July 16, 2008 in Nation/World

Man gets life term for train disaster

 
Associated Press photo

Juan Alvarez listens to the announcement of a life sentence during his trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

A man who murdered 11 people by causing a commuter rail disaster was spared the death penalty Tuesday by jurors who wept while listening to victims’ relatives but decided he should get life in prison without parole.

Juan Alvarez parked his gasoline-doused sport utility vehicle on railroad tracks in January 2005, causing a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train to derail and crash into another train going the other way. Aside from the dead, about 180 people were injured in the wreck in Glendale, northeast of Los Angeles.

The jury, which convicted Alvarez last month, had heard the prosecution describe him as a remorseless, smirking defendant who didn’t think of the case as a tragedy. The defense painted the 29-year-old as a mentally disturbed man who was almost aborted by his mother, was shaped by a childhood of horrific abuse and became a methamphetamine addict.

Boston

Non-resident gay union ban repealed

Out-of-state gay couples got one step closer to a Massachusetts wedding Tuesday when the state Senate voted to repeal a 1913 law that has been used to bar them from marrying here.

The law prohibits couples from obtaining marriage licenses if they can’t legally wed in their home states.

The House is expected to vote on the repeal measure later this week.

After Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriages in 2004 under a court order, then-Gov. Mitt Romney ordered town clerks to enforce the 1913 law and deny licenses to out-of-state couples.

New York

Lost dog found after 5 years

Rocco, a beagle who strayed from a New York City yard five years ago, has been found 850 miles away in Georgia and reunited with his owners.

Randy Durrence, the supervisor at the Liberty County Animal Control in Hinseville, Georgia, told the New York Post that someone dropped off the pooch on July 5. A microchip embedded under Rocco’s skin helped trace him to his family in Queens – Jorge and Cristina Villacis.

Durrence says the shelter reunites many families with their pets but “it’s unheard of” after so many years.

From wire reports


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