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National

    A day after Virginia became the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the National Archives reiterated on Tuesday that it would not immediately take any action to certify the measure's adoption as part of the U.S. Constitution. The National Archives has received Virginia's ratification documentation but “the Archivist will take no action to certify the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment,” the press office of the National Archives and Records Administration said in a statement Tuesday that echoed a statement it made earlier this month. Typically, constitutional amendments must be ratified by three-quarters of the states, or 38, before ratification. But the ERA's future is uncertain, in part because of a 1982 deadline for ratification that Congress enacted decades ago. The administration said it is following the advice of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, which issued a memo earlier this month saying that because the deadline has passed, it is too late for states to ratify the ERA. The only option for supporters now is to begin the ratification process all over again in Congress, the department said. The National Archives said it would abide by that opinion “unless otherwise directed by a final court order.” ERA advocates have vowed to fight to see the measure certified, either in court or in Congress, where there is a push to remove the deadline.
  • A man suspected of stealing $500,000 worth of jewelry from former NBA star Allen Iverson’s backpack surrendered to police late Monday, authorities said Tuesday. According to Warminster Township Police Chief James Donnelly III, the 21-year-old man surrendered in the Bucks County suburb, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Police said they were assisted by a photo of the man captured by surveillance cameras at the Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square hotel, the newspaper reported. The man is expected to be charged, WPVI reported. Police said they would not release his name because charges had not yet been filed, the Inquirer reported. Police said the theft occurred around 10:30 a.m. Monday, according to the newspaper. A police source said the man gave authorities a Rolex belonging to Iverson, then pointed officers to an apartment where the backpack and remaining jewelry were located, the Inquirer reported.
  • White supremacist Dylann Roof on Tuesday appealed his convictions and death sentence in the 2015 massacre of nine black church members in South Carolina, arguing that he was suffering from schizophrenia and other psychological disorders when he represented himself at his capital trial. In a legal brief filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Roof's lawyers said that when a judge allowed him to represent himself during the penalty phase of his federal trial, he was a 22-year-old ninth-grade dropout “who believed his sentence didn't matter because white nationalists would free him from prison after an impending race war.” Roof's appellate lawyers said Roof fired his trial lawyers to prevent evidence of his mental illness from being presented to the jury. They argued that because of the court's “rush to move the case along,” the jury never heard any mitigating evidence. “Roof’s crime was tragic, but this Court can have no confidence in the jury’s verdict,” Roof's attorneys argued. Roof became the first person to be ordered executed for a federal hate crime when he was sentenced to death for fatally shooting nine black church members at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015. Prosecutors said he specifically chose Emanuel AME, the South’s oldest black church, to carry out the massacre. After he was arrested, Roof told FBI agents that he wanted the shootings to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war. The jury's verdict came after a trial in which the avowed white supremacist did not show any remorse or attempt to fight for his life. Roof served as his own attorney during the sentencing phase and never explained why he committed the massacre. Roof's legal advisers repeatedly expressed frustration that Roof wouldn’t allow them to introduce mental health evidence that could possibly spare his life. Roof asked jurors to forget anything they’d heard from his legal team about his mental state, declaring, “there’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.” “I still feel like I had to do it,” Roof said in his closing argument. “Anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it.” After the trial, documents unsealed in federal court included a psychiatrist's finding that Roof showed signs of social anxiety, schizoid personality and possible autism spectrum disorders. Prosecutors told the jury that Roof walked into the church and sat with the Bible study group for about 45 minutes, then opened fire during the final prayer, when everyone's eyes were closed. The jury convicted Roof of 33 federal charges, including hate crimes. The massacre prompted South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its Statehouse for the first time in more than half a century. Roof had posed with the flag in photos. The slain included the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor and a state senator; a high school track coach; the church sexton; a librarian; and an aspiring poet.
