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April 8, 2019

TEXAS WOMAN WHO SOUGHT TO SELL KIDS SENTENCED TO PRISON

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman accused of selling her 7-year-old son and planning to sell her two other children to settle a drug debt has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Esmeralda Garza of Corpus Christi was sentenced Friday after taking a plea deal. She was convicted on three counts of selling or purchasing a child. She also was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to sell or purchase a child.

Last June investigators discovered her son had been sold for $2,500. Investigators also learned that she had planned to sell her two daughters, ages 2 and 3, as well — all to pay off a drug debt.

ANTI-SEMITIC ART

LORTON, Va. (AP) — A high school student’s artwork that used anti-Semitic stereotypes has prompted school officials in Virginia to apologize.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the student goes to South County High School in Fairfax County in northern Virginia.

An image shown at an exhibition at a community college depicts a man with a hooked nose carrying a bag of money. The caption reads: “No Jew in the world understands the importance of money.”

Fairfax County Public Schools said the image was part of a series called “Racial Irony.” It intended to convey a message that the “exaggeration of stereotypes spreads ignorance.”

But it sparked criticism from some in the Jewish community. Superintendent Scott Brabrand apologized in a letter to the community and said the student did not intend to offend anyone.

SHOOTING AT BABY SHOWER IN CHICAGO

CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities say two children were among the six people wounded when two men opened fire on a baby shower outside of a home on the South Side of Chicago.

The attack happened Saturday evening in the West Englewood neighborhood. The Chicago Tribune reports about 20 children were playing outside when the gunmen opened fire, sending them running for cover.

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the chest and back, and a 10-year-old girl was shot in the shin. Police say both are in stable condition.

Three men ranging in age from 23 to 48 years old and a 29-year-old woman were also wounded. The woman is in critical condition and the two younger men are in stable condition. The condition of the oldest man is unknown.

Police say the attackers fled on foot and that the attack may have been in retaliation for an earlier incident that stemmed from an ongoing gang conflict.

RESCUED PILOT WHALE DIES AT SEAWORLD

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A pilot whale that was rescued and found a home at a SeaWorld park after being part of a mass stranding in the Florida Keys eight years ago has died.

Officials at SeaWorld Orlando posted on its blog that the whale known as Fredi died Saturday.

A spokeswoman said in an email Sunday that Fredi had shown signs of appetite loss and was undergoing an aggressive anti-microbial treatment.

Fredi was part of a mass stranding of 23 pilot whales in 2011 near Cudjoe Key, Florida.

SeaWorld rescue team members spent two months in the Keys helping with rescue efforts along with other rescue organizations.

Fredi was deemed unable to be released back into the wild due to her young age — and found a home at SeaWorld Orlando.

BURIED BODIES

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Two South Carolina men are charged with murder after sheriff’s deputies found two bodies buried at a Spartanburg County house.

Local news outlets report 39-year-old Jonathan Galligan and 41-year-old Christian Daniel Hurlburt were arrested Saturday.

Deputies say the bodies they found buried Friday are 27-year-old Christin Renee Bunner of Spartanburg and 40-year-old Melissa Fairlee Rhymer of Mountville. Galligan is charged with Bunner’s death, while Hurlburt is charged with killing Rhymer.

The arrests came after Hurlburt shot himself in the head in front of deputies on Wednesday, survived, and then told deputies he witnessed Galligan kill Brunner and helped bury her.

Galligan was arrested Saturday. Hurlburt was released from the hospital Saturday.

Both men have been jailed without bail following a hearing.

NUCLEAR BUNKER - DEADLY FIRE

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A wealthy stock trader’s plan to build a nuclear bunker beneath his family’s Maryland home ended with a deadly fire. Now a jury will decide if the death of a 21-year-old man who perished in the September 2017 blaze was a crime.

Jury selection for Daniel Beckwitt’s trial is scheduled to start today in a Montgomery County courtroom. He is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Askia Khafra.

Khafra was helping Beckwitt build a network of tunnels beneath the Bethesda home. Lawyers for the 27-year-old millionaire have said Khafra’s death was a tragic accident and that Beckwitt risked his own safety in a failed attempt to rescue his friend.