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anyaberkut/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House is considering suspending flights between the U.S. and China because of the Coronavirus outbreak, three sources confirmed to ABC News.

A person familiar with the deliberation said the U.S. has not elected to take action yet, but the situation is being closely monitored. That person described the situation as "incredibly volatile."

An airline source said carriers have been briefed on the possibility of suspending those flights and that government officials are planning to institute a daily deputies meeting "with all the key players" to assess the situation.

A senior administration official told ABC News "the White House did not call the airlines and hasn't asked for a suspension of flights between the U.S. and China."

United Airlines on Tuesday decided to suspend 24 of its flights to China scheduled from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8 due to a "significant decline in demand" for travel to China.

Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines are waiving cancellation and change fees for customers who booked flights to China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday expanded screenings at U.S. airports from five to 20 for passengers arriving from China.

The CDC has confirmed five cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., but no fatalities. In China, the death toll has climbed to at least 106, with more than 4,500 confirmed cases.

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WABC(NEW YORK) -- After spending a full 25-year sentence in prison for a crime he did not commit, a Bronx, New York, man was exonerated by the first prosecutorial conviction review unit on the East Coast.

Rafael Ruiz was convicted in 1985 for sexually assaulting a girl in East Harlem. Ruiz, then 25, was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison and was released on parole in 2009 after serving the entire stint.

Now, at the age of 60, Ruiz had his felony conviction wiped off his criminal record after newly tested DNA from the victim's sex assault kit found by the Innocence Project and the Manhattan District Attorney Office's Conviction Integrity Program excluded him from the case.

"We were pleased to be joined in today's motion by the Innocence Project and I'm grateful for their continued partnership," said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance in a statement on Tuesday.

Ruiz's conviction was based on the description of a man named "Ronnie" who fit the victim's description of her attacker.

"I was thinking about my freedom the entire time I was sitting there," Ruiz told New York ABC station WABC after the judge tossed the conviction.

"The complainant's current account of her 1984 assault differed significantly from her initial statements to investigators, the medical evidence, and her testimony at trial," according to the motion prosecutors filed agreeing to vacate Ruiz's conviction on Tuesday. "She said that the detective was pushing her to identify the guy and told her that this guy is hurting women."

According to the Innocence Project, the real alleged assailant lived across the hall from Ruiz's brother and had a history of violence against women.

Since 1958, over 2,548 wrongful convictions have been overturned in the United States, according to The National Registry of Exonerations. Of the thousands of exoneration cases, 735 were overturned because of mistaken witness identification, according to data from the NRE.

Ruiz was offered plea bargains in exchange to going to trial, but refused. At his trial, Ruiz testified on his own behalf and proclaimed his innocence, according to the motion.

Ruiz's case highlighted what is often called the "trial penalty" -- when defendants receive much longer sentences for the same crime after taking their case to trial than they would have if they had pleaded guilty and agreed to a deal, according to the Innocence Project.

"A prosecutor's job is not to seek convictions, but to seek justice," said Vance.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Program was created in 2010 and was the first of its kind on the East Coast to "review claims of innocence, and just as importantly, to improve prosecutorial practices on the front end and prevent wrongful convictions from happening in the first place," Vance said in a statement.

To date, the CIP has overturned 10 convictions while 30 other cases were exonerated by a judge, according to the NRE.

"I'm going to try and find a wife, get married and have kids," said Ruiz, which made his family and supporters, including fellow exoneree Dewey Bozella, who was in attendance, giggle.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


pilipphoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Sad news for salad fans who enjoy the peppery bite of arugula over other lettuces: there's a national shortage.

The shortfall is due to the "unexpectedly cold and wet winter weather facing growers throughout the Southwest," according to the New Food Economy.

Those harsh conditions "paved the way for the spread of a fungal disease called downy mildew," which has made it difficult to produce healthy crops, the article further explained.

