Injured Giffords staffer returns to work
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is shown with her district director Ron Barber in an undated photo.
July 5th, 2011
09:46 PM ET

Injured Giffords staffer returns to work

Ron Barber was standing near U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when a gunman shot her in the head at January's meet-and-greet event in Tucson.

Six months after he suffered gunshot wounds to his cheek and left thigh, Barber, the congresswoman's district director, returned to work at Giffords' Tucson office Tuesday and was greeted by signs, applause and hugs.

"The only thing that would be better than this day for me is for the day the congresswoman walks through the door," Barber, 65, told CNN affiliate KVOA.

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Filed under: Arizona • Justice • Politics
July 5th, 2011
09:41 PM ET

Montana issues emergency order for oil spill

Montana's governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday related to a ruptured pipeline that caused tens of thousands of gallons of oil to gush into the Yellowstone River - a break the pipeline's owner still don't know the cause of, a spokesman said.

Schweitzer toured the spill site Tuesday morning, a day after criticizing the speed and effectiveness of the response in an interview with CNN.

A spokesman for ExxonMobile, Alan Jeffers, told CNN on Tuesday that the company is stepping up its clean-up effort, which has come under criticism from Schweitzer.

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Filed under: Energy • Montana
July 5th, 2011
08:45 PM ET

Trial begins in classroom killing of gay teen

Jurors heard opening statements Tuesday in the murder trial of a teenager who is accused of gunning down a gay classmate execution-style in their southern California junior high school classroom in 2008.

Brandon McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, is being tried as an adult on charges of first-degree murder, use of a handgun and a hate crime, said Ventura County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Frawley.

After the first shot, Lawrence King fell to the ground, and McInerney allegedly stood over him and shot again, Frawley said.

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Filed under: California • Courts • Gay and lesbian
July 5th, 2011
08:41 PM ET

Myanmar diplomat seeks asylum in U.S.

The second-highest-ranking diplomat at the embassy of Myanmar in Washington has defected and wants to seek asylum in the United States.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton obtained by CNN, Deputy Chief of Mission Kyaw Win said he had "no choice" but to leave his post in protest over human rights abuses and fraudulent elections.

Win's move is a setback for the regime in Myanmar, which held its first elections in 20 years in November.

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July 5th, 2011
08:18 PM ET

Toobin: Media should soul-search after Anthony verdict

The news media should reflect on its coverage of Casey Anthony after the Florida woman was found not guilty of murder in her daughter’s death, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

But he added the verdict also helps show that intense media coverage doesn’t necessarily lead to juries that are eager to convict a defendant.

Toobin’s comments came after Anthony attorney J. Cheney Mason - after Anthony’s acquittal Tuesday – blasted what he called “incompetent talking heads” and a “media assassination” of Anthony.

Mason said that “colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don’t know a damn thing about and don’t have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it.”

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Courts • Crime • Florida • Justice
July 5th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Jury's verdict: Casey Anthony not guilty of murder

Editor's note: For more on the jury's finding that Casey Anthony is not guilty in daughter Caylee's death read our full story here.

[Updated at 8:20 p.m.] From the moment word came that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, online networking sites were flooded with a cascade of amateur commentary. A few big names, including Kim Kardashian, joined the fray. Most condemned the verdict "no justice for Caylee" was a common comment which comes after years of the case serving as fodder for cable news, tabloids and the like.

[Updated at 7:55 p.m.] Mourners of Caylee Anthony want you to turn your porch lights on tonight in honor of the slain 2-year-old.

The Facebook event, "Porch lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony," urges people "all over the world" to start participating at "9 pm in your own time zone."

Already, 546,610 have said they're attending, and some say their lights are already on.

ALTERNATE JUROR SPEAKS

[Updated at 7:20 p.m.] Alternate juror Russell Huekler said he agrees with the jury's verdict "wholeheartedly" and surmised that Caylee Anthony's death was a "horrific accident" gone awry.

"The prosecution did not prove their case," said Huekler, who sat through the entire case but did not get to deliberate the charges.

Prosecutors failed to answer the question of how Caylee died, he said.

From the testimony, Huekler said he drew the conclusion that "it was probably a horrific accident" that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, covered up.

"Unfortunately it did snowball and got away from them," Huekler said. "It was such a horrific accident that they didn't know how to deal with it. The family appeared to be very dysufintional and instead of admitting there was an accident, they chose to hide it, for whatever reason."

CASEY ANTHONY'S FAMILY

[Updated at 5:08 p.m.] Attorney Mark Lippman issued a statement on behalf of Lee, George and Cindy Anthony:

While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.

Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.

The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.

The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.

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July 5th, 2011
07:17 PM ET

What's next for Casey Anthony?

