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National

    Police in Gwinnett County, Georgia, are searching for the person who they say shot and killed a teenager on a basketball court, WSB reports. Witnesses told investigators the argument started over a football when the suspect pulled out a gun, according to WSB.  The teen suffered from multiple gunshot wounds and died on the way to the hospital. >> Read more trending news  “I just heard gunshots and ran down, and it’s my friend on the ground,” Quentin Wearwood said. Investigators with the Gwinnett County Police Department said the shooting happened Wednesday evening at the Smokecreek Mobile Home Park in unincorporated Snellville.  Investigators said the suspect also pistol-whipped the victim's brother. Witnesses said the suspect fled in a light blue Nissan Altima.
  • President Donald Trump will not meet with Kim Jong Un in June, according to a letter addressed to the North Korean leader from the president. >> Read more trending news The letter was released by White House officials Thursday morning. Trump wrote that his decision to cancel the planned June 12 meeting came “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement from North Korea. >> From Jamie Dupree: President Trump scraps summit meeting with Kim Jong Un In the statement, the North Korean government referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a 'political dummy' and said it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table. “I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote. “Please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. Senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui told North Korea’s state-run news agency on Thursday that, “Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” The Associated Press reported. >> Reports: North Korea demolishes nuclear test site Trump responded to the comment in his letter Thursday, telling Kim that, “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” The letter was released just hours after reports surfaced that North Korea had demolished a nuclear test site in the country's northeast region. The closing of the testing site had been announced as a step leading up to the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, the Associated Press reported. Trump earlier this month announced that a historic meeting between him and Kim would take place in Singapore in June. Read the full letter released Thursday by White House officials: Check back for updates to this developing story. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Emails show USA Gymnastics in 2015 came up with false excuses to account for the absence of a sports doctor who had been accused of sexually assaulting female athletes. Larry Nassar suggested that USA Gymnastics tell people that he couldn't attend two major events because he was sick or needed to focus on his work at Michigan State University. A lawyer for the Indianapolis-based group agreed to the cover stories. The Indianapolis Star reported on the emails Thursday. USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, declined to comment. USA Gymnastics has been accused of covering up assault allegations against Nassar. The group didn't tell Michigan State or elite gymnastics clubs about the allegations. Nassar publicly stated in September 2015 that he was retiring. Nassar is serving decades in prison.
  • Judith Neelley, the youngest woman ever sentenced to be executed in the United States, will remain in prison for the 1982 murder of a 13-year-old Georgia girl, according to a decision reached by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles 18 years after the then-governor commuted her death sentence to life in prison. >> Read more trending news  Neelley was 18 and a mother of three when she was sentenced to the electric chair for kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing Lisa Ann Millican. Neelley spotted Millican outside a mall in Rome, Georgia., then took the child to Alabama. Among other atrocities, she injected the child repeatedly with drain cleaner, shot her in the back and dumped the body over a cliff. The Alabama parole board decided against Neelley in about a minute Wednesday after impassioned pleas from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. The three-member board also heard from the man who prosecuted Neelley more than 3 1/2 decades ago, Millican’s family and the relatives of a Georgia woman whom Neelley murdered. Ivey said in a statement earlier in the week that Neelley, now 53, should never be paroled. “Not now, and not ever. Her crimes … include acts of unspeakable brutality. And her character includes a disturbing tendency to manipulate others toward her own violent ends.” This was the first time Neelley was considered for parole since then-Gov. Fob James commuted her death sentence to life on his last day in office — only three days before she was to be electrocuted. She will next be eligible for parole in 2023. Neelley had told the parole board she wanted to waive consideration now, but leave open the option for parole later. “Although I am grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate how much God has changed my heart and life over the past 36 years, I know that now is not the right time,” Neelley wrote in a letter reported by AL.com. “In order to spare the Millican family the pain and trauma of having to attend the hearing, I have agreed to waive my right to be considered for parole at this time. I will continue to pray daily for God’s forgiveness and for peace for the Millican family.” The 13-year-old Millican was the first of two people Neelley admitted to killing in the fall of 1982. The child’s body was found Sept. 28, 1982, while 23-year-old Janice Chapman was killed in North Georgia on Oct. 4, 1982. Neelley, looking for a young girl for her husband, saw Lisa outside Riverbend Mall in Rome, Georgia, where the teenager had gone for an outing with other adolescents from Ethel Harpst Home in Cedartown. Judith Neelley and Alvin Neelley took the girl to a Scottsboro, Alabama motel, where they both sexually assaulted her over several days until they took her to the edge of Little River Canyon in Fort Payne, Alabama It was there that Judith Neelley injected Millican six times with Drano and Liquid Plumber and shot the still-conscious girl in the back. The Neelleys then dumped Millican’s body over the edge of an 80-foot cliff. Police found it on the canyon floor four days later. The next week, the Neelleys were again in Rome, where they kidnapped Chapman and her fiance, John Hancock. They shot the couple, leaving them near a back road in Catoosa County in northwest Georgia. Hancock survived and identified Judith Neelley, who was sentenced to life in prison in Georgia for kidnapping Chapman and Hancock. Alvin Neelley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life for Chapman’s murder. Alvin Neelley died in a prison near Milledgeville in 2005. Prosecutors and investigators described Millican’s murder as grisly, unspeakable and horrendous. But the lives of all involved were damaged long before the murders. Millican, removed from her home in LaFayette because of allegations of neglect and abuse, was placed in four foster homes before entering a group home in Rome, and then one in Cedartown. She had a history of trouble, and it was initially assumed she had run away when she couldn’t be found at the mall. Judith Neelley was 9 when her father, while drunk, died in a motorcycle crash. Neelley — once an eighth-grade cheerleader and a member of the 4-H Club and the Future Homemakers of America — met Alvin Neelley when he came to her house with a man visiting her mother. Alvin Neelley was 25 at the time and married with three children. A few weeks later, Judith and Alvin ran away together, living in motel rooms and their car. She was pregnant with twins when she was 16. That’s when Alvin divorced his first wife so they could marry. The Neelleys supported themselves by stealing, which led to both of them being locked up. Judith Neelley was at a Macon Youth Development Campus when she delivered her twins. Her third child was born while she was in jail, awaiting trial for Millican’s murder. Her defense at trial was that she killed Millican to keep her husband from beating her. Years after she was convicted, with her execution scheduled, then-Gov. Fob James commuted her sentence. Four years later, the Alabama Legislature responded by passing a law that prohibits parole for any inmate whose death sentence was commuted to life. A federal judge ruled, however, that the law could not be applied retroactively to Neelley. The Associated Press contributed to this article.