  • Black female legislators in two predominantly white Midwestern states urged their Republican colleagues Tuesday to join a national push to outlaw discrimination based on hairstyles such as braids and dreadlocks. Legislative committees in Kansas and Wisconsin held separate hearings on similar proposed revisions to their states' anti-discrimination laws. Four black female legislators in Wisconsin and one in Kansas, all of them Democrats, said employers and teachers often wrongly see white people’s hair as the standard for what's clean and professional. “Imagine waking up every morning knowing you’ve got to go to work and can’t be yourself,” Wisconsin state Rep. LaKeisha Myers, a black Milwaukee Democrat, said during an Assembly Constitution and Ethics Committee hearing. She is the chief sponsor of the bill in Wisconsin's Assembly. The proposals would ban bias in housing, employment and public accommodations based on hairstyles “historically associated with race” such as braids, locs and twists. The Democratic lawmakers and other supporters of the legislation said black women have felt compelled for years to straighten their hair with harsh chemicals or hot appliances to avoid affecting their chances of getting a job, winning a promotion or staying employed. California, New York and New Jersey enacted such laws last year and similar measures have been introduced in 20 other states, including Kansas and Wisconsin, according to the CROWN Coalition, a movement founded by beauty products maker Dove and the National Urban League, Color Of Change and the Western Center on Law and Poverty advocacy groups. It wasn't clear how far the Kansas or Wisconsin measures will get. Supporters in both states faced questions about how broadly such laws could be interpreted. Kansas Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Kristi Brown said in a written statement to the Kansas Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee that such a law could affect an employer's ability to enforce a dress code or even comply with some safety standards. In the Kansas hearing, Sen. Rob Olson, a white Kansas City-area Republican, said he supports people's right to express themselves through hairstyles but said allowing restaurants to impose hair-related health standards as perhaps “the biggest challenge” to enacting it. And the chairman of the Wisconsin Assembly committee, Rep. Chuck Wichgers, a white suburban Milwaukee-area Republican, said that he would have convince other lawmakers that the bill wouldn’t open a “Pandora’s box” where anyone of any race could accuse an employer of discrimination. “How do we explain to other legislators that if you have dreads, you can sue to get what you wanted?” Wichgers said. Supporters of the legislation in both states cited a December 2018 incident in which a high school wrestler in New Jersey was told he had to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match. The sponsor of the Kansas measure, state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat and her chamber's only female black member, passed around copies of a photo of the wrestler having his hair cut. But backers of the bills said straightening hair to fit in at school or work or to have a better chance at getting a job has been part of the African-American experience for years. “I don't know any black woman that has not experienced getting relaxer and not having her hair burned, or the scabs on your scalp and having to put creams on your scalp to heal the scabs that you may get from a chemical burn,” said Michele Watley, founder of Shirley's Kitchen Cabinet, a Kansas City group that advocates for black women. Watley said anti-bias laws like the one proposed in Kansas still would allow employers to impose safety and health requirements, such as requiring shorter hair to avoid getting it caught in machinery. Bridget Dunmore, a retired Internal Revenue Service worker from Raymore, Missouri, said in the 37 years she worked, she always straightened her hair for job interviews rather than wearing it in braids, as she prefers. She was in a Kansas City, Kansas, hair salon on Tuesday, and reflected on how she saw straightening her hair as a “means to an end” when she was younger but now sees feeling compelled to do it as discrimination. “The more natural, beautiful hairstyles will affect, will most likely prevent, me from getting a job,” said Dunmore, who is black. “Individuals are focusing too much on the outer appearance of our natural hairstyles.” Faust-Goudeau said the issue has become almost an emotional one for her, because, as the mother of two daughters, “I deal with it on a personal level.” ___ Richmond reported from Madison, Wisconsin. ___ Follow John Hanna at https//twitter.com/apjdhanna and Todd Richmond at https://twitter.com/trichmond1
  • An airplane evacuating as many as 240 Americans from a Chinese city at the center of a virus outbreak departed Wednesday before dawn, and is en route to the U.S., a U.S. State Department official has told The Associated Press The U.S. government chartered the plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where the latest coronavirus outbreak started, and other U.S. citizens. The plane will make a refueling stop in Alaska before flying on to Ontario, California, the U.S. Embassy in China has said. Wuhan is the epicenter of a new virus that has sickened thousands and killed more than 100 and the official said Tuesday that the plane left the city before dawn Wednesday, China time. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. During the refueling stop in Anchorage, the travelers will be re-screened for the virus. Hospitals have been notified and are prepared to treat or quarantine people who may be infected. Officials at the California airport 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Los Angeles have been readying facilities to receive and screen the repatriates and temporarily house them for up to two weeks — if the Centers for Disease Control determines that is necessary, said David Wert, spokesman for the county of San Bernardino. “We're preparing for that eventuality just in case,” Wert said. The virus has sickened more than 4,500 people in China, and more than 100 people have died. Symptoms include fever, cough, and in more severe cases shortness of breath or pneumonia. China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. In addition to the United States, countries including Japan and South Korea have also planned evacuations. Ontario International Airport was designated about a decade ago by the U.S. government to receive repatriated Americans in case of an emergency overseas, Wert said. Airport personnel have trained for such an occasion but the repatriation from China would be the first time the airport is used for this purpose, he said. Passengers will be examined by CDC personnel upon reaching Alaska and no one with symptoms of illness will be allowed to travel onward, the county of San Bernardino said in a statement. Passengers will be screened again once they arrive in Ontario, California. The area where passengers will be taken is removed from passenger terminals and other public areas at the airport, the county said. ___ Lee reported from Washington.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for Punxsutawney Phil to be retired to a reputable sanctuary and to be replaced with an animatronic groundhog that would use artificial intelligence to predict the weather. “Gentle, vulnerable groundhogs are not barometers,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is offering the club a win-win situation: Breathe life into a tired tradition and finally do right by a long-suffering animal.” The following is the full letter that Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, sent to Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club: 'Times change. Traditions evolve. It’s long overdue for Phil to be retired. 'As a prey species, groundhogs actively avoid humans. Being in close proximity to the public causes these animals great stress. When Phil is dragged out of his hole and held up to flashing lights and crowds, he has no idea what’s happening. Being relegated to a library “habitat” for the other days of the year doesn’t allow him or the other groundhog there to dig, burrow, or forage. It’s no kind of life for these animals. 'Using technologically advanced electromechanical devices such as animatronics instead of live animals is more popular than ever. We even have the technology to create an animatronic groundhog with artificial intelligence (AI) that could actually predict the weather. An AI Phil would renew interest in Punxsutawney, generating a great deal of buzz, much like Sony’s robot dog “aibo,” which walks, plays, misbehaves, and responds to commands. By creating an AI Phil, you could keep Punxsutawney at the center of Groundhog Day but in a much more progressive way. Talk about taking your town’s annual tradition in a fresh and innovative direction! 'Today’s young people are born into a world of terabytes, and to them, watching a nocturnal rodent being pulled from a fake hole isn’t even worthy of a text message. This is a generation whose members book rides on their smart phones and will never walk into a bank to deposit a check. Ignoring the nation’s fast-changing demographics might well prove the end of Groundhog Day. “We’d be happy to make recommendations for a sanctuary that would welcome Phil and the other Punxsutawney groundhog. Instead of working at cross-purposes, let’s collaborate to create a sunny future. I look forward to hearing from you.”
  • A Florida day care teacher was fired after writing a message on a 1-year-old child’s torso in marker, the center’s executive director said. The child’s mother, Heather Chisum, said the message, “Mom I’m out of diapers pls read my report,” was scrawled on the toddler’s stomach by a staffer from the Children’s Education Center of the Islands in Sanibel, the Fort Myers News-Press reported. “Am I right to be furious about this? Or am I overreacting?” Chisum wrote on Facebook, as she described her anger at seeing the message written on the skin of son, Milo. “I guess yesterday they wrote on his report that he needs diapers, and I failed to see that. Now keep in mind, I see several teachers at drop-off and several at pickup. If I failed to see that he needs diapers a simple, ‘Hey Heather, your son needs diapers, maybe you missed the report,’ would have done the trick.' Instead, Chisum got a startling surprise when she was changing his diaper Monday afternoon, according to the Facebook post. “I’ve scrubbed it with several baby wipes and it’s not coming off,” she said. Chisum, 23, said she has removed both of her children from the center, the News-Press reported. “I’m so beyond frustrated,” told the newspaper. “I will no longer take them there.” “We are aware of the incident at the school, and we are terribly sorry for the distress it has caused the family involved, as well as all of our families. It was a breach of our professional ethics on the part of the teacher,” Cindy Carter DeCosta, executive director of the day care center, told the News-Press. “The school has taken immediate action to remove the teacher from the school. We are reviewing protocols already in place to ensure that nothing like this occurs again. We are proud of our school, love our students, and are eager to make our school a better place as we move forward.” A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families said the agency is investigating the incident, along with the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida. “No way, no how is this appropriate,” Susan Block, CEO of the coalition, told the News-Press. Chisum said she will need to take off work to find a replacement center for her children, the newspaper reported. “There’s no other place on the island for someone as young as he is,” Chisum said. Chisum said she doesn’t understand why a followup message or a telephone call could not be substituted for the marker. “Why a big long message needed to be written across my son’s stomach is beyond me,” Chisum wrote on Facebook.
