05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in Tuesday's shooting of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh. Photo via Twitter

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — A long-running parking dispute between neighbors motivated a man to kill a woman, her newlywed husband and her sister at a quiet condominium complex near the University of North Carolina campus, police said Wednesday.

Beyond the parking arguments, police didn't comment further on the motivation or details of the crime, but a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization asked authorities to address speculation — much of it on social media — about possible religious bias.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in Tuesday's shooting of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh.

Barakat and Mohammad were married, and Abu-Salha was Mohammad's sister.

Hicks appeared briefly in court Wednesday. He spoke only to answer that he understood the charges and to confirm an indigency affidavit. District Judge Marcia Morey said he would be appointed a public defender and held without bond. She scheduled a probable cause hearing for March 4.

Police said Hicks was cooperating and that their preliminary investigation showed that the parking dispute was the motive.

But outrage spread among American Muslims who viewed the homicides as an outgrowth of anti-Muslim opinions in the U.S. Many posted social media updates with the Twitter hashtags #MuslimLivesMatter and #CallItTerrorism.

"Based on the brutal nature of this crime ... the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case," Nihad Awad, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement.

In an email, Chapel Hill police Chief Chris Blue said, "We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated, and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case."

Durham district attorney Roger Echols said he couldn't discuss a motive. Asked whether Hicks could be charged with a hate crime, he said the facts of the case were still under investigation.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in North Carolina that encompasses Chapel Hill didn't immediately return messages seeking comment about whether federal prosecutors were involved or looking into a possible hate crime.

Abdullah Antepli, director of Muslim affairs at nearby Duke University, issued a statement calling for people not to jump to conclusions over the motive for the killings.

At UNC, Barakat was a second-year dental student, and Yusor was scheduled to begin dental studies in the fall.

Both had graduated from North Carolina State University, school spokesman Mick Kulikowski said. Barakat graduated with a business administration degree in the spring of 2013. Mohammad graduated in December with a biological sciences degree.

Abu-Salha was a sophomore design major who had started classes last fall, Kulikowski said.

Muneeb Mustafa, 23, of Cary, attended the same Raleigh mosque as Barakat.

"He was a completely genuine guy. Loving, caring, friendly, smart," Mustafa said. "He was an ideal human being. He was a role model."

Mustafa said they last saw each other about a month ago, playing in a basketball tournament staged by the Muslim Student Association at UNC, Mustafa said. Barakat, his wife of less than two months and his sister were all Muslim, Mustafa said.

Barakat's family was from Syria, and he was raising money to help refugees of the country's civil war, Mustafa said. Mohammad traveled to Turkey last summer to help treat dental problems in Syrian refugees in that country, Mustafa said.

The neighborhood where the victims were found — about three miles east of campus — consists mostly of apartments and condominiums rented by students. Residents said they'd never before seen police or had crime problems there.

"It's a very quiet community," resident Bethany Boring told WRAL-TV. "It's a lot of graduate and professional students. You know, professional families."

Police tape hung near the apartment where the victims were found, but otherwise there was no indication of a crime scene. Outside the victims' apartment, a woman's bicycle with a helmet was parked by the stairs.

Shadi Wehbe, a UNC graduate who has lived in the complex since 1999, said that two weeks ago, a woman came to his door about 10 p.m. to ask him to move his car. Some of the parking spots are assigned, and others are open. Wehbe said parking had never been a problem and no one had asked him to move his car before, but he realized he was in the wrong spot and moved his car one place over.

___

Associated Press writers Jonathan Drew in Durham, Emery Dalesio in Raleigh and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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