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In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is depicted sitting in federal court in Boston Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, for a final hearing before his trial begins in January. Tsarnaev is charged with the April 2013 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. He could face the death penalty if convicted.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

Tsarnaev’s lawyers seek trial delay

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings. Security was tight at the federal courthouse in Boston for …

Body of woman found in Millers River in Orange

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ORANGE (AP) — Emergency crews in north-central Massachusetts have found the body of a 52-year-old woman who had been missing since Tuesday. Authorities say the body of Cynthia Ayer of Orange was found in the Millers River in Orange Thursday afternoon. It’s not clear how Ayer died. The medical examiner’s office will be performing an autopsy. A spokeswoman for the Northwestern District Attorney’s …

Two released in Framingham meningitis outbreak case

Friday, December 19, 2014

BOSTON — Two men at the center of a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people around the U.S. will be released from custody, pending their criminal trials, a federal judge in Boston ruled Thursday. U.S. Magistrate Jennifer Boal issued an electronic order saying that the U.S. attorney’s office had “not met …

Driver to be charged in crossing guard’s death

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WEST SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Police say a driver who struck and killed a West Springfield school crossing guard on Monday will be charged in the accident. West Springfield Police Sgt. Hubert Rees said Wednesday that a 61-year-old Agawam woman will be charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligence. …

Saint Francis to merge with Trinity Health

Thursday, December 18, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hartford-based Saint Francis Care has announced plans to merge with Trinity Health and form a nonprofit regional health system in New England. Trinity is a national system of Roman Catholic health care institutions that already includes the Sisters of Providence Health System in Springfield, …

Appeals court nixes sex change for inmate at taxpayers’ expense

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BOSTON — A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a ruling ordering Massachusetts prison officials to provide taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery for an inmate convicted of murder. Michelle Kosilek, born Robert Kosilek, is serving a life sentence for …

Baker says heroin crisis is among early priorities

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BOSTON — Tackling the scourge of heroin and opiate addiction will be an early priority after taking office, Gov.-elect Charlie Baker said Tuesday as state police reported dozens of suspected overdose deaths around the state in recent weeks. “It cuts across geography. It cuts across class. It cuts …

Mom indicted on two counts of murder in babies’ deaths

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

WORCESTER (AP) — A woman was indicted on two murder charges after the skeletal remains of three babies were found in her squalid home in September, a district attorney announced Tuesday. Thirty-one-year-old Erika Murray has been held on …

FBI: Casinos raise risk of public corruption

Monday, December 15, 2014

BOSTON — The head of the FBI’s Boston office said Monday he’s concerned the expansion of casino gambling might lead to an increase in public corruption and financial and organized crime. Special Agent Vincent Lisi, whose office covers …

Patrick says future wide open after Jan. 8

Monday, December 15, 2014

BOSTON — Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday he has no intention of being a “pundit” when he steps down in January, but he is leaving his professional and political future wide open. During an interview with The …

Rings given to Salvation Army fetch $21,000 for toys

Monday, December 15, 2014

BOSTON — Not even J.R.R. Tolkien could dream up rings as precious as these. A former Salvation Army bell ringer is paying $21,000 for a diamond engagement ring and wedding band that a widow placed inside a red …

Newtown victims’ families sue gun maker

Monday, December 15, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The families of nine people killed in the Newtown school massacre filed a lawsuit against the maker and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting, saying the gun should not have …

Pardon me? Course beset by risks for governors

Sunday, December 14, 2014

BOSTON — Actor Mark Wahlberg’s plea for a pardon has focused fresh attention on excusing criminal acts — something governors rarely do because it’s so politically risky. Massachusetts hasn’t approved a pardon in more than a decade. Republican …