Have you noticed empty shelves where the arugula is supposed to be? Well that's because there's a shortage, and you can blame something called downy mildew. (Also climate change)

— The Counter (@TheCounter) January 27, 2020

The shortage has already been felt by shoppers, purveyors and and diners across the country.

In New York, the fast casual Mediterranean restaurant chain Cava posted signs Monday saying there was no arugula available for their mixed greens or grain bowls.

A specialty foods store owner in Lafayette, California, told ABC News San Francisco station KGO that he's noticed a lack of the lacey leafed green at most stores in the area.

"Safeway didn't have it -- Whole Foods, Trader Joe's didn't have it locally," Nate Bradley said.

"When we didn't have it, we tried to find a replacement with baby kale, but it just wasn't the same," he said of the staple ingredient for his shop's signature salad.

Other shoppers have even sounded off on social media about the apparent shortage.

hi hello is there an arugula shortage?? I haven't been able to find any for weeks?? ? ? ? not even at the farmers market ? ? please advise

— Anna Kate 🌸✨ (@AnnaKateHart) January 27, 2020

So...umm...Is anyone else noticing the arugula shortage in NYC?

— Megan (@MegSkuf) January 25, 2020

I know there’s a lot going on in the world and this is petty but the great arugula shortage of January 2020 is getting me down.

— Lisa Church 🗽 (@lmc) January 27, 2020

Why isn’t anyone in Southern California addressing the arugula shortage?! I need answers

— Liv Cain (@_oliviacain) January 26, 2020

Trevor Suslow, an extension research specialist at the University of California, Davis told the New Food Economy that any mildew-infected arugula is vulnerable to "secondary spoilage." Even after farmers package and ship the greens, Suslow explained that bacteria and mold "can grow even under refrigeration temperatures," making it difficult for any greens to arrive at stores at peak freshness.

With a bulk of producers in the Southwest and Florida that grow the cruciferous vegetable this time of year, many regions have felt the impact in their rocket supply chain.

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ABC(NEW YORK) -- Angela Henry, Michelle Kenney and Alissa Findley all have one thing in common: young and unarmed black men in their families were shot and killed by police officers.

The three heartbroken family members, who said they have police in their families, shared their stories on "The View" Tuesday and explained why they decided to join the NFL and Jay-Z's Roc Nation for its "Inspire Change" initiative.

Their decision to join comes after the the NFL unveiled an emotional public service announcement as part of its partnership with Roc Nation centered around the story of Botham Jean, Findley's brother.

Jean was 26 years old when he was killed in his own Dallas apartment by off-duty police officer Amber Guyger on Sept. 6, 2018. Guyger was returning home after work that night when she claimed she had mistaken Jean's apartment for her's and thought he was a burglar, subsequently shooting him.

"The View" co-host Sunny Hostin brought up former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who stirred up controversy when he began protesting police shootings by taking a knee during the national anthem and hasn't played a professional game since 2016. Hostin asked the families if they felt the NFL was taking on this initiative to "give themselves cover" after Kaepernick alleged in a grievance that league owners colluded to ensure he remains unsigned. The lawsuit was settled in February 2019.

"I think they're using good families to do it," Hostin added. "How do you respond to that?"

"I'm a Kaepernick fanatic," said Kenney, the mother of Antwon Rose Jr., who was shot by a police officer in 2018. "I was a Kap fan way before he took the knee, and I will forever be grateful for him opening this conversation."

"But Antwon is my son, so when you get a call from Roc Nation and the NFL and they say, we want to take your platform to the next level, we don't want anything from you, and we have a plan, I have to remember that Antwon is my son," Kenney continued. "So I'm all in."

Rose, 17, was shot three times in the back by a rookie police officer while running away during a traffic stop in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 19, 2018. The officer, Michael Rosfeld, was found not guilty of homicide for the shooting death of Rose. Kenney said the verdict "wasn't a surprise for her."

"I was more concerned with my daughter and my family members, but I totally understand how the system works and I wasn't shocked at all," Kenney said on "The View" Tuesday. "I held that close to the vest, though, because I wanted to protect my daughter and my mother, but I wasn't surprised. It's the way the system works."

