SPRING CITY, Pa. – A United Methodist pastor was convicted Monday of breaking church law by officiating his son’s same-sex wedding and could be defrocked after a high-profile trial that has rekindled debate over the denomination’s policy on gay marriage.
The Methodist church put the Rev. Frank Schaefer on trial in southeastern Pennsylvania, accusing him of breaking his pastoral vows by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.
The 13-member jury convicted Schaefer on two charges: That he officiated a gay wedding, and that he showed “disobedience to the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church.”
The jury will reconvene this morning for the penalty phase, where Schaefer faces punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his ministerial credentials.
Testifying in his defense, the 51-year-old pastor said he decided to break church rules out of love for his son and that he felt he was obeying God’s command to minister to everyone.
Zimmerman accused of domestic violence
APOPKA, Fla. – George Zimmerman was charged with assault Monday after his girlfriend called deputies to the home where they were living and claimed he pointed a shotgun at her during an argument, authorities said.
The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, called 911 to say that Zimmerman had smashed a glass table, threatened her with the shotgun and ultimately pushed her out of the house, according to an arrest report. After pushing her out, Zimmerman barricaded the door with furniture and refused to leave, saying that he would talk to police by phone, authorities said.
The arrest was the latest legal problem for Zimmerman since he was acquitted of criminal charges earlier this year in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen.
Zimmerman was charged with domestic aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic battery and criminal mischief. A court appearance was scheduled for today.
Man says Google Maps shows slain son
RICHMOND, Calif. – A San Francisco Bay Area man wants Google Maps to remove an aerial image that shows the body of his 14-year-old son, who was shot and killed in 2009. His slaying remains unsolved.
Jose Barrera said he became aware of the image of his son Kevin earlier in the week. He said he wants Google Inc. to take down the image.
The image shows what appears to be a body on the ground near a rail line with several other people, presumably investigators, and what looks like a police car nearby. Google said it will replace the image.
“Since the media first contacted us about the image, we’ve been looking at different technical solutions,” Google Maps Vice President Brian McClendon said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case. We believe we can update this in eight days, and we’ve spoken to the family to let them know we’re working hard on the update.”
Feds say miners entered area after blast
DENVER – Two Colorado miners who died of carbon monoxide poisoning apparently entered an area of the mine where an explosive had been previously detonated, federal investigators said Monday.
Nick Cappanno, 34, and Rick Williams, 59, were killed at the start of their shift Sunday morning at the Revenue-Virginius mine in southwestern Colorado.
Preliminary information indicates one of the men entered the area first, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, which is investigating the deaths.
When the first miner didn’t return, she said, a foreman went looking for him.
Mine manager Rory Williams previously said there was a blast in the mine to remove rock on Saturday that may have been a source of the carbon monoxide. Louviere said the blast occurred during the previous shift, so it likely happened on Saturday.