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6 people, including 5-year-old boy, shot inside barbershop

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MattGush/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Police in Washington, D.C., are on the hunt for three men accused of entering a busy barbershop and opening fire.

Among the 10 people inside the shop, six were shot — four men, a woman and a 5-year-old boy.

“They all appear to be non-life-threatening [wounds],” Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a press conference across the street from the crime scene on Friday evening.

The boy, who was shot in the hand, suffered the “most serious” injury and required surgery, Newsham said.

There are no known suspects or motives at this point, but police are looking for “two males wearing dark clothing” and a “third in blue jeans and red shoes” who “got into a silver minivan and fled this location,” Newsham said.

Neighboring Prince George’s County was alerted, Newsham added.

Anyone who can help identify the vehicle or has knowledge of the incident has been asked to call police at (202) 727-9099 or text tips to the police department’s tip line at 50411.

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Nathaniel Woods' execution cast scrutiny on Alabama's death penalty. So why is the cop killer who pulled the trigger still alive?

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MoreISO/iStock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) —  While the family of Nathaniel Woods fumes over his execution and prepares for his funeral, the man who confessed to acting alone in the killing of three Alabama police officers that landed them both on death row is alive and may never be executed, according to his former appellate attorney.

As a wave of outrage swept the state and nation over Woods’ execution late Thursday, Alabama’s death penalty laws are being scrutinized by civil rights leaders and labeled as unjust by Woods’ supporters, saying its criminal courts are unfair to minority defendants.

But the former attorney for Kerry Spencer, the man convicted of gunning down three police officers in a Birmingham crack house in 2004, said he hopes the execution will put a final nail in the death penalty in Alabama and the 28 other states where it still exists.

“If that can’t be a poster case for eliminating the death penalty, I don’t know what will,” retired defense attorney Charles Flowers III told ABC News on Friday. “The only thing good that can come out of this whole mess is if this particular case is the stimulus to showing people how terrible the death penalty is, because you can’t administer it fairly.”

Woods was killed by lethal injection on Thursday night at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, despite his family and supporters, including Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights icon, and Kim Kardashian West, contending there was overwhelming evidence that he was likely innocent.

King called the decisions of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey not to intervene and the U.S. Supreme Court not to halt Woods’ death “reprehensible” and a “mockery of justice and constitutional guarantees to a fair trial.”

Flowers said that despite Spencer claiming he acted alone in the 2004 Birmingham triple murder, he might end up never being put to death.

That’s because when Spencer was convicted in 2005, the jury that found him guilty reached a non-unanimous verdict in the death penalty phase of his trail and recommended he be sentenced to life in prison without parole. The judge in the case, however, overrode the jury’s decision and sentenced Spencer to death.

Then, in 2017, the Alabama state legislature passed a law that stripped judges of their discretion to override non-unanimous jury verdicts in death penalty cases, effectively declaring such decisions in violation of the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing the rights of criminal defendants to a jury finding.

As one of her first acts as Alabama’s governor, Ivey, whose decision condemned Woods to death, signed the bill.

While the law stopped short of making it apply retroactively to inmates like Spencer, Flowers and other death penalty experts say it is only a matter a time until it becomes retroactive as more convicts on death row prior to the passage of the law challenge it and eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the issue.

Meanwhile, the jury that heard Woods’ trial, which preceded Spencer’s conviction, also reached a non-unanimous verdict of 10-2 and recommended a sentence of death, which was accepted by the trial judge.

“If what I think is going to happen happens, if the Supreme Court bars Kerry’s execution, which I certainly hope they do, and Woods was executed, you’re going to have a situation where a man who probably didn’t have a thing in the world to do with something was executed, and the man who pulled the trigger is not,” Flowers said.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that focuses on disseminating studies and reports related to capital punishment, said Flower could very well be right.

“It’s inherently arbitrary to say that some practice is so unreliable that it’s unconstitutional and then to allow death sentences that were imposed based on that unreliable practice to stand,” Dunham told ABC News. “So that is the issue, but so far there hasn’t been a declaration that it’s unconstitutional because almost everybody else has repealed it and the Supreme Court hasn’t yet addressed it.”