Angela Henry, the mother of Danroy "Danny" Henry, who was shot and killed by a police officer on Oct. 17, 2010, while sitting a in car after celebrating a college football game in Mount Pleasant, New York, told "The View" her and Kaepernick are both trying to spread awareness of police brutality.

"We're doing the same thing, and with the reach of both the NFL and Roc Nation, and being here on 'The View,' we're reaching even more people that may not know our stories," Angela Henry said, "and now they do."

Of her son's death, she said that she was "grateful" that another officer who was there on the night of her son's fatal shooting came forward to tell her what happened.

"[Danroy] was told to move. He was in a fire lane and the police officer tapped on his window and asked him to move," Henry said the officer told her.

She said he also told her that the officer who shot her son said he "thought he heard someone say 'stop'" before shooting Danroy Henry in the car.

"The other police officer came forward and said that the only threat that night was the officer that killed our son," Henry said. "Our son wasn't doing anything wrong. He wasn't speeding. He wasn't disobeying an order."

Findley, meanwhile, said the partnership with the NFL and Roc Nation is the next step in an ongoing conversation.

"I look at it as Kaepernick started the conversation, and with Roc Nation and the NFL, they're now taking another step," Findley said. "It doesn't end here with Roc Nation and the NFL. We're looking for anyone with a platform to keep this conversation going so that we can come up with the resolution."

Findley also spoke about the moment she learned her brother had died. After Jean was rushed to a hospital, she said a social worker called her to ask her to identify a body that could be her brother's.

"I asked her, 'Is he alive?' And she said, 'I'm sorry to have to tell you, he succumbed to his injuries,'" Findley said. "At that point I was in shock."

The three family members also had a chance to sit down with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. They spoke highly about their time together while he listened to their stories.

"You can't fake empathy, especially when you're a parent," Kenney said of Goodell. "I watched his facial gestures. I listened to every word he said. He cried when I cried. He didn't rush us. He didn't ask us to leave. He was the kindest man."

"That man -- that man shed tears for my son," Kenney added.

"It's an opportunity that we had to share personally our stories with him because maybe he hears them from a distance," Angela Henry said. "But this is a chance for him to meet the families, and truly get to know us and understand what we're trying to do."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


gradyreese/iStock(LEBANON, Tenn.) -- A 20-year-old man caused a stir in a Tennessee courthouse when he advocated for the legalization of marijuana and then proceeded to spark a joint in front of the judge.

Spencer Alan Boston was appearing before Judge Haywood Barry on Monday at the Wilson County Courthouse in Lebanon, on a simple possession-of-marijuana citation, when he began to tell Barry that marijuana should be legalized, according to Lt. Scott Moore, a spokesman for the Wilson County Sheriff' Office.

Courtroom video captured what came next: Boston is seen seen reaching into his jacket pocket, pulling out what appears to be a joint and lighting it up, taking multiple puffs.

Security quickly intervened and took Boston into custody.

Moore told ABC News in a telephone interview that Boston said something to the effect of "the people deserve better" before he was taken away.

"I've been here 20 years," Moore added, "and this is the first time I've ever seen that."

Boston faces two new charges: disorderly conduct and simple possession of marijuana. He's being held on $3,000 bond, online jail records show. He'll also have to serve 10 days in Wilson County Jail because Barry held him in contempt of the court, according to Moore.

A spokesperson at Barry's office said the judge had no comment on the incident.

The joint smoked in court was collected as evidence.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(FARMINGTON, Conn.) -- Fotis Dulos, the father of five accused of killing his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, has been hospitalized in critical condition after attempting suicide at his Farmington, Connecticut home, according to his attorney.

After Fotis Dulos failed to show up for his emergency bail hearing on Tuesday -- his bond was likely to be revoked -- officers performed a wellness check at his house, according to the Farmington police.

Through a window, the officers saw him in the garage. Fotis Dulos was unresponsive, but officers determined CPR was required and called for an ambulance.

