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In brief: Man executed for dragging death

Huntsville, Texas – One of three men convicted in the 1998 dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas, was executed Wednesday night for his part in the brutal slaying.

The racially motivated killing of James Byrd Jr., 49, stunned the nation, sparking protests, inspiring the movie “Jasper, Texas,” and leading to state and federal hate-crime legislation.

Before the lethal drugs were injected into his veins, Lawrence Russell Brewer, 44, was asked if he had any final words. “No. I have no final statement,” he replied.

Along with Brewer, Shawn Berry and John King were convicted of Byrd’s murder. Brewer and King received the death penalty, and Berry was sentenced to life in prison. King is appealing his sentence.

Family fined over home Bible studies

Los Angeles – A San Juan Capistrano, Calif., family has been fined for holding regular Bible studies in their home in violation of the city’s zoning code.

A religious legal nonprofit group has taken up the family’s cause, calling it a case of religious freedom.

The city of San Juan Capistrano has fined Charles and Stephanie Fromm $300 for their regular Bible study groups, according to a statement from the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute.

The couple appealed the fine and was told subsequent fines would be enhanced if they continued holding the study group without a conditional use permit.

In an email, city spokeswoman Cathy Salcedo was emphatic the city does not prohibit home Bible studies. Instead, the Fromms’ case, she wrote, is about when a residential area has been transformed into a place where people regularly assemble.

“The Fromm case further involves regular meetings on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons with up to 50 persons, with impacts on the residential neighborhood on street access and parking,” she wrote.

Kangaroo attacks, injures 80-year-old

Green Camp, Ohio – An 80-year-old man was in fair condition Wednesday after a kangaroo attacked him for 15 minutes at an exotic-animal farm in central Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Marion County sheriff’s office received a 911 call Tuesday from a woman saying her father-in-law was hurt. Maj. Jeff Cline said the injury happened at Kokas Exotics in Green Camp.

The farm owner’s son told WCMH-TV the man was attacked by a 6-foot-tall, 200-pound male kangaroo. The station reported that the attack came at breeding time when males can be aggressive. The son said the kangaroo will be euthanized.