Teen sentenced to attend church
MUSKOGEE, Okla., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma judge who sentenced a 17-year-old boy to attend church for a manslaughter charge says he stands by the ruling, even if it is unconstitutional.
Judge Mike Norman -- who ordered Tyler Alred to attend church for 10 years as part of his 10-year deferred sentence for driving under the influence manslaughter -- acknowledged the terms of the sentence likely would not pass a legal challenge, but both Alred's family and the family of the victim, John Dum, 16, agreed to the terms, Religion News Service reported Thursday.
"Both families were satisfied with the decision," Norman said. "I talked to the district attorney before I passed sentence. I did what I felt like I needed to do."
The sentence requires Alred to finish high school and complete welding school.
The charges stemmed from a Dec. 4, 2011, crash involving a drunken Alred crashing a vehicle into a tree with Dum as his passenger.
Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the sentence is a "clear violation of the First Amendment."
However, Kiesel said not much can be done about the issue unless a person or organization can show legal standing to challenge the ruling.
"If the court or the district attorney attempts to enforce this requirement, we will look at possible ways to intervene," Kiesel said. "I know the boy agreed to this, but is someone facing a judge in open court really making a voluntary decision? Government officials should not be involved in what is a very personal choice."
Aggressive turkeys terrorize neighborhood
BROOKLINE, Mass., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Residents of a Massachusetts town said aggressive turkeys have been attacking people, vehicles and even the front doors of homes.
Brookline Animal Control Officer Pierre Verrier said complaints about turkeys have doubled during the past two months, WBZ-TV, Boston, reported Thursday.
"Some people going to work and they've been chased by turkeys," he said.
Verrier said he has been spending nearly every weekday morning protecting students at Brookline High School from the real-life angry birds.
"Sometimes I even take a tennis racket to try and shoo them out," he said.
Karen Halvorson, who said the birds have attacked her truck and her front door, and caused scratches to her face and neck, said she is working with town officials to organize a meeting to discuss the problem.
"I can't believe we're living this way," she said.
Samantha Gordon, 9, on Wheaties box
NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A 9-year-old Utah girl whose football highlight reel went viral on YouTube has advanced to another level of fame, getting her picture on a Wheaties cereal box.
Samantha Gordon of Herriman, Utah, rushed for more than 1,900 yards and scored 35 touchdowns with her Gremlin League team near Salt Lake City. She became an Internet sensation after her dad, Brent Gordon, posted her highlight reel.
The video has collected more than 2 million hits and Samantha wound up as a guest on "Good Morning America" two weeks ago.
She was back on the show Wednesday for the unveiling of a custom-made Wheaties box with her picture on it. The first female football player ever to achieve that distinction, she said it was "awesome."
In an appearance on ESPN, she said her favorite thing about playing football with boys is "being the girl out there and to be scoring on the boys and the boys to be like, 'Dang it, I just got beat by a girl.'"
In addition to being featured on network TV, Samantha's newfound celebrity has given her the opportunity to have a catch with members of the San Francisco 49ers during one of their practices.
She says she likes soccer better, though, and has two nicknames on the soccer field -- "Mighty Mouse" and "Firecracker."