SANFORD, Fla.

Ex-watch leader gives up right to immunity hearing

The former neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting a teenager told a judge Tuesday that he agrees with his defense attorneys’ decision not to seek an immunity hearing under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.

Under questioning from Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, George Zimmerman repeatedly said “yes” to a series of questions asking if he was aware he was giving up the right to a hearing before his second-degree murder trial in June. A judge would have sole discretion in an immunity hearing to decide if Zimmerman is exempt from culpability in the shooting. A jury would make the determination in the murder trial.

“After consultation with my counsel, yes, your honor,” Zimmerman said.

SEATTLE

Man who packed parachutes for skyjacker Cooper is killed

The man who packed the parachutes used by infamous skyjacker D.B. Cooper more than four decades ago has been identified as the victim of a homicide in Washington state.

However, authorities say they have no reason to think the death of 71-year-old Earl Cossey was linked to the Cooper case.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that Cossey died April 23 of blunt force trauma to the head. In November 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper — later erroneously identified as D.B. Cooper — hijacked a passenger plane from Portland, Ore., to Seattle. He released the passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in exchange for $200,000 and four parachutes, and asked to be flown to Mexico.

The plane took off again at his direction with some of the crew on board. As the plane neared Oregon, Cooper jumped from its lowered rear stairs. Investigators doubt he survived the nighttime jump in a frigid rain, and some of his money was found by a boy playing on a Columbia River beach in 1980.

SEATTLE

Tea party raising money for Palin to run for Senate

Sarah Palin’s last elective position in Alaska ended early when in 2009 she abandoned the governorship midway through her first term.

But tea party activists appear eager for a comeback, urging supporters to contribute money toward recruiting Palin to run for the U.S. Senate, where, according to an email sent out this week, she has a “clear path” to defeat incumbent Democrat Mark Begich.

“You and I both know that Sarah Palin is a fighter who will stand up to Harry Reid and his pals in the Senate to protect our Constitution in issues like amnesty, gun control and our nation’s crushing debt,” said the email from Todd Cefaratti of the Tea Party Leadership Fund.

If Palin is enthusiastic about running for the Senate in Alaska, she hasn’t said so.