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  • An Arizona woman whose 8-month-old daughter was killed and partially eaten by the family dog last year has been sentenced to probation in the case. Breanna Henson, 31, of Tuscon, was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for endangerment, according to KOLD in Tuscon. She pleaded guilty to the charge in December. Editor’s note: The following story contains graphic details of a child’s death.  Henson was arrested Jan. 24, 2019, after her daughter, Patricia Henson, was found dead inside their home near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Patricia had puncture wounds and scratches on her body consistent with injuries inflicted by the German shepherd mix. Henson, who was intoxicated when police arrived at the home, told police she awoke to find her daughter dead. She was initially charged with child abuse, KOLD reported. The dog believed to be involved in Patricia’s death was later euthanized, according to KVOA in Tuscon. The autopsy report, which was obtained by KOLD, paints a gruesome portrait of what happened to the girl. Patricia, who weighed 18 pounds when she was killed, had catastrophic injuries to her head, including gashes that left her brain exposed. A large portion of her brain was missing, as were pieces of her skull and part of her face. “A separate plastic bag contains the intact left eye and skeletal fragments,” the autopsy report stated. The baby had gashes, bruises, puncture wounds and abrasions, as well as internal bleeding. She suffered severe injuries to her torso, including damage to her heart, lungs and liver, and her abdominal cavity was filled with blood. A detective brought the pathologist three plastic containers of stomach contents from the dog believed to have killed Patricia. “Examination of these contents revealed human infant teeth and skeletal fragments,” the autopsy report stated. KOLD reported last month that neither Tuscon police officials nor the autopsy report said definitively if Patricia was alive during the dog attack. The manner of her death was listed in the report as “undetermined.”
  • A Georgia death row inmate who was issued a stay of execution in 2017 based on a trial juror’s racist beliefs, including questioning if “black people even have souls,” has died. Keith “Bo” Tharpe, 61, died Friday of natural causes, according to The Associated Press. Georgia Department of Corrections officials confirmed Tharpe’s death in an email to the AP on Sunday. Tharpe’s legal team at the Georgia Resource Center, which offers free legal help to death row inmates, said his death was likely due to complications of cancer, CNN reported. Despite his 2017 stay, Tharpe had been awaiting possible execution after the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2019 declined to take up his case. “The courts’ failure to confront the racism tainting Mr. Tharpe’s death sentence remains a stain on the judicial system and calls for increased efforts to eradicate the poison of racism in our criminal courts,” one of Tharpe’s attorneys, Marcia Widder, said in a statement obtained by CNN on Saturday. Tharpe had been on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison since 1991, when he was convicted of murdering his sister-in-law, Jacquelyn Freeman, in Jones County. He was found guilty of malice murder and two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury in the Sept. 25, 1990, crime, which stemmed from his wife leaving him the month before. “Following various threats of violence made by the defendant to and about his wife and her family, a peace warrant was taken out against him, and the defendant was ordered not to have any contact with his wife or her family,” a 2017 news release from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office said. “Notwithstanding this order, Tharpe called his wife on Sept. 24, 1990 and argued with her, saying if she wanted to ‘play dirty,’ he would show her ‘what dirty was.’” The next morning, Tharpe’s wife and sister-in-law were driving to work when Tharpe used his vehicle to block theirs. “He got out of his vehicle, armed with a shotgun and apparently under the influence of drugs, and ordered them out of their vehicle. He then took his sister-in-law to the rear of his vehicle, where he shot her,” the news release said. “He rolled her into a ditch, reloaded, and shot her again, killing her.” Tharpe then drove away with his wife. After unsuccessfully trying to rent a motel room, Tharpe parked by the side of the road and raped his wife. Afterward, he drove to Macon, where he ordered his wife to withdraw cash from her credit union, Instead, she called the police and Tharpe was arrested. In his appeals over the following decade, Tharpe’s attorneys argued multiple issues should keep him out of the death chamber. They claimed their client’s IQ of 74 indicated he was not able to fully understand the charges against him. They also argued that he had received “horrifyingly uninformed and unconcerned legal representation” at his trial. In 1998, seven years after his conviction, Tharpe’s attorneys interviewed a white juror, Barney Gattie, of Gray, who told them that, “after studying the Bible, (he) “wondered if black people even have souls.” Gattie, who signed off on an affidavit filed by Tharpe’s lawyers, “stated that there are two kinds of black people in the world -- ‘regular black folks’ and ‘n-words.’” “Mr. Gattie noted that he understood that some people do not like the word “n-word” but that is just what they are, and he ‘tells it like he sees it,’” according to court records. Gattie admitted knowing Freeman, the murder victim, and said she came from one of the “good black families” in Gray. “If they had been the type Tharpe is, then picking between life and death for Tharpe wouldn’t have mattered so much. My feeling is, what would be the difference?” Gattie said. Court records indicate that Gattie went on to say that Tharpe, “who wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category in (Gattie’s) book, should get the electric chair for what he did.” He also told the attorneys that “(s)ome of the jurors voted for death because they felt Tharpe should be an example to other blacks who kill blacks, but that wasn’t (his) reason.” Tharpe’s attorneys used the affidavit to appeal his case and the Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of execution Sept. 26, 2017, the night Tharpe was scheduled to die. “Gattie’s remarkable affidavit -- which he never retracted -- presents a strong factual basis for the argument that Tharpe’s race affected Gattie’s vote for a death verdict,” a January 2018 Supreme Court decision read. The court sent the case back to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for consideration of whether Tharpe should be allowed to appeal his sentence. The appeals court in August 2018 ruled that he should not, denying the appeal, in part, because it relied on the decision in a later case that could not be applied retroactively. The Supreme Court in March declined to hear Tharpe’s appeal of that decision. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a statement, however, that she was “profoundly troubled by the underlying facts of this case.” “To this day, Tharpe’s racial-bias claim has never been adjudicated on its merits,” Sotomayor wrote. She wrote that, while she agreed with the court’s denial of Tharpe’s petition, she felt the justices “should not look away from the magnitude of the potential injustice that procedural barriers are shielding from judicial review.” “Tharpe has uncovered truly striking evidence of juror bias,” Sotomayor wrote. “(Gattie’s) racist sentiments, expressed by a juror entrusted with a vote over Tharpe’s fate, suggest an appalling risk that racial bias swayed Tharpe’s sentencing. The danger of race determining any criminal punishment is intolerable and endangers public confidence in the law. That risk is especially grave here, where it may have yielded a punishment that is unique in its ‘complete finality.’” Sotomayor wrote that, while it is tempting to excuse the bias in Tharpe’s case as an “outlier,” racial bias is “a familiar and recurring evil.” “That evil often presents itself far more subtly than it has here,” she wrote. “Yet Gattie’s sentiments -- and the fact that they went unexposed for so long, evading review on the merits -- amount to an arresting demonstration that racism can and does seep into the jury system.” Tharpe’s attorneys told CNN he had spent the last few years of his life “strengthening his bonds with family and friends and deepening his Christian faith.” When facing execution in 2017, he apologized to Freeman’s family for her brutal slaying, according to the AP. Tharpe recorded the apology in a holding cell hours before his scheduled execution. The AP obtained a transcript of his statement via an open records request. “You know because, uh, you know, me taking the life of her was very wrong and uh, I sincerely wish y’all would be able to be forgiving one day,” the transcript read. “You know and uh, like I say, I’ma say it again, I’m very sorry. And, uh, and, God bless y’all. That’s all I can say.”
  • Downtown St. Augustine is buzzing with families any time of year. Kathy and Dan Gysbers came all the way from Missouri. “It's supposed to be the oldest city in the U.S. That’s what all the literature says so we wanted to see it,” Kathy Gysbers said.  New research for the St. Johns County’s Tourist Development Council shows families are coming from all over the U.S. to see the Ancient City.  And from July to September, 13 percent of visitors were international -- a big takeaway for the council.  “That’s exciting because it wasn’t so many years ago where that figure was closer to 2 percent,” Richard Goldman with the visitor’s bureau said. “The international visitor tends to stay longer and because they are staying longer, they spend more money and of course that’s our job is to drive economic development.”  Families said the number one reason they visited was a special event, followed by the beach and historical sites.  “The fort. We’re from Puerto Rico so we wanted to see the difference,” Dalisha Melendez said.  The average income of visitors is also growing. It was $93,000 for day and overnight visitors in the quarterly report, up from $70,000 several years ago, Goldman said.  The research shows the average group spent $484 a day while on vacation, and a total $2,759 on the trip.  The one concern families shared -- parking. One in three visitors said more public parking would make St. Johns County a better place to visit.  Goldman said the city is offering incentives to developers to add new spots so visitors like the Gysbers can focus on enjoying the city.  “We’ll go drink from the fountain of youth before we go home, go home younger than we were,” Gysbers said.  You can see the full quarterly report here.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday that he believes it’s “increasingly likely” that other Republicans will call for testimony from John Bolton during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after leaked excerpts of a manuscript by Bolton contracted claims made by the president’s defense team. Bolton served as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 until September 2019, when he was ousted over disagreements with the president over how to deal with Iran, Afghanistan and a host of global challenges. 'It's increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton,' Romney, R-Utah, said Monday. He added that he believes it's 'increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.' Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, echoed Romney's sentiments in a statement published Monday, writing that the revelations about Bolton's account 'strengthen the case of witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.' The senators’ comments came after The New York Times reported that, in an unpublished manuscript circulated in recent weeks, Bolton said Trump told him he wanted to continue to hold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Ukraine until prosecutors in the country agreed to announce an investigation into his Democratic rivals, including former Vice President and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden. In a tweet posted early Monday, Trump denied Bolton's claim. 'I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,' the president wrote. 'If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.' Bolton has previously signaled his willingness to appear before the Senate to testify as part of Trump’s impeachment trial, however, it was not immediately clear whether there would be enough support from Republicans to call witnesses. He wants to testify for several reasons, including fears that he could be accused of not speaking up before the release of his book in order to boost sales, The Times reported, citing his unnamed associates. Bolton had been asked to testify last year as part of the House impeachment inquiry but he and his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, declined and asked a court to clarify whether they were legally required to appear. Trump had earlier ordered White House officials not to cooperate with the inquiry, which he framed as illegitimate. Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry after learning of a whistleblower complaint filed in August by an official concerned over Trump’s attempts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. In a closed-door interview with lawmakers in October, Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser on Russia, testified Bolton was so disquieted by back channel Ukraine activities that he referred to Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as a “hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Jacksonville Police are still searching for a man they say abducted a woman at gunpoint.  She was found safe on Saturday. Police say 36-year-old Tyrone Davis is wanted for breaking into a home off Edgewood near Moncrief through a back window early on Saturday.  JSO called the abduction 'domestic-related'.   A neighbor told Action News Jax that JSO came to his door asking if his surveillance cameras captured anything early this morning. The neighbor said the area is usually quiet.  Davis had a gun and dragged the woman out of the house by her hair, according to police.  JSO is asking anyone with information about Tyrone Davis’ location to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org .  To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000 contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 

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