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Driver who plowed into motorcyclists in New Hampshire charged in all 7 deaths

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Chalabala/iStock(NEW YORK) — The driver of a pickup truck that plowed into a group of motorcyclists in New Hampshire has been charged with seven counts of murder.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested near his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, Monday morning, Jane Young, deputy attorney general for New Hampshire, said in a press release.

Zhukovskyy was taken into custody on a fugitive from justice charge, based on an arrest warrant issued Monday charging him with seven counts of negligent homicide, Young said.

The victims were hit by a Ford 2500 truck while driving on Route 2 in Randolph, New Hampshire, a few miles from Mount Washington on Friday afternoon, according to New Hampshire State Police.

Three people who were injured in the accident were transported to area hospitals.

The ages of the victims ranged from 42 to 62, according to officials. All seven victims died of blunt trauma, said New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie Duval.

Photos from the scene of the accident shows pieces of several smashed motorcycles scattered throughout the highway.

Zhukovskyy was arraigned in Springfield Monday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty on the fugitive of justice charge, and waived his extradition to New Hampshire, where he will face murder charges.

ABC News could not immediately reach Zhukovskyy or his attorney for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Missing woman may have disappeared 'Gone Girl' style, says husband's attorney

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New Canaan Police Department(NEW YORK) — Connecticut mom of five Jennifer Dulos, who vanished last month amid a custody battle with her estranged husband, may have disappeared intentionally in a “‘Gone Girl’-type case,” her husband’s attorney alleges.

But Dulos’ decades-old friend has shut down that theory.

Dulos was last seen on May 24, police said. Investigators believe she suffered a “serious physical assault” in the garage at her New Canaan home, where bloodstains were found, according to arrest warrants.

 Clothes and sponges with Dulos’ blood were found in trash cans in Hartford, where surveillance cameras captured a man appearing to be her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, disposing of garbage bags, according to the documents. A woman in the man’s car fit the appearance of his live-in girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, according to the documents.

Fotis Dulos and Troconis are charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and hindering prosecution. Both have pleaded not guilty.

More charges are likely, prosecutors said.

 Fotis Dulos’ attorney, Norm Pattis, insists his client didn’t kill his wife and doesn’t know where she is.

Pattis told ABC News this week that he’s “investigating the possibility that this is a ‘Gone Girl’-type case and considering the possibility that no third party was involved in foul play.”

In the “Gone Girl” book-turned-film, a wife fakes her own disappearance, framing her husband.

Carrie Luft, a spokeswoman for Jennifer Dulos’ family, called the defense’s “Gone Girl” theory a “smokescreen.”

“I think that drawing any comparison to a work of fiction does an incredible disservice to the family,” Luft told “Good Morning America” on Sunday. “This is not a film, this is not a novel, this is our real life.”

“Someone we love is missing,” said Luft, a friend of 28 years. “This is about someone who is missing following a violent attack and people are doing everything they can to solve the mystery.”

Luft described the missing mother as stable, responsible and reliable and “not a woman that would ever, ever leave her children.”

“She loves them more than anything in the world,” she said.

The five kids are in the custody of Jennifer Dulos’ mother.

“The kids are well cared for and are surrounded by people who love them,” Luft said.

Luft said she’s holding out hope that Jennifer Dulos survived and can be rescued.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Indiana Catholic high school fires gay teacher days after nearby school refused

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smolaw11/iStock(INDIANAPOLIS) — A second Catholic high school in Indiana faced the decision of whether or not to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage, and unlike the first school that publicly refused, this school decided to cut ties with the teacher for the church.

The push by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for local schools to fire teachers who were in same-sex relationships, arguing that homosexual relationships go against the teachings of the church, gained public attention last week.

At the time, Brebeuf Jesuit Prepatory School announced they would be going against the archdiocese in their request to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage. As a result, the archdiocese cut longstanding ties with the school.

Cathedral High School announced Sunday they made the “agonizing decision” to go in the opposite direction and “separate” from a teacher, but not the church.

The high school’s president and chairman of the board of directors explained their decision in an open letter posted to their website, detailing how they would have had clear repercussions for disobeying the church.

The letter states that the school would not be able to identify as a Catholic school, celebrate the sacraments or have diocesan priests serve on their board of directors, and would lose its 501(c)3 designation, meaning it would no longer be considered a non-profit school.

