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People opposed to child sex trafficking rally outside of the Washington state Supreme Court on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Olympia, Wash. The court was hearing a case filed by three victims who say the website Backpage.com helps promote the exploitation of children. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

Website contests child slavery lawsuit

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SEATTLE — A lawyer told the Washington Supreme Court on Tuesday that a lawsuit filed by three young girls who were sold as prostitutes on a website that which carries personal ads for people looking for sex should be thrown out because they didn’t write the ads, so they’re not liable. But the victims’ lawyer said the website, Backpage, doesn’t …

Jury to decide if Tsarnaev friend was lying or high

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BOSTON — A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told a string of lies to investigators, a prosecutor told a jury Tuesday, but a defense lawyer said the defendant was a frightened 19-year-old who couldn’t remember certain details because he had smoked marijuana for at least 12 hours straight. Robel Phillipos, …

Accused White House intruder ‘not competent’

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WASHINGTON — The man accused of running into the White House last month after scaling the fence and evading Secret Service officers has been found “presently not competent” to stand trial, according to a preliminary competency evaluation. But U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary L. Collyer said Tuesday that she had ordered a more in-depth competency examination for Omar Gonzalez, 42, to occur within …

Hurricane Gonzalo slams into Bermuda

Friday, October 17, 2014

HAMILTON, Bermuda — The leading edge of Hurricane Gonzalo moved onto this British territory Friday night, pounding Bermudans with fierce wind and heavy surf as a powerful Category 2 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as …

Seven dogs die in South Hadley house fire

Friday, October 17, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — A fire killed seven dogs and displaced one resident from a Grandview Road home Friday afternoon. No people were injured. Firefighters from South Hadley Fire District 1 and 2 responded to a fire at 5 Grandview Road after a 911 call was received at 12:29 …

Area police news

Friday, October 17, 2014

Amherst ■ One man suffered a cut to his ear and another was punched in the face during an altercation outside downtown bars following the New England Patriots football game at 12:29 a.m. Friday. Four suspects fled and the two victims who remained told police that they did …

Mauricio Velasquez expected to plead guilty in alleged drunk driving accident that killed 3-year-old daughter, man

Friday, October 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The attorney for Mauricio Velasquez of Springfield told Hampshire Superior Court Judge Bertha D. Josephson Friday that he plans to plead guilty to at least one charge related to a 2013 accident in Easthampton that resulted in the deaths of his 3-year-old daughter and an Easthampton …

Judge denies request to reduce bail for Sajid Dacres, charged with attempted murder of Ware police officer

Friday, October 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The New York man charged with trying to run down a Ware police officer — who then shot him twice — shook his head Friday as a Hampshire Superior Court Judge denied his attorney’s request that he be released or that his bail be lowered. Sajid …

Fla. man gets life in loud music killing

Friday, October 17, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida man convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a teenager in an argument over loud music outside a Jacksonville convenience store was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole. The life sentence …

Tree brings down power line in Westhampton

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WESTHAMPTON — A tree brought down a power line on Main Road about 9 p.m. Thursday, interrupting electricity to 22 customers of the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. Crews were repairing the downed line late Thursday night and 13 customers were still without power at 11 p.m., according to …

Russia detains 2 US journalists over workshop

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MOSCOW — Two American journalists were briefly detained in Russia and taken to court Thursday for teaching an investigative journalism workshop. Both were found guilty of violating visa regulations, authorities said. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting said that its co-founder, Joe Bergantino, and University of South …

William Bower of Easthampton sentenced to seven years after admitting he tried to kill woman who offered assistance

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — An Easthampton man was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in state prison after he admitted he strangled and threatened to kill a woman who offered him assistance on a sidewalk in October 2012. William Bower, 34, …

Mark Ducharme of South Hadley arraigned on charges including manslaughter in death of passenger

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A South Hadley man pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court Thursday to four charges, including manslaughter, resulting from a June 14 accident in which a passenger in his car was killed. Mark M. Ducharme, 46, of 141 Amherst Road, denied charges of manslaughter, manslaughter while …