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Alabama, nonprofit that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, Alabama judges have overridden jury recommendations 112 times since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, including 101 times in which they issued death sentences.

Dunham said another issue Woods’ execution has cast into the national spotlight is that of non-unanimous juries.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon make a decision on the constitutionality of non-unanimous verdicts.

In a decision that only applied to federal cases, the Supreme Court in 1972 struck down the practice as a vestige of the Jim Crow era meant to discriminate against African Americans. The court said the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a fair trial means jury verdicts in felony trials must be unanimous.

Alabama and Oregon are the last states in the nation that allow non-unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases. The case before the Supreme Court pertains to Louisiana.

While Louisianans voted in November 2018 to repeal non-unanimous jury verdicts, Louisiana convict Evangelisto Ramos, who maintains his innocence in a gruesome murder case, wants the high court to force the state to apply their new rules retroactively and give him a new trial. Ramos was convicted by 10 of 12 jurors in his second-degree murder trial and sentenced to life without parole.

While hearing oral arguments in the case in October 2019, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the newest member of the Supreme Court, noted that “the rule in question here is rooted in racism … rooted in a desire, apparently, to diminish the voices of black voters.”

Florida and Delaware were among the most recent states to repeal the practice, in addition to Louisiana.

Dunham, who has studied both Woods’ and Spencer’s cases, said that while it was the same crime, the legal representation that each man received and the evidence presented at their separate trials was vastly different.

“Woods got terrible representation and there are all sorts of issues that were never raised and all sorts of evidence that was never presented that was presented in Spencer’s case,” Dunham said.

During his trial, Spencer testified that he acted alone when he fatally shot Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III and Charles Bennett, and wounded a fourth officer. He claimed he fired in self-defense when the officers pulled guns on him and swore the shooting was not premeditated or planned as prosecutors alleged.

Woods’ jury never heard Spencer’s self-defense claim, Dunham said.

“If Woods’ jury had heard that, there’s a very strong possibility that they would have acquitted because it destroys the prosecution’s theory that essentially he led them into an ambush,” Dunham said. “I mean, Spencer says, ‘Woods couldn’t possibly have known I was going to shoot the officers [because] I didn’t know I was going to shoot the officers.'”

He said that during Woods’ trial, his girlfriend testified that he hated police officers, a contention that dovetailed into the prosecution’s theory that Woods lured them into a death trap. The girlfriend, however, later recanted her testimony and claimed she was coerced by police, Dunham said.

The officer who survived the shooting testified at Woods’ trial that Woods cursed at officers when they initially arrived at his home and challenged one to take off his badge and fight him, according to trial transcripts included in Woods’ appeal.

“He [the officer] testified in Spencer’s case, too, and never mentioned anything of the sort,” Dunham said.

Woods also claimed his lawyer convinced him to reject a plea deal prosecutors offered him of 20 to 25 years in prison, according to court records.

“The reason that this case attracted so much attention is because it’s an outrageous case. And Alabama’s response to that wasn’t to concede that there were problems, it was to push ahead and pretty much double down on all of the assertions that seemed questionable to start with,” Dunham said.

“When we think of important moments in civil rights that changed public opinion, like Bull Connors siccing the dogs and putting the hoses on the peaceful marchers, it was such an inappropriate response and everybody saw it right out in the open,” he said. “Here, Alabama had an inappropriate response and everybody saw it right out in the open. The subject matter is not the same, but what you have is something that looks like injustice and it looks like Alabama doesn’t care.”

But Ivey said in a lengthy statement released following Woods’ execution that she declined to intervene and grant a reprieve “after a thorough and careful consideration of the facts surrounding the case.”

“A jury of Mr. Woods’ peers convicted him of four counts of capital murder. In the past 15 years, his conviction has been reviewed at least nine times, and no court has found any reason to overturn the jury’s decision,” Ivey said in her statement. “Under Alabama law, someone who helps kill a police officer is just as guilty as the person who directly commits the crime.”

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Remains of missing 15-month-old Evelyn Boswell found on family property: Authorities

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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation(BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn.) —  Officials believe remains found Friday are that of Evelyn Boswell, the 15-month-old Tennessee girl that was last seen in December but was only reported as missing in February.