Florida mother Casey Anthony was acquitted of all charges Tuesday in the death of daughter Caylee in 2008. But she still faces sentencing Thursday on four counts of lying to police regarding a missing person. What could be in store for her?

Each misdemeanor count carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail, for which Judge Belvin Perry has the option of sentencing her consecutively or concurrently.

The defense plans to ask Perry that she be sentenced concurrently because the four counts occurred at the same time, defense lawyer Cheney Mason told In Session's Jean Casarez.

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Overheard: Readers react to Casey Anthony verdict
Casey Anthony was acquitted of first-degree murder on Tuesday
July 5th, 2011
05:31 PM ET

Overheard: Readers react to Casey Anthony verdict

Comment of the day:

“I have been ‘foreperson’ on three trials. Bottom line is so clear and it is called Reasonable Doubt. That is what dictates the jury's decision. No matter what you think – just one item that causes Reasonable Doubt means not guilty because everything in this case that was presented has to be beyond a Reasonable Doubt. I believe no one will ever know what truly happened, but you do not convict someone because of your emotional feelings.” – Carole

Casey Anthony found not guilty on most serious charges

After less than two days of deliberation, a Florida jury acquitted Casey Anthony on Tuesday of first-degree murder and the other most serious charges against her in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. They did convict her on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers, which carries a one-year sentence for each count.

Before the verdict was announced, CNN.com readers speculated about whether Anthony would be found guilty or not:

bigclown248 said, “100% Guilty. The lies, the duct tape, the chloroform searches, the motive, the partying, human decomposition evidence, the picture of a man using a chloroform-soaked rag to drug a woman, the tattoo, blaming an innocent or imaginary person for the kidnapping/murder..."

Luisferreira responded, “I found that Baez had a good defense conclusion, where he pointed out the most important thing: it’s on the hands of the prosecution to prove without a doubt that the person is guilty. In this case, I don't think they have any real proof besides speculation and Casey’s post-behavior.”

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Florida v. Casey Anthony: A look back at evidence and testimony
July 5th, 2011
05:22 PM ET

Florida v. Casey Anthony: A look back at evidence and testimony

A Florida jury on Tuesday found Casey Anthony not guilty in the 2008 death of her daughter, Caylee. Here's a look back at highlights from 33 days and more than 100 witnesses in the trial of the year:

Week 1: As Casey Anthony murder trial begins, mysteries remain

The case of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony began with both sides summing up their versions of what they believed the evidence would show. From the prosecution, jurors heard a timeline of the defendant's activities before her mother reported Caylee missing: parties, drinking and sleepovers with men.

Those days included getting a tattoo, participating in a "hot body" contest at an Orlando club, many Caylee-free nights at her then-boyfriend Anthony Lazzaro's apartment and many, many lies, the prosecution said.

"No one else benefited from the death of Caylee Marie Anthony," said assistant state attorney Linda Drane-Burdick in her opening statement. "Caylee's death allowed Casey to live a good life, at least for those 31 days."

From the defense, jurors were presented with an image of loving mother, whose dysfunctional family forced her to live in a state of denial. They argued the family held dark secrets, including that Casey was sexually abused by her father and brother.

The defense also revealed their theory of the case: Caylee drowned in the family pool as the result of what Baez called "an accident that snowballed out of control." He said it was an accident to which Casey's father, George Anthony, was privy. Baez said George Anthony tried to cover up the drowning at Casey's expense.

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July 5th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

Toobin: Anthony verdicts a 'historic rejection' of prosecution's case

[Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET] Tuesday's verdicts in the Casey Anthony case - she was acquitted of felonies including murder, and found guilty of four misdemeanor counts - were a "historic rejection of the prosecution’s case," CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"They sought the death penalty against this woman, and she got convicted of four misdemeanors (of providing false information to a law enforcement officer). This is a historic rejection of the prosecution’s case and an enormous victory – for better or worse – for Casey Anthony,” Toobin said on CNN minutes after the verdicts were read.

“She won and the government lost. ... In most courtrooms in the United States, if you’re convicted of misdemeanors, you do not get a prison sentence. So, the fact that the sentencing is just coming on Thursday - two days from now - suggests that there will not be much to this sentencing," Toobin said.

A lack of evidence pointing to a time of death and a cause of death for Casey's daughter Caylee was key to the acquittal, according to Toobin.

"There was never even a theory of when or how or even why Casey Anthony killed her daughter," he said. "There is certainly a lot of evidence that she behaved terribly, that she lied about all sorts of things. But in terms of murder, much less first-degree murder – intentional murder - there really was a big gap in the evidence, and I certainly expect that when these jurors come to explain their verdict, the failure to prove a time of death or cause of death will be a major, major factor.

