UNITED-FLIGHT TURBULENCE

At least 10 people hurt when United flight hits turbulence

HOUSTON (AP) — At least 10 people aboard a United Airlines jet were injured when the plane hit turbulence during a flight from Panama to Houston.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says the Boeing 737 encountered turbulence about 80 miles east of Cancun, Mexico. Weather satellite images showed storm clouds in the area in the wake of Tropical Storm Cindy.

Emergency crews were called to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, where the aircraft landed safely Tuesday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for United Airlines said that nine passengers and one crew member were taken to hospitals for evaluation. The airline did not have information about the extent of their injuries.

 

TROPICAL WEATHER

Long stretch of Gulf Coast eyes Tropical Storm Cindy

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Residents and officials along a stretch of the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to eastern Texas are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Cindy.

The storm formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s expected to move slowly toward the Louisiana-Texas line. But the heaviest rain bands were to the east. And the National Weather Service says it poses a threat of dangerous flash flooding.

Forecasters say some areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could see a foot of rain.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday because of the threat of torrential dangerous high tides and rip currents. Other state and local officials along the coast were mulling similar declarations.

CARLSBAD-HIKER DEATHS

Bodies of Texas man, son missing on New Mexico hike found

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a Texas man and his son reported missing on a hike in the area of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park have been found dead.

New Mexico State Police say the search for 57-year-old of Robert Stuart Pluta and his 21-year-old son Robert Jr. began Monday.

Both men were avid and experienced hikers from Corpus Christi.

State Police were notified Monday afternoon after Pluta’s wife says she had been unable to contact her husband or son for days.

Park Service staff located the men’s vehicle on a trailhead northwest of Carlsbad Caverns.

State Police say one dead body was found about 10 p.m. Monday about two miles northwest of the caverns and the other body was located a mile away Tuesday morning.

Eddy County authorities are investigating the deaths.

 

INFANT SLAIN-HOUSTON

Suspect charged in fatal shooting of Houston infant

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police have arrested a man for the death of a 10-month-old boy who was fatally shot last week while his father was walking him outside an apartment complex.

Authorities announced Tuesday that 24-year-old Jared Balogun has been charged with capital murder in the death of Messiah Marshall.

Assistant Police Chief Matt Slinkard says Balogun confessed to police his involvement in the shooting, and the infant’s father also identified him as one of the gunmen.

Slinkard says police are still seeking two other suspects.

Police say Messiah’s father was approached on June 14 by three men and one of them drew a pistol and began shooting. As the father ran, the boy was hit.

Court records listed no attorney for Balogun.

 

INTERSTATE 10 CLOSURE-CRASH-THE LATEST

The Latest: 6 killed in I-10 pileup caused by dust

LORDSBURG, N.M. (AP) — Police say six people are dead, including an infant from Phoenix, after a multiple-car pileup on Interstate 10 in New Mexico near the Arizona state line.

Police say winds and a dust storm abruptly blew in on westbound I-10 near Lordsburg, New Mexico, around 5 p.m. Monday.

Among those killed were a 9-month-old girl from Phoenix, two people from El Paso, Texas, and an Escondido, California woman.

Five of the six killed died on the scene in the crash that involved 18 commercial trucks and seven passenger cars.

Authorities reopened the highway Tuesday after a long closure to investigate.

This story has been corrected to show the interstate reopened Tuesday and that a woman, not man, from California was killed.

 

TEXAS EXECUTION-APPEAL

San Antonio man on death row loses federal appeal

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal from a San Antonio man on death row who argued Bexar County jurors may have received incomplete instructions when they decided he should die for killing a convenience store owner during a 2004 robbery.

Attorneys for 33-year-old Christopher Young contended jury instructions at his 2006 trial failed to include required guidance about whether mitigating evidence presented during the trial’s punishment phase could justify a life prison sentence. Attorneys also argued his trial lawyers were deficient for not spotting the instruction lapse.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed the questions should be reviewed and on Tuesday affirmed a federal district judge’s decision to reject the claims.

Young was condemned for fatally shooting 55-year-old Hasmukh Patel at Patel’s San Antonio store.

 

PISTOL-PACKING WOMAN

Woman who hid gun in her vagina gets probation in drug case

WACO, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman who police said packed a loaded pistol in her vagina has been sentenced to probation after she pleaded guilty to drug possession.

Ashley Cecilia Castaneda has been sentenced to 10 years on deferred probation for methamphetamine possession. The 33-year-old Waco woman also was fined $2,500.

Waco police say that when Castaneda was arrested in 2015, she told officers on her way to McLennan County Jail that she was packing a loaded handgun in her birth canal. Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said a jail matron performed a cavity search and found the gun, right where Castaneda said she had hid it.

Castaneda’s attorney, Seth Sutton, denied the story as impossible, but Swanton said the police department stood by it.

 

DEADLY WRECK-AFFLUENZA

Prosecutors say ‘affluenza’ teen’s mother violated bond

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors are asking a judge to revoke the bond posted by the mother of a Texas teenager who used an “affluenza” defense after he killed four people in a 2013 drunken-driving crash.

Tonya Couch has been free pending trial on charges of hindering apprehension of a felon and money laundering. She and her son Ethan fled to Mexico in 2015 after video surfaced apparently showing him at a party with alcohol — a probation violation.

Now, prosecutors allege that Tonya Couch possessed or consumed alcoholic beverages in violation of her bond.

She tends bar in suburban Fort Worth.

At trial, a psychologist blamed “affluenza” — acting irresponsibly due to wealth — for Ethan Couch’s actions. He’s serving two years in jail as a condition of his 10 years’ probation.

 

RITUAL ABUSE-CONVICTION CHALLENGED

Texas judge finds ex-day care owners innocent of abuse

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge has approved a prosecutor’s declaration of innocence for the former owners of a day care who were imprisoned for 21 years for child abuse and satanic rituals.

Dan and Fran Keller were freed in 2013 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals determined a doctor gave false testimony in their trial. They divorced in prison.

The couple was convicted in 1992 of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old after children in their care told investigators fantastic tales of dismembered babies and tortured pets.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said in a statement Tuesday that state District Judge Cliff Brown approved her motion that absolves the Kellers of any crimes.

The determination of outright innocence makes each eligible for $80,000 in compensation for every year they were wrongfully imprisoned.

 

JORDAN-AMERICANS KILLED

Jordan court told of heavy fire in killing of 3 US troops

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A crime scene investigator has told a military court that a convoy carrying American troops came under heavy fire at the gate of a Jordanian base, including from inside a guard house.

The investigator testified Tuesday in the murder trial of a Jordanian soldier who has been accused of killing three U.S. military trainers at entrance to the base in November.

The investigator says multiple rounds were fired from two M-16 assault rifles, and that some of the cartridges were found inside the guard house.

The guard house was a few feet from the convoy’s first car whose driver and passenger were killed instantly.

Jordanian troops have testified that the defendant, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha, was in the guard house before firing took place.

The defendant has pleaded “not guilty.”