Acting on new information developed in the case, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said it searched a property belonging to a family member of Evelyn’s mother, Megan Boswell, in Blountville, Tennessee.

It was during this search Friday evening that Evelyn’s remains were believed to be found, according to the sheriff’s office.

“I want to thank the community for their outpouring of love, support and prayers for the last 17 days when sweet Evelyn was first reported missing,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said at a press conference late Friday night.

Leslie Earhart, public information officer for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, said this is still an active investigation. No new charges were announced at this time.

Megan Boswell, and two others, were previously arrested in connection to her disappearance.

Megan Boswell, 18, was charged on Feb. 25 with one count of false reporting. Evelyn’s grandmother, Angela Boswell, and another man William McCloud, were arrested and charged with possession of stolen property on Feb. 20.

Angela Boswell and McCloud were found in a vehicle authorities were searching for in connection to the case. The sheriff’s office said those in the gray BMW were believed to have information regarding Evelyn’s whereabouts.

Cassidy said last month that Megan Boswell had been cooperating, but she and other family members provided conflicting statements and changing stories.

“Every time we talk to her, her story changes,” Cassidy said at a press conference last month. “And I’m serious when I say that. Every single time.”

Evelyn was last seen wearing a pink tracksuit, pink shoes, and a pink bow on Dec. 26, 2019. She was not entered as a missing child until Feb. 18. An AMBER Alert was issued the next day.

Prior to Friday’s discovery, authorities said they had received more than 870 leads in the case.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Coronavirus live updates: Pope cancels Sunday prayer gathering, 1st coronavirus case confirmed in Utah

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XiFotos/iStock(NEW YORK) —  More than 102,000 people in 88 countries have been infected with novel coronavirus amid an outbreak that has sent countries and states scrambling to respond.

At least 3,491 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University, with the majority of those in China, where the virus was first detected in Wuhan in December but has since spread to every continent except Antarctica. The outbreak of the virus, known officially as COVID-19, has been declared global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

South Korea, Iran and Italy have the highest national totals of confirmed cases behind China, respectively.

The number of Americans diagnosed with the novel coronavirus is now at least 340, according to a case count by Johns Hopkins. At least 17 people have died in the U.S. in Washington state, California and Florida.

The states reporting cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Today’s biggest developments:

  • Utah confirms 1st case
  • Pope cancels Sunday prayer gathering

 Here is how the situation is unfolding on Saturday (all times eastern). Please refresh for updates.

9:57 a.m. 1st U.S. service member in Europe tests positive

A U.S. Navy sailor stationed at the Naval Support Activity Naples tested positive for novel coronavirus, marking the first positive cause of a U.S. service member in Europe, according to a statement from U.S. European Command Theater.

The service member is in isolation at their residence and receiving medical care in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the statement read. Anyone who had close contact with the patient has been notified and is in self-isolation at their residence.

Their condition was not immediate clear.

8:50 a.m. 14 Americans under quarantine in Bethlehem hotel

The Palestinian health ministry in Bethlehem confirmed that 14 American citizens are being tested for novel coronavirus and have been quarantined in the Angles hotel in the city of Bethlehem for now.

Those American citizens were trying to leave the city yesterday but were sent back to Bethlehem by the Israeli army, according to the Palestinian health ministry. People are not permitted to leave or enter Bethlehem, as per a decision made by Israeli and Palestinian authorities after 17 cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in the city in the last 48 hours.

8:43 a.m. Houston-area church warns of possible exposure

A person who tested positive for novel coronavirus attended the 5:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 26 at the St. Cecilia Catholic Church, according to Harris County Public officials in Texas. The individual received ashes and had communion in the hand, but did not receive communion from the cup, officials said. The person sat in the last pew on the left side of the church.

Officials are asking anyone who sat in the last three rows on the left side of the church during that service to contact Harris Couty Public officials at 713-439-6000.

In the meantime, St. Cecilia has drained and sanitized the baptismal fonts and sanitized the church’s pews, door handles and restrooms and will provide hand sanitizers at all the church’s entrances. Parishioners are being urged to stay home if they are feeling unwell, according to a statement from the church.