He was rushed to UConn Health for carbon monoxide poisoning, police said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with him," said defense attorney Norm Pattis, who confirmed the suicide attempt to ABC News.

Fotis Dulos' estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, disappeared in May 2019 amid a contentious custody battle.

Her body has never been found.

Fotis Dulos was arrested on murder charges this month.

Police alleged in court papers that he was "lying in wait" for his estranged wife at her New Canaan home and that a violent assault took place in the garage.

The Dulos' five children are in custody of Jennifer Dulos' mother.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] - for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it – you are not alone.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


pkazmercyk/iStock(SCOTTSBORO, Ala.) -- Four children were among the eight people killed when a massive fire swept through an Alabama marina and destroyed 35 boats, some being used as permanent residences, authorities said on Tuesday.

The ages of the children who perished in Monday morning's blaze in Scottsboro were 7, 9, 10 and 16, Jackson County Medical Examiner John Jordan told ABC News.

Jordan said all of the victims have been identified, but he is not yet prepared to release the names of those who died.

While the search for additional victims is ongoing, Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Nicklaus told ABC News that "we believe that we have all the souls accounted for."


#BREAKING: Multiple people are dead and several others are missing after a fire at the Jackson County Park in Scottsboro, Alabama. @WKRN

— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) January 27, 2020

Nicklaus said at a news conference on Tuesday that an investigation into the cause of the fire has been launched by the Alabama fire marshal. He said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard are also investigating the incident.

He said some of the investigators working to find the cause of the tragedy also probed a fire on Sept. 2 that killed 34 people on a 75-foot dive boat anchored off Santa Cruz Island in Southern California.

The ferocious blaze on Monday broke out around 12:40 a.m. at a marina at Jackson County Park on the Tennessee River and rapidly spread, Nicklaus said.

In addition to the eight bodies recovered from the water, seven other people were injured and taken to area hospitals, Nicklaus said. He said the injuries were minor.

"This kind of loss on any scale is huge, but for a small community it's incredibly tragic and rough," Nicklaus told ABC News.

He said the 35 vessels that burned ranged from 20-foot pontoons to 40-foot houseboats that up to 21 people were using as their permanent residences. It remained unclear how many people were on the boats and the dock when the fire broke out.

"That proved difficult because of the nature of people coming and going off of houseboats and not knowing how many people were staying with who," Nicklaus said.

Video footage showed a long dock with flames shooting from what appeared to be a row of houseboats.

Nicklaus said when firefighters arrived, 30% of the dock was engulfed in flames. He said firefighters initially confronted "substantial access problems" in reaching people trapped by the flames.

Some people escaped the fire by jumping into the frigid water, he said, and some boats sank at the dock while others broke from their moorings and sank in the lake.

Nicklaus said that 17 different agencies, including the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and neighboring fire departments, responded to the scene.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Patrick Raycraft/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images(NEW CANAAN, Conn.) --  Immediately after Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos mysteriously vanished in May 2019 during a custody dispute, her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, was under suspicion.

But it wasn't until January 2020 that Fotis Dulos was arrested for her murder, and a few weeks after later was hospitalized in critical condition after an apparent suicide attempt.

The body of Jennifer Dulos has never been found.

Here's a timeline of the case, from the divorce filing to her husband's arrest and hospitalization.

2017: A contentious separation

Jennifer Dulos and Fotis Dulos married in 2004 and filed for divorce in 2017.

In 2017, Jennifer Dulos filed for an emergency order for full custody of their five children, which was denied, court documents show. Jennifer and Fotis Dulos were granted shared custody of the children until the end of the divorce proceedings.

Jennifer Dulos alleged that her husband exhibited intensifying "irrational, unsafe, bullying, threatening and controlling behavior," stating that she was afraid for her safety as well as the physical safety and emotional well-being of their children.

The New Canaan mother alleged that Fotis Dulos threatened to kidnap their children in May 2017 if she did not agree to his terms in the divorce settlement and that he had bought a gun that year.