  • The Latest on the outbreak of a new virus from China that has sickened thousands of people and killed more than 100 (all times local): 5:45 a.m. A U.S. State Department official has told The Associated Press that a chartered plane sent to China to pick up Americans in the city of Wuhan has departed and is en route to the U.S. Wuhan is the epicenter of a new virus that has sickened thousands and killed more than 100. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. The plane left Wuhan before dawn Wednesday, China time. It’s first stop will be Anchorage, where the travelers will be re-screened for the virus. Hospitals have been notified and are prepared to treat or quarantine people who may be infected. Then the plane is scheduled to fly to Ontario, California. ___ By Matthew Lee ___ This version corrects that the plane left before dawn Wednesday China time, not Tuesday. ___ 3:45 a.m. The British government is warning against “all but essential travel” to mainland China amid the outbreak of a new virus. The Foreign Office updated its travel advice on its website, saying it applies to all of the mainland except for Hong Kong and Macao. The guidance says: “It may become harder over the coming weeks for those who wish to leave China to do so. If you feel that you may want to leave China soon, you should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.” China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The outbreak has killed more than 100 people. ___ 3 a.m. Japanese media say a Japanese plane has arrived in the Chinese city that is the epicenter of a new virus and will bring back 200 citizens. The Yomiuri newspaper said in an online article that the plane arrived late Tuesday night in Wuhan and would return to Tokyo early Wednesday morning. A U.S.-chartered plane with Americans from the Wuhan Consulate and other U.S. citizens was also expected to depart for Alaska early Wednesday but there was no immediate confirmation if it had left. The plane with the Americans was scheduled to first land for refueling in Anchorage, where the travelers will be re-screened for the virus. Hospitals have been notified and are prepared to treat or quarantine people who may be infected. Then the plane is scheduled to fly to Ontario, California. ___ 2:30 a.m. Canada is confirming a third case of the new virus from China that has sickened thousands of people and killed more than 100, British Columbia Health Officer Bonnie Henry said Tuesday the man in his 40s visited Wuhan, China recently and arrived in Vancouver last week. Wuhan is where the outbreak started. Henry says the man showed no symptoms while flying to Canada but developed symptoms a day later and contacted health authorities in Canada on Sunday. The man regularly travels to China for work. The first two confirmed cases in Canada are in Toronto and involve a a couple that recently visted Wuhan. ___ 1:50 a.m. France has confirmed a fourth case of a new virus spreading in China, an elderly Chinese tourist who is in intensive care in a Paris hospital. Jerome Saloman directs France's public health agency and says Tuesday that the tourist is suffering from a severe case of the virus and needs constant care. Saloman says the patient is in his 80s and is from China’s Hubei region, where the virus has been spreading rapidly, French authorities are looking for people the tourist was in contact with since arriving in France. Saloman says authorities are also stepping up surveillance of people who have arrived recently from the region around the Chinese city of Wuhan. Three other people were already hospitalized in France with the virus, the first cases reported in Europe. The virus has sicked thousands mostly in China and more than 100 people have died. France is also planning to repatriate hundreds of its citizens from the Wuhan region. ___ 1:20 a.m. The European Union is dispatching two flights to evacuate at least 350 healthy European citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan as a deadly new flu spreads in the region. The 28-nation union activated a disaster-response mechanism to organize the flights at the request of France, which has a large number of citizens in the Wuhan region. The initial flights will only carry healthy EU citizens or those without symptoms of the virus, the European Commission said in a statement Tuesday. It said the EU is ready to mobilize further flights in the coming days. The first flight will carry about 250 French citizens. More than 100 other EU citizens will travel on the second flight. The EU will co-finance the flights. France’s government had already announced that it would organize return flights for both healthy citizens and those with virus symptoms, and that it would hold them in quarantine for 14 days after their arrival in France. ___ 12 a.m. The United States and several other nations are preparing to airlift citizens out of a Chinese city at the center of a virus outbreak that has killed more than 100 people. Hong Kong's leader says it will cut all rail links to mainland China and halve the number of flights, as authorities in China and overseas sought to stem the spread of the new virus. The number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 4,500. The U.S. government chartered a plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where the outbreak started, and other Americans. China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further.