7:43 a.m. Pope cancels Sunday prayer gathering

The Holy See press office said that Sunday prayers would not take place in the square as normal, but from the window of the Library of the Apostolic Palace amid the novel coronavirus spread.

The prayer will be streamed live by Vatican News and on screens in St. Peter’s Square “so as to allow the participation of the faithful,” according to the statement, which was translated from Italian.

The General Audience, held this upcoming Wednesday, will also be conducted in the same manner.

These choices are necessary in order to avoid the risk of diffusion of the COVID-19 due to the gathering during the security controls for access to the square, as also requested by the Italian authorities,” the statement read. “In compliance with the provisions of the Health and Hygiene Directorate of the Vatican City State, the participation of the faithful guests in the Masses in Santa Marta will be suspended until Sunday 15 March. The Holy Father will celebrate the Eucharist privately.”

3:46 a.m. Utah gets 1st confirmed case

The number of coronavirus cases and deaths continued to increase in the U.S. as officials in Utah reported late Friday night that the state had its first confirmed COVID-19 case.

Utah officials said they believe the victim was exposed to the virus while on a recent Grand Princess cruise.

A different Grand Princess cruise ship is currently just off the San Francisco coast with dozens of passengers quarantined onboard. As of Friday night, 19 passengers on the ship are confirmed to have novel coronavirus and 46 people have been tested, Vice President Mike Pence said at a press conference Friday.

Organizations across the U.S. have been grappling with how to handle the spread of the virus.

The NBA, according to ESPN, sent a memo to teams telling them to prepare to play in front of empty arenas in the near future.

The memo, obtained by ESPN and ABC New York affiliate WABC, said NBA teams were asked to develop a process and identify actions required if they had to play games without fans in attendance and with only essential staff at the arena.

Following Friday night’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James addressed the league’s memo to teams, warning he might not play in an empty arena.

“I ain’t playing. If I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s what I play for. I play for my teammates, I play for the fans,” James told reporters in the locker room following the game. “That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena, and there ain’t no fans there? I ain’t playing. So, they could do what they want to do.”

The University of Southern California and Stanford University both moved all classes online in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Stanford announced Friday that all classes would be moved online for the final two weeks of the quarter and USC said it is going to test remote classes for two days next week.

“Our university must be nimble and flexible in the event that we need to make any further changes to the semester,” Charles F. Zukoski, USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, said in a statement Friday. “We have about 7,000 lecture classes this spring. We need to test our technical capabilities to ensure academic continuity in an online environment should there be a disruption.”

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Peaceful weather weekend before potent storm targets California next week

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — A frontal system will move into the western United States this weekend and it will bring a couple of areas of mountain snow and rain to the Pacific Northwest.

The snow should remain rather light, but 2 to 4 inches will be possible in parts of northern California and parts of Oregon on Saturday. This could cause a few areas of slippery travel in the region.

Some enhanced mountain snowfall will be possible Saturday in part of the Sierra Mountains, where locally up to 10 inches will be possible.

This system will then move eastward on Sunday into parts of the northern Rockies, and bring areas of snow showers to the intermountain west. By Monday, another impulse will sneak in from the south and bring light rain over parts of the Central Great Plains and Mississippi Valley.

At this time, it appears the rainfall should remain relatively light and should not cause any concerns for renewed flash flooding in the South.

The next notable weather concern comes to California early next week. Beginning late Monday and lasting through the first few days of the week, a more robust and organized storm will track towards Southern California.

This storm could bring the first significant rainfall of the season to parts of California. Locally, 2 to 4 inches of rain will be possible in the region, along with strong wind gusts over 45 mph.

This will come after an exceptionally dry January and February in Southwest California. The National Weather Service in Los Angeles said it was one of the driest January and February’s on record for the area. Most parts of the region received less than 5% of their average rainfall totals.

Meanwhile, much of the Midwest and parts of the eastern U.S. will see spring-like temperatures over the next few days. Temperatures could be 10 to 25 degrees above average Saturday in parts of the central High Plains. Some of that warm air will then slide eastward.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 60’s in Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York City over the next few days. There is some possibility, that 70 degrees will be possible in parts of the mid-Atlantic on Monday.

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