She alleged that on June 3, 2017, Fotis Dulos "became enraged, appeared out of control, and blamed me for scheduling activities for the children on a Saturday morning... I was scared and tried to leave the room. He followed me upstairs and into a bedroom,where he shut the door and blocked it so that I was trapped as he verbally attacked me and physically intimidated me."

"I am afraid of my Husband," Jennifer Dulos alleged. "I know that filing for divorce, and filing this Motion will enrage him. I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way."

In Fotis Dulos' amended reply to the motion, he claimed he legally bought the gun in 2017 for home security.

He denied exhibiting "irrational, unsafe, bullying, threatening and/or controlling behavior."

Fotis Dulos stated that he never threatened to kidnap the children and never "physically threatened, stalked or assaulted" his wife.

Fotis Dulos also stated that his wife called him a psychopath and told the children that he does not care about them. In addition, Fotis Dulos claimed that his wife said to the children, "I will make sure this divorce takes two and a half years," and "I can have the Mafia break your dad's legs with a baseball bat."

Fotis Dulos said in a Dec. 2017 email to his wife: "our children deserve a mother AND a father, not one or the other. And if we cannot live together, we can at least get along for their sake and benefit."

May 2019: Jennifer Dulos vanishes

Jennifer Dulos, 50, was last seen on May 24, 2019.

She was last heard from while dropping off her children at school, according to police, who say she was believed to be driving her 2017 black Chevrolet Suburban at the time.

Her vehicle was later found near Waveny Park in New Canaan, police said.

Investigators believe Jennifer Dulos suffered a "serious physical assault" in her garage, where blood stains and blood spatter were found, according to arrest warrants.

"We miss her beyond measure — her five young children, her family, her friends, colleagues and neighbors, as well as countless people who have never met her but who have responded to the spirit of grace and kindness that Jennifer embodies," family spokesperson Carrie Luft said in a statement.

The Dulos' five children remain in the custody of Jennifer Dulos' mother.

June 2019: Arrests

Fotis Dulos, 51, of Farmington, and his live-in girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, were arrested on June 1, charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and hindering prosecution, according to authorities.

They both pleaded not guilty.

Clothes and sponges with Jennifer Dulos' blood were found in trash cans in Hartford, where the documents said surveillance cameras captured a man appearing to be Fotis Dulos disposing of garbage bags in multiple receptacles, according to the documents. A woman in the passenger seat of the man's car fit the appearance of Troconis, according to the documents.

Norm Pattis, Fotis Dulos' attorney, told ABC News on June 11 that he can't account for the surveillance footage or the bags in the dumpster. But he insists his client didn't kill his wife and doesn't know where she is.

Based on the timeline of the day Jennifer Dulos went missing, "it seems to be implausible" that Fotis Dulos could have killed her, his attorney said at the time.

"The alibi is enormous," Pattis said. "We are anxious to meet those accusations and clear his name."

July 2019: Fotis Dulos speaks out

Fotis Dulos released a rare public statement in July, saying he understands "the public's perception of me as a monster given the little they know about the case."

"But I trust the system and the process and ask the public to do the same," he said.

"My children are the center of my world," he also said. "I worry about them and Jennifer, and I would tell them that I know it is hard now but everything IS going to be alright eventually."

September 2019: Another arrest

Fotis Dulos and Troconis were arrested again in September on another charge of tampering with evidence. They pleaded not guilty.

January 2020: Murder charges

Fotis Dulos was taken into custody by Connecticut State Police at his home on Jan. 7, 2020, and was charged with capital murder, murder and kidnapping, police said.

Authorities allege Jennifer Dulos was killed at her home on May 24, 2019 between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m -- after she returned from taking her children to school, according to an arrest warrant.

Police claim Fotis Dulos bound Jennifer Dulos with zip ties, put her inside her own car and cleaned the garage, according to an arrest warrant.

Pattis told ABC News, "Mr. Dulos has contended he's not guilty."

