• Case dropped against woman in university bomb hoax: AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors dropped the charges against a former Texas State University student accused of threatening to bomb the campus this past fall.
Hays County assistant district attorney Fred Weber told the Austin American-Statesman Friday there wasn’t sufficient evidence to proceed with the case against 19-year-old Brittany Henderson.
Two days after local authorities took her into custody in the Oct. 18 hoax, the FBI said it had arrested her ex-boyfriend. But Henderson still spent more than a month in jail before her December release on a reduced bond.
A federal criminal complaint says Dereon Kelley accessed Henderson’s email to send bomb threats to Texas State on Oct. 18 and Texas A&M on Oct. 19. He faces up to 10 years in prison on a federal felony charge.
• Tip led to arrests in Ga. baby killing : BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Police in Georgia say an anonymous tip helped them make arrests in the shooting death of baby who was killed in a stroller.
The Brunswick Police Department said Sunday that they got a tip that someone was crouched in the back seat of a vehicle as it drove away from the shooting on Thursday. The Glynn County detective’s division spent hours following up on the tip and eventually arrested a 14-year-old suspect. The boy’s statements led them to take 17-year-old De’Marquise Elkins into custody.
Elkins is charged with murder in the death of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago. The baby’s mother, Sherry West, said she was walking home when Elkins and a younger boy approached and asked her for money.
Elkins’ family says he did not shoot the baby.
• Police: Pa. man kills son, wounds wife; kills self: PETERSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania father shot and killed his 2-year-old son and wounded his estranged wife during a custody exchange before killing himself, authorities said.
Police said Kenneth Ayers also shot at his mother during the altercation Saturday morning at her home in a rural area about 20 miles southwest of State College.
Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic said Ayers, 52, was subject to a protection from abuse order filed by his wife but was permitted visits with his son, Michael.
Saturday’s visit was to happen at his mother’s home in Barree Township. But once at the home, Ayers got into an altercation with his estranged wife, Hollie Jo, and shot her in the legs and arm with a .40 caliber handgun before intentionally shooting his son, police said.
Kenneth Ayers placed the child’s body in the back of his vehicle but the wounded woman retrieved the body before Ayers shot her again in the face, police said. He also fired at his mother but missed.
Kenneth Ayers’ body was found several hours later in his parked truck in a wooded area in Warriors Mark Township. Investigators said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hollie Jo Ayers was transported to a hospital and expected to survive, according to police.
State police Cpl. Daniel Sneath said investigators are trying to determine what led to the shooting and why Ayers was carrying a gun despite the protection order.
• Rove sees potential support for gay marriage: WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP strategist Karl Rove says he can imagine a Republican candidate in the next presidential campaign supporting gay marriage.
The statement from the former adviser to President George W. Bush appears to acknowledge that opposition to gay marriage has waned in some conservative circles.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, announced last week that he now supports gay marriage after learning one of his sons was gay.
Rove’s comment was part of a panel discussion on ABC’s “This Week.” He did not elaborate.
The Supreme Court is taking up two cases this week involving same-sex marriage. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that most Republicans still oppose gay marriage and noted that 30 states have defined marriage between a man and a woman.
• SAPLINGS FROM ANNE FRANK’S TREE TAKE ROOT IN US: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Saplings from the chestnut tree that stood as a symbol of hope for Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis for two years in Amsterdam are being distributed to 11 locations in the United States as part of a project that aims to preserve her legacy and promote tolerance.
The tree, one of the Jewish teenager’s only connections to nature while she hid with her family, was diseased and rotted through the trunk when wind and heavy rain toppled it in August 2010. But saplings grown from its seeds will be planted starting in April, when the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will put the first one in the ground.
The 11 U.S. locations, which also include a park memorializing 9-11 victims in New York City, an Arkansas high school that was the heart of the desegregation battle and Holocaust centers in Michigan and Washington state were chosen by The Anne Frank Center USA from 34 applicants.
• HOLDER AVERTS FURLOUGHS OF PRISON STAFFERS: Attorney General Eric Holder says he has averted daily furloughs of 3,570 federal prison staffers around the country, moving $150 million from other Justice Department accounts to stave off a serious threat to the lives and safety of correctional staff, inmates and the public.
Some 38,000 employees at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons supervise 176,000 inmates at 119 institutions, ensuring security and providing prisoners with needed programs.
In a memo Friday to all Justice Department employees, Holder said that congressional passage of a spending bill keeping the government open through the end of September provides no relief from $1.6 billion in Justice Department budget reductions that already took effect.
Holder’s memo did not say which department agencies were tapped for the $150 million and spokeswoman Nanda Chitre declined to comment on that question Saturday.
The attorney general said moving the $150 million can protect prison facilities through the end of the fiscal year in September, but does not resolve “serious life and safety issues” the Bureau of Prisons faces next year.