PRETORIA, South Africa – South Africa’s police head has appointed its top detective as the new lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius murder case after it emerged that the initial investigator, Hilton Botha, was facing attempted murder charges.
National Commissioner Riah Phiyega says Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo will gather a team of highly skilled and experienced detectives and that the case shall receive attention at the national level.
Botha’s future in charge of the investigation into world-famous athlete Pistorius came into doubt after charges of attempted murder were reinstated against him in relation to a 2011 shooting incident, when he and two other police officers allegedly fired shots at a minibus.
38-year sentence for third wife’s death
Drew Peterson, the swaggering Chicago-area policeman who gained notoriety after his fourth wife vanished, lost his characteristic cool in court Thursday, screaming out his innocence before a judge sentenced him to 38 years in prison for the murder of a previous wife.
I did not kill Kathleen! Peterson shouted, leaning into a courtroom microphone in Joliet, Ill., and emphasizing each of the five words. His dead wife’s sister, Susan Doman, shouted back, Yes, you did! You liar! before the judge ordered sheriff’s deputies to remove her from the courtroom.
Kathleen Savio’s 2004 death was initially ruled an accident, after neighbors found the 40-year-old aspiring nurse’s body in a dry bathtub at home. It was the 2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson, Peterson’s fourth wife, that prompted authorities to take another look at Savio’s death and eventually reclassify it as a homicide.
Aborted landing led to fatal crash
A small private jet carrying a surgeon and members of his clinic staff aborted its landing at an airport 30 miles west of Augusta, Ga., before it hit a 60-foot utility pole and crashed in a flaming wreck, killing five people on board and injuring two, federal authorities said Thursday.
National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said fuel leaking from the plane ignited in flames Wednesday night after it hit the concrete pole with enough force to sheer off the left wing. He said investigators found pieces of the plane strewn over 100 yards.
Driver’s license for illegals challenged
A new North Carolina driver’s license set to be issued to some illegal immigrants has a bright pink stripe and the bold words NO LAWFUL STATUS, raising concerns about whether the design will brand those who show it.
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles announced last week after a lengthy legal review that it would begin issuing the licenses March 25. It’s designed for holders of a special federal work permit offered to qualified applicants who were brought to the U.S. as children without legal authorization.
Some Republican lawmakers in the state have balked at the idea, filing a bill Thursday to bar the DMV from granting the licenses until at least June.
Maine dance studio raised suspicions
A landlord who rented office space to a Zumba instructor accused of prostitution testified he became suspicious when tenants heard groaning and moaning. A pizza shop manager told a jury the woman disrobed in front of him during a delivery.
The risque details emerged in court Thursday as testimony began in the trial of Mark Strong Sr., an insurance businessman charged with 13 counts that accuse him of helping the fitness instructor engage in prostitution.
The woman, Alexis Wright, is accused of engaging in prostitution at the dance studio in Kennebunk, at an office across the street and at her home. Authorities have said she videotaped clients without their knowledge. She will be tried later.
Bicycle bombs kill 13 in Hyderabad, India
A pair of bombs exploded in a crowded shopping area in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, killing at least 13 people and wounding scores of others in the worst bombing in the country in more than a year, officials said.
The blasts occurred about two minutes apart at around 7 p.m. Thursday outside a movie theater and a bus station, police said. Storefronts were shattered, motorcycles covered in debris, and food and plates from a roadside restaurant were scattered on the ground near a tangle of dead bodies.
The bombs were attached to two bicycles about 500 feet apart in Dilsukh Nagar district, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters in New Delhi. The district is a usually crowded shopping area near a residential neighborhood.
The explosions were India’s first major bomb attack since a September 2011 blast outside the High Court in New Delhi killed 13 people.
Sisters’ rape, death probed after protest
Indian police said Thursday that they have launched a manhunt for men suspected of raping and killing three sisters, aged 5 to 11, in the latest case of sexual violence to grip the country.
The sisters’ bodies were found in a village well in Bhandara district in Maharashtra state Feb. 14 after they had gone missing from school, police officer Javed Ahmed said.
As the victims’ mother accused police of a shoddy investigation, enraged villagers forced shops to close, burned tires and blocked a national highway passing through the area for several hours Wednesday, demanding justice.