Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Robert Durst expected to plead guilty in New Orleans gun case

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 9 days ago

    Robert Durst, the eccentric New York real estate heir who was the focus of HBO’s crime documentary “The Jinx,” is scheduled to be re-arraigned next month in New Orleans, suggesting he plans to plead guilty to a federal gun charge there.

    Dick DeGuerin, a Houston attorney who heads up Durst’s legal team, declined to comment on a potential plea deal, but in a statement, he suggested the new development would speed up Durst’s extradition to Los Angeles, where he is facing a murder charge in the 2000 death of a longtime friend and confidant, Susan Berman.

    “Bob Durst did not kill Susan Berman and doesn’t know who did,” DeGuerin said. “From the time of his arrest in New Orleans in March, Bob and his legal team have been eager to get to California so he will finally have the opportunity to prove his innocence.”

    The comment came after the filmmakers had presented Durst with an envelope he had mailed to Berman shortly before her death, which included handwriting that appeared similar to an anonymous note sent to police tipping them off to a “cadaver” at Berman’s home.

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  • What I saw visiting post-Katrina New Orleans with President Bush

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    It was Sept. 2, 2005— five days after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, wiping out communities in Alabama and Mississippi and sending fatal floods into the streets of New Orleans. As a White House correspondent for Newsweek, I was among the small group of reporters accompanying Bush for his first on-the-ground visit to the region amid criticism of his administration’s slow response to the storm.

    We were standing near the president and an entourage of local, state and federal officials on an incline near the shore of Lake Pontchartrain overlooking the 17th Street Canal on the northern side of New Orleans. Still swollen with water, the canal had been breached by Katrina’s storm surge, which caused one of its walls to collapse. On one side of the canal, homes stood windblown but mostly dry. On the other, an entire neighborhood was submerged under dark, swampy water. A few hundred yards away, I could see a little church with a white steeple and slanted roof. The water was so high, the church looked like a paper airplane floating in the muck. The air around us smelled like a musty mix of stale water and natural gas.




  • Amid epic drought, California farmers turn to water witches

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 4 mths ago

    LINDSAY, Calif. — Vern Tassey doesn’t advertise. He’s never even had a business card. But here in California’s Central Valley, word has gotten around that he’s a man with “the gift,” and Tassey, a plainspoken, 76-year-old grandfather, has never been busier.

    Farmers call him day and night — some from as far away as the outskirts of San Francisco and even across the state line in Nevada. They ask, sometimes even beg, him to come to their land. “Name your price,” one told him. But Tassey has so far declined. What he does has never been about money, he says, and he prefers to work closer to home.

    And that’s where he was on a recent Wednesday morning, quietly marching along the edge of a bushy orange grove here in the heart of California’s citrus belt, where he’s lived nearly his entire life. Dressed in faded Wranglers, dusty work boots and an old cap, Tassey held in his hands a slender metal rod, which he clutched close to his chest and positioned outward like a sword as he slowly walked along the trees. Suddenly, the rod began to bounce up and down, as if it were possessed, and he quickly paused and scratched a spot in the dirt with his foot before continuing on.

  • Tsarnaev speaks: 'I am sorry for the lives I have taken'

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 5 mths ago

    BOSTON — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke publicly for the first time since his arrest, telling a packed courtroom at his sentencing hearing Wednesday that he was sorry for his role in the 2013 attacks that that killed three people and injured nearly 300.

    "I would like to now apologize to victims and survivors," Tsarnaev said. "Immediately after the bombing that I am guilty of... I learned of some of the victims, their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial, more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls ."

    The 21-year-old, who declined to testify on his own behalf during his trial, was given the opportunity to speak before he was formally sentenced to death. He spoke with a soft voice and a slight accent to a courtroom full of family members and survivors that seemed stunned to finally hear his voice more than two years after his arrest.

    "I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on you," Tsarnaev said. "I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength."

    Tsarnaev was then cuffed and led out of the courtroom by U.S. Marshals.

  • Boston Marathon bomber gets his chance to speak at formal sentencing

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 5 mths ago

    BOSTON —  His lead attorney has said he’s “sorry” for what he did, and a famed Catholic nun told a jury he expressed remorse to her for his victims.

    But in the two years since he was apprehended, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has never spoken publicly about his role in the deadly 2013 attacks that killed three people and injured nearly 300. The jury that convicted him and ultimately sentenced him to death in May did so without even once hearing the sound of his voice after Tsarnaev declined to testify on his own behalf at his two-month federal terrorism trial.

    There’s a chance Tsarnaev could finally break his silence Wednesday. The 21-year-old bomber is scheduled to appear at a hearing in Boston where he will be formally sentenced to death by lethal injection. Before Judge George O’Toole hands down the sentence, roughly 20 bombing survivors and family members of those killed or injured in the attacks are expected to deliver victim impact statements, directly addressing Tsarnaev about the suffering and loss he caused.

