WFSB - Eyewitness News

Snow could accumulate in northern CT Friday nightHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Rain and snow showers will continue to move across the state Friday night, with some seeing more snow than others. This is all thanks to a system of low pressure moving up the coast. "Rain and snow showers are likely from time to time through tonight, and some snow showers could be heavy," said Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest. The snow started ramping up in the northeastern part of the state, in places like Tolland late Friday morning and afternoon. Track the precipitation with the interactive radar on the Ch. 3 app <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/radar/" target="_blank">here</a>. Viewers shared photos with Eyewitness News on Friday, showing snow coming down in several towns. See more pics <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/viewers-share-pics-of-spring-snow/collection_840cfe3c-4cbb-11e9-8443-bb56468ef46a.html" target="_blank">here</a>. A winter weather advisory is in effect for northern Litchfield County until noon Saturday, and until 7 a.m. Saturday for Tolland County. A northwest wind has picked up, with gusts reaching 40 mph by Friday night. DePrest said 1-4 inches of snow could accumulate in the higher elevations of northern CT. Other spots could see just an inch, or no snow at all. The northwest will gust to 30-40 mph and it will be quite chilly. The first weekend of spring will start out chilly and windy, with highs only in the 40s on Saturday. A gusty wind will make it feel colder. There could also be some flurries or a lingering snow shower Saturday morning. The sky will then become mostly sunny during the afternoon. Sunday will be the better of the two weekend days, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s. A cold front moves through the state on Monday bringing some rain, but before that, temperatures should reach 50 to 55 degrees. To read the full Technical Discussion, <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/technical_discussion/" target="_blank">click here</a>. For weather updates on smartphones and tablets, <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/site/station_info/apps/" target="_blank">head here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Mueller concludes Russia-Trump probe; no new indictmentsWASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia investigation that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency, entangled Trump's family and resulted in criminal charges against some of the president's closest associates. The comprehensive report, still confidential, marks the end of Mueller's probe but sets the stage for big public fights to come. <a href="https://www.apnews.com/a2ff9862c06348f1a36ef64540a99959">The next steps</a> are up to Trump's attorney general, to Congress and, in all likelihood, federal courts. The Justice Department said <a href="https://apnews.com/TrumpInvestigations">the report was delivered</a> by a security officer Friday afternoon to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and then it went to Attorney General William Barr. Word of the delivery triggered reactions across Washington, including Democrats' demands that it be released publicly before long and Republicans' contentions that it ended two years of wasted time and money. Barr released <a href="https://www.apnews.com/719fb6dc299f43339ead6af26626459d">a letter noting his plans</a> to write his own account of Mueller's findings. The White House released a statement saying it had not seen or been briefed on the special counsel's document. What happens next is "up to Attorney General Barr," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. Barr said he could send his account to Congress quickly. "I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend," Barr said in his letter the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Judiciary committees. He pledged a commitment to transparency. The attorney general said the Justice Department had not denied any request from the special counsel, something Barr would have been required to disclose to Congress to ensure there was no political inference in the independent probe. With no details released at this point, it's not known whether Mueller's report answers the core questions of his investigation: Did Trump's campaign collude with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of the celebrity businessman? Also, did Trump take steps later, including by firing his FBI director, to obstruct the probe? But the delivery of the report does mean the investigation has concluded without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, or of obstruction by the president. Mueller is not recommending any further indictments in the Russia probe, a Justice Department official confirmed Friday. That person, who described the document as "comprehensive," was not authorized to discuss the probe and asked for anonymity. It's unclear what steps Mueller will take if he uncovered what he believes to be criminal wrongdoing by Trump, in light of Justice Department legal opinions that have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted. The mere delivery of a confidential report set off immediate demands from Democrats for full release of Mueller's findings. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared it "imperative" to make the full report public. The top congressional Democrats said, "The American people have a right to the truth." Democrats also expressed concern that Trump would try to get a "sneak preview" of the findings. "The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public," they said in a joint statement. Barr has said he wants to make as much public as possible, and any efforts to withhold details will prompt a tussle between the Justice Department and lawmakers who may subpoena Mueller and his investigators to testify before Congress. Such a move by Democrats would likely be vigorously contested by the Trump administration. The conclusion of Mueller's investigation does not remove legal peril for the president. Trump faces a separate Justice Department investigation in New York into hush money payments during the campaign to two women who say they had sex with him years before the election. He's also been implicated in a potential campaign finance violation by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who says Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee. No matter the findings in Mueller's report, the investigation has already illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts. Over the 21-month investigation, Mueller