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Florida suspect accused of shooting deputy during traffic stop captured after 5-day manhunt

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The alleged “cop killer” former Marine who fatally shot a Florida deputy during a traffic stop was apprehended by authorities Tuesday, concluding a five-day manhunt that sent schools into lockdown.
Law enforcement located 35-year-old Patrick McDowell in a ballpark in Callahan, Florida, on Monday in an area near a concession stand and a bathroom, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said at a press conference. SWAT teams gave him several commands to get on the ground and “crawl like a baby, like the coward he is,” Leeper said. Law enforcement released one of their dogs, which grabbed McDowell by an arm, and officers placed him in handcuffs belonging to Nassau County Deputy Josh Moyers.
“I wish he would have given us an opportunity to shoot him. But he didn’t,” Leeper said. “He crawled out like a coward. He’s in custody. And he’s going to pay for what he did.”
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Moyers, 29, died at 2:19 p.m. Sunday at UF Health Jacksonville. McDowell allegedly shot the deputy several times during a traffic stop in Callahan on Friday, and law enforcement quickly set up a perimeter of a five-mile area covering about 3,000 acres, Leeper said. Deputies had gone door to door checking on residents over the weekend, and several schools in the area were on modified lockdown Monday.
When McDowell crawled out of the ballpark Tuesday, surrendering, he had T-shirts tied around gunshot wounds he received from law enforcement several nights ago when search teams encountered him in the woods, Leeper said. The sheriff explained how a police canine bit McDowell while he was bedded down in a wooded area, so he shot the animal and law enforcement returned fire.
Patrick McDowell (left) is accused of shooting Nassau County Deputy Josh Moyers twice during a traffic stop on Friday. Moyers died at the hospital Sunday. (Nassau County Sheriff's Office)
“He got struck in the right thigh and grazed the top of his head. He was injured with a bad wound,” Leeper said, adding that his office was in the process of making additional arrests for individuals who assisted McDowell while he was a wanted fugitive. “He was trying to reach out to people who could get him help. He knew if he went to the hospital we would find him.”
Video broadcast by WTLV-WJXX showed McDowell arriving at UF Health in Jacksonville for treatment later Tuesday following his capture.
In a statement obtained by WJAX-TV Monday, McDowell’s father, Richard, offered condolences to Moyers’ family and explained that his son was diagnosed with PTSD and became addicted to drugs after serving in the Marines.
“I want to explain a few things about Patrick but please don’t think I’m making excuses for him or trying to rationalize his actions. After Patrick returned from Iraq he enrolled and sought help from the VA for depression, headaches and nightmares,” the statement says. “He was diagnosed with PTSD and depression and some physical infirmities. At first, he was motivated to deal with his demons and started a family.”
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“As time progressed, he slipped into a darker place. He had trouble with seizures, pain management and sleep patterns. He turned to drugs and quit going to his VA appointments. He started stealing to support his habit and was arrested,” McDowell's father continued. “He was accepted into Veterans Treatment Court and was doing very well.”

North Carolina hospital system Novant Health to fire 175 employees who refused COVID vaccine mandate

