Acquitted Man Confesses To Homicide

MONTPELIER, Vt., Aug. 2 (UPI) — Vermont officials said there is little they can do in the case of a man who recently confessed to a homicide he was acquitted of in 2004.

Isaac Turnbaugh of Randolph, Vt., was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal 2002 shooting of pizza restaurant co-worker Declan Lyons, 24, of Montpelier, the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reported Tuesday.

Turnbaugh, now 28, called Randolph police last month and said he shot Lyons in the head with a rifle and wanted to surrender.

Attorney General William Sorrell said the state has few options because of the legal double jeopardy doctrine that says a defendant can’t be tried twice for the same crime.

“You only get one bite of the apple,” Sorrell said. “You can go out on the courthouse steps and confess, and the state can’t do anything.”

Sorrell said the statute of limitations for non-murder charges in the case has expired, and the evidence would have to be something not used in the original trial.

Cuba To Ease Restrictions On Travel

HAVANA, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Cuba will ease migration rules, both for emigres visiting home and Cubans going abroad, state media say.

Speaking to the National Assembly of Peoples’ Power Monday, President Raul Castro said the government “is making advances with the reform and elaboration of a series of regulations” that have been in force too long, El Nuevo Herald of Miami reported, citing Havana’s official news agencies.

“We take this step as a contribution to the increase in links between the nation and the emigre community, whose makeup has changed radically since the first decades of the revolution,” Castro said. “In their overwhelming majority, Cubans today emigrate because of economic reasons, and almost all of them preserve their love for family and country.”

For decades, the Communist government has vilified Cubans who leave the island as “counterrevolutionaries” and “worms.”

Tens of thousands of people who left illegally or stayed overseas more than 11 months have been barred from returning.

Cubans currently need an exit permit good for only 30 days.

Iraqis Reviewing U.S. Troop Presence

BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Iraqi leaders are expected to reach a deal about the presence of the remaining U.S. troops in the country, a member of the prime minister’s party said.

Remaining U.S. troops are expected to leave Iraq by Dec. 31 under the terms of a bilateral status of forces agreement signed in 2008.

Khalid al-Assady, a lawmaker in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law party said officials, during Tuesday talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, are expected to review the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, the Voices of Iraq news agency reports.

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a recent visit to Iraq that Baghdad needed to act quickly on any troop decision.

“The point is we’re at a deadline and we need an answer,” he said in a statement.

Iraqi lawmakers are notoriously slow to act. Maliki has yet to form a complete Cabinet of new ministers more than a year after parliamentary elections in 2010.

Stuart Bowen, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, warned in a July report to Congress that Iraq was a very dangerous place more than eight years after the initial U.S.-led invasion.

“It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago,” he wrote.

No End In Sight To Heat Wave

DALLAS, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Dallas residents suffered for the 32nd day with temperatures topping 100 degrees Tuesday while blazing heat continued over the central United States.

Heat advisories were in place from the South to the Central Plains with at least 14 states suffering from high temperatures and humidity, CNN reported.

Health officials in Dallas were passing out air-conditioning units to residents who couldn’t afford them.

“If people meet the eligibility requirements, which is usually based on income, we’ll go out there to install the a/c unit,” said Blanca Cantu of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Agency.

Meteorologists predicted the string of triple-digit heat in the Dallas Fort Worth area might last for the next couple of weeks, reported.

“The current string of 100-degree days will probably last into the middle of August,” said Paul Pastelok, a long-range expert meteorologist.

The longest stretch of 100-degree days in Dallas was 42 set in the summer of 1980.

Health Concerns Loom For Mubarak

CAIRO, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could miss the opening day of a trial on charges related to deaths during anti-regime protests, his legal team said.

Mubarak, along with his sons Alaa, Gamal and former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly, are to face a Cairo court Wednesday. They are accused of having a role in the deaths of unarmed protesters during the revolution that ended Mubarak’s three-decade reign in February.

Mubarak’s health has been in decline for more than a year. He was said to be refusing food and in a state of severe depression. A member of his defense team was quoted as saying Mubarak, 82, could miss the trial’s opening session because of “deteriorating health,” Egyptian news agency al-Ahram reports.

