MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Coast Guard said it suspended its rescue operations at sunset Thursday after announcing earlier that afternoon that it had found four additional bodies in its search for dozens of migrants lost at sea off Florida.
Authorities have now found a total of five bodies, leaving 34 missing five days after the vessel capsized on the way to Florida from Bimini, a chain of islands in the Bahamas about 55 miles east of Miami. The Miami office of Homeland Security Investigations has launched an inquiry, saying the journey was most certainly part of a human smuggling operation.
Alabama, Oklahoma execute inmates
Alabama executed an inmate by lethal injection for a 1996 murder Thursday after a divided U.S. Supreme Court sided with the state and rejected defense claims that the man had an intellectual disability that cost him a chance to choose a less “torturous,” yet untried, execution method.
Matthew Reeves, 43, was put to death at Holman Prison after the court lifted a lower court order that had prevented his execution. Reeves was convicted of killing a driver who gave him a ride in 1996. Evidence showed Reeves went to a party afterward and celebrated the killing.
Also Thursday, Oklahoma executed a man for the brutal slayings of two hotel workers during a robbery in 2001. Donald Grant, 46, received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. It was the first execution in the U.S. in 2022 and the third in Oklahoma since the state resumed lethal injections in October following a nearly seven-year hiatus.
Alleged shooter plans insanity defense
A teenager charged with killing four students at a Michigan high school will pursue an insanity defense, his lawyers said in a notice filed Thursday as he, his parents and school officials faced a new suit over the attack at Oxford High School.
The notice should lead to mental health exams of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is charged as an adult with murder and other crimes for the shooting, which also wounded six other students and a teacher. The lawsuit, meanwhile, was announced on behalf of the parents of Tate Myre, who was slain Nov. 30, and other students who witnessed the shootings.
Man freed after 37 years files suit
A Philadelphia man freed after 37 years in prison in a case tainted by perjured testimony accused the city of “outrageous police misconduct” in a lawsuit filed Thursday, the same day his 1984 murder case was dismissed.
Willie Stokes left prison this month, after a federal judge found prosecutors never disclosed that they had charged his chief accuser with perjury after the trial. The witness has said he was offered sex and drugs at police headquarters to frame Stokes in an unsolved 1980 dice-game slaying.
Scholarships 'inadvertently' awarded
Dozens of prospective Central Michigan University students who were mistakenly told they had won full-ride scholarships that include room and board have received an apology from the school – and offers of the equivalent of full-tuition scholarships “to make it right.”
School officials said 58 youths received messages last weekend while accessing the university portal telling them they had won a Centralis Scholars Award, which includes full tuition, room and board, money toward books and supplies, and a $5,000 “study away award.”
But the university said Wednesday that those contacted hadn't won the prestigious award and the message had gone out “inadvertently” as school staffers were testing new messaging technology.