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August 2nd, 2013
11:17 AM ET

Michelle Knight: "Your Hell is Just Beginning"

Ariel Castro's sentence will last a lot longer than he will.

The Cleveland man who held three women captive in his home for a decade is getting life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.

Castro spoke at his sentencing hearing Thursday, blaming everyone, it seemed, but himself.

“These people are trying to paint me as a monster, and I am not a monster,” Castro told the court.

“I am sick. My sexual problems were so bad in my mind that I am impulsive.”

However, “It was the words of one of victims, and those who spoke for the others, that will be remembered,” reports CNN's Martin Savidge.

 “Michelle Knight was the only victim to appear in person, bringing the proceedings to an emotional halt. She had suffered the most and the longest in captivity from Castro, which is why her words meant so much.”

Knight said, “You took 11 years of my life away and I've got it back. I spent 11 years in hell now your hell is just beginning..."

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Filed under: Cleveland • Kidnapping • Law enforcement
July 12th, 2013
06:42 AM ET

Defense set to make its final argument to the jury – George Howell reports

After days of intense drama at the George Zimmerman trial, the prosecution made its case yesterday. The defense makes its closing pitch today.

Zimmerman’s attorneys will argue to the jury today why their client is not guilty of murder or manslaughter in the death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

CNN’s George Howell is in Sanford, Florida with more from the courtroom.

“Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda went into great detail, pointing out inconsistencies in Zimmerman's story, from the national television interview Zimmerman did, to the video reenactment he conducted with police,” Howell reports.

“The prosecutor then picked apart Zimmerman's account of what happened.”

Tune in to CNN as the trial continues.

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Filed under: Law enforcement • Trial • Zimmerman
July 8th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

Defense now making its case in Zimmerman case – George Howell reports

The George Zimmerman trial enters its third week today with the defense now making its case.

Friday brought family members to the stand to try and explain a critical piece of evidence: Screams on the 911 tape.

The former neighborhood watch volunteer’s mother Gladys Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton were among those who took the stand.

CNN’s George Howell has more.

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Filed under: Law enforcement • Trial • Zimmerman
July 2nd, 2013
06:08 AM ET

Jury hears Zimmerman's statements to police – George Howell reports

The trial of George Zimmerman resumes today with the lead investigator back on the stand.

He and other officers have been testifying about what Zimmerman told police in the days after Trayvon Martin was killed.

The jury has also now heard Zimmerman's words for themselves. CNN’s George Howell has details.

June 26th, 2013
06:50 AM ET

Graphic testimony and pictures in day two of trial of Zimmerman trial – George Howell reports

Day two of the George Zimmerman murder trial in Florida included graphic testimony about the murder scene and images not previously made public of the teenager dead on the ground.

CNN’s George Howell is covering the trial.

“It was too much for Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton,” Howell says. “The parents of Trayvon Martin had to leave the courtroom, leaving jurors and the public to see…the lifeless body of their 17 year old son.”

June 11th, 2013
06:21 AM ET

Fmr. NFL star Chad Johnson gets 30 days jail time for butt slapping his attorney in court – Pam Brown reports


After he was asked if he was pleased with his attorney, the former wide receiver once known as "Chad Ochocinco" gave his lawyer, Adam Swickle, a gentle pat on the rear.

McHugh was furious when people in the audience laughed.

"There's nothing funny about what's going on here today," she told Johnson.

Johnson, 35, replied that he wasn't laughing.

Then McHugh said, "I don't think anything's funny about it, Mr. Johnson. This isn't a joke."

Johnson said he didn't do it as a joke.

Swickle agreed, saying: "I don't think it was done as any disrespect to the court. I don't think he meant to get a reaction from the court room, judge."

The judge told Johnson she wouldn't accept a plea deal that involved only community service and more anger management counseling. Instead, she sentenced him to 30 days in jail and tacked three months onto his one-year probation, which would have ended in September.