  • The estranged husband of Jennifer Dulos, a Connecticut mother of five missing since May 2019 and presumed slain, attempted suicide at his home Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials. Fotis Dulos, 52, of Farmington, attempted suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. He initially did not have a pulse, but WFSB in Hartford reported that paramedics were spotted performing CPR on Dulos outside his garage. Authorities said during a brief afternoon news conference that police went to Dulos’ home after he was late to show up for a noon emergency court hearing regarding his $6 million bond. Officers found him slumped inside his car in the garage. Images shot from a WFSB helicopter show officers pulling Fotis Dulos out onto the driveway of his home. The helicopter was apparently circling overhead as officers discovered his body. Lt. Tim McKenzie of the Farmington Police Department said the call for the suicide attempt came in at 11:54 a.m. Dulos was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon. Authorities offered little information during a news conference held near the scene. Brian Foley, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, said a gag order is still in place stemming from the Jennifer Dulos murder case. One of Fotis Dulos’ attorneys, Kevin Smith, confirmed outside the courthouse that paramedics had taken Dulos to UConn Health in Farmington. WFSB reported around 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on its live Facebook feed that Dulos was being flown to another hospital for further treatment. Norm Pattis, another member of Dulos’ defense team, also gave a brief statement about his client Tuesday. Pattis was out of state on another case when Dulos was due in court. “I am told Mr. Dulos is en route to the hospital with a pulse,” Pattis told the Hartford Courant. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him.” >> Related story: Missing mom Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband charged with murder; 2 charged with conspiracy Fotis Dulos was charged earlier this month, alongside his live-in girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, and a lawyer and close friend of his, Kent Mawhinney, in connection with Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance and death. The Courant said reports that Fotis Dulos was still alive conflicted with earlier reports from just moments earlier that he had died. That included notification to his family that he was dead, the newspaper said. Fotis Dulos was arrested Jan. 7 and charged with murder, felony murder and kidnapping in the May 24 disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, 50, who was last seen alive dropping her children off at school that morning. Troconis, 45, and Mawhinney, 54, of South Windsor, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Fotis Dulos, a real estate developer, was out of jail after posting bond a few days after his arrest. The Courant reported that a judge was expected to hold an emergency bond hearing Tuesday to discuss the bond, which was backed by Palmetto Surety Company of Columbia, S.C. The insurance company had raised concerns about the collateral that Fotis Dulos had put up as surety that he would appear in court. The newspaper reported that there were questions about whether the company would continue to back Dulos’ release. Fotis Dulos and Troconis were initially charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. She was reported missing by friends the night of May 24 after she failed to show up for scheduled doctors’ appointments in New York City. Few signs of Jennifer Dulos have been found beyond blood found in her New Canaan home and in her garage. Arrest warrants released in the case earlier this month state that DNA tests indicate the blood in the garage -- found on the floor, a wall and the exterior of a 2014 Range Rover parked inside -- came from Dulos. A stain found on the kitchen faucet was a mixture of blood belonging to both Fotis and Jennifer Dulos, the warrants say. In addition, Fotis Dulos’ DNA profile was found on the knob of the mudroom door. Jennifer Dulos’ blood was also found in May on items discarded in trash bins more than 70 miles away, in Hartford, the night of May 24. The items included clothing and a kitchen sponge. Investigators found signs that someone had tried to clean up the scene in the victim’s garage. >> Related story: Bloody clothes, camera footage leave trail of evidence in case of missing mom of 5 Carrie Luft, a spokeswoman for Jennifer Dulos’ family, issued a statement earlier this month on behalf of her loved ones. “Although we are relieved that the wait for these charges is over, for us there is no sense of closure. Nothing can bring Jennifer back. We miss her every day and will forever mourn her loss,” Luft said in the statement obtained by NBC Connecticut. “We believe the arrest warrants will speak for themselves, and we ask that you please respect our privacy during this time.” Fotis Dulos and Troconis were both free on bond Tuesday. Dulos, who was fitted