PHOENIX – An Indiana man convicted of child abuse for forcing his three grandsons on two grueling hikes in the Grand Canyon in August heat has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.
Christopher Alan Carlson was sentenced Thursday in federal court to a 27-month prison term. He was convicted in March on three counts of criminally negligent child abuse and will get credit for nearly 10 months already served.
The 45-year-old Carlson told investigators that his grandsons were overweight and that he thought hiking the Grand Canyon would get them into shape. They were 8, 9 and 12 at the time.
The boys testified that Carlson kicked or hit them if they were too slow on a 15-mile hike Aug. 15 and a 19-mile hike Aug. 28.
Study: Helmet laws reduce crash deaths
Fewer motorcyclists die in states that require helmets, according to a new federal study released Thursday.
About five times as many no-helmet biker deaths occur in states with less restrictive laws, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found.
CDC researchers looked at a government tally of fatal traffic crashes. They focused on 2008 through 2010 and counted 14,283 deaths of motorcyclists.
That included 6,057 bikers with no helmet. Only about 12 percent of those deaths occurred in the 20 states that required everyone on motorbikes to wear helmets.
Inmate: Klansman signed over land
A black man says Edgar Ray Killen, a reputed Ku Klux Klan behind bars for the 1960s deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, gave him power of attorney and land rights when they were both in prison together.
James Stern said at a news conference Thursday in Jackson, Miss., that he has taken control of 40 acres of Killens land. Stern said he transferred the land last month to a non-profit called Racial Reconciliation, which he controls, and would donate one acre to be used as a memorial site to the three civil rights workers.
But Killens lawyer, Robert Ratliff, said Thursday that his client denies signing away his rights to Stern. Ratliff said his client is 87 years old and has a traumatic brain injury, and people he meets in prison try to take advantage of him.
Probe of gas tank fires in Jeeps widens
Government safety regulators have expanded an investigation into gas tank fires in older-model Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that it has added Cherokee and Liberty models to the probe, which began nearly two years ago.
The probe now covers an estimated 5.1 million vehicles and is focused on the SUVs gas tanks, which can be damaged in a rear-impact crash and leak, causing fires.
The agency says 15 people have died in 26 Grand Cherokee fires.
Costner exonerated in oil spill lawsuit
A federal jury late Thursday rejected claims that Kevin Costner and his business partner duped fellow actor Stephen Baldwin and a friend out of millions of dollars from a BP contract for using oil cleanup devices in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.
The panel deliberated for less than two hours before delivering the verdict in the lawsuit brought by Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris. Their lawyer had asked the eight-member jury to award the plaintiffs more than $17 million in damages.
Costner said he was grateful for the opportunity to clear his name.
Obama visits rising One World Trade
President Obama ventured onto the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center site Thursday, getting a firsthand look at the skyscraper being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
This is what the American spirit is all about, Obama said.
The president toured the 22nd floor of One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, walking along the unfinished concrete floor and stopping at easels set up with renderings of what the completed tower will look like.
Kids blindfolded, bound in parking lot
A suburban Chicago couple remains jailed after two of their five children were found blindfolded and bound in a Kansas Walmart parking lot.
The parents from Northlake, Ill., are each charged with two counts of child abuse and five counts of child endangerment, all felonies.
Lawrence, Kan., police visited the Walmart on Wednesday after a shopper spotted a 5-year-old boy beside an SUV with his hands tied behind his back, legs bound and a blindfold over his eyes. A bound and blindfolded 7-year-old girl was found with him.
Three unrestrained children, ages 12, 13 and 15, were also at the vehicle. All of the children are now in protective custody.
Powerball player $241 million richer
A Powerball ticket sold at a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grocery store this week is worth $241 million, but whoever bought it has yet to claim the jackpot, Iowa lottery officials said Thursday.
The ticket, the states biggest lottery winner to date, was sold at a Hy-Vee on Edgewood Road in Cedar Rapids. Store Director Jamie Franck was presented Thursday with the $10,000 bonus check the store receives for selling the winning ticket.
Cost of parenting pegged at $235,000
A government report released Thursday found that a middle-income family with a child born last year will spend about $235,000 in child-related expenses from birth through age 17. Thats a 3.5 percent increase from 2010.
The report from the Agriculture Departments Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion said housing is the single largest expense, averaging about $70,500, or 30 percent of the total cost.
The estimate also includes the cost of transportation, child care, education, food, clothing, health care and miscellaneous expenses.
Argentina uses UN for Falklands lament
Argentinas president took her countrys claim to the Falkland Islands to the United Nations on Thursday, challenging Britain in a highly emotional speech to act more intelligently and sit down to talk about the future of the tiny archipelago.
President Cristina Fernandez chose to appear at the annual meeting of the little-known U.N. Decolonization Committee on the 30th anniversary of Britains ouster of an Argentine invasion force from the Falklands.
She used the occasion to reiterate Argentinas opposition to war and to criticize the British prime ministers decision to mark the day by flying the Falklands flag over his official residence.