  • A Massachusetts judge who engaged in sexual acts with a social worker in his courthouse chambers will be suspended indefinitely, the state's highest court ruled Thursday, and may face removal from the bench. The Supreme Judicial Court said Judge Thomas Estes' 'grave, willful and repeated wrongdoing' has damaged the public's faith in the judicial system. 'The sanction we impose is not severe because we seek to punish the judge severely, but because ... we seriously question whether he can command the respect and authority essential to the performance of his judicial function,' the judges wrote. Estes' lawyer, David Hoose, said they are disappointed in the decision and that Estes is weighing his options. Tammy Cagle, who worked on the drug court where Estes sat, has accused him in a federal lawsuit of pressuring her into performing oral sex on him and then pushing her out of the drug court when she tried to end the relationship. Estes says their relationship was consensual and denies harassing Cagle or playing in a role in her losing her job. He says that Cagle initiated their first encounter and was the one who wanted to continue their relationship. Estes' lawyer had urged the court for a four-month suspension, saying he has already suffered immensely from the affair becoming public. Estes' lawyer told the justices in April that Estes' relationship with Cagle never impacted his judicial duties and shouldn't cause him to lose his career. The Supreme Judicial Court said Estes will be suspended without pay effective June 15. The court said the Commission on Judicial Conduct can share documents in the case with lawmakers and the governor, who can decide whether to remove him from the bench. Lawmakers could either impeach Estes or issue a 'bill of address' calling for his removal. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who supports Estes' removal, and the Governor's Council would both have to sign off on a bill of address to strip Estes from the bench. It's only the fourth time the state's high court has imposed such a sanction on a judge. The last time a Massachusetts judge was removed through a bill of address was Judge Jerome Troy, of the Dorchester District Court, in 1973. Estes, a former public defender was nominated to the court by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2014. He was the first justice of the Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown before he was confined to administrative duties last year. He also came under fire in 2016 when he sentenced a former high school athlete to probation after the athlete pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two classmates. The case drew parallels to that of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, who got just six months in jail for a sexual assault conviction. ___ Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://twitter.com/aedurkinricher . Read more of her work at http://bit.ly/2hIhzDb .
  • A Border Patrol agent shot and killed a person who was in the country illegally Wednesday in Rio Bravo, Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. >> Read more trending news The agent, who was not identified, was investigating a report of unspecified illegal activity in Rio Bravo when he found a group of migrants who were in the country illegally, CBP officials said. The agent said the group attacked him, beating him with two-by-fours, The Los Angeles Times reported. The officer fired at least one round from his service-issued firearm during the skirmish, hitting a female migrant in the head, according to the Times and authorities. Paramedics responded and officials attempted to administer first aid, but the woman died, according to CBP. The woman was not identified. Officials said they apprehended three other migrants at the scene. >> President Trump authorizes use of National Guard forces along the border with Mexico The FBI and Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting. Rio Bravo is near the U.S.-Mexico border, about 170 miles southwest of San Antonio. Authorities have said that assaults on Border Patrol agents have been on the rise, particularly in the Rio Grande area, according to The Arizona Republic. Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this year at a Homeland Security event that “attacks on our Border Patrol agents had increased by 73 percent” in the 2017 fiscal year. However, The Intercept reported last month that the spike in reported assaults appeared to have been caused by a change in the way authorities counted incidents. An analysis by CNN found that “Border Patrol agents lead far safer work lives on average than most other law enforcement officers.”  “The border crossers an agent apprehends -- an average of two people per month in fiscal year 2016 -- are less likely to be violent than those drawing the attention of local police,” the news network reported.
