NEW ORLEANS

BP accepts penalties, guilt in deaths of 11 rig workers

BP PLC closed the book on the Justice Department’s criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill Tuesday, when a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

What the plea deal approved by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance doesn’t resolve, though, is the federal government’s civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more for environmental damage from its 2010 spill.

Vance noted that the company already has racked up more than $24 billion in spill-related expenses and has estimated it will pay a total of $42 billion to fully resolve its liability for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The judge said the $4 billion criminal settlement is “just punishment” for BP.

LONDON, Ohio

DNA test clears ex-captain after 15 years in prison

A former Ohio police captain who spent nearly 15 years in prison in his ex-wife’s killing was released Tuesday hours after a judge ruled that DNA test results prove he’s innocent and no reasonable jury would find otherwise.

Doug Prade was released from the Madison Correctional Institution outside of Columbus just hours after an Akron judge found that the new test results were “clear and convincing.”

The now 66-year-old Prade was convicted in 1998 of shooting his ex-wife to death outside the Akron office where she worked as a doctor on Nov. 26, 1997. There were no witnesses, no fingerprints, and no gun ever was found.

Prade’s conviction largely was based on a bite mark found on his ex-wife’s body. The new test results show that Prade couldn’t have left the mark.

Prade said he planned to spend time with his family, including six grandchildren he has never met.

UNITED NATIONS

Envoy says U.N. must unite to push compromise in Syria

The international envoy to Syria told the Security Council on Tuesday that “Syria is being destroyed bit by bit” and his mediation effort cannot go forward unless the council unites to push the Syrian government and opposition forces toward compromise.

The Security Council has been divided over Syria for months, with the United States and other Western powers backing the armed opposition and pushing for resolutions that raised the threat of sanctions. Three times, Russia and China have cast vetoes to block those resolutions.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, blamed both Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and the Western-backed opposition forces.