National briefs for February 17
Pa. Craigslist killing suspect claims 22 others
SUNBURY, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman charged with her newlywed husband with killing a man they met through Craigslist admitted to the slaying in a jailhouse interview with a newspaper and said she has killed more than 20 other people across the country, claims police said they are investigating.
In an interview with The Daily Item in Sunbury, 19-year-old Miranda Barbour said she wants to plead guilty to killing Troy LaFerrara in November. She also said in the interview she killed at least 22 other people from Alaska to North Carolina in the last six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult.
“I feel it is time to get all of this out. I don’t care if people believe me. I just want to get it out,” Barbour told the newspaper for a story published Saturday night.
Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo told the newspaper investigators were aware of Miranda Barbour’s claims of involvement in other murders. He said they are “seriously concerned” and have contacted police in other jurisdictions.
In a statement issued Sunday, the FBI’s Philadelphia division said it had been in contact with Sunbury police and “will offer any assistance requested in the case.”
Attorneys for Barbour and her husband, 22-year-old Elytte Barbour, have sought psychiatric evaluations for their clients. Miranda Barbour’s attorney also asked a judge last week to toss out statements she made before she was charged. Public defender Ed Greco said in the motion Barbour wasn’t afforded an attorney despite repeated requests during two police interviews.
‘Killer heroin’ causing fatal overdoses in East
POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (AP) — On an icy night last month, a man entered a grocery store here, walked past the displays of cake mix and paper towels, and went into the bathroom, where he injected himself with heroin.
Hours later, the man was found dead in the bathroom with a needle still in his arm, authorities said. They think the man was one of more than 80 across the country who died in recent weeks after injecting heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate.
As the number of people who use, and fatally overdose on, heroin skyrocketed in recent years, authorities are seeing the return of an alarming development: heroin that, often unbeknownst to the user, is spiked with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a narcotic that is typically administered to people in chronic pain, including end-stage cancer patients. It is also used as an anesthetic. It is considered 80 times more powerful than morphine and can kill by inhibiting breathing.
“The dealers push this as being a super high, which it is, but it’s also lethal,” said Ellen Unterwald, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the Temple University School of Medicine.
Users typically don’t know how much fentanyl is mixed in, and she said just a small amount can be fatal because the drug is so potent.
“A very small amount can exert a very significant effect,” said Eric Strain, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Research at Johns Hopkins University.
Obama: Anti-gay bill step back for Ugandans
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama warned Uganda Sunday about its plans to further criminalize homosexuality, saying it would “complicate our valued relationship.”
Defending gay rights around the world, as he has done at home, Obama said a bill President Yoweri Museveni pledged to sign will mark a “step backward” for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on the country’s commitment to protect the human rights of its people. It also would represent a serious setback for anyone committed to freedom, justice and equal rights, Obama said.
Obama said the United States stands for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights and thinks people everywhere should be treated equally.
“That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality,” Obama said in a written statement issued from Southern California, where he was spending the weekend. “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.”
“Enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” he said, adding the U.S. conveyed that message to Museveni.
Homosexuality already is illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law that criminalizes sex acts “against the order of nature.”
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