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Mountain lion reported loose in Ohio
People in and around Canton, Ohio, are reporting seeing a mountain lion similar to this one.
July 5th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

Mountain lion reported loose in Ohio

Police and wildlife officers in Canton, Ohio, were still looking Tuesday for a mountain lion reportedly seen roaming the area on Independence Day.

The first panicky call about the big predator came in about 4:45 p.m. Monday, Canton police Capt. David Kurzinsky said.

Stark County sheriff's deputies joined the search after sightings came in from outside the city, and an Ohio State Highway Patrol plane was employed, Kurzinsky said. They didn't find anything.

"We don't believe it's a hoax, but right now none of our officers are seeing what (callers) are seeing," he said.

Calls continued to come in Tuesday. They seemed to indicate that the animal is moving east, toward the town of Louisville.

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Filed under: Animals • Mountain lions • Ohio • U.S.
July 5th, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Casey Anthony: What she's facing if jury finds her guilty

Jurors reached a verdict Tuesday in the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, according to court officials. Anthony, 25,  is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008. In this high-profile case, there's a lot at stake. For the defendant, the verdict is a matter of life and death.

Anthony is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder; aggravated manslaughter of a child; aggravated child abuse; and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. As those following the trial across the country anxiously await the jury's verdict, CNN takes a look at all the charges, what a guilty verdict on each charge would mean and what kind of sentence Anthony could be facing if the jury finds for the prosecution.

If you've been captivated by the trial and want to reconsider the evidence, take a look at key points from the defense and prosecution.

And if it's a bit confusing with so many charges and possible sentences, you can always click over to CNN affiliate WESH-TV in Orlando, which has a handy calculator for figuring out possible total sentences depending on whether Anthony is found not guilty or guilty on each of the charges.

Murder charges

Charge: Capital first-degree murder
What it means:
If found guilty, the jury would indicate it believes Anthony planned the murder.
Possible sentence:
Anthony would face death by lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole if recommended by the jury. The judge could overrule this in the sentencing phase but would be required to write an explanation for his disagreement with the jury.

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Courts • Crime • Death Penalty • Justice
July 5th, 2011
12:34 PM ET

Waiting begins for Casey Anthony followers across nation

Jodi Waits is planning to leave her home in Lexington, South Carolina, on Wednesday to drive to Florida, where her elderly parents live.

"I'll stop at stores and rest stops on the way down," said Waits, 48. "And hopefully they won't have a verdict while I'm on the road."

Across the nation, many of those who were glued to the televised murder trial of Casey Anthony are expressing similar sentiments as a second day of jury deliberations are under way. The jury is deciding whether Casey Anthony is guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008.

Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. called jurors into the courtroom briefly Tuesday before sending them out to continue their deliberations about 8:30 a.m.

Casey Anthony is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder; aggravated manslaughter of a child; aggravated child abuse; and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. If convicted of first-degree murder, she could receive the death penalty.

She has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and she denies harming her daughter Caylee.

Prosecutors allege that Anthony used chloroform to render Caylee unconscious before putting duct tape over her nose and mouth to suffocate her. She left Caylee's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it, they allege. The little girl's skeletal remains were found in December 2008 near the Anthony home.

Many have compared Casey Anthony's trial to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995 - only fueled by today's prevalence of the Internet and social media.

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July 5th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

Montana governor to tour oil spill along Yellowstone River

Montana's governor is scheduled to tour polluted areas of the Yellowstone River on Tuesday, days after a pipeline break sent thousands of gallons of oil gushing into the river's rushing waters.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer also will join state disaster response and environmental officials for a media briefing on the spill at noon ET, according to his office.

The crisis began late Friday, when ExxonMobil reported that 750 to 1,000 barrels (32,000 to 42,000 gallons) of oil escaped through a crack in one of its pipelines in the Yellowstone River in Laurel, about 16 miles southwest of Billings. The company said it shut down the line within minutes, but not before toxins had been dumped in the water.

ExxonMobil said Monday night that more than 280 people have converged on the area near Billings, including workers from the Texas-based oil company and the Clean Harbors environmental firm. Schweitzer told CNN the cleanup effort has been "pretty good" thus far, though he criticized the speed and comprehensiveness of the response.

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Man believed to be last Vietnam-era draftee set to retire after 39 years
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger's military service stretched from the Vietnam era to Iraq and Afghanistan.
July 5th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Man believed to be last Vietnam-era draftee set to retire after 39 years

When Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger got a draft card in the mail at his home in Eugene, Oregon, 39 years ago, the military wasn't exactly a popular option or one he desired.

He told officials he had a job, he didn't need a new one. But he didn't have a choice. So on April 18, 1972, he donned a military uniform and prepared for service. And he's been doing it ever since.

That is, until now. Mellinger, believed to be the last of about 2 million men drafted in the Vietnam War era, is set to retire.

"I'm a relic," Mellinger told Time magazine in 2009.  "Most of them are surprised I'm still breathing, because in their minds I'm older than dirt.

