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Nation in brief: Mother, children killed at ranch

A mother and two children were killed in a predawn attack at their remote East Texas ranch, which burned to the ground, and three high school students who knew the family will be among those charged with murder, authorities said.

The father was in critical condition with a gunshot wound, Rains County Sheriff David Traylor said at a news conference.

Three high school students, including one juvenile, and an adult were booked into the Rains County jail. The two males and two females will be charged with three counts each of capital murder.

The family had a teenage daughter, but Traylor did not provide information on her whereabouts. The dead were a 39-year-old woman and two boys, ages 8 and 13.

The house sat on at least 20 acres of pine-canopied, remote land on a narrow gravel road.


Planes collide on ground; 2 die

An experimental plane that may have been having trouble landing struck another that was taxiing at an airfield Saturday, setting both on fire and killing two people, authorities said.

Two people were critically injured.

The plane trying to land crashed into another on the ground around 8:30 a.m. at Arthur Dunn Airpark in Titusville, said Scott Gaenicke, spokesman and division chief for Titusville Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

Both planes were single-engine and amateur-built, officials said.

An Experimental Aircraft Association chapter was hosting a pancake breakfast at the airfield, east of Orlando and about 110 miles northeast of Tampa.


Leap Day giveaway incites mayhem

Even giving away something for free can turn into a hassle in New York.

A video-sharing Web site set out to observe Leap Day by handing out prizes worth up to $29 on Feb. 29 outside Union Square Park.

As the clock ticked toward the event’s scheduled time – 2:29 p.m. – people shouting “Make it rain!” and “Give me my money!” trampled one another and mobbed the costumed representatives of

Some people wrested bags of cash-stuffed envelopes and other items from the CashTomato workers, said Jason Buzi, who identified himself as the company’s senior vice president.

The prize givers weren’t the only ones who were overwhelmed.

“Before I knew it, I was on the floor” and under a pile of people, said Anabel DeJesus, 17. She left without any prize. “It’s not worth it,” she said.

Police didn’t have any information Saturday on whether anyone was injured or arrested.

Buzi said CashTomato has staged relatively uneventful giveaways in other cities, and he was startled by the Manhattan mayhem.

“It turned out to be a lot of aggressive people,” he said. “Maybe next time, I would plan this better.”