Drew Peterson sentenced to 38 years
JOLIET, Ill., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A judge Thursday sentenced former Illinois police officer Drew Peterson to 38 years in prison for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Peterson, 59, a retired Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant, had faced 20 to 60 years in prison for the 2004 slaying. Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007 and remains missing.
Will County Judge Edward Burmila said he did not impose the maximum sentence in acknowledgment of Peterson's military and police service, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Moments before the sentence was handed down, Peterson screamed, "I did not kill Kathleen!"
He told the judge he was convicted by "rumors, gossip, outrageous lies and, most importantly, unreliable hearsay."
"I don't deserve this," he told Burmila. "I don't deserve this."
State's Attorney James Glasgow called Peterson's outburst a "shrill, kind of feminine screech."
3 dead in rolling shootout in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Three people were killed and three were injured Thursday in a shooting and multicar collision on the Las Vegas strip, police said.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said occupants of a Maserati sports car and a sport utility vehicle were involved in a shootout near Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard that led to the multiple-vehicle crash, KTNV-TV, Las Vegas, reported.
Police were searching for a black Range Rover with tinted windows, black rims and paper dealer license plates after shots were fired from the vehicle at the intersection in front of Bally's hotel casino across from the Bellagio and Caesars Palace. Six vehicles were involved in the crash about 4:30 a.m., KLAS-TV said.
The TV station said the driver of the Maserati involved in the shootout -- aspiring rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr., 27, of Oakland, Calif. -- was killed and a passenger was transported to a hospital. Cherry rapped professionally under the name Kenny Clutch.
Las Vegas police said a taxi, one of the vehicles in the pileup, caught fire and two people -- the driver and a passenger -- were reported dead.
Both the northbound and southbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard were closed in the area of the shooting and collision as police investigated the crime scene.
Priest sex abuse to be top papal priority
SAO PAULO, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The next Roman Catholic pope's primary priority will be confronting priest sex abuse scandals, a top cardinal said Thursday in Brazil.
Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo of Brazil said the successor to Benedict XVI -- who is retiring -- will be chosen "for his ability to deal with the new challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church, among which are pedophilia and covering it up," the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The 79-year-old Agnelo was a papal contender 2005 when the outgoing pope was chosen to succeed Pope John Paull II.
The conclave to chose the next pope will face "great expectations," he said.
"The biggest challenge for the Church, for the cardinals and the bishops," Agnelo said, "will be to bring an end to the pedophilia cover-up scandals, to keep those guilty out of the clerical state and to foster a new generation of priests."
U.S.prosecutors have recently called two American cardinals for questioning about sex abuse cases.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, was questioned this week about allegations of sex abuse by priests in the Milwaukee archdiocese he headed from 2002 until 2009.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, formelry archbishop of Los Angeles, is to be questioned Saturday about a visiting Mexican priest alleged to have molested 26 children in 1987.
Advocacy groups have called on Mahony to skip the conclave, but Agnelo said canon law makes it impossible to stop a cardinal from coming to the conclave and voting for the next pope.
Napolitano: Sequester means airport delays
MIAMI, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned customs lines at Miami International Airport will get longer if there are forced cuts in the budget.
Napolitano, accompanied by congressional representatives, visited the airport Wednesday, The Miami Herald reported. Officials say about 1,000 travelers a day already miss flight connections because of long delays at Customs and Immigration at the airport, the nation's busiest for international flights.
She said all efforts to speed up lines with new technology and additional agents will "come to a screeching halt" if Congress fails to agree on a deal to avoid across-the-board budget cuts, the so-called sequester.
"It means not adding customs officers, we're going to be starting to furlough customs officers, not adding overtime to cover peak periods, but eliminating overtime," Napolitano said.
Reps. Joe Garcia and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, both D-Fla., and Rep. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., joined Napolitano at the airport. Ros-Lehtinen did not stick around to be photographed with Democrats.
Garcia pointed out that half the customs booths were empty Wednesday afternoon: "We're having a big debate over fixing our borders in Mexico, but we can't even get a rich Argentinian businessman through customs on time because we don't have the proper staffing."
Class action suit filed over disabled ship
MIAMI, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed in a U.S. court in Florida against Carnival Corp. over events that disabled the cruise ship Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico.
Filing for themselves and other passengers, Matt and Melissa Crusan of Oklahoma alleged that "Carnival knew or should have known that the vessel Triumph was likely to experience mechanical and/or engine issues because of prior similar issues," CNN reported Thursday.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, alleged that conditions on the ship "created a severe risk of injury, illness and/or disease."
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said the company was "unable to comment on pending litigation."
On Feb. 7, the Triumph left Galveston, Texas, for a four-day cruise to Mexico, but on the third day, a fire broke out Feb. 10, ending the trip. The vessel was carrying more than 4,200 people, including 3,100 passengers, and conditions deteriorated as human waste overflowed into public spaces on the ship.
Tug boats pulled the disabled ship to Mobile, Ala., Feb. 14. The disembarking ended Feb. 15.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said a leak in a fuel-oil return line running from one of the ship's engines was the cause of the fire.
In the lawsuit, the Crusans said they and other passengers "were harmed and/or injured" because of the fire and being stranded at sea without necessary services and supplies from Feb. 10 through Feb. 15.
They were given "spoiled and rotting food" to eat, the lawsuit said, and "sewage and/or human waste sloshed around the vessel as the vessel listed while drifting and/or while under tow."
Another lawsuit was filed against Carnival last week.
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