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  • The death toll attributed to the 2019 novel coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, continues to rise, with tens of thousands of people sickened and thousands of others killed by the virus, mostly in China. LIVE UPDATES CONTINUE BELOW Mexico has first cases Update 10:20 a.m. EST Feb. 28: Mexico has two cases of COVID-19, the country’s assistant health secretary said, according to ABC News. One case, which is confirmed, is in Mexico City, the other suspected case is in Sinaloa. While the test results haven’t come back in the second yet, officials are treating the patient as if it was positive, ABC News reported. Both cases are reportedly not serious. Meanwhile, the illness is spreading in Singapore, as the country now says there are 98 cases, CNN reported. Stocks open lower to finish week Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 28: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 800 points shortly after the opening bell to start the final day of trading this week, CNBC reported. The Dow isn’t the only index to feel the effects of the coronavirus. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both open down. Events canceled, virus spreads to sub-Saharan Africa Update 6:30 a.m. EST Feb 28: South Korea’s number of infected has jumped. Now officials say an additional 571 people have tested positive for Coronavirus, CNN reported. A total of 2,337 cases have been diagnosed, the most outside of mainland China, CNN reported. Events are being canceled as the virus continues to have a hold on most of the world. One of the world’s biggest car shows, the Geneva Motor Show, has been canceled because of coronavirus. More than 600,000 people were supposed to attend the event starting on March 2, CNN reported. The Swiss government has banned any events that have more than 1,000 expected to attend. The ban is in effect until March 15. Tokyo Disneyland has closed because of the virus. The gates will remain closed for two weeks. Both of Tokyo’s Disney parks, Disneyland and DisneySea, are planned to reopen on March 15, but it could be closed longer, NBC News reported. Lithuania now has its first confirmed case. The woman, who has mild symptoms, is in isolation at a hospital and her three family members are being monitored, CNN reported. France has two new infections, bringing its total to 40. Sub-Saharan Africa has had its first case with a person in Nigeria has tested positive. The person, who is an Italian citizen, traveled from Milan to Lagos earlier this week. Nigeria is Africa’s largest populated country with more than 200 million. Officials are trying to determine who came in contact with the person and are taking measures to make sure it doesn’t spread, The New York Times reported. US Navy quarantine Update 12 a.m. EST Feb. 28: The US Navy has ordered the self-quarantine of all ships that have been to countries in the Pacific and to monitor for any symptoms, CNN reported. But as of the order, there were no signs that anyone on the ships has become infected. The ships are to remain at sea for 14 days. The quarantine comes after a planned exercise with South Korea was suspended because of the outbreak, CNN reported.
  • A woman was killed while trying to help with a crash involving two horses in the Callahan area.   It happened just before 7 pm Thursday on U.S. 301.  Florida Highway Patrol says two horses that were in the road were hit and killed by an SUV.  A woman, later identified as Melissa Nault, stopped to help. Another car hit one of the horses, then the woman, killing her.   FHP says charges are pending additional investigation.
  • You'll need jackets and coats this morning and maybe even through the afternoon, despite a lot of sun we're going to be crisp and cool. Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says we only get into the low 60's after a cold morning. And it’s still breezy.  “Chilly night tonight so sweaters and jackets as we drop into the upper 30’s in most spots, but staying above freezing”, said Buresh.  It will be a breezy, cool Saturday for World of Nations, the Scottish Games and Monster Jam. Afternoon temperatures will be in the low 60’s, and temperatures fall into the 30’s at night.  Sunday starts cold with an inland frost or freeze early but a warmer afternoon with temperatures in the upper 60’s. Monday will be in the mid-70’s, and even warmer for Tuesday and Wednesday. 
  • A local family is hoping somebody saw something after their son was killed in a hit-and-run crash. Investigators said they found Lynard Green, 34, lying on the side of Soutel Drive near New Kings Road Saturday night just before 10. They performed CPR on him and rushed him to the hospital but he later died.  “He had a big heart, a very big heart,” said Michelle Johnson, victim’s mother.  A memorial now marks the spot where Green was hit. His mom said he knew the area well.  “Lynard is a walking soul, he’s always walking, that’s just him,” she said.  According to a report, there’s no witnesses or description of the car. Johnson is hoping the person will come forward.  “And for someone to just leave him there, that’s the part, just to leave him there, disregard, because he was somebody, he is somebody,” she said.  Funeral services will be March 7 at 11 a.m. at Mt. Zion Church.
  • A Florida woman and her grown son were indicted Wednesday in the killings of her husband and sister that took place 25 years ago in New Jersey, according to authorities. Dolores Mejia Connors Morgan, 66, and Ted Connors, 47, both of Del Ray Beach, are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 1994 slaying of Ana F. Mejia, 24, and the 1995 killing of 51-year-old Nicholas William Connors, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a news release. Both killings took place in the victims’ homes in Long Branch, a beachside city about an hour east of Trenton. A third person, Jose Carrero, 48, of Jackson Township, New Jersey, was also charged with murder in both homicides, Gramiccioni said. Carrero, who, like Morgan and Ted Connors, was arrested Jan. 10, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of second-degree conspiracy to commit murder in a plea deal with prosecutors. Media reports at the time of the killings indicated that Mejia considered her sister and brother-in-law her parents. An obituary that ran in the Asbury Park Press under the name Ana Mejia-Jimenez listed them as her mother and father, and Ted Connors as her brother. Mejia was found dead Dec. 8, 1994, in the bedroom of the apartment she shared with her boyfriend and her two young children, Gramiccioni said. “Mejia was stabbed multiple times and had a white powdery substance rubbed on her face when she was found. Her children were found safe within the residence,” the prosecutor said in a news release. Investigators initially believed it was cocaine that had been smeared on Mejia’s face, including inside her nose. According to NJ.com, however, the white powder found around Mejia’s nose and mouth was determined to be baby formula. Mejia had been stabbed 23 times and news reports at the time indicated her body was mutilated. “Six months later, on May 14, 1995, Long Branch police officers were dispatched to the Van Dyke Place home of Nicholas Connors, 51,” the news release said. “There, authorities found Nicholas Connors on a sofa, deceased after multiple gunshot wounds to the head.” Morgan, then 42, was the person who found him dead, NJ.com said. Two of the couple’s children, ages 13 and 12, were home but slept through the shooting. “By habit, he would wait for her to come home before going to bed,” then-Monmouth County Prosecutor John Kaye told the Asbury Park Press in 1995. “She found him on the couch, and there was blood all about.” Gramiccioni said last week that Carrero admitted conspiring with Morgan and Ted Connors “to kill Mejia in retaliation for what they believed were her actions to tip off law enforcement officers about the illegal activities of her boyfriend.” An Asbury Park Press article published in 1994 indicated that Mejia was slain a week after her boyfriend was arrested on drug charges. NJ.com reported Carrero said in court that Morgan feared her sister, who was allegedly working as a confidential police informant, would also tip detectives off about her illegal activities. She determined Mejia had to die, he indicated. Carrero told the court that he met with Morgan, who said she would pay him to help with the killing, and Ted Connors in the kitchen of the Connors home in 1994 to plan the hit on Mejia. He said he and Ted Connors planned to go to a party together the night of the crime to establish an alibi, NJ.com reported. He said he and Ted Connors left the party and parked down the street from Mejia’s house so no one would see Connors’ vehicle, the news site reported. They went to the house and Mejia opened the door for him and her nephew before returning to her bedroom. Carrero said he covered Mejia’s face with a pillow while Ted Connors stabbed her because he “didn’t want to see her” as she died, NJ.com said. After the murder, the pair returned to the party to maintain their alibi, Carrero said. “Carrero also admitted to conspiring with Ted Connors and Connors’ mother, Delores Morgan (then known as Delores Connors) to kill Nicholas Connors. Nicholas Connors was the adopted father of Ted and then-husband of Delores,” Gramiccioni said last week. Nicholas Connors “was killed in a successful effort to collect on a life insurance policy,” Gramiccioni’s news release indicated. NJ.com reported that Carrero said in court that he, Morgan and Ted Connors again sat at the kitchen table of the family’s home to plot out the husband and father’s killing. He said Ted Connors obtained a gun and Morgan went to work that night so she would not be home when her husband was slain. Carrero said he and Ted Connors again parked down the street from the house before walking to a side door and slicing the screen to make it look like a break-in. When they went inside, Carrero said he could hear a television in the next room. He said he remained in the kitchen while Ted Connors went in and shot his father, the news site reported. When he heard a second shot, he fled and ran to the car, with Ted Connors a couple of steps behind him, NJ.com said. News reports at the time indicated investigators almost immediately suspected the killings of Mejia and Nicholas Connors were related. Carrero said he was never paid outright for the crimes but Morgan loaned him cash at one point and he didn’t pay it back. He also lived at the family’s house for a while, rent-free, until Morgan kicked him out, the news site reported. As part of his plea deal, Carrero has agreed to testify against both of his codefendants. Gramiccioni said in exchange for his testimony, prosecutors would recommend consecutive sentences of five to 10 years in state prison for each of the two charges to which he pleaded guilty. The prosecutor said investigations into the Mejia and Nicholas Connors killings were launched back in 1994 and 1995 but the cases went cold. “Additional evidence recently uncovered by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit and Long Branch Police Department resulted in charges being signed against the three defendants on Jan. 10, 2020,” Gramiccioni said. NJ.com reported last month that proof of the insurance payout Morgan received following her husband’s killing was part of the new evidence. An affidavit obtained by the site did not give the amount of the insurance payment she received. Cold case detectives also found that both the men accused in the crimes had confessed their alleged involvement to multiple friends. “The information given to (the friends) by Ted Connors and Jose Carrero is supported and proven to be true based on additional information discovered and confirmed in the current review of the file and additional investigation conducted over the last two years,” the affidavit read, according to NJ.com. The investigators also recently uncovered a transcript of a recorded conversation Ted Connors had with a friend about the crimes in 1995. Police re-interviewed one of the witnesses and obtained a new statement from him a couple of months ago, the affidavit said. Carrero’s sentencing was scheduled for June 5, but prosecutors told NJ.com it would not take place until he had testified against Morgan and Ted Connors. Both mother and son remain jailed without bond in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution.

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