"But they're even more surprised when they find out this dinosaur can still move around pretty darn quick."

Mellinger never expected his life to turn out this way.

Mellinger first was an office clerk in what was then West Germany, according to CNN affiliate KWTX-TV.  By his own admission, because of concerns about how the Army was working, he was looking forward to completing two years of service. As soon as his time was up, he would hang up his boots and head for the hills.

"I was dead-set on getting out," he told Time.

But then an opportunity arose that would change the course of his life. Mellinger was offered a spot in the coveted Army Rangers, according to the military. After being drafted during the Vietnam era, he continued on in the military. Years later, following the September 11 attacks, he would head down to ground zero to help out as part of the First Army.

He also served 34 months in Iraq, where he was the senior ranking enlisted man. KWTX reports he survived at least 27 roadside bombings there.

The accolades for the man known as "All Army" appear never-ending.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • Military • U.S. • Vietnam
'Badass' rock critic dead at 92
Jane Scott wrote about rock 'n' roll for The Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1964 to 2002.
July 5th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

'Badass' rock critic dead at 92

Jane Scott, who broke down stereotypes, barriers and ceilings as a rock 'n' roll journalist, has died at 92, her former newspaper announced.

"You can't underestimate the importance of Jane Scott. When it comes to music, when it comes to journalism she invented rock criticism. It was her life and she lived it," Michael Heaton, a former colleague at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, told CNN affiliate WJW-TV.

The Plain Dealer said Scott's first day working there was March 24, 1952, three days after the world's first rock concert the Moondog Coronation Ball put on by radio legend Alan Freed at the Cleveland Arena.

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Filed under: Cleveland • Music • Obituary • Ohio • Showbiz
July 5th, 2011
09:53 AM ET

A space town's long goodbye

When the space shuttle blasts off for the last time on July 8, it will leave behind a 30-year legacy of exploration, and the most dedicated cheerleaders the space program has ever known. In Titusville, Florida, a small town just across the river from Cape Canaveral, generations have relied on manned rocket launches to bring the nation to their doorstep.

"We have a population of 43,000, and there'll be several hundred thousand people here, so our population triples or quadruples," said Laura Lee Thompson, the owner of the Dixieland Crossroads restaurant, a favorite for locals and visiting space enthusiasts alike.

Titusville is just 15 miles from the launch pad; no place on Earth has a better view of the NASA launches. "You take this boardwalk and go straight ahead, that's the launch pad," said resident Bob Socks, gesturing just off the Titusville shore and across the Indian River. When the shuttle launches, said Titusville Mayor James Tulley Jr., "It's spectacular, it really is."

The role of Titusville as the Yankee Stadium of space flight, however, predates the shuttle program. Titusville has been saying goodbye to crews of astronauts for nearly half a century, since the days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions.

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Filed under: Florida • Shuttle • Space
July 5th, 2011
08:34 AM ET

Sex assault complaint to be filed against Strauss-Kahn in France

A new accusation of attempted rape will be filed against former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn in France Tuesday as a separate case against him appears to be on shaky ground in New York.

Writer Tristane Banon, 32, alleges that Strauss-Kahn attacked her eight years ago, her lawyer David Koubbi said, adding that he will file her complaint with French prosecutors Tuesday afternoon.

After Koubbi announced plans to file the complaint Monday, a Strauss-Kahn lawyer in France said he had filed a counterclaim against Banon for "false declarations."

Once French prosecutors receive the complaint, they will determine if there is enough evidence to press charges.

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July 5th, 2011
07:40 AM ET

Korean office tower evacuated after mysterious shaking

Authorities in Seoul, South Korea, ordered the evacuation of a 39-story office building Tuesday after occupants reported that it shook for about 10 minutes, local media reported.

There was no seismic activity reported at the time of the tremors, which began about 10:10 a.m., according to a report in The Korea Times.

"I fled the building with everyone else while it was shaking up and down. It almost made me feel dizzy," Lim Joon-hee, who works on the 20th floor of the building, told the Yonhap News Agency.

About 3,000 people were in the building at the time. All were evacuated, and the building, whose tenants include offices, retailers and a theater,  will remain closed for up to three days while it undergoes safety inspections, local media reported.

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Filed under: South Korea • World
Tuesday's live video events
The royal couple attends a Canada Day ceremony in Ottawa
July 5th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Tuesday's live video events

The jury will deliberate for a second day today in the murder trial of Casey Anthony.  Watch CNN.com Live when a verdict in the case is announced.

Today's programming highlights...

Continuing coverage - Casey Anthony trial verdict watch

10:00 am ET - Shuttle status briefing - NASA briefs reporters on preparations for Friday's planned launch of space shuttle Atlantis.

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Crime • Shuttle • Space
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