-Qaida and that he wanted to leave the U.S. because he disagreed with its foreign policy.

AP

14-year-old Texan wins National Geographic Bee

A first-time national geography bee contender from Texas has won the annual competition in Washington.

Fourteen-year-old Rahul Nagvekar, of Sugar Land, Texas, will receive a $25,000 scholarship for his win Thursday. Rahul won by correctly naming Regensburg as the Bavarian city located on the Danube River that was a legislative seat of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806.

Thirteen-year-old Vansh Jain, of Minocqua, Wis., came in second, and will take home a $15,000 scholarship. The third-place winner, 13-year-old Varun Mahadevan of Fremont, Calif., wins a $10,000 scholarship.

The competition began with about 4 million students in schools across the country this year.

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek hosted the finals, which were televised on the National Geographic Channel.

AP

Cattle trailer cleared, Dallas freeway reopens

A Dallas freeway has reopened about nine hours after a tractor trailer filled with cattle overturned and shut it down.

Dallas County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carmen Castro said the accident in the northbound lanes of I-35E began around 1:30 a.m. Thursday when a driver lost control of his 18-wheeled trailer just south of downtown Dallas.

Castro says authorities are investigating.

The Dallas Morning News reports that about 20 of the 89 cows died in the accident and several surviving animals that were roaming the freeway have since been captured.

A veterinarian examined the animals at the scene and they were taken to a Dallas County livestock center in Hutchins.

The driver, who was coming from San Antonio, was not injured.

It was unclear where the cows he was hauling originated.

AP

Santorum endorses Cruz in Texas Senate race

Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum has endorsed tea party favorite Ted Cruz in the race for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas.

The ex-Pennsylvania senator made the announcement Thursday on conservative host Glenn Beck's radio show.

Cruz is an attorney and former state solicitor general. He's in a tight race for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison ahead of Tuesday's Texas primary.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the race's perceived front-runner, but some polls have Cruz making up ground. Also running are ex-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Craig James, a former football star and ESPN commentator.

Opinion polls showed Santorum with strong support in Texas before he abandoned his presidential bid.

AP