Troconis was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Kent Mahwinney, an attorney and a friend of Fotis Dulos, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

January 2020: Fotis Dulos hospitalized in critical condition

On Jan. 28, 2020, Fotis Dulos was hospitalized in critical condition to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, after his attorney said he attempted suicide at his Farmington, Connecticut, home.

After Fotis Dulos failed to show up for his emergency bail hearing, officers performed a wellness check at his house, according to the Farmington police.

Through a window, the officers saw him in the garage. Fotis Dulos was unresponsive, but officers determined CPR was required and called for an ambulance.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with him," said Pattis.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


TheaDesign/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- The remains of all of the victims who were aboard the ill-fated helicopter that went down Sunday, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others, have been recovered from the crash site in Calabasas, California, according to officials.

Three of the bodies were recovered from the helicopter wreckage Sunday afternoon and the remaining victims were located and removed from the crash site on Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced.

Investigators are still working on identifying all of the victims, according to the coroner's office.

Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were on the Sikorsky S-76B aircraft when it left Orange County Sunday and crashed on a steep hillside in Calabasas just before 10 a.m.

The chopper was headed to a game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, along with others connected to the basketball program. All of the passengers are believed to have died instantly when the helicopter slammed into the mountains northwest of Los Angeles.

"It was a pretty devastating accident scene," National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said at a press conference Monday evening.

It is unclear what caused the crash. A federal investigation into why pilot Ara Zobayan took flight despite the foggy weather is underway.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


baona/iStock(SUNFLOWER COUNTY, Miss.) -- In his first state-of-the-state address, the new governor of Mississippi announced he has ordered the closing of the state's most notorious prison unit, where a deadly riot broke out this month and thrust a corrections system crisis into the national spotlight.

Gov. Tate Reeves has made the prison system his major focus since taking office Jan. 14 amid a string of inmate killings, suicides, escapes and cellblock blazes that prompted hip hop artist Yo Gotti and music mogul Jay-Z to back a federal lawsuit on behalf of 29 inmates claiming their "lives are in peril" due to inhumane conditions and bare-bones staffing.

Reeves said he's instructed the Mississippi Department of Corrections to close Unit 29 at Parchman prison, where an inmate was killed and several others injured when a riot broke out Jan. 2 and prompted a temporary statewide prison lockdown.

"There are many logistical questions that will need to be answered. We're working through that right now. But I have seen enough," Reeves said during his state-of-the-state address Monday on the steps of the capitol building in Jackson. "We have to turn the page. This is the first step, and I have asked the department to begin the preparations to make it happen safely, justly and quickly."

Reeves said he made the decision after visiting Unit 29 last week with his newly selected interim commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Tommy Taylor.

During a news conference last week, Reeves said he saw "some pretty rough conditions" in Unit 29 -- inmates had "torn the place apart." Dangerous prisoners "are being housed together without any structure to prevent violent collision," he added.

In his speech Tuesday, Reeves said the "problems are infuriating."

"All Mississippians must be able to trust that the people in charge of the system are acting with competence to keep them safe," Reeves said. "We must be able to trust that the corrections officers operating these prisons have the tools that they need to do their jobs and that they are being compensated fairly. We must be able to trust that the system shows a baseline level of respect to those who find themselves within it."

At least 12 prisoners have died in Mississippi prisons since Dec. 29, including nine at Parchman.

Two of those deaths were over the weekend. On Sunday morning, a 26-year-old at Parchman was pronounced dead after being found hanging in his cell. On Saturday night, a 38-year-old inmate was found dead night at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs.

In addition to the dozen deaths, two inmates recently escaped, prompting a massive manhunt. Both were recaptured, and investigators said they may have received outside help.

Brandon Jones, policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said he hopes the governor's decision to close Unit 29 at Parchman improves safety at the facility.

"For years we have known Parchman prison was a ticking time bomb. Time has run out," Jones said in a statement to ABC News. "With more deaths this weekend, closing Parchman's Unit 29 is the first step in a number of actions the state needs to take to make our prisons safe and livable."