with a GPS tracking device before being released, had been ordered by a judge not to leave his home without the court’s permission. WFSB reported Tuesday that court documents allege Fotis Dulos violated the conditions of that release at least once, on Jan. 22, when he got out of his car and removed items from a makeshift memorial to his estranged wife on the edge of his property. In September, he also had an issue changing the batteries of the GPS tracker he wore. The judge had also issued protective orders barring him from contacting his children, Jennifer Dulos’ family or the children’s nanny. The news station reported that the children have been in the custody of Jennifer Dulos’ mother, Gloria Farber, in New York City since their mother vanished. According to The New York Times, the couple had three sons and two daughters together, including two sets of twins. They ranged in age from 8 to 13 at the time their mother vanished. 100% a human grave Though Fotis Dulos and Troconis were charged in the case shortly after Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, Mawhinney’s arrest earlier this month was the first time the attorney was publicly connected to the case. His arrest warrant states that police found evidence that he met with Fotis Dulos on May 23, the night before Jennifer Dulos’ suspected killing, as well as the following day. The document also mentions what appeared to be a shallow grave found on the grounds of a hunting club in East Granby that Mawhinney founded more than a decade ago. Two members of the Windsor Rod & Gun Club were walking through the woods on club property May 18 – six days before Jennifer Dulos vanished – when they found “an area of disturbed ground” covered by two barbecue grill grates. Small branches and leaves had been used to conceal the grates and hide the hole underneath them, Mawhinney’s arrest warrant says. One man described the hole to police as “100% a human grave.” The hole was about 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet deep, the men told investigators. In the hole sat a blue tarp and two unopened bags of lime. The men told police they speculated on the reason for the lime, which one of them pointed out could be used to help get rid of a body. “Well, that means someone has to be missing,” one of the men stated. A few days later, but two days before Jennifer Dulos went missing, the second man was on the property and checked on the hole, which he found to be half-filled with water. The lime was missing at that point, he told police. “Again, (he) considered this curious, but as no one was yet missing, he shrugged it off,” the arrest warrant says. In early June, the man was again on the property and found the hole had been filled and covered “neat as a pin,” to the point the hole was no longer apparent. A few weeks later, while talking about the hole with a police officer friend, the friend told him he needed to call authorities. The witness told police that, although Mawhinney had left the hunting club five or six years ago, he had reached out in March or April to another club member, saying he was interested in again getting involved. “(Mawhinney) had said he wanted to get back into the club and had inquired how to get back onto the property. The member told Mawhinney about the hidden key to the logging chain (blocking access),” the arrest warrant states. Mawhinney never followed up on renewing his membership in the club, the court documents say. Investigators from New Canaan and state troopers took K-9 units to the hunting club, where they found the filled-in hole the men had told them about, the warrant says. The hole was dug up, but the dogs found no signs of human remains in or around it. Mawhinney’s cellphone data, which led police to believe he met with Fotis Dulos on May 23 and 24, also showed him in the vicinity of the hunting club March 29, around the time he asked about how to access the property, and again May 31, a week after Jennifer Dulos vanished, his warrant says. Bloodstains and surveillance footage After Jennifer Dulos was reported missing, New Canaan police officers went to her home -- located on a cul-de-sac in the affluent town about 15 miles outside Greenwich -- but found no one there. A state police detective wrote in the initial arrest warrants for Fotis Dulos and Troconis that the family’s nanny had to let officers into the house. Investigators found bloodstains in the garage and home that led them to believe a violent assault had taken place, with Jennifer Dulos suspected to be the victim. A search was launched around Jennifer Dulos’ home on Welles Lane, and a short time later, her 2017 Chevy Suburban was found abandoned along Merritt Parkway, on the perimeter of nearby Waveny Park. The 300-acre park was thoroughly searched over the weeks following Dulos’ disappearance, but no sign of the missing woman was found. Detectives who met briefly with Fotis Dulos May 25 seized his cellphone, which showed his movements the day his wife disappeared. Those movements included traveling to Hartford, where the bloodstained