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North Carolina’s Novant Health is set to fire an estimated 175 employees this week after the group of medical professionals refused to comply with the hospital system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Less than 200 Novant Health employees out of more than 35,000 – spread across 15 hospitals and 800 locations statewide – opted to be noncompliant with the mandate, Megan Rivers, a spokeswoman for Novant Health, which is based in Winston Salem, North Carolina, said in an email to Fox News Digital. That means more than 99% of Novant Health employees were compliant with the vaccine mandate, according to the hospital system.
“We are thrilled that the vast majority of team members gave Novant Health’s patients and visitors, as well as our team members, better protection against COVID-19 regardless of where they are in our health system,” Rivers said.
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“We have not had a major impact with staffing related to our vaccination program,” Dr. David H. Priest, Novant Health’s senior vice president and chief safety, quality and epidemiology office, said at a community briefing on Monday. “The most important thing we do is keeping patients safe. Our sacred responsibility is to make sure people are not harmed when they come into any of our facilities.”
Priest dismissed critics of the vaccine mandate online, telling reporters, “Social media has a way of amplifying those voices.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me that non-health care industries would mandate a vaccine and health care would not. Medical ethics is really important but not all medical ethics principles are equal,” he said. “The number one medical ethical principle is we do not cause harm to patients or certainly cause their death. It comes certainly before anything else. It comes before my personal choice.”
“I think in the months ahead this is going to become a non-event,” Priest said of pushback to the vaccine mandate. “I think all of this angst about the vaccine and this small group of people that are against it – we have to work through that, but there was a little bit of that around polio vaccine. I’ll be glad when all of that dies down. And it will over time.”
Last week, about 375 Novant Health employees – across 15 hospitals, 800 clinics and hundreds of outpatient facilities – were confirmed to be noncompliant and were not able to report to work, Rivers said. Those who were noncompliant were given a five-day, unpaid suspension period to allow them time to get vaccinated. If still noncompliant after that window, their employment was to be terminated.
Over the five days, roughly 200 team members came into compliance.
On Sept. 21, Novant Health said 98.6% of more than 35,000 team members were compliant with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program. Employees are considered compliant if they have received the following: the single dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, a first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine – or if they applied for, and were granted, a medical or religious exemption.
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Employees who have started a two-dose vaccine series will have until Oct. 15 to get their second dose and remain in compliance, Rivers said.
Novant Health employees who have been granted a medical or religious exemption are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, wear N95 respirators masks or other appropriate PPE, and eye-wear protection while working on Novant Health premises, Rivers said. She declined to disclose how many employees were granted exemptions to the vaccine mandate.

Texas man arrested for allegedly killing 3, including child, dumping dismembered bodies in burning dumpster

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A Texas man has been arrested in connection to a triple homicide in which the dismembered bodies, including that of a child, were discovered in a dumpster that was set on fire last week, authorities said Tuesday.
Jason Alan Thornburg, 41, was charged with capital murder of multiple persons, the Fort Worth Police Department.
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Fort Worth firefighters had discovered the dismembered bodies on Wednesday while responding to a dumpster fire outside a local business, FOX4 Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
Jason Alan Thornburg, 41, was charged with capital murder of multiple persons, the Fort Worth Police Department said Tuesday. (Fort Worth Police Department)
Investigators said one body appeared to be a child and another belonged to a teenage or adult female. Neither was immediately identified. The third body was identified as 42-year-old David Lueras.
No motive for the killings was immediately released.
Law enforcement officials confirmed to KXAS-TV that Thornburg was arrested at a Euless hotel on Monday and later confessed to the three murders. The officials said he also admitted to at least two other murders in North Texas and another state.
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Thornburg has a prior conviction of evading arrest and was released on parole in 2020, according to the station.
Police did not immediately release details on Thornburg’s arrest or say what led them to the suspect.
More information was expected to be released later Tuesday.

The first freeze of the season: How to prepare

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As fall begins, states across the U.S. are bracing for the first freeze of the 2021 season.
A cold front is moving across the Plains midweek and the cooler air is also forecast for the Northwest and Northeast.
STORMY WEATHER FORECAST FOR PLAINS, COOLER TEMPERATURES TO MOVE INTO NORTHEAST
Average freeze dates for much of the central and southern U.S. begin in October and November, according to the Weather Channel.
With chillier weather comes health and home concerns, and preparation can be key to avoiding risks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that Americans winterize homes by insulating water lines along exterior walls, installing weather stripping and storm windows and repairing roof leaks and clearing out gutters.
The agency recommends checking heating systems and annually inspecting fireplaces and chimneys, in addition to keeping a safe alternate heating source on hand and installing a carbon monoxide detector.
People should be equipped in advance for weather-related emergencies, like power outages.
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The CDC suggests preparing emergency kits for both cars and homes, including extra batteries and chargers, water and nonperishable food, flashlights and battery-powered radios, a first-aid kit and medicine, blankets, baby items, booster cables, tire chains and tire pumps, cat litter or road salt and flares.
For cars, radiators should be serviced, drivers should maintain the proper antifreeze level, the gas tank should be kept full, windshield washers should have wintertime formula and users should check the tread on tires.
Cellphones should be fully charged, and people should wear proper cold-weather gear and find shelter if a home or residence has lost its heat.
Older adults should keep an easy-to-read thermometer inside of their homes, as the ability to feel change in temperature decreases with age.
VideoIn addition, children are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults and exposure to extreme cold can lead to lower body temperatures and hypothermia.
Pets should be brought inside and provided adequate shelter and access to water.
People should dress warmly, wearing layers, hats, scarves and mittens and stay dry.
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Lastly, the CDC instructs people to listen to weather forecasts regularly, use any generators and heat their homes safely and conserve heat.
The organization warns of caution while traveling or during outdoor activities, with care to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.