has brought charges against 34 people, including six aides and advisers to the president, and three companies. The special counsel brought a sweeping indictment accusing Russian military intelligence officers of hacking Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign and other Democratic groups during the 2016 election. He charged another group of Russians with carrying out a large-scale social media disinformation campaign against the American political process that also sought to help Trump and hurt Clinton. Closer to the president, Mueller secured convictions against a campaign chairman who cheated banks and dodged his taxes, a national security adviser who lied about his Russian contacts and a campaign aide who misled the FBI about his knowledge of stolen emails. Cohen, the president's former lawyer, pleaded guilty in New York to campaign finance violations arising from the hush money payments and in the Mueller probe to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. Another Trump confidant, Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails ultimately released by WikiLeaks. It's unclear whether any of the aides who have been convicted, all of whom have pleaded guilty and cooperated with the investigators, might angle for a pardon. Trump has left open the idea of pardons. Along the way, Trump lawyers and advisers repeatedly evolved their public defenses to deal with the onslaught of allegations from the investigation. Where once Trump and his aides had maintained that there were no connections between the campaign and Russia, by the end of the probe Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was routinely making the argument that even if the two sides did collude, it wasn't necessarily a crime. The goalpost shifting reflected the administration's challenge in adopting a singular narrative to fend off allegations. Equally central to Mueller's work is his inquiry into whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation. Since the special counsel's appointment in May 2017, Trump has increasingly tried to undermine the probe by calling it a "witch hunt" and repeatedly proclaiming there was "NO COLLUSION" with Russia. But Trump also took certain acts as president that caught Mueller's attention and have been scrutinized for possible obstruction. One week before Mueller's appointment, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, later saying he was thinking of "this Russia thing" at the time. He mercilessly harangued Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing from the Russia investigation two months before Mueller was named special counsel, a move that left the president without a perceived loyalist atop the probe. And he helped draft a misleading statement on Air Force One as a Trump Tower meeting between his eldest son and a Kremlin-connected lawyer was about to become public. The meeting itself became part of Mueller's investigation, entangling Donald Trump Jr. in the probe. Mueller's team also interviewed the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, multiple times. Even as Trump blasted Mueller's team, his White House and campaign produced thousands of documents for the special counsel, and dozens of his aides were interviewed. The president submitted written answers to Mueller regarding the Russia investigation, but he refused to be interviewed.
Lawmakers hear input about potentially legalizing recreational marijuanaHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- The debate among lawmakers continues regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana. Lawmakers heard more input on Friday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Several bills under review would <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/towns-businesses-discuss-impact-of-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/article_8f5e39aa-46c0-11e9-9b62-5bce2b9e1136.html" target="_blank">allow anyone 21 or older to buy pot</a>. One proposal calls on erasing <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/lawmakers-proposal-to-legalize-recreational-marijuana-is-a-work-in/article_2a024db6-4658-11e9-aaca-1bf6f9ac95ce.html" target="_blank">some minor marijuana related offenses</a>. It’s not an easy decision for many lawmakers. While recreational marijuana is legal in several states, it does come with baggage. States like California and Colorado have had some problems, which could be potential problems in CT. "If you legalize it, there may be nothing wrong with it, but that's not true,” said Guilford student Elizabeth Abernathy. She and a group of other students from Guilford High School went to the hearing on Friday to tell lawmakers to say “no.” They are concerned about the impact marijuana will have on their communities. "I don't think anyone would want to bring their children to a park if teenagers were there smoking marijuana,” said Julia Rubbo, of Guilford. Businesses could make a lot of money if recreational marijuana is legalized, but there are risks. Some say CT should follow Colorado and use some of the revenue for drug addiction and education. The Department of Public Health regulates medical marijuana. "I think CT has a terrific medical marijuana program. There are over 30,000 patients, we have the expertise to have a good and responsible program,” said Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Michelle Seagull. "If there is a community that has an uptick in crime now, at least they have the money to go in there and help take care of that problem,” said Joe LaChance, of CT Norml. A report by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health shows since marijuana was legalized recreationally, traffic deaths have increased 151 percent, and urgent care facilities are treating more illnesses and injuries from cannabis abuse. "We need time, time to train our law enforcement officers. We need time for public education,” said Amy Parmenter, of CT’s AAA. Even if a law is passed requiring people to be 21 to buy marijuana, those young people say teens will get them just like cigarettes and alcohol, and legalizing it isn't worth the problems it can create. “It’s pretty hypocritical saying you're going to get money to let people hurt themselves and just help them again. There's nothing achieved or accomplished,” said Keira Stankewich, of Guilford. While most things seem to be on the table, the one thing that's not part of this discussion is allowing people to grow their own. The other part of the discussion is what to do with those who have criminal records or are serving time for marijuana crimes, asking if there should be amnesty for them. The deadline for a vote is April 12.