clothing and cleaning supplies were found. The data specifically showed the phone traveling along Albany Avenue, where the discarded items were recovered by police. In a storm drain along the route, investigators also found a FedEx box containing license plates that police traced back to a 2007 Suburban belonging to Fotis Dulos. The plates had been altered to change the tag number, court documents state. The Hartford Police Department was able to help New Canaan detectives tie Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend to the evidence, court documents say. “Investigators obtained surveillance footage from the Hartford Police Department Capital City Command Center (C4), which operates surveillance cameras at various Hartford locations, including the Albany Avenue area,” one of the warrants from May states. “C4 documented a black Ford Raptor pickup truck stopping at over 30 locations along a more than 4 mile stretch of Albany Avenue between Biltmore and Edward streets.” Still images from the surveillance footage showed the Raptor truck matched one belonging to Fotis Dulos, including a sticker on the rear window and a light-colored mark on the black truck’s front bumper. The front license plate of the vehicle also matched that of his truck. A man matching the description of Fotis Dulos was seen getting out of the truck and tossing out the evidence later found by officers, the warrants say. In some of the footage, apparent bloodstains could be seen on the items being tossed out. A woman matching Troconis’ description could be seen leaning out of the passenger seat of the truck in one video clip, the documents say. Pattis has repeatedly proclaimed his client’s innocence, at one point going so far as to suggest that Jennifer Dulos was framing her husband for murder, as the supposed victim did in the best-selling Gillian Flynn novel “Gone Girl.” The 2014 movie based on the book, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, earned more than $368 million worldwide. Pattis reiterated his client’s claims of innocence following the triple arrest, saying that Fotis Dulos wanted to clear his name, according to NBC Connecticut. “What we have is a suspicious disappearance and an entirely circumstantial case,” Pattis said.
  • It’s usually a time for frivolity, the bizarre and silly questions, but Super Bowl Opening Night had a more somber tone. When members of the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers took the stage at Marlin Park in Miami in the official media kickoff for Super Bowl LIV, Kobe Bryant was on their minds. The event began with a moment of silence to honor Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna and the seven other people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California. “I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Kobe, but the impact he made in my life, I mean, it was huge,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “You can’t say enough about who he was and his impact,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “I just feel bad for the Bryant family and everybody involved. My heart’s with you, as well as everyone here in America.” Richard Sherman, the 49ers’ defensive back who is returning to the Super Bowl, said he was always impressed by Bryant’s intensity. “I saw him make two free throws and walk off with a torn Achilles, and once I tore mine, I knew I had to walk off,' Sherman told reporters. 'Like he said before, we’re different animals but the same beast.” The event did have entertainment, with live singers, special appearances and autographs by NFL players, legends and even mascots, WFOR reported. Chiefs coach Andy Reid sported a casual look in a Hawaiian shirt, joking, “I like dress codes, as long as it’s part Tommy Bahama.' Football, after all, is a game, and some reporters brought games to show the players. One gave Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill the game, Let’s Go Fishing and asked him to pick a question out of a bowl, WFOR reported. Another reporter carried around the vintage game, Rock’em Sock’em Robots. And, football also took center stage. Chiefs rookie Mecole Hardman was asked if he was faster than Hill: Mostly, though, there was little bulletin board material, no “I guarantee it,” proclamations a la Joe Namath when Super Bowl III was held in Miami. Opposing quarterbacks Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo had nothing but admiration for one another. Opposing tight ends Kelce and George Kittle were also effusive in their praise. Kittle was also a bit starstruck. “Well, yeah, I just met the Rock, which is cool, and Travis Kelce’s here, so yeah, I’m like living my best life,” he said. Finally, Chiefs defensive tackle was asked to choose his preference for a potential date between the Super Bowl halftime co-performers -- Shakira or Jennifer Lopez? Jones turned in a stellar defensive play. “Listen,” Jones told WFOR, “I love Shakira. But J-Lo is amazing. Other than my girlfriend -- you got to cover the bases -- if I could take any woman on a date, it would be J-Lo.”