TIME Crime

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Set to Begin Penalty Phase

Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges against him

(BOSTON) — Jurors in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are getting ready to hear evidence on what his punishment should be — life in prison or the death penalty — as survivors and victims’ families weigh in with their views.

The penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial is set to begin Tuesday in federal court.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers are expected to continue to portray Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan, as the mastermind of the 2013 deadly attack. They say Tsarnaev does not deserve the death penalty because he was a 19-year-old who was under the influence of his domineering brother.

Prosecutors contend Tsarnaev was an equal partner with his brother in the bombing and deserves the ultimate punishment. They are expected to call people injured in the attack to describe what impact the bombings have had on their lives.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when twin pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.

Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges against him on April 8.

During the first phase of the trial, several people described losing legs in the bombings. Others described watching a friend or loved one die in the attack.

The penalty phase will begin just days after the parents of an 8-year-old boy killed in the bombings urged the U.S. Justice Department to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for a life sentence with no possibility of release or appeals. Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, a newlywed couple who each suffered severe injuries, also announced their opposition to the death penalty and said life in prison would be the best outcome to assure that Tsarnaev “disappears from our collective consciousness as soon as possible.”

Judge George O’Toole Jr. told the jury the penalty phase is expected to last about four weeks.

TIME Vatican

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of U.S. Bishop for Not Reporting Abuse

Catholic Bishop Charged
Tammy Ljungblad—AP Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph appears during a bench trial Sept. 6, 2012 at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, Mo.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years probation in 2012

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, in the first known case of a pope taking action against a bishop for covering up for a guilty priest.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn’t provide a reason; Finn is 62, some 13 years shy of the normal retirement age of 75.

Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years probation in 2012. Ever since, though, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been removed for covering up for guilty clergy. And technically speaking, Finn wasn’t removed, he offered to resign, in the same way that Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law offered to resign in 2002 after the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded in his archdiocese.

Law hadn’t been convicted of a crime, and the failure of the Vatican to forcibly remove Finn for three years after he pleaded guilty fueled victims’ complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the “zero tolerance” pledge of Francis.

Finn, who apologized for Ratigan’s abuse and took measures to make the diocese safe for children, remains the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of failing to take action in response to abuse allegations.

Even Francis’ top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had said publicly last year that Francis needs to “urgently” address Finn’s case, though he later stressed that Finn deserved due process and must be spared “crowd-based condemnations.”

The Vatican last fall sent a Canadian archbishop to Finn’s diocese as part of an investigation of his leadership. But until Tuesday, there had been no word about what the pope would do.

In a statement issued by the diocese, Finn said it had been an “honor and joy for me to serve here among so many good people of faith.”

He asked for prayers for the next bishop.

Francis tapped Archbishop Joseph Naumman to lead the diocese temporarily until a new bishop is named. In a letter to the faithful, Nauman said he prayed “that the coming weeks and months will be a time of grace and healing for the diocese.”

Francis is facing similar pressure to remove a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, amid an unprecedented outcry over his appointment due to his longtime affiliation with Chile’s most notorious molester, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Karadima’s victims say Barros witnessed their abuse decades ago. He has denied knowing anything until he read news reports of Karadima’s crimes in 2010. The Vatican has defended the appointment. Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Earlier this month, members of the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission came to Rome in an unscheduled session to voice their concern about Barros and his suitability for office given he will be responsible for child protection programs.

TIME europe

Captain and Crew Member Arrested After Mediterranean Disaster

Assistant Prosecutor Rocco Liguori said the Tunisian captain and Syrian crew member were arrested aboard a rescue boat

(CATANIA, Sicily) — Prosecutors said Tuesday that they arrested the captain and a crew member of the boat in which as many as 900 people are feared to have drowned in the unremitting waves of migrants seeking to escape from war-torn Libya.

Even as the search continued for victims of the weekend disaster, coast guard ships rushed to respond to new distress calls on the high seas — two off Libya and a third boat that ran aground near Greece.

Assistant Prosecutor Rocco Liguori said the Tunisian captain and Syrian crew member were arrested aboard the rescue boat that brought 27 survivors from the deadly shipwreck to Sicily. The two were charged with favoring illegal immigration and the captain was also charged with reckless multiple homicide in relation to the sinking.