Proposed bill would crack down on 'distracted walking'HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- There is a law for distracted driving, but what about distracted walking? Too many people are on their phones and not paying attention while crossing city streets, and some feel we should crack down. Many are guilty of doing it, and it’s almost a habit these days; we get a call, we answer it no matter where we are. Or we have a texting conversation while we are walking around, but the problem is we may not be paying attention to what’s happening around us. “People definitely do it, but not everybody. Nobody should do it, there are certain people that really shouldn’t do it,” said Emily Burman of West Hartford. A bill now before the legislature would allow police to give people a $20 ticket. “It kind of makes sense that people are really unaware when they walk down the streets on their phones and they’re just completely unaware of their surroundings,” said Selah Kwak, of West Hartford. Despite efforts to stop those from using cell phones while driving, some communities are seeing an increase. So, you have more distracted driving, add to that "distracted walking" and you have a bad situation. As for getting a ticket, folks have mixed feelings about that. “It’s dangerous for them, it’s dangerous for other people, but at the same time it also seems kind of harsh that you could be fined for just being on your phone, which is one of your possessions,” Kwak said. “I think it’s a good idea. If we’re going to hold drivers to a certain standard to not be on their phones while driving which is obviously a good idea, then we should also do that for pedestrians,” said Jessica Tagliarini, of West Hartford. The bill passed a hurdle this week and got approval from members on the Transportation Committee. It now goes to the Senate for a vote.
MGM: Potential Bridgeport casino isn't out of the questionBRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -- The topic of casinos continues to be talked about in Connecticut. This comes after the joint venture between the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/east-windsor-casino-project-gets-green-light-from-feds/article_fda12926-4c02-11e9-a7d1-73daec20d4c4.html" target="_blank">got federal approval on Thursday</a> to bring a third casino to CT. But what about a fourth? There were plans for MGM to enter Bridgeport. While MGM is still ready for that to happen, the state is noncommittal. They may be promising jobs, have beautiful renderings, and a dedicated webpage, but the reality of an MGM property in Bridgeport is still a long way away. Channel 3 reached out to MGM on Friday to see if those dreams can still come true after the federal ruling gave the East Windsor casino the green light. In a statement, MGM said “MGM remains steadfast in our view that Bridgeport is the best location in Connecticut for a commercial casino if the state is to maximize jobs, economic growth, tourism, and revenue - and a transparent, competitive process is in the state’s best interest.” But the joint venture between the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots isn’t the only snag here. While the announcement saturates the market even more, the biggest hurdle for MGM, or any non-tribal company, remains the state compact with the two tribes. That promises exclusivity in CT in exchange for 25 percent of slot revenue. Previously, MGM tried to sweeten the pot by promising 35 percent from all games. There are signs MGM could be making backup plans. Earlier this year, they acquired Empire City in Yonkers, which doesn’t offer table games, but it is a foot in the door in the lucrative New York market.
