March 2, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports


Two men plead not guilty in fatal bus station shooting

Two Boston men accused in a fatal bus station shooting that prosecutors said was captured on surveillance cameras are being held without bail.

Twenty-two-year-old Jamel Bannister and 25-year-old Brian Cooper pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and firearms charges. Both are charged as armed career criminals because of previous convictions.

Prosecutor David Fredette said the shooting at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday was recorded by MBTA cameras at the Dudley Square station. Fredette said the men had some interaction with 26-year-old Courtney Jackson, then Cooper shot him while Bannister stood nearby holding another gun. Cooper's lawyer said his client wasn't there.

Police said Jackson stumbled onto a bus and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police working a nearby construction detail arrested the suspects as they tried to flee. Two guns also were recovered.

Prosecutors scoff at claim that Bulger wasn't FBI snitch

Federal prosecutors say a claim by a lawyer for reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger that he was never an FBI informant is a tactic to influence jurors in Bulger's upcoming trial.

Bulger, the former leader of Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang, is awaiting trial on a racketeering indictment that charges him with participating in 19 murders.

His lawyer has claimed repeatedly that a former federal prosecutor gave Bulger immunity to commit crimes.

Following a court hearing last month, attorney J.W. Carney Jr. told reporters that Bulger was never an FBI informant. Carney still insisted that Bulger had an immunity agreement with now-deceased prosecutor Jeremiah O'Sullivan.

In court documents filed Friday, prosecutors say Bulger's "mystifying" claim that he was never an informant is contradicted by more than 700 pages of informant reports on Bulger in the FBI's files.


Town may buy building for Solzhenitsyn exhibit

Voters in the Vermont town that was once the home-in-exile of the former Soviet dissident author Alexander Solzhenitsyn are expected to decide on an exhibit honoring his 18 years there.

On Town Meeting day Monday, voters will decide whether the town should assume ownership of a historic stone church that would be used to house an exhibit honoring the Nobel laureate who arrived in Cavendish in 1977 and stayed until 1995. He died in Russia in 2008.

The house Solzhenitsyn lived in is still occupied by his son Ignat and his family.

There is no monument to Solzhenitsyn's years in Vermont.


Bill would require special genetic-modification labels

The Agriculture Committee in the Vermont House has approved a bill calling for genetically modified foods to be specially labeled.

The bill lays out technical definitions for what constitutes genetic modification, and says food that has been subject to those techniques must bear a label saying so.

The legislation faces an uncertain future, and is expected to go next to the House Judiciary Committee, before being debated by the full House.

Supporters of the House bill say consumers want information about what's in their food.

The Attorney General's Office has warned that the bill is likely to be challenged in a lawsuit brought by industry.


Most common crime against N.H. kids in 2012: sex abuse

A report by New Hampshire's child advocacy centers says more than three-quarters of the crimes against children last year involved sexual abuse.

The centers say more than 2,000 children were victims of crime last year. Of that figure, 1,655 involved child victims of sexual abuse. There were 189 cases of physical abuse, 146 cases when children witnessed crimes and 59 cases of neglect.

WMUR-TV says the victims were broken down by gender, with 36 percent boys and 64 percent girls.

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