Florida deputy dies after being shot by former Marine

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A Florida sheriff’s deputy died Sunday – two days after he was shot twice by a former Marine he had pulled over, authorities said.
Nassau Deputy Joshua Moyers, 29, was shot in the face and back Friday morning and doctors had announced they didn’t expect him to survive his injuries.
An extensive manhunt continued Monday for alleged gunman, Patrick McDowell, who is still on the loose and considered dangerous.
A Florida sheriff’s deputy died Sunday – two days after he was shot twice by a former Marine he had pulled over, authorities said. Nassau Deputy Joshua Moyers, 29, right, was shot in the face and back Friday morning and doctors had announced they didn’t expect him to survive his injuries. An extensive manhunt continued Monday for alleged gunman, Patrick McDowell, left, who is still on the loose and considered dangerous.
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Police are offering $54,000 for McDowell’s capture.
“It is with great sadness that I announce Deputy Josh Moyers has passed this afternoon, September 26, 2021 at 2:19 PM at UF Health in Jacksonville,” Sheriff Bill Leeper posted on Twitter on Sunday.
“Please keep Josh’s family and fiancé in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this terrible tragedy.”
Moyers, a deputy since 2015, stopped a stolen Chrysler SUV early Friday and asked the driver to get out of the vehicle after he gave the officer a fake name, The Florida Times-Union reported.
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The driver fired two shots before escaping across train tracks. A passenger in the Chrysler also ran off but was found by deputies later, the Times-Union stated.
McDowell, 35, is believed to have shot a police dog on his trail, the newspaper previously reported.
This story first appeared in the New York Post

Utah deputies arrest fugitive sex offender who escaped mental institution and hid in national parks

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Utah deputies have arrested a dangerous fugitive and sex offender in Wayne County – after the U.S. Marshals warned he may have been drifting from campground to campground in a handful of Western states, according to local reports.
John Freeman Colt, 42, escaped from a Kansas mental facility, where he was part of a sexual predator treatment program earlier this year.
The FBI considered Colt as “sexually violent” and dangerous and he was involuntarily committed to the mental institution after serving a five-year prison term for sex crimes, burglary and attacking police.
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dangerous sex offender who escaped from a state mental hospital in Kansas has been captured in Utah after being on the run since June, according to a law enforcement official. John Freeman Colt escaped from Larned State Hospital in June by obtaining a replica of a staff ID badge and uniform. He then shaved his long hair and beard, hid blankets under the covers to make it appear he was sleeping, and then convinced a new employee he was a doctor to make his way out.
He escaped from the Larned State Hospital after donning a staff uniform and fake ID badge and successfully talking his way through a series of five secured doors, according to FOX 13 Utah.
The Marshals said his last known whereabouts were in Scott City on June 30 and he was believed to have been camping out at state and national parks in Utah, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota and Texas.
It was not immediately clear whether his path through Utah intersected with two other high-profile incidents linked to parks in the state – the double murder of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner and the Gabby Petito case.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dangerous sex offender who escaped from a state mental hospital in Kansas has been captured in Utah after being on the run since June, according to a law enforcement official. John Freeman Colt escaped from Larned State Hospital in June by obtaining a replica of a staff ID badge and uniform. He then shaved his long hair and beard, hid blankets under the covers to make it appear he was sleeping, and then convinced a new employee he was a doctor to make his way out.
Schulte and Turner were found shot to death and partially disrobed near their campsite outside Moab, Utah, on Aug. 18. The couple had last been seen alive leaving Woody’s Tavern on Aug. 13.
The couple had told friends earlier that a suspicious man was creeping them out near their campsite and that they wanted to move.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dangerous sex offender who escaped from a state mental hospital in Kansas has been captured in Utah after being on the run since June, according to a law enforcement official. John Freeman Colt escaped from Larned State Hospital in June by obtaining a replica of a staff ID badge and uniform. He then shaved his long hair and beard, hid blankets under the covers to make it appear he was sleeping, and then convinced a new employee he was a doctor to make his way out.
“We don’t think they got a chance to,” said Cindy Sue Hunter, a local business owner who was first to discover Schulte's body off the trail. “We think they were ambushed.”
The double slayings shocked the small community, which has a population of just over 5,000 but sees a huge number of visitors passing through.
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Authorities did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Local businesses and anonymous donors are offering a $20,000 reward for information that could crack the case, the sheriff's office said. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 435-259-8115.
The area sees numerous visitors, but few crimes, according to locals. Rental cars and hotel rooms were hard to find this week, and cross-country travelers and vans, RVs and other vehicles are seemingly everywhere.

Sheriff’s office renews calls for info on missing Miya Marcano

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The Orange County Sheriff's Office once again turned to social media Tuesday for any information regarding the disappearance of 19-year-old Miya Marcano.
Marcano was last seen around 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the Arden Villas apartments near the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. Her father told local news outlets that she was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale later that day but never made it to the plane.
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The sheriff's office says the person of interest in Marcano's disappearance, Arden Villas maintenance worker Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, was found dead in an apparent suicide yesterday. Marcano lives and works in the complex's leasing office.
A maintenance master key that Caballero was known to keep was used to enter Marcano's apartment unit around 4:30 p.m. Friday, a half-hour before she would have finished her shift at the apartment complex, Mina said.
Before he was found dead, authorities had an arrest warrant on Caballero for allegedly entering her unit.
Marcano's family gathered to continue searching for the missing college student on Tuesday. “I'm still very hopeful that we're going to find her,” Marcano's cousin told FOX 35 Orlando.
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In a news conference, Sheriff Mina said it appears to have been a situation where Caballero might have developed a romantic interest in Marcano but she wasn't interested in that way.
Miya had reportedly told friends that Caballero had been texting her excessively and she asked him to stop. After stopping, he reportedly started back up again.
Deputies spent all weekend trying to track down Caballero. Seminole County deputies eventually found him dead around 10:30 a.m. Monday morning outside some apartments on Sabal Lake Drive in Longwood.
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OCSO said Marcano is a student at Valencia College. Deputies urge anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to call OCSO at 407-836-4357. If you see Marcano, call 911.

Atlanta spa shooting suspect pleads not guilty in 4 killings

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A man already sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to fatally shooting four people at a massage business outside Atlanta pleaded not guilty to shooting four others on the same day at two spas inside the city.
Robert Aaron Long, 22, appeared briefly Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court, where he waived arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on charges including murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism. District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking the death penalty as well as a sentencing enhancement under Georgia’s new hate crimes law.
In July, Long pleaded guilty in Cherokee County to charges including four counts of murder. He received four sentences of life without parole plus an additional 35 years.
Robert Long (Crisp County Sherrif's Office)
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Those killed in Cherokee County were: Paul Michels, 54; Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Delaina Yaun, 33. The Atlanta victims were: Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Tuesday was the second time Long appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville. The hearing lasted a few minutes. Glanville asked the defense if it wanted to waive indictment and plead not guilty, and defense attorney Jerilyn Bell said yes. Long did not address the judge. Glanville set the next hearing in the case for Nov. 23.
During a brief appearance last month, Glanville asked Long's defense attorneys — court-appointed lawyers from the Georgia capital defender's office — about their qualifications to handle a death penalty case and went through a checklist specific to capital cases.
When the killings happened in March, Asian Americans were already experiencing an uptick in hostility related to the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that a majority of the slain victims were women of Asian descent exacerbated existing feelings of fear and anger. Many have been upset by Long's assertions that he was motivated by the shame he felt from sexual urges, rather than by racial bias.
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Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said during the hearing in July that investigators found no evidence of racial bias motivating the killings. She said that had that case gone to trial, she was prepared to seek the death penalty and would have argued Long was motivated by gender bias.
Wallace said she spoke to the Cherokee County survivors and families of victims before agreeing to a plea deal and made that decision in the interest of getting justice quickly and avoiding a drawn out trial and appeals process.
Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, said last month that she believes race and gender played a role in Long's motivation. Georgia’s hate crimes law does not provide for a stand-alone hate crime. After a person is convicted of an underlying crime, a jury must determine whether it was motivated by bias, which carries an additional penalty.
Willis has said the families of the Atlanta victims have told her they understand it may be a long road but they're in favor of seeking the death penalty. BJay Pak, a lawyer who represents the families of Yue and Kim, said they believe a lengthy judicial process is a small price to pay to get justice for their loved ones.
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“They're ready and they have the resolve to do it,” Pak said. He noted that the family members try to come to court for the hearings to seek closure and justice and to remind the judge and others involved of what's been lost.
After shooting five people at Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County, Long drove about 30 miles south to Atlanta, where he shot three women at Gold Spa and one woman across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, police have said.
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He then headed south on the interstate, and authorities have said he intended to carry out similar attacks in Florida.
But his parents had called police after recognizing their son in images from security video posted online by authorities in Cherokee County. His parents were already tracking his movements through an application on his phone, which allowed authorities to find him and take him into custody on a south Georgia interstate.

Georgia man armed with bow and arrow carjacks woman in Atlanta, shot by officer during standoff: police

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A carjacking suspect wielding a bow and arrow was in custody in Georgia on Tuesday after a standoff with police, authorities said.
Atlanta police were called to the scene of a carjacking just after 6 a.m. and found a female victim who reported that a Caucasian male took her 2014 Toyota Camry, the Atlanta Police Department said.
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She said the man was armed with a bow and arrow when he approached her while she was inside her vehicle. He then fired an arrow into the windshield and demanded she exit the car, police said.
The victim was not injured during the incident.
The suspect was taken into custody in Marietta on Tuesday following a standoff with police. (FOX 5 Atlanta WAGA)
Police said investigating officers learned that a man matching the suspect’s description and armed with a similar weapon had unsuccessfully tried carjacking two motorists prior to taking the Toyota Camry.
While police in Atlanta continued to investigate, officers in Marietta responded to the scene of a car crash on Powder Springs Street, FOX5 Atlanta reported. The driver of the crashed vehicle pulled a compound bow and arrow on responding officers and aimed it at them.
At least one officer opened fire on the suspect, the station reported. It was not immediately known how many shots were fired or whether the suspect was injured.
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The Marietta and Cobb police departments took the suspect into custody following the standoff. Cobb police confirmed to the station that the vehicle involved in the crash was the same Toyota Camry that had been carjacked earlier.
Police did not immediately release the suspect’s identity or any charges he may face.

Maryland newspaper gunman gets more than 5 life prison terms

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A man who killed five people at a newspaper in Maryland was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs ordered the sentence for Jarrod Ramos, whom a jury previously found criminally responsible for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette’s office in June 2018.
Ramos had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him in 2019, using Maryland’s version of an insanity defense. The case was delayed several times before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
This June 28, 2018, file photo provided by the Anne Arundel Police shows Jarrod Ramos in Annapolis, Maryland. (Anne Arundel County Police Department via AP)
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Before announcing the sentence, the judge noted that Ramos showed no remorse for the crimes and even told a state psychiatrist he would kill more if he were ever released.
“The impact of this case is just simply immense,” Wachs said. “To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement.”
Ramos, who sat in court wearing a black mask, declined to make a statement in court when asked by his attorney, Katy O’Donnell.
Also prior to the sentencing, survivors of the shooting and relatives of the five victims who died in the attack described the pain and loss they have experienced.
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Montana Winters Geimer, daughter of shooting victim Wendi Winters, testified how her mother “woke up one morning, went to work and never came back.”
“The day she died was the worst day of my life,” Geimer told Wachs. “The hours spent not knowing if she was alive or dead have lived in my nightmares ever since.”
The assault was one of the worst attacks on journalists in U.S. history.
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After a 12-day trial in July, a jury took less than two hours to reject arguments from Ramos' attorneys that he could not understand the criminality of his actions.
Prosecutors contend Ramos, 41, acted out of revenge against the newspaper after it published a story about his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of harassing a former high school classmate in 2011. Prosecutors said his long, meticulous planning for the attack, which included preparations for his arrest and long incarceration, proved he understood the criminality of his actions.