Former Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman told prosecutors in May that Mubarak knew of the events unfolding during the revolution. Hundreds of people were killed in Egyptian protests and thousands of others were injured.

Suleiman said Mubarak didn’t do anything to stop the violence nor did he oppose of shooting protesters. The president was receiving hourly reports from Adly during the unrest in January and February, the vice president added.

Opposition groups expressed frustration following the court’s decision. Demonstrators have reoccupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square, calling for swift justice for members of Mubarak’s regime.

Tanks rolled into the square Monday to break up the protests.

Blast In Kirkuk, Iraq, Church Injures 20

KIRKUK, Iraq, Aug. 2 (UPI) — An explosives-filled vehicle exploded Tuesday in front of a church in Kirkuk, Iraq, injuring at least 20 people, officials said.

Police said the vehicle was parked near the church in the Shaterloo neighborhood of Kirkuk, injuring the facility’s employees and worshipers, Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported.

Officials said homes near the site of the explosion also were damaged.

No Charges Due In Russian Lawyer’s Death

MOSCOW, Aug. 2 (UPI) — No one will face charges for the death of a Russian lawyer in prison, despite the urgings of a human rights panel, officials say.

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died in November 2009 after being beaten and denied treatment for pancreatitis, concluded the Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights, appointed by President Dmitry Medvedev.

But the Interior Ministry will not press charges against the investigators responsible for his imprisonment, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The prosecutor’s office is considering reopening the tax fraud case against Magnitsky that was closed when he died, which might clear his name.

But Dmitri Kharitonov, the Magnitsky family’s lawyer, told the Interfax news agency: “I do not trust our investigative bodies. Try as I might, I cannot imagine them admitting all of a sudden that they kept an innocent behind the bars.”

Magnitsky was arrested after he accused police and tax officials of a $230 million tax fraud. Instead he was charged with stealing the money and mistreated in prison to make him implicate executives of Hermitage Capital, independent investigators say.

Lightning Kills Man Scattering Ashes

TRIESTE, Italy, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A man scattering his dead brother’s ashes on a favorite mountaintop in the Italian Alps was struck and killed by lightning, police said.

Federico Dean, 41, of Trieste, was at the peak of Jof di Montasio in the Julian Alps Monday when the lightning strike occurred, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

He was scattering the ashes of his younger brother who was killed in a car crash in Mexico.

Philippines Bomb Kills One, Injures 10

COTABATO CITY, Philippines, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A photographer was killed and 10 other people were injured Tuesday in a bomb explosion in the Philippines town of Cotabato City, the military said.

A spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said the explosive device had been placed on a motorcycle, the Philippines ABS-CBN news reported.

Among the injured was a 5-year-old girl reported in critical condition.

Cotabato’s police chief, Roberto Badian, said it appeared the bomb was triggered by a cellphone.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion but the device used is the same type employed by the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Cotabato city is located on Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines.

Accused ‘kill Team’ Soldier Cuts Deal

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash., Aug. 2 (UPI) — A soldier who first raised alarms about an alleged team that killed Afghan citizens struck a plea deal with the U.S. Army for a prison sentence, officials said.

Army and defense attorneys did not release terms of Spc. Adam Winfield’s plea agreement yet, saying they would be revealed Friday during the soldier’s court-martial at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state, The (Tacoma, Wash.,) News Tribune reported Tuesday.

However, people knowledgeable about the case told the newspaper Winfield wouldn’t serve more than eight years in prison and the most serious charge would be changed from murder to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Winfield of Cape Coral, Fla., admitted to Army investigators last year he joined two soldiers in killing a civilian in southern Afghanistan.

He and four other soldiers returned early to the United States from deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, facing charges that they killed three Afghans. Seven others from their platoon were charged with lesser crimes.

If his agreement is accepted by the court, Winfield’s would be the eighth person convicted in the Army’s investigation into his platoon.

During discussions with investigators, Winfield said he was an unwilling participant in the crimes, saying he feared retaliation from alleged ringleader Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the Tribune reported. Gibbs, 26, awaits an October court-martial and has denied participating in the killings.

Pvt. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, pleaded guilty in March to helping kill three Afghans. Morlock received a 24-year sentence with the possibility of parole instead of life in prison and has been testifying for Army prosecutors.