Earlier this month, 11 prisoner advocacy groups -- the American Civil Liberty Union of Mississippi, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP among them -- sent a 23-page letter to the Department of Justice asking the federal government to investigate the state's prison system.

"The Mississippi prison system is in a state of acute and undeniable crisis ... and [has] a history of preventable deaths and injuries stretching back years," said the letter posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center's website.

Last week, Reeves announced a series of "common sense" changes he's already begun implementing, including a crackdown on contraband cellphones in prison, which, he said, have been used to coordinate violence throughout the prison system. He's also seeking a process to weed out guards who are corrupt or have gang affiliations.

Reeves said his administration is also considering reopening the state's Walnut Grove prison in Leake County, a privately run facility shut down due to corruption in 2016.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


DNY59/iStoc(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Krystal Lee, the ex-girlfriend of a man who murdered his fiancee, was sentenced to three years behind bars Tuesday -- the maximum sentence possible -- for helping dispose of evidence in the gruesome crime.

"I'm sorry that my silence was mistaken for lack of remorse or sympathy," Lee said in court Tuesday. "I'm sorry her family will live the rest of their life without her. I'm sorry Kaylee will live without a mother."

"I'm sorry that I did not save Kelsey," she said.

Lee's sentence is in connection to the crimes of her ex-boyfriend Patrick Frazee, who was found guilty of killing his missing fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, in November. He was sentenced to life without parole plus 156 years.

The star witness against Frazee during his dramatic trial was Lee -- his ex-girlfriend with whom he later had an affair -- who told the jury that Frazee called her to come to Berreth's Colorado house to clean up the crime scene.

Lee testified that Frazee beat the mother of his child to death with a baseball bat on Thanksgiving Day 2018 while the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee, sat in a back room.

"I saw blood all over the floor and blood all over the wall... on the floor there were bloody footprints," she testified.

Lee admitted to disposing of Berreth's phone and pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence.

Lee also claimed that Frazee had three prior plots for killing Berreth, including one that involved Frazee asking her to poison Berreth's favorite Starbucks drink, a caramel macchiato, according to investigators. Lee claimed she and Frazee discussed potential drugs that were easy to access because Lee was a nurse, an investigator said.

With over a dozen of Lee's family and friends in the courtroom Tuesday, a witness on her behalf testified that Lee was not a killer and was also a victim of Frazee.

But in court in November, Berreth's mother, Cheryl Berreth, called Lee "an active participant in the murder -- the only thing she didn't do was swing the bat."

"Kaylee's mommy would still be alive if Krystal would have gone to the authorities. As a nurse ethics require her to do no harm," Cheryl Berreth said.

"She chose to cover up the murder, only speaking out to save herself. She chose to clean up the mess," Cheryl Berreth said. "We have seen no remorse for anything other than getting caught."

Kelsey Berreth's body was never found.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


mputsylo/iStock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- The bodies of a pregnant mother and her infant son, which were found shot to death in Rocky Mountain National Park last week, was ruled a murder-suicide, investigators said.

Police in Colorado Springs were notified during the afternoon of Jan. 24, of a "suicidal subject" that was nearby the intersection of Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance of the park. When park rangers arrived near Upper Beaver Meadows Road, a car belonging to Tristen Watson was found unoccupied, according to a press release issued by the National Park Service (NPS).

The park rangers found the bodies of 24-year-old Tristen Watson with 17-month-old Christopher Watson. They were both deceased and transferred to the Larimer County Coroner's Office, which ruled their deaths a murder-suicide, according to an announcement by the NPS on Monday.

The mother and son died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the coroner's office.

Tristen Watson was believed to be pregnant with a girl who was to be named Aspen, according to the obituary posted on E.J. Fielding Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Convington, La.

Also in the obituary, the family is requesting that in lieu of flowers to send memorial contributions in memory of the mother to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of St. Tammany.

The memorial service is expected to be held on Feb. 1 following visitation that is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

Tristen Watson is survived by her husband Derrick Watson and a host of other family and friends.

