December 8, 2008 in Nation/World

Republicans lose long-held seat

 

Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy came from behind Sunday to snatch a central Ohio seat from House Republicans after elections officials tallied provisional ballots.

Kilroy’s victory by a little more than 2,000 votes over Republican Steve Stivers put the 15th Congressional District seat into Democratic hands for the first time in 42 years after the retirement of Republican Deborah Pryce.

Franklin County officials released unofficial results Sunday that showed Kilroy with a margin of victory of 2,311 votes out of roughly 300,000 cast, enough to avoid an automatic recount.

Stivers conceded the race to Kilroy shortly after the results were released.

“Officials plan to certify the election today. With Kilroy’s victory, Democrats will hold 256 seats in the House, compared with 177 Republicans. Two House races in Virginia and Louisiana are still up in the air.

Washington

Blackwater guards hope for Utah trial

Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards indicted in Washington for the 2007 shooting of Iraqi civilians plan to surrender to the federal authorities today in Utah, people close to the case said, setting up a court fight over the trial site.

The case already is shaping up to be a series of contentious legal battles before the guards can even go to trial. By surrendering in Utah, the home state of one of the guards, the men could argue the case should be heard in a far more conservative, pro-gun venue than Washington, some 2,000 miles away.

The five guards, all military veterans, were indicted on manslaughter charges for their roles in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.

A sixth guard reached a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid a mandatory 30-year prison sentence.

The people described spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the indictment and plea documents remains sealed.

Steven McCool, a lawyer for Blackwater guard and former Marine Donald Ball, confirmed Sunday that his client would surrender in Utah. Ball, a veteran of three tours in Iraq before joining Blackwater, is from West Valley, Utah.

The other guards indicted are Dustin Heard, a former Marine from Knoxville, Tenn.; Evan Liberty, a former Marine from Rochester, N.H.; Nick Slatten, a former Army sergeant from Sparta, Tenn.; and Paul Slough, an Army veteran from Keller, Texas.

Hollywood, Fla.

Planes collide over Everglades

Authorities believe two small planes collided in midair above the Florida Everglades during the weekend, and they were searching Sunday for four people presumed dead.

The planes’ wreckage was spotted Sunday morning about 25 miles west of Fort Lauderdale after the planes took off from Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood airports on Saturday afternoon.

No bodies had been found by Sunday night in the swampy area, accessible only by airboat.

Each plane was carrying two occupants on training flights from a local flight school, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

From wire reports


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