Md. father pleads guilty to drowning three children
BALTIMORE - A man with a history of mental illness pleaded guilty Wednesday to drowning his three young children one by one in a Baltimore hotel bathtub during a custody dispute with his former wife, who said she still cries every day over the deaths.
Mark A. Castillo, 43, told police and a fellow inmate that he wanted to cause anguish for his pediatrician ex-wife when he killed the children in March 2008.
Dr. Amy Castillo, a born-again Christian, said in court that she has compassion for her former husband and believes the family will be reunited after death, but she remains overwhelmed by grief.
Calif. lobbyists targeted in sex-tape scandal
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A good-government group filed a complaint Wednesday with California's campaign watchdog agency asking it to investigate two lobbyists caught up in an apparent sex scandal involving a former state assemblyman.
Common Cause's complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission alleges the two women broke state lobbying laws by engaging in an inappropriate relationship with Republican Assemblyman Mike Duvall, who resigned last month.
Duvall was caught on videotape during a break in a committee hearing this summer boasting - in explicit detail - about sexual escapades with two lobbyists.
Woman charged in NJ forced labor case convicted
NEWARK, N.J. - A woman from the West African nation of Togo accused of forcing girls from Africa to work in New Jersey hair braiding salons for no pay has been convicted of human trafficking and visa fraud.
Prosecutors say Akouavi Afolabi helped bring at least 20 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 from West Africa and forced them to work at salons in northern New Jersey.
Afolabi's lawyer said in closing arguments what was really on trial was cultural differences that failed to translate. He said the girls saw his client as a benevolent mother figure who offered them an escape from poverty and the chance to live in America.
NC church plans to burn Bibles, Christian books
CANTON, N.C. - A North Carolina pastor said his church plans to burn Bibles and books by Christian authors on Halloween to light a fire under true believers.
Pastor Marc Grizzard told Asheville TV station WLOS that the King James version of the Bible is the only one his small western North Carolina church follows. He said all other versions, such as the Living Bible, are ""satanic' and ""perversions' of God's word.
On Halloween night, Grizzard and the 14 members of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church also will burn music and books by Christian authors, such as Billy Graham and Rick Warren.
6 Fla. members of Bonanno crime family admit guilt
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - One by one, members of a South Florida crew of New York-based Bonanno crime family stood before a federal judge Wednesday to plead guilty to racketeering charges, including one enforcer who said it was impossible to escape the Mafia.
Six of the 11 purported crew members indicted in May pleaded guilty to charges that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. All 11 are charged under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO law, which the FBI has used frequently to break up major criminal enterprises.
Eagle Scout suspended for having knife in car
TROY, N.Y. - An Eagle Scout who kept a 2-inch pocketknife in his car has been suspended from his upstate New York high school for bringing the weapon onto school grounds. Now he is concerned about his chances of getting accepted to West Point.
Matthew Whalen was suspended for 20 days for violating the Lansingburgh Central School District's zero-tolerance policy. The 17-year-old senior said he gave the knife to an administrator last month after another student told officials about it.
Humane Society: IHOP eggs aren't "cruelty free'
FRESNO, Calif. - The Humane Society of the United States filed complaints Wednesday against the International House of Pancakes, alleging that the restaurant chain lies about the living conditions of the chickens that lay the eggs for its omelets and pancakes.
IHOP claims that its eggs are ""cruelty free' and animals used for its food receive ""dignified, humane treatment.' The animal welfare group said that's not true and filed complaints with federal regulators saying the Glendale-based company is engaged in ""false or deceptive advertising.'