  • A Pennsylvania police officer climbed down into a storm sewer to save ducklings that had fallen through the grate Wednesday. RELATED: Turkey chicks rescued from Pittsburgh sewer Officer Johnston used a net to scoop the ducklings up and reunited them with their mother, the Upper St. Clair Police Department posted on Facebook. >> Read more trending news  “Well ... we do just about anything,” the post said. “Please call us for assistance, even if you think it's something the police won't do. We always try our best to serve the public ... and nature.”
  • Police officers jumped into action to save two children who were stranded on a roof.  Police told WFOR that a woman was refusing to listen to officers when they arrived. The woman was on the roof over a townhouse garage, 15 to 20 feet above the ground. The woman’s two children, a 1-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, were with her on the rain-slicked roof, WFOR reported.  Police stood on the ground, on the ledge and inside the house.  >> Read more trending news  As one officer held the woman, two others guided the children, walking them down the ledge to another officer waiting inside an adjacent townhouse. The rescue was caught on the officers’ body cameras and posted by police to the department’s YouTube page. Police said the woman was agitated because she had taken a party drug known as “Molly,” WFOR reported. The woman was taken to a mental health facility and could face charges. The Department of Children and Families took custody of the children and is investigating, WFOR reported.
  • A JetBlue flight out of Buffalo struck a bird shortly after takeoff and returned safely to the airport. JetBlue says Flight 2216 bound for Boston struck a bird shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday. The plane had been in the air for about 10 minutes. JetBlue says the captain decided to return to the airport 'out of an abundance caution.' The airline says passengers will be accommodated on other flights.
  • A crescent-shaped beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui got the top slot Thursday on the list of best beaches issued annually by a Florida professor known as Dr. Beach. Kapalua Bay Beach topped the list released by Stephen Leatherman, a coastal science professor at Florida International University in Miami. And don't worry about that lava-spewing volcano impacting visits to the Kapalua beach. The Kilauea volcano is on a different Hawaiian island, the Big Island. Leatherman's list even has a second Hawaiian beach on the same island as the volcano, Hapuna Beach State Park, coming in eighth on the list. But Hapuna is on the opposite side of the Big Island. The other beaches on the top 10 list are Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks, coming in second, followed by Grayton Beach State Park in the Florida panhandle; Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks, North Carolina; Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin-Clearwater, Florida; then Hapuna on the Big Island, with Coronado Beach, San Diego, California, in ninth place and Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, coming in 10th. ABOUT THAT NO. 1 BEACH... Leatherman told The Associated Press that Kapalua is one of his 'favorite beaches. It's just an idyllic place to visit. What's interesting is a lot of beaches are beautiful but can be dangerous because of big waves. This beach has two arms of (hardened) lava flows, ancient lava flows, which protect it. So it's a really calm waterway. You don't go there for surfing. You go there for swimming. The water is warm year-round.' Kapalua is also lined with palm trees, has white coral sand and colorful tropical fish, and is perfect for snorkeling. Leatherman says it's easy to reach from the main road by driving through a golf course, but parking is limited. One small caveat on whether visitors to other parts of Hawaii will notice any ill effects from the volcano: Depending on wind conditions, other areas of the Big Island and the other Hawaiian islands could experience volcanic smog, known as vog. Right now winds are blowing most of it offshore. Vog is not a new issue, by the way: The entire state has experienced vog on and off since 2008. CRITERIA FOR THE LIST Leatherman has been compiling his annual list of top 10 beaches every year since 1991. He uses 50 criteria to evaluate beaches, with the most important categories being water cleanliness, safety (meaning no rip currents or drownings) and management of the beach environment and its facilities. He also looks for fine, soft sand, and gives extra points for beaches that prohibit smoking. He doesn't collect water from every beach in test tubes himself, by the way, but he does use data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to grade the beaches on water quality. Leatherman's list has its origins in a class he taught at the University of Maryland. A student was writing an article for a travel magazine and asked him to come up with a list of the 10 best beaches based on his expertise as a coastal scientist. He began producing his official annual list in 1991 using his 50 criteria and his vast knowledge of U.S. ocean beaches. 'I had visited every (ocean) beach in the U.S. for a Department of Interior study ... so that gave me the background data set to work from,' he said. His goal in producing the list each year, he says, 'is to reward those beaches which maintain the high quality and the safety areas but also to encourage other beaches to do the same.' He looks for beaches that 'balance nature with the built environment.' But how come so many states with beloved beaches — in places like Maine, the DelMarva Peninsula, the Jersey shore, the Pacific Northwest and other coastal areas — never make the list, while the same names keep turning up year after year? Leatherman says it's all about the math in his categories. Beaches lose points for water that's too chilly, sand that's too coarse, condo towers instead of dunes, riptides and drownings, erosion and limited public access. Leatherman adds that he doesn't make money from the list. He just finds 'it interesting to do' and hopes that the standards he promotes will encourage other beaches 'to do the right thing and improve their quality.' ___ Online: www.DrBeach.org ___ An interview with professor Stephen Leatherman will air on the weekly Associated Press Travel podcast 'Get Outta Here!' on May 30. Listen on iTunes: http://apple.co/2s2ruHY