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Nation in brief: Two die in storms across South

Tue., April 14, 2009

A swath of severe weather moved across a storm-weary South on Monday, killing at least two, downing trees and cutting power to thousands of homes and businesses.

The storm system that hit Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and northern Florida brought torrential rain, flooding, hail and gusty winds to states reeling from strong storms and tornadoes last week.

And the states braced for more rough weather with tornado watches or warnings in effect Monday night.

In eastern Tennessee, McMinn County Sheriff Steve Frisbie said 18-year-old Michael Aaron Byers Jr. was killed in Etowah early Monday morning when a tree fell on his family’s home as he slept. A tree fell on a car in Atlanta, killing a second person whose name was not immediately released.

In south Alabama, authorities said a possible tornado touched down in the Geneva County town of Slocomb, damaging a high school baseball field.

Orlando, Fla.

Prosecutors to seek death penalty

Florida prosecutors plan to seek to the death penalty against the mother of slain Florida toddler Caylee Anthony.

Prosecutors filed papers Monday of intent to seek to have 23-year-old Casey Anthony executed if she is convicted of first-degree murder in her daughter’s death, said Danielle Tavernier, a spokeswoman for the state attorney’s office in Orlando.

Anthony claims that Caylee, who was 2 when she disappeared in June, was kidnapped and has pleaded not guilty. Her trial has been tentatively set for October.

Anthony’s legal team already has lawyers who are qualified to defend death penalty cases and are prepared “for a vigorous defense,” said Marti Mackenzie, a spokeswoman for Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez.

Tampa, Fla.

Man lands plane after pilot dies

Doug White and his family had just enjoyed a smooth takeoff and were ascending through the clouds when the pilot guiding their twin-engine plane tilted his head back and made a guttural sound.

The pilot, Joe Cabuk, was unconscious. And though White had his pilot’s license, he had never flown a plane as large as this.

“I need help. I need a King Air pilot to talk to. We’re in trouble,” he radioed.

Then he turned to his wife and two daughters: “You all start praying hard.” Behind him, sixteen-year-old Bailey cried. Eighteen-year-old Maggie threw up.

White, 56, landed the plane on his own about 30 minutes later, coaxed through the ordeal by air traffic controllers. The pilot died, but White somehow managed.

The medical examiner’s office has not yet determined his cause of death.

White got his pilot’s license in 1990, but said 18 years had passed until he recently started flying again.

From wire reports


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