Fans missed tip-off of Villanova vs St. Mary's game Thursday in HartfordHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- March Madness was in full swing in Hartford for the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, but there were some hiccups. Hartford hosted four games in two sessions on Thursday at the XL Center. Folks with tickets for the second session found themselves missing the start of the Villanova vs St. Mary’s game because of massive lines at the entrance. "Everyone was like, checking their phones, saying, ‘oh my God, the game is starting in 5 mins, we gotta get in here and no one was moving," said Brian Foley, who attended the games on Thursday. He was one of 16,000 fans wanting to get in on March Madness in Hartford. Foley said he was there to see the Villanova vs St. Mary's game but instead of seeing tip-off, he saw the back of the heads of hundreds of people who were still waiting in line to get in. "It was just like a mad rush to get into the building," Foley said. He traveled from out of state and ended up missing several minutes of the game. After looking at the schedule, he had a feeling this would happen. "They opened the gates about 7:30, for the second session. I saw they moved the tip to 7:45. So they were going to get everyone through in 15 minutes," Foley said. Other guests took to Twitter to post about their experiences, showing photos of empty stands as the third game tipped off. While some blamed the XL Center, others placed blame on the NCAA. Requests for info from both the XL Center and the NCAA have not yet been answered. Since there is only one session Saturday, don’t expect a repeat of what happened Thursday night in Hartford.
Man charged in New Britain murder found in South Carolina faces judge in CTNEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- A man accused in a New Britain murder who was arrested in South Carolina earlier this month, faced a judge in CT on Friday. Benjamin Morales, 42, <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/new-britain-murder-suspect-to-be-extradited-back-to-ct/article_e9fe8f8e-4519-11e9-a9f1-0b2e5126066a.html" target="_blank">was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Georgetown County</a>, South Carolina on March 12. He was brought back to CT Thursday night and appeared in court Friday morning, according to court officials. He's charged in the <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/police-identify-woman-murdered-in-new-britain-suspect-still-at/article_58854d04-2971-11e9-972e-0384e91a72dc.html" target="_blank">murder of 28-year-old Alice Marie Figueroa</a> that happened on Feb. 4 in New Britain at a home on Elam Street. Morales and Figueroa have two small children together. He is also believed to have taken part in the disappearance of 31-year-old Virgen Maria Figueroa earlier that week. She was later found unharmed. Morales and Virgen had allegedly been dating when she went missing. New Britain Police had also <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/new-britain-police-arrest-two-relatives-of-murder-suspect-still/article_ba47cd18-2bcf-11e9-9ebc-03ec98be0ba8.html" target="_blank">previously arrested two relatives of Morales</a>, Odalys Morales and Roman Morales, who are believed to have misled police or provided assistance to Benjamin. Morales is facing several charges, including murder, second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree harassment, and interfering with an officer/resisting. Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.
Parkland school shooting survivor takes her own life; mom says she suffered survivor's guilt, PTSD(WFOR/CNN/Meredith) -- The Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School community in south Florida is mourning another loss. Sydney Aiello, 19, was a recent MSD graduate who was at the school the day of the mass shooting when 17 people lost their lives. Aiello's mother said her daughter took her own life March 17, just more than a year after the deadly Feb. 14, 2018 school shooting. Aiello was close friends with Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack. Aiello's mother said that her daughter felt survivor's guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being on campus the day of the shooting last year. Aiello's mom said her daughter struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom, and that she was sad but never asked for help before she killed herself. Her mom hopes Sydney’s story can help save others. Ryan Petty’s daughter Alaina died in the shooting. He said it breaks his heart that the community has now lost another MSD student. He's focused a lot of effort on suicide prevention since the Parkland tragedy, worried that traumatized students might take their own lives. Cindy Aronberg Seltzer is the president and CEO of the Children's Services Council of Broward County. She said there are many community resources like the 211 hotline and a new program called Eagles' Haven, opening next month in Coral Springs. Seltzer said the Parkland tragedy proved that we all need to work to get over the stigma associated with mental health problems and the inability to ask for help when we're struggling. She said it's important for parents to look for suicide warning signs like kids who hurt themselves or stop taking part in important activities. "Parents have to be a little more aggressive when they see those signs and not just wait for the child to ask for help but maybe to take them to those resources,” Seltzer said. Aiello loved yoga, and her mom said she wanted to dedicate her life toward helping others. Now, you can help her family by donating money to a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/in-loving-memory-of-sydney-aiello" target="_blank">GoFundMe account</a> set up in her memory to help pay for funeral expenses. The GoFundMe page reads: Sydney Aiello was born on January 27th, 2000.She was welcomed into this world by her loving family: her parents Cara and Joe, and her brother Nick. Sydney spent 19 years writing her story as a beloved daughter, sister and friend to many. She lit up every room she entered. She filled her days cheerleading, doing yoga, and brightening up the days of others. Sydney aspired to work in the medical field helping others in need. On March 17th, 2019 Sydney became the guardian angel to many. It was a privilege to have you in our lives. Sydney, we will miss you and always love you. May you find peace in His arms.The funds will be given directly to the Aiello family to honor their daughter. Thank you. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit their website <a href="https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/" target="_blank">here</a>.