Decrying what he called an “escalation in these death voyages,” Italian Premier Matteo Renzi urged Europe to put the focus on preventing more boats from leaving Libya, the source of 90 percent of migrant traffic to Italy.

“We are facing an organized criminal activity that is making lots of money, but above all ruining many lives,” Renzi said at a joint news conference with Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat. He compared their activity to that of slave traders of centuries past, “unscrupulous men who traded human lives.”

The European Union foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said this weekend’s appalling human toll — which, if verified, would be the deadliest migrant tragedy ever — had “finally” fully awakened the European Union to the evils of human trafficking.

The EU has been under increasing criticism for lagging in its response to the crisis, with two shipwrecks believed to have taken the lives of as many as 1,300 migrants in the past week. Some 400 people are believed to have drowned in another capsizing on April 13.

Stopping the traffickers will be a key item on the agenda when EU leaders meet in an emergency summit Thursday in Brussels, along with a proposal to double spending on sea patrols off Europe’s southern border. The 10-point plan includes a proposal to take “civil-military” action modeled on Europe’s anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, to capture and destroy boats used by traffickers.

Meanwhile, new details emerged about the weekend disaster, with Italian prosecutors saying hundreds of migrants were locked below deck unable to escape when the rickety boat capsized off the coast of Libya.

Speaking at a news conference in Catania, Sicily, prosecutor Giovanni Salvi said “a few hundred were forced into the hold and they were locked in and prevented from coming out.” He said hundreds more were locked on a second level of the boat, which also had hundreds of migrants squeezed into its upper deck.

Salvi said the migrants rushed to one side of the boat as they saw a Portuguese-flagged container vessel approach, with the promise of rescue contributing to the disaster.

“Merchant ships don’t have adequate training for rescues in the seas,” Salvi warned. “The fact is, sea rescues are difficult and require professionalism. ”

As with most such high seas sinkings, a precise death toll will likely never be known. Only 24 bodies have been recovered so far and only 27 survivors were rescued. One survivor, identified as a 32-year-old Bangladeshi, has put the number of people on board at as many as 950, though Salvi said the survivor had no means to verify numbers. He said the coast guard estimated more than 700 people were on board, based on its observations at the scene.

Muscat, the Maltese prime minister, called the latest tragedy “a game-changer,” and said that “if Europe doesn’t work together, history will judge it very badly.”

Renzi said that recent events had proven that providing rescue wasn’t always possible, given the conditions of the smugglers’ boats and the delicacy of such operations, and that the focus needs to be on preventing the boats from leaving Libya. “Continuing to think that allowing them to depart and then chasing after them means putting at risk human lives,” he said.

Even as European leaders grappled with how to respond to the crisis, more unseaworthy boats were setting off Monday on the perilous journey. Renzi said Italian ships were rushing to respond to distress calls from an inflatable life raft near the Libyan coast with 100 to 150 migrants on board and to another boat carrying about 300 people.

The International Organization for Migration earlier said its Rome office had received a distress call from three boats in need of help. The group says the caller reported 300 people on his sinking boat, with about 20 fatalities. No details were available about the other boats or their location, and it was not clear if they were the same rescues to which Renzi referred.

In a separate incident, at least three people, including a child, were killed and 93 others were rescued when a wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants who had departed from Turkey ran aground off the Greek island of Rhodes.

Dramatic video showed migrants clinging to pieces of wreckage and rescuers helping them ashore.

Prosecutors in Palermo, meanwhile, said a trafficking ring they had cracked had generated transactions worth hundreds of thousands of euros crisscrossing Europe as migrants paid not only to cross the Mediterranean but also to join relatives in northern Europe.

Prosecutor Maurizio Scalia said based on telephone intercepts, the average cost to smuggle a migrant from Eritrea or Ethiopia to Libya ran $4,000 to $5,000 (euros), while the crossing to Italy cost an additional $1,000 to $1,500 (euros). Migrants pay hundreds of dollars more to get out of holding centers and at least another $1,000 to travel to northern Europe.

Payments for each leg are made up front, often using the Islamic hawala banking system which is based on an informal honor code in which a relative in northern Europe pays a local broker and the payment information is transmitted to the actual traffickers on the ground advising them that the leg has been paid for.

