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It this courtroom sketch, U.S. Attorney William Weinreb, left, is depicted delivering opening statements in front of U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr., right rear, on the first day of the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in Boston. Tsarnaev, depicted seated second from right between defense attorneys Judy Clarke, third from right, and Miriam Conrad, right, is charged with conspiring with his brother to place two bombs near the marathon finish line in April 2013, killing three and injuring 260 people. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

Defense admits Tsarnaev carried out Marathon bombing

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BOSTON — The question, for all practical purposes, is no longer whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took part in the Boston Marathon bombing. It’s whether he deserves to die for it. In a blunt opening statement at the nation’s biggest terrorism trial in nearly 20 years, Tsarnaev’s own lawyer flatly told a jury that the 21-year-old former college student committed the crime. …

Area police news

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Amherst ∎ Kimberley M. Mead, 55, of 16 Berkshire Terrace, was arrested at 4:13 p.m. Tuesday at the Grace Episcopal Church, 14 Boltwood Ave., on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing after she refused to leave the building and then became combative with officers, police said. Northampton ∎ Police arrested two Springfield men in front of City Hall at 210 Main St. at …

Condemned Northampton spas unlicensed, fined by state as police probe into alleged criminal conduct continues

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Two spas condemned by local health officials for unsanitary conditions last week were not licensed to operate in Massachusetts and have been issued $1,000 fines, according to the state Division of Professional Licensure. One of those businesses apparently has been operating for years in a high-profile commercial location and the other …

Former president Evan Dobelle drops federal suit against Westfield State University

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Former Westfield State University president Evan S. Dobelle dropped his federal lawsuit against university and state officials on Thursday, just days after his attorneys requested to withdraw from the case, citing his failure to pay them. …

Area police news

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Easthampton ∎ Workers at CVS, 118 Northampton St., reported at 4:43 p.m. Tuesday that they observed a man and a woman shoplifting two bottles of laundry detergent from the store. Police recognized the man after reviewing security footage at the store. They went to his house and persuaded …

Richard Orozco of Chicopee sentenced to prison for theft of $1,000 in quarters, negligent operation

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A Chicopee man is headed to state prison for three to five years after he stole $1,000 in quarters and crashed his car while driving negligently, all within a 10-hour period on April 8. Richard J. Orozco, 40, pleaded guilty Jan. 21 in Hampshire Superior Court …

Eric Poulin of South Hadley denies soliciting sexual conduct for a fee at Easthampton hair salon

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A South Hadley man denied charges Thursday stemming from a police sting in the back room of an Easthampton hair salon that police say was prompted by a Craigslist notice advertising “Head to Toe Body Care …

DC defies Congress, legalizes marijuana

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the District of Columbia will legalize marijuana, despite warnings from two congressional Republicans that doing so would break the law and could lead to possible prison time for D.C. officials. “Our government is prepared to implement and enforce Initiative 71 in …

Dobelle’s lawyers want off his case

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WESTFIELD (ap) — Lawyers for former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle, who is suing state education officials, cite an “irreconcilable difference” and a failure to pay bills, in their effort to drop him as a client. Dobelle served as university president from January 2008 until his resignation …

Bombing trial set to open next week

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BOSTON — Opening statements in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be held next week, a court official announced Wednesday after the judge qualified enough prospective jurors to move on to the final stage …

Wesleyan students face party-drug charges

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — They were studying to be doctors and scientists, but police say four Wesleyan University students arrested this week also are known on campus as drug dealers. The four are charged in connection with the …

Residents in Czech town honor 8 killed in shooting

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

PRAGUE (AP) — Hundreds of residents of a small town in southeastern Czech Republic gathered Wednesday to honor the victims of the worst shooting attack in the country’s history. Braving rain, they lit candles in front of the …

Gary Couchon of Easthampton released, charges against him dismissed, after judge rules him incompetent to stand trial

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — All charges against an Easthampton man accused of an attack on two women were dismissed and he was released to the care of his alleged victims after a Northampton District Court judge found him incompetent to stand trial. Gary Couchon, 59, of 21 Morin Drive, had …