    Tsarnaev’s defense team never tried to argue he didn’t participate in the bombings.

  • In tornado-ravaged Moore, Okla., a town endures under ‘the mercy of the sky’

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 6 mths ago

    MOORE, Okla. — It was barely 7 p.m. last Saturday night, but the streets were deserted.

    As Steve Eddy drove toward City Hall, he passed dark storefronts and empty restaurants. It is usually the busiest night of the week in this bustling suburb south of Oklahoma City, but although it was still light out, many businesses had shuttered hours earlier than usual. A storm was coming, and no one wanted to be in its way, not even if it meant losing income or a night’s pay.

    As Moore’s longtime city manager, it was Eddy’s job to be on call for his hometown in good times and bad. And as he headed into work last weekend to be on guard for treacherous weather, he stared out the car window at the ghost town his city had become ahead of what many feared could be the next big storm. It was a sight that he’d seen many times in recent weeks, as the annual spring thunderstorms began to roll through, but he never found it any less unsettling — a town practically shut down by residents on edge. But Eddy couldn’t blame them. Who could after everything they’d been through?

    At one point, Todd Jenson, Eddy’s deputy, let out a sigh. “It’s like waiting for your own execution,” he said.

  • Jury sentences Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 6 mths ago

    BOSTON — After 10 weeks of heart-wrenching and often gruesome testimony from more than 150 witnesses, including survivors with missing limbs and an anguished father who spoke of watching his young son die on the sidewalk in front of him, a jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the death penalty for his role in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

    Tsarnaev offered no visible reaction, though he glanced toward the jurors as they were individually polled on whether they supported the penalty of death. Some of the jurors, a man and at least two women, were crying.

    The decision came a little over two years after a pair of pressure-cooker bombs ripped through a crowd of unsuspecting spectators near the marathon’s finish line in April 2013, killing three and injuring nearly 300. Among the injured: 17 amputees, many of whom took the stand against Tsarnaev with bomb shrapnel still embedded in their bodies.

    “If not for Tamerlan, this wouldn ’ t have happened,” Clarke said. “Dzhokhar would never have done this but for Tamerlan. The tragedy would never have occurred but for Tamerlan. None of it.”

  • Tsarnaev middle finger photo formally entered into evidence

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 7 mths ago

    BOSTON — Was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trying to send an ominous "message" to America or was he simply preening?

    That was the question at his federal trial Wednesday as prosecutors formally entered into evidence a video still of the now-convicted Boston Marathon bomber giving a courthouse security camera the middle finger.

    The photo — long rumored but seen for the first time in court Tuesday — was captured as Tsarnaev waited to be arraigned on bombing charges in July 2013. Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit with his face visibly scarred, Tsarnaev appears furious as he gestures to the camera.

    "This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini said as she showed the image to the jury during the government's opening statement Tuesday. "Unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged."

    Oliveira said he knew of no other incident that day involving Tsarnaev, who waited in the cell several hours before his arraignment. Jurors saw Tsarnaev walking and sitting calmly in his cell in other portions of the video.

  • Photo of Tsarnaev giving middle finger in cell shown at trial

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 7 mths ago

    BOSTON — During a dramatic first dayof the penalty phase in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, federal prosecutors showed the jury an image of the convicted Boston Marathon bomber giving the middle finger to a security camera at the courthouse.

    The photo — long rumored but seen for the first time in court Tuesday — was captured as Tsaranev was waiting to be arraigned on bombing charges in July 2013. Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit with his face visibly scarred, Tsarnaev appears furious as he gestures to the camera.

    It was a sharp contrast to Tsarnaev's demeanor in court, where he has offered little reaction or emotion to even the most gut-wrenching of testimony since his trial began.

    "This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini said. "Unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged."

    prosecutors show a photo of #Tsarnaev flippin the bird in a hold cell from summer '13 @CNNNewsource

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  • Separated by 2 decades, the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings are linked by an enduring mystery

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 7 mths ago

    Peeking out the window that Wednesday morning, the sky was cloudless and a vivid blue. These are the incongruous details you always seem to remember when something terrible happens. On the television, the local CBS affiliate suddenly broke into programming with a shot from the station’s helicopter as it flew toward downtown Oklahoma City, 10 miles away from where I lived. “There’s been some kind of explosion,” the anchor announced, as the screen showed a thick plume of black smoke rising from the skyline. As the helicopter got closer, the smoke engulfed a single building, as if it were simply a bad fire. But then the aircraft banked and circled around, cutting through the smoke, and suddenly you could see it: The entire facade of a nine-story building had been blown off.

    It was the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a glass and concrete structure that, truth be told, I had never even noticed before, and half of it was gone, ripped apart by what investigators later discovered was a 7,000-pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, diesel fuel and other explosives packed into a Ryder truck.

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