MAN FACES LIFE IN PRISON FOR 'PRANK' SEX ATTACK: REDWOOD CITY (AP) — A former Northern California high school student who defended the attempted rape and kidnapping of a teacher as a "prank" failed to persuade a jury, which convicted him on all charges.
David Velasquez, 21, was convicted this week in San Mateo County after prosecutors said he attacked a teacher with a knife in a parking garage at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City in 2012.
Authorities said Velasquez had a fixation for the teacher, and had planned to rape her when he covered his face and eyes and surprised the teacher with a knife.
The two got into a physical struggle until being interrupted by another instructor, who screamed.
Velasquez said he was merely trying to scare the teacher with a "senior prank."
"A prank could be anything; funny, scary," said Velasquez, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The attacks rocked the students and faculty at the school, which is high performing and was ranked as one of America's best by Newsweek in 2011.
HUMAN BONES FOUND IN KY. STORAGE UNIT: CORBIN, Ky. (AP) — Authorities in Kentucky and Delaware are trying to determine whether human bones found inside a storage unit in southeastern Kentucky are the remains of a Delaware woman reported missing in 1997.
The bones were found Thursday by a man who bought the contents of the storage unit in Corbin, Ky., at auction after the death earlier this year of the man who had rented the unit. The bones are being analyzed.
A spokesman for the New Castle County police department in Delaware confirmed Friday that authorities there are working with Kentucky officials to determine whether the bones are those of Doris A. Wood. The 42-year-old Newark, Del., woman was last seen in July 1997.
SINGER LAURYN HILL RELEASED FROM CONN. PRISON : DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill was released from federal prison Friday and will spend three months under home confinement under terms of her guilty plea to failing to pay taxes.
Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman, said the former Fugees singer left the prison in Danbury, Conn., on Friday. She was sentenced in July to serve three months in prison.
"Ms. Hill was released today from federal prison after serving her sentence," Hochman said in an email. "She was released several days early based on a number of factors the Bureau of Prisons takes into consideration, including good behavior. She will now start today a one-year period of probation with three months of home confinement during that year."
Hill, who started singing with the Fugees as a teenager in the 1990s before releasing her multiplatinum 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," pleaded guilty last year in New Jersey to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. Her sentence also took into account unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009 that brought the total earnings to about $2.3 million.
The South Orange, N.J., resident has said in online postings and at her sentencing that she stopped paying taxes after she dropped out of the music business to protect herself and her children, who now number six. At her June sentencing in federal court in Newark, she compared her experience in the music business to the slavery her ancestors endured.
LAWRENCE WELK'S HOME SALE IN JEOPARDY: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More than $580,000 is needed in repairs to the boyhood home of Lawrence Welk in the south-central North Dakota town of Strasburg, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Evelyn Schwab, Welk's niece, who owns the famous bandleader and TV host's birthplace along with her sister, Edna, said the assessment done by the North Dakota Historical Society threatens the sale of the property to the state.
"Oh, my lord — this really hurts," Evelyn Schwab said Friday, after learning of the property evaluation from the AP. "We've come this far, but this definitely would be a deal-killer."
The Legislature this year included $100,000 in the state Historical Society's budget for the purchase of the property on the outskirts of the town of about 400, about 75 miles south of Bismarck and two miles off the "Lawrence Welk Highway." The idea is to turn the home of the maestro of "champagne music" into a draw that would also tout the importance of agriculture and the region's German-Russian heritage.
TEXAS' RICK PERRY FAULTS OBAMA FOR STANDOFF : ANAHEIM (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are to blame for the standoff in Washington that has led to a partial government shutdown, but he also urged lawmakers to recognize that a long-term stalemate could damage the nation's financial health.
"Both sides have to realize that it's not in their best interest to allow for a degrading of the American credit," Perry said in an interview.
The Texas Republican, who is considering a 2016 White House run, depicted the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as obstructionists as Washington lawmakers appeared headed for a weekend of squabbling.
"This is on him," Perry said of Obama. "He refuses to lead."
In Washington, where a midmonth deadline loomed for averting a first-ever default, Democrats held to their position of agreeing to negotiate on the budget only after the government is reopened and the $16.7 trillion debt limit is raised. Meanwhile, Republicans ramped up calls for cuts in federal benefit programs and future deficits after earlier insisting on defunding the health care overhaul in exchange for re-opening government.
The Democratic president "is the leader of this county," Perry said. It "sends a very bad message."
He credited Republican House Speaker John Boehner with proposing legislative remedies but faulted Obama and Reid for "saying no, no, no."