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Arizona Department of Public Safety(MESQUITE, Nev.) -- Authorities in Arizona seized nearly 400 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop over the weekend, officials said.

A trooper with the Arizona Department of Public Safety pulled a vehicle over Friday for a traffic violation on Interstate 15, just south of Littlefield near the Arizona-Nevada border, Sgt. Kameron Lee, a spokesperson for AZDPS, told ABC News.

During the stop, the trooper realized something was amiss and requested assistance from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, which brought along its K9 named Brutus. Lee said he could not go into details as to why assistance was requested.

When Brutus arrived, he alerted authorities to drugs and 362 pounds of methamphetamine -- with an estimated street value of $4.1 million -- was subsequently found, according to AZDPS.

It was the largest meth seizure in AZDPS history, the agency said.

The driver and passenger of the car, identified by police as 52-year-old Julie Jeannie Mason, of Iowa, and 38-year-old Maurius Montez Mason, of Illinois, were arrested for possession of a dangerous drug and transportation of a dangerous drug.

They were booked into the Mesquite Detention Center in Mesquite, Nev.

It was not immediately clear if the Masons, who are husband and wife, obtained legal representation.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office(WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania woman is facing charges of neglect, abuse and false imprisonment for allegedly keeping her care-dependent sister in a wooden cage, authorities said.

Leona Biser, 51, was arrested earlier this month after investigators discovered that she allegedly kept her 53-year-old sister, Loretta Lancaster, in the man-made cell in the living room of her home in Washington County. Lancaster had "only a dirty mattress and little-to-no medical care," according to a press release from the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

"This defendant professed to be caring for her sister when, in fact, the home was in deplorable condition, had no running water, and the victim was not getting her prescribed medicines," Shapiro said in a statement on Jan. 15, when announcing the charges.

Lancaster was transported to a local hospital for treatment of a urinary tract infection and rhabdomyolysis, a potentially life-threatening syndrome resulting from the breakdown of damaged muscle tissue. Lancaster's condition has improved during her hospital stay, and she has regained some mobility and is working with a speech therapist, according to Shapiro.

"We fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves," the attorney general said. "And our agents have made sure the victim has received needed care and will no longer have to suffer daily living in a cage."

Meanwhile, Biser has been charged with neglect of a care-dependent person, abuse of a care-dependent person, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment, Shapiro said.

Biser waived her preliminary hearing on Friday and was ordered to stand trial. She is scheduled to appear in the Washington County Courthouse on Feb. 27 for her formal arraignment, according to Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE.

It's unclear whether Biser has obtained an attorney.

When asked about the allegations while arriving at court on Friday, Biser told a WTAE reporter, "No comment at this time."

The reporter then asked, "Did you keep your sister in a cage?"

"No," Biser said, "I didn't."

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Ocala Police Department(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A 9-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder after allegedly stabbing his 5-year-old sister multiple times.

Authorities in Ocala, Florida, responded to an apartment complex at around 4:20 p.m. Monday to reports of a stabbing involving juveniles inside one of the units, according to ABC News’ Orlando affiliate WFTV.

“Units are currently on scene at Berkeley Point Apartments working a stabbing investigation involving juveniles,” the Ocala Police Department confirmed on Facebook.

Once police arrived, they discovered a 5-year-old victim with multiple stab wounds inside the apartment where they lived but no sign of a suspect. The victim was allegedly alert and able to communicate with authorities when they found her, according to WFTV.

Her brother was discovered a short time later hiding close by in a maintenance shed.

The 5-year-old girl was airlifted to a nearby hospital where she is currently being treated for stab wounds suffered in the incident.

“The juvenile suspect is in custody and juvenile victim has been air lifted to a nearby hospital,” Ocala authorities said in their statement. “The scene is currently blocked off and secured as a Major Crimes Detectives continue to process and interview.”

The 9-year-old boy was then arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, according to WFTV, which cited a news release from the Ocala Police Department.

The condition of the 5-year-old girl is not immediately known.

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