“Therefore, in order to remain a Catholic Holy Cross School, Cathedral must follow the direct guidance given to us by Archbishop Thompson and separate from the teacher,” the letter states, after having earlier referenced that they employed “a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage.”

The letter goes on to note that since the other school is a Jesuit school — and has a somewhat looser affiliation and dependence upon the archdiocese — the situations are different.

“Because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits, their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours. Therefore, the two schools cannot function the same way if Cathedral were to receive a similar decree as Brebeuf,” the letter states.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis released a statement on Monday, saying that the decisions come as a response to the teachers not keeping with Catholic doctrine.

“This issue is not about sexual orientation; rather, it is about our expectation that all personnel inside a Catholic school—who are ministers of the faith—abide by all Church teachings, including the nature of marriage. If and when a minister of the faith is publicly not doing so, the Church calls us to help the individual strive to live a life in accordance with Catholic teaching,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

The school told its community, via their letter, that “we offer our prayers and love to this teacher, our students and faculty, our Archbishop, and all associated with Cathedral as we continue to educate our students in the Catholic Holy Cross tradition,” without naming the teacher.

“We ask that dialogue about this difficult situation be respectful of the dignity of every person and that you continue to pray for our Cathedral family and the wider Indianapolis community,” the letter stated.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Houston mother arrested for allegedly killing son with SUV during game of 'chicken'

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Houston Police Department(HOUSTON) — A Texas mother has been charged with killing her 3-year-old son by hitting him with her SUV during what prosecutors are describing as a game of “chicken.”

On June 11, 26-year-old Lexus Stagg allegedly drove toward three of her children in the parking lot of their Houston apartment complex when she struck her son, according to a press release by the Houston Police Department.

Surveillance video taken at the community pool shows a white Lincoln Navigator driving in reverse as three children chase after it. Stagg then allegedly put the car in drive and moved toward them, police said.

Two of the three children were able to move out of the way in time, but the 3-year-old, identified by police as Lord Renfro, was struck and later died at the Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

Stagg did not show any visible signs of intoxication and was released after she was questioned, police said.

Authorities initially described the child’s death as an “unfortunate accident” but determined it was not an accident after further investigation, ABC Houston station KTRK reported.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told the station Stagg was playing a game of “chicken” with her children.

“Every parent has an obligation to protect their children, even from themselves,” Ogg said. “Cars aren’t toys and playing chicken with your kids isn’t a game.”

Stagg’s children were playing in front of her in the parking lot when the child was struck, Harris County prosecutor Sean Teare told KTRK. Lord Refro was run over by two of the SUV’s tires, Teare said.

In 2013, Stagg’s Child Protective Services removed two of Stagg’s older children from her home and placed them with a relative, KTRK reported. Her younger children have also been placed with relatives after the 3-year-old’s death, CPS confirmed with the station.

On Thursday, Stagg was arrested and charged with criminal negligent homicide in the death of her son, police said. She was released on $1,500 bond Friday afternoon after attending her probable cause hearing, according to KTRK.

It is unclear if Stagg has retained a lawyer. ABC News could not immediately reach her for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former prep school student released from jail over good behavior in sex assault case

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Corey Hendrickson/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.H.) — The prep school student who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old classmate was released from jail for good behavior.

Owen Labrie’s attorney confirmed to ABC News that he was released from Merrimack County’s jail Monday morning after nearly six months.

“Owen is happy to be home with his family. He will be settling in and working on rebuilding his life,” his lawyers said in a statement to ABC News. “He’d like to thank the friends and family that have stood by him and supported him all these years.”

Labrie, who is now 23 years old, was a student at the prestigious St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire when he was accused of sexually assaulting a younger student.

The case raised questions about sex culture on campus in light of accusations that the alleged incident was part of a so-called “Senior Salute,” where seniors allegedly target younger students.

In October 2015, Labrie was sentenced to 12 months in prison. A judge suspended that sentence and Labrie was freed on bail under curfew at the home of his mother in Tunbridge, Vt., while Labrie appealed the decision. In March 2016, the court revoked his bail after prosecutors accused him of missing his court-ordered curfew several times.

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire Supreme Court denied Labrie’s appeal to have a new trial based on ineffective counsel.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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