Authorities identified the trafficking ring’s mastermind as Ermias Ghermay, an Ethiopian who has been sought since the October 2013 shipwreck off Lampedusa that left 366 people dead. He is believed to be in Libya. Authorities issued arrest warrants for 24 people, including 14 in Italy.

Renzi said the instability in Libya was giving free reign to the traffickers, as evidenced by the escalating migrant flows, but he ruled out sending ground troops to Libya or a naval blockade of migrants, saying that would only provide a corridor for them.

Libya is a transit point for migrants fleeing conflict, repression and poverty in countries such as Eritrea, Niger, Syria, Iraq and Somalia, with increased instability there and improving weather prompting more people to attempt the dangerous crossing.

Fighting in Libya has escalated to its worst levels since the 2011 civil war that ended with the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Malta and Italy are closest to the Libyan coast, and have received the brunt of a migrant tide that carried 219,000 people from Africa to Europe last year. Some 3,500 died or went missing along the way, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement Sunday.

___

Nicole Winfield in Rome, Elena Becatoros in Athens, Stephen Calleja in Malta, Lorne Cooke in Brussels and Raf Casert in Luxembourg contributed.

TIME Egypt

Court Sentences Ousted Egypt President to 20 Years in Prison

Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in Cairo, Egypt on May 8, 2014.
Tarek el-Gabbas—AP Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in Cairo on May 8, 2014

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will face 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012

(CAIRO) — An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012, the first verdict to be issued against the country’s first elected leader.

The Cairo Criminal Court issued the verdict Tuesday as Morsi and other defendants in the case stood in a soundproof glass cage inside a makeshift courtroom at Egypt’s national police academy.

The case stems from violence outside the presidential palace in December 2012. Morsi’s supporters attacked opposition protesters, sparking clashes that killed at least 10 people.

Morsi faces several other trials along with thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members following the military overthrowing him in 2013. He has been held at a high-security prison near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

TIME Pakistan

Chinese Leader in Pakistan to Unveil $45 Billion in Investments

Chinese President Jinping visits Pakistan
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Chinese President Xi Jinping is flanked by his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain, left, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, right, upon arrival in Islamabad on April 20, 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping's two-day visit will feature an announcement of $45 billion in energy and infrastructure development in Pakistan

(ISLAMABAD) — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a two-day visit in which he is expected to announce $45 billion worth of investment projects in energy and infrastructure development.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the country’s top civilian and military leadership received Xi at an air force base near the capital, Islamabad, complete with a military honor guard and a fighter jet fly-by.

Pakistan’s minister for planning and development, Ahsan Iqbal, said the Chinese leader’s expected announcement on the projects is “proof of our great bond with China.”

Around $37 billion of the $45 billion would be invested in energy, Iqbal said. Work on $28 billion worth of projects can begin immediately, he said, with work on the remainder starting in the next three to five years. Iqbal called the agreements a “milestone in our history.”

Sharif said the visit will open a new chapter in bilateral relations. “We will work hand in hand with you to remove any obstacle in your way to ensure timely completion of the planned projects,” he said in a meeting with the heads of three Chinese companies.

“I hope, through my visit, the two countries can consolidate the traditional friendship, deepen practical cooperation in all areas, push the strategic cooperative partnership to a new high,” Xi said, according to the China’s Xinhua news agency.

Xi also hailed Pakistan’s contribution to the international counter-terrorism efforts and expressed support for Pakistan’s own campaign against militants at home.

Sharif thanked Xi and said their countries’ relations are “sweeter than honey and stronger than steel.”

“I assured President Xi that Pakistan considers China’s security as important as its own,” Sharif said, adding that the two countries signed 51 agreements on Monday alone. “Today, we have planned for the future.”

China and Pakistan have long maintained close political and military relations, based partly on mutual antipathy toward neighbor India. However, stronger China-India ties have challenged that perception and Xi’s visit seems intended to reassure Pakistan that relations remain robust.

Xi postponed a visit to Islamabad last year due to anti-government protests and went ahead with a visit to India. China is also eager to boost trade and investment with New Delhi, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Beijing in the coming weeks.

China is a leading arms supplier to Pakistan and has sought its help in combating anti-Chinese Islamic separatists reportedly hiding in the country’s lawless tribal areas. China is also eager to enlist Pakistan’s help in stabilizing Afghanistan as U.S. and international troops wind down their presence there.

Xi is traveling with a large business delegation and is expected to