READ MORE: Butt pat lands former NFL star Chad Johnson in jail

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Filed under: Law enforcement • NFL • Sports
May 31st, 2013
07:02 AM ET

AZ mom is freed from Mexican prison – Rafael Romo has more on her release

A Mexican judge ordered the release of Arizona woman Yanira Maldonado from prison late Thursday. Maldonado was arrested last Wednesday as she and her husband, Gary, were on their way back to Arizona. She was accused of attempting to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana that Mexican authorities alleged they had found under her bus seat.

Maldonado reunited with her husband with an emotional bearhug after her release and speaks live to the press. Rafeal Romo has more on the story on "Early Start" this morning.

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Filed under: Crime • International law • Law • Law enforcement • Mexico
March 22nd, 2013
05:44 AM ET

Texas police chase may be linked to Colorado prison chief's death – Ed Lavandera reports

Police in Colorado are taking a "strong look" at whether a suspect shot dead by police in Texas is the same man wanted in the killing of Colorado's prison chief. The man was gunned down after a wild chase in a car that was similar to one seen leaving the Colorado home where Tom Clements was shot dead as he answered his door.

CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera has more live from Decatur, Texas this morning. “The chase started when a Sheriffs Deputy tried to the Cadillac over on a remote stretch of Texas highway,” Lavadera reports. “Deputy James Boyd was shot twice in the chest, but he was wearing a bullet proof vest and is expected to survive. That triggered a long high speed chase.”

Lavandera says "The Denver Post," quoting federal and state officials, identified the suspect as 28-year-old Evan Spencer Ebel, a parolee from the Denver area. “The Post says Ebel is the focus of the investigation into the murder of Tom Clements, the director of Colorado's prison system. In a press release Thursday night, El PasoCounty investigators in Colorado did not deny the accuracy of the reports but instead criticized the leak of Evan Ebel's name by law enforcement sources.”

Filed under: Crime • Law • Law enforcement
March 22nd, 2013
05:43 AM ET

Gunman and two others dead in shooting at Quantico Marine base – Shannon Travis reports


A shooting that prompted a lockdown for hours at a Marine base in Virginia ended with three dead early Friday, including the gunman, authorities said.

Sgt. Christopher Zahn said they were notified of the shooting at Marine Corps Base Quantico late Thursday.

One person was fatally shot, and the gunman barricaded himself into a room, he said.

Using a public address system, police announced a base lockdown as the shooter was holed up inside a building.

Law enforcement officials from the base and the Prince William County surrounded the area.

When they finally entered the building, they found the gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a second victim, he said.

The lockdown ended early Friday, a few hours after it started,.

The suspect was a staff member at the Officer Candidate School, according to Capt Eric Flanagan, a Marine Corps spokesman. The motive is unknown.

READ MORE: Lockdown at Quantico Marine base ends with 3 dead, including gunman

Filed under: Crime • Law • Law enforcement
March 21st, 2013
08:09 AM ET

Who killed Colo. prison chief and why? Jim Spellman reports on the manhunt

The manhunt for a killer continues in Colorado this morning. Police are searching for leads as to who gunned down the chief of the state's corrections department and a possible motive for the murder.

The family of 58 year-old Tom Clements says they lost a devoted husband and father. He was shot in cold blood Tuesday night as he opened the front door to his home outside of Denver. Authorities have not identified a suspect or a motive but want to talk to a woman who may have been seen walking in the area. Investigators are also looking for the driver of car seen in Clements' neighborhood the night of the murder. Jim Spellman is live in Denver with the latest on the search.

“So far, there are few leads, only a car seen idling nearby around the time of the shooting,” Spellman reports. “The same witness who saw the car idling near the crime scene, minutes later saw it driving…towards Interstate 25. Near the on-ramp to the interstate, there are numerous cameras. Police are checking them to see if they spot the car.”

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Filed under: Crime • Law • Law enforcement • Manhunt
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