STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The “American Sniper” murder trial was closely followed in this rural town, but also drew international attention in part because of the Oscar-winning blockbuster film based on Chris Kyle’s memoir of his four tours in Iraq. Late Tuesday, a jury took a little more than two hours to find an ex-Marine guilty of gunning down Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, two years ago. “Most people around here, if you talk to them, would say that they think he's guilty,” Lana Karlberg said.
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The truck driver arrested in a rail crash that injured 50 people in California had been cited for multiple driving violations in his home state of Arizona, including a 1998 conviction for driving under the influence, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, was found walking and "in distress" more than a mile from the accident on Tuesday and was later taken into custody on suspicion of felony hit-and-run for leaving the scene, police said. Ventura County prosecutors said they expected to file formal charges against Ramirez on Thursday before his initial court appearance. The crash in Oxnard, about 45 miles northwest of Los Angeles, flipped over three double-decker Metrolink rail cars and derailed two others.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday said House Republican leaders were waiting for the Senate to act on legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Speaking to reporters, Boehner called on senators to act on a bill, saying the House was in a "wait-and-see mode," adding that staff members on both sides of Congress have been talking. "It's time for the Senate to do their job," he said.
The White House on Wednesday said a bill under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives to revise the federal No Child Left Behind education law would face a veto from President Barack Obama if it reached his desk. The bill, called the "Student Success Act," has been approved by a congressional committee and is expected to come before the full House for a possible vote this week. The White House said the bill is "a significant step backwards" in education policy.
By Jon Herskovitz STEPHENVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - Eddie Ray Routh was jailed for life without the possibility of parole on Tuesday after a Texas jury found him guilty of murdering Chris Kyle, the former U.S. Navy SEAL whose autobiography was turned into the hit movie "American Sniper." Routh, 27, a former U.S. Marine, was found guilty of fatally shooting Kyle and Kyle's friend, Chad Littlefield, multiple times at a gun range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth in February 2013. You became an American disgrace," Littlefield's brother-in-law, Jerry Richardson, said of Routh in court after the sentence was handed down.
By Michael Fleeman OXNARD, Calif. (Reuters) - A Los Angeles-bound commuter train slammed into a produce truck apparently stuck on the tracks in a Southern California city before dawn on Tuesday, injuring 50 people in a fiery crash, some of them critically. The truck driver, who was not hurt, left the scene of the destruction in Oxnard on foot and was found walking and in "some sort of distress" about 1.6 miles away, Assistant Police Chief Jason Benitez said. The 54-year-old driver, from Arizona, was later taken into custody on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, Benitez said. Benitez declined to say what led police to arrest the driver other than he had left the scene of the accident, which overturned three double-decker Metrolink rail cars.
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined on Tuesday an invitation to meet with U.S. Senate Democrats during his trip to Washington next week. "Though I greatly appreciate your kind invitation to meet with Democratic Senators, I believe that doing so at this time could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit," Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein obtained by Reuters. Durbin and Feinstein, two senior Senate Democrats, invited Netanyahu to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators in a letter on Monday, warning that making U.S.-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could have "lasting repercussions." Republican congressional leaders broke diplomatic protocol by consulting neither the White House nor Democrats in Congress before inviting Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and Senate.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will easily take first place in Tuesday's municipal election, but polls show he may miss the 50 percent mark needed to avoid a run-off in the race to lead the financially challenged, third-largest U.S. city. Emanuel, 55, a former chief of staff to President Barack Obama seeking a second term as mayor, has already spent millions of dollars in the non-partisan race against four challengers, and a second round will mean six more weeks of expensive campaigning. Emanuel is close to the mark, getting 48.3 percent of the vote in a recent Ogden & Fry poll. His nearest opponent is Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia at 26.5 percent, followed by businessman Willie Wilson with 15.2 percent.
By Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez's fiancée was visibly nervous the day after an associate of the ex-NFL star was killed, a woman who cleaned Hernandez's Massachusetts home testified at his murder trial on Tuesday. Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, spent time on the telephone, peeking out the window and crying after hauling away a large trash bag in the trunk of a red car, Carla Barbosa, 31, testified at Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River. She added police were outside when Barbosa left the house on June 18, 2013, a day after Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez's home.
North Korea appears poised to expand its nuclear program over the next five years and in a worst case scenario could possess 100 atomic arms by 2020, US researchers warned Tuesday. Unveiling the first results of what will be a 15-month study, Joel Wit, senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said some of their conclusions were very "disturbing." Although North Korea's nuclear program remains shrouded in uncertainty, Pyongyang is currently believed to have a stockpile of some 10 to 16 nuclear weapons fashioned from either plutonium or weapons-grade uranium.