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Longtime GOP backer Simmons dies at 82

– The Republican Party lost one of its most generous backers Saturday with the death of Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons.

Simmons, 82, whose death was reported by the Dallas Morning News, donated more than $25 million to Republican candidates, parties and their allies in the past three election cycles, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization.

The industrialist was one of the top givers to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and boosted the efforts of super PACs working on behalf of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Simmons’ net worth was estimated at $10 billion, according to Forbes.

Suspect in fire, killings captured

A man suspected of killing three people and setting fire to a home in southern Colorado was captured in Oklahoma after a nationwide manhunt, authorities said Sunday.

Harry Carl Mapps, 59, was arrested at a motel in Roland, Okla., on Saturday night, said Kirk Taylor, sheriff of Pueblo County, Colo. Mapps had spent more than a month on the run.

Taylor said Mapps was found using information developed by the U.S. Marshals Service in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Mapps had lived in Texas.

Mapps is accused of fatally shooting Kim Tuttle, 55; her husband, Reggie Tuttle, 51; and their daughter, Dawn Roderick, 33.

Murder charge for boyfriend, brother

Suburban Chicago police investigating the fatal Christmas shooting of a pregnant teenager have charged her boyfriend and his brother with first-degree murder.

Eva Casara, 17, whose baby survived and remains hospitalized, wasn’t an intended target, nor was she involved in the situation police believe was a drug deal that spiraled out of control, Dolton Police Chief John Franklin told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Charged are her boyfriend, Anthony Lee, 16, and his brother, Diante Lamont Coakley, 21, both from Dolton, a suburb south of Chicago. Casara, of Calumet City, was 5 1/2 months pregnant.

2 hikers rescued after avalanche

Two hikers who triggered an avalanche on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington that carried them 800 feet over rocks, cliffs and ice were rescued early Sunday morning and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The two were separated from a pair of fellow hikers and missed a turn on a trail because of low visibility and unknowingly entered an avalanche area known as “the Lip,” triggering the avalanche that carried them to the bottom of Tuckerman Ravine, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Colleen Mainville.

Mainville said the avalanche occurred about 5:30 p.m. Saturday and the call for help came in just after 8 p.m. She said the injured and disoriented hikers climbed about 200 feet before they were met by rescuers.

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