More US school-age children die from guns than on-duty US police or global military fatalities, study finds(CNN) -- Gun deaths of school-age children in the United States have increased at an alarming rate, with 38,942 fatalities among 5- to 18-year-olds from 1999 to 2017, according to a new study by Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine. Indeed, spikes in gun deaths over the past decade amount to epidemics, researchers said. "It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms," said Dr. Charles Hennekens, the study's senior author and an academic adviser at the medical college. The study, to be published in the American Journal of Medicine, found that children are being gunned down in staggering numbers, with the death rate six to nine times higher than other developed nations. The gun deaths included 6,464 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years old (an average of 340 deaths per year), and 32,478 deaths in children between 15 and 18 years old (an average of 2,050 deaths per year), according to the study. Of the deaths, 86% involved boys, the study found. Black children accounted for 41% of those killed, though in recent years they've comprised just 14% of the US population, <a href="https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/103-child-population-by-race#detailed/1/any/false/871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38,35/68,69,67,12,70,66,71,72/423,424" target="_blank">US census data show</a>. "Among blacks, the annual average percent change of 9.5% for firearm-related mortality among 5 to 14-year-olds from 2013 to 2017 exceeded the 7.8% for overall deaths among 15 to 24-year-olds during the early years of the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic from 1987 to 1995," the study said. The research should have public policy implications, Hennekens said. "We need more analytic studies on this, but in the meanwhile, we believe that trying to combat the epidemic of homicide due to firearms without addressing firearms is like combating the epidemic of lung cancer due to cigarettes without combating cigarettes," he said. "To me, it's tragic that this is going on." Racial inequities have emerged, study finds Black children between 5 and 14 years old began to experience statistically significant increases in gun deaths in 2013, the study found. And from 2013 to 2017, racial inequalities in firearm deaths between blacks and whites jumped significantly. The study found these listed causes of death among the children: 61% from assault; 32% from suicide; 5% accidental; and 2% undetermined. In the 5-to-14-year-old age group, accidents accounted for 12.8% of cases (830 deaths); suicide, 29.6% cases (1,912 deaths); assault, 54.8% cases (3,545 deaths); and undetermined, 2.7% (177 deaths), according to the study. For those 15 to 18 years old, the cause of death was listed as accidental in 3.5% of cases (1,121 deaths); suicide, 32.9% (10,688 deaths); assault, 62.3% (20,247 deaths); and undetermined, 1.3% (422 deaths). The study used data from the Multiple Cause of Death files of the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The researchers found statistically significant increases in gun deaths beginning in 2009, with what they termed an epidemic among 5- to 14-year-olds. A second epidemic, beginning in 2014, involved those in the 15-to-18-year-old age group. The epidemics continued through 2017, the most recent year of available US mortality data. The study said the epidemic poses clinical, public health and policy challenges. It singled out the 1996 Dickey Amendment as a major factor prohibiting analytic studies on the issue. In 1996, Congress removed $2.6 million -- the amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent on gun research the year prior -- from the CDC's budget and <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/22/politics/spending-bill-gun-research/index.html" target="_blank">passed the so-called Dickey Amendment,</a> named after late Republican Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas. Critics said the amendment ultimately led to the CDC halting gun violence research. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/20/health/child-gun-deaths-rising/index.html" target="_blank">A study last year in the New England Journal of Medicine</a> found that death by gunshot was the second-highest cause of death in the United States in 2016 among children and adolescents, ages 1 to 19. The United States led the world in 2016 in the rate of firearm deaths in youth among countries with available data. The rate in the US was 36.5 times higher than in a dozen comparable high-income countries around the world; the rate of firearm deaths was five times as high compared with a sampling of low- to middle-income countries.
Report of runaway train box car in New London was false alarmNEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -- Crews received a report on Friday morning that a train box car had rolled away on the tracks in the New London area. As a precaution, the entire rail line was inspected. Yantic fire officials had said they found the rail car in question, however officials from Genesee &amp; Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc. said the car had not rolled away. The company said the car in question had been parked on a siding since Thursday, with brakes set and was protected by a safety device that would prevent it from leaving the siding.