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March 31, 2013 at 1:31 PM   |   Comments

DA slain, police consider supremacist link

KAUFMAN, Texas, March 31 (UPI) -- Investigators in Texas said they were considering the possibility the shooting death of a prosecutor at his home may be part of a white supremacist plot.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were found shot to death in their home near Forney, Texas, Saturday -- two months after Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, 57, was shot to death while walking from his car to the Kaufman County Court House.

The Texas Department of Public Safety had issued a warning in December that the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood may be "actively planning retaliation against law enforcement officials" who investigated and prosecuted members of the gang, including its leaders, The Dallas Morning News reported.

"High ranking members ... are involved in issuing orders to inflict 'mass casualties or death' to law enforcement officials who were involved in cases where Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are facing life sentences or the death penalty," the bulletin said.

McClelland said after Hasse's death he would put away the "scum" who killed his "stellar prosecutor."

"I hope that the people that did this are watching, because we're very confident that we're going to find you," McLelland told reporters at the time. "We're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

"Until we know what happened, I really can't confirm that it's related [to Hasse's death], but you always have to assume until it's proven otherwise," Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said.

At the time of Hasse's death, police said he was looking into the prison gang Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, ABT, for possible racketeering charges.

Kaufman defense attorney Eric Smenner said employees of the district attorney's office should be placed under immediate police protection.

"It looks like somebody is making a pretty concentrated effort to target the most important people in that office," he said.


Sen. Rubio cautious on immigration deal

WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says reports a bipartisan group of U.S. senators have agreed on immigration reform "are premature."

Rubio issued a written statement Saturday that sounded a cautious note amid speculation congressional Republicans and Democrats were in the home stretch on a plan to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.

The statement said the agreement among negotiators on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants was a step forward but not necessarily a breakthrough on a comprehensive plan, The New York Times said Sunday.

"I'm encouraged by reports of an agreement between business groups and unions on the issue of guest workers," Rubio wrote. "However, reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature."

The Times said Rubio sounded a cautious note in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The newspaper said it appeared Rubio was balancing his high profile role in the immigration debate with his political popularity among conservatives in the Tea Party movement.


Dolan: Church by nature out of touch

NEW YORK, March 31 (UPI) -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said Sunday the Catholic Church, "by nature," will be out of touch with the concerns with its followers.

In appearance on ABC's "This Week," Dolan responded to an ABC News/Washington Post poll that found 60 percent of Catholics "describe the church as 'out of touch' with the views of Catholics in America."

"Sometimes by nature, the Church has got to be out of touch with concerns, because we're always supposed to be thinking of the beyond, the eternal, the changeless," he said. "Our major challenge is to continue in a credible way to present the eternal concerns to people in a timeless attractive way. And sometimes there is a disconnect -- between what they're going through and what Jesus and his Church is teaching. And that's a challenge for us."

Dolan said he's concerned a growing lack of religious affiliation is "afflicting society in general."

"People want privacy. People crave isolation. We're hearing parents say that they can't even get their kids to talk anymore," he said. "They're -- they're tweeting one another. So, this -- kinda this craving of individualism, being alone, be -- aloofness, that's afflicting all of culture, all of society. We're feeling it in the Church, too, because we're not about 'me.' We're about 'us.' We're about the 'our.' We say 'Our Father.' But society is saying, 'It's me, myself and I.'"

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Egyptian TV political comic free on bail

CAIRO, March 31 (UPI) -- An Egyptian TV satirist charged with insulting Islam was released on bail Sunday but ordered to stay off of Twitter for a while, al-Masry, al-Youm reported.

Bassem Youssef reported to prosecutors in Cairo and was released on bail after being charged with contempt of religion and insulting President Mohamed Morsi.

Citing sources it did not identify, al-Masry, al-Youm said Youssef fired off a series of snarky tweets about the prosecutors after his arrival at the Public Prosecutors headquarters, but was told by the investigating judge to stop sending out remarks.

Youssef, who has been compared to satirical U.S. commentator Jon Stewart, had been ordered arrested along with five political activists charged with organizing anti-government protests.

Youssef drew a large crowd of supporters to the prosecutor's office Sunday and was seen wearing a prominent hat he had worn on his show while ribbing Morsi, the report said.

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