Smart trial opens – Opening statements in the trial of the accused mastermind in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart are expected Thursday. It's been eight years since the Utah teen disappeared from her Salt Lake City bedroom in a crime that shocked the nation.
In 2005, a judge found Brian David Mitchell incompetent to stand trial on state charges, leaving him in custody at a psychiatric hospital. The state case was put on hold when federal authorties stepped in.
Mitchell, 57, is facing federal charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for improper purposes. Smart, now 22, has talked about her experience while she was held. She was found less than a year after her capture walking in an area near Salt Lake City wearing a wig and sunglasses. Smart is on the list of witnesses who are scheduled to testify.
Tomas headed to Haiti – Tropical Storm Tomas is spinning toward the beleaguered nation, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. It still may strengthen into a hurricane, with hurricane warnings issued for Haiti, the southern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.
Such a development could be bad news for Haiti, where a cholera outbreak continues to spread to previously unaffected areas in rural communities. The outbreak has killed 442 people and hospitalized 6,742 others, the Pan American Health Organization said.
Mass grave in Mexico – Mexican authorities have recovered 10 bodies from a mass grave outside Acapulco, the state-run Notimex news agency reported, amid speculation of a possible link to a recent kidnapping of 20 tourists.
Meanwhile, there's a report of more violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Two students from the University of Texas at El Paso were shot and killed Tuesday night in the city, Chihuahua state investigators said late Wednesday. The students, identified as Manuel Acosta Villalobos, 25, and Eder Diaz Sotero, 23, were gunned down in a hail of more than 30 bullets while driving a Nissan Sentra with Texas plates, Chihuahua State police spokesman Arturo Sandoval said.