05-22-2018  12:41 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

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May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

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Family seeks answers after Oregon student injured on trip

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Oregon mom raises awareness after baby dies from meningitis

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Lawsuit says Army Corps is failing to protect marine habitat

SEATTLE (AP) — Three conservation groups have sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saying it fails to protect marine habitat because it doesn't adequately regulate seawalls and other structures built along many stretches of Puget Sound shoreline.Sound Action, Friends of the San Juans and...

Facelift of Seattle's Space Needle nears completion

SEATTLE (AP) — Tourism is booming in Seattle. Just take a look at the Space Needle.The family-owned landmark is set to unveil the biggest renovation in its 56-year history next month, a 0 million investment in a single year of construction that transformed the structure's top viewing...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

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Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Man charged with shooting at black teen waives hearing

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A white suburban Detroit homeowner accused of shooting at a black teenager who came to his door to ask for directions will stand trial.Jeffrey Zeigler was bound over Tuesday to circuit court after waiving his preliminary examination on assault with intent to...

GLAAD study finds LGBTQ representation in film fell in 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Despite high-profile Oscar wins for art house films like "Call Me By Your Name" and "A Fantastic Women," LGBTQ representation in films from the seven biggest Hollywood studios fell significantly in 2017 according to a study released Tuesday by the advocacy organization...

Black man ordered to pay [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 for racist campus graffiti

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 in restitution.The Ann Arbor News reports 29-year-old Eddie Curlin learned his punishment Monday after earlier pleading guilty to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Soccer star Brandi Chastain or Gary Busey? Fans pan plaque

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Social media is finding little to like about the likeness on a plaque honoring retired soccer champion Brandi Chastain.The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in San Francisco unveiled the plaque on Monday night. Chastain said, "It's not the most flattering. But it's nice."On...

Woman accuses R. Kelly of sexual battery, giving her herpes

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer R. Kelly sexually abused a woman, locked her in rooms and vehicles for punishment, and infected her with herpes, the woman said in a lawsuit filed in New York.Faith Rodgers said in the suit filed Monday that she met Kelly about a year ago after a concert in San...

A farewell to the road for Paul Simon

NEW YORK (AP) — Farewell tours don't always mean farewell, but are a ripe time for appreciation and appraisal. Paul Simon's concerts and a new biography offer the opportunity for both.Simon's "Homeward Bound" tour began last week in Vancouver and takes him across North America, to Europe and...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Soccer star Brandi Chastain or Gary Busey? Fans pan plaque

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Social media is finding little to like about the likeness on a plaque honoring retired...

Woman accuses R. Kelly of sexual battery, giving her herpes

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer R. Kelly sexually abused a woman, locked her in rooms and vehicles for punishment,...

APNewsbreak: Pentagon adopts new cellphone restrictions

WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of debate, the Defense Department approved Monday new restrictions for the...

Brazil leader won't seek re-election

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's President Michel Temer is ending speculation that he might seek re-election...

Rights group: Rohingya insurgents massacred Myanmar Hindus

BANGKOK (AP) — Amnesty International said Wednesday that Myanmar's army was not the only group that has...

Romania court acquits Senate speaker of lying under oath

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court has acquitted the Senate speaker of making false statements...

Joey Meek
MEG KINNARD and BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A friend of the white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners in Charleston last year pleaded guilty Friday to lying to federal authorities during their investigation. He also revealed that the suspect told him he planned to kill himself after the slayings, which he had planned for months.

The plea by Joey Meek, 21, marked the first conviction in a mass killing that stunned the country, reignited discussions about race relations and led to the removal of a Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina Statehouse. Dylann Roof, who is charged with the slayings, had previously posed for photos with a rebel flag.

Meek signed a deal with prosecutors under which he agreed to plead guilty to lying to authorities and failure to report a crime. He could face up to eight years in prison when he's sentenced later, although prosecutors say they will argue he deserves less time if he's helpful in their ongoing case.

Meek admitted to key points of the government's case against him, saying Roof had told him he had planned for more than six months to shoot people at a black church in Charleston on a Wednesday night during Bible study. Meek also said Roof told him he had a gun and a fanny pack to carry extra ammunition, and that he intended to start a race war with the killings.

He also said Roof told him he had planned to kill himself after the church slayings.

Authorities have said Meek failed to tell investigators all he knew about Roof's plans to shoot the parishioners at Emanuel AME Church last June. Roof, 22, is charged with nine counts of murder in state court and with hate crimes and other charges in federal court.

A lawyer for Meek told reporters after the hearing that her client feels remorse for his role in the slayings. Debbie Barbier said Meek hopes relatives of those slain will forgive him but understands they likely won't.

State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in Roof's trial, which has been delayed until next year. Federal authorities haven't said if they too will seek a death sentence for Roof. No trial date has been set on those charges. Roof's attorneys in both cases have previously said he's prepared to plead guilty in return for life sentences.

Before Meek was charged last fall, he had long been a part of the story of Roof and his arrest. A day after the massacre, Meek, who had hung out with Roof off and on in the weeks before the June 17 shooting, told The Associated Press Roof had drunkenly complained to him that "blacks were taking over the world" and "someone needed to do something about it for the white race."

Meek also told the AP he called the FBI after recognizing Roof in surveillance footage from the church, down to the stained sweatshirt he had worn while playing Xbox videogames in Meek's home the morning of the attack. He also said Roof told him he used birthday money from his parents to buy a .45-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun.

But authorities allege that Meek knew more, saying in an indictment he knowingly lied to an FBI agent when he said "he did not know specifics of Dylann Roof's plan to shoot individuals on a Wednesday, during Bible Study, at an AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina."

Roof's federal defense team had no comment on Meek's guilty plea. The Associated Press left messages with his attorneys in the state case seeking comment.

Debra Gammons, a former prosecutor who now teaches at Charleston School of Law, says that Meek's cooperation will be important to both state and federal prosecutors. To prove murder in South Carolina, one must show premeditation.

"As far as the prosecution goes you now have this other person saying this is what the plan was," she said. "It's good evidence from the state's perspective and the federal government's perspective."

But Gammons said much will turn on specifically what Meek has to say.

"If it's as vague as what I saw earlier that Roof said he wanted to start a race war, that's pretty vague," she said. "But if he said, yeah I'm going down to Charleston, I know where this church is and this is what I'm going to do, that's more direct."

Under the plea agreement, Meek must testify truthfully and also provide "any books, papers or documents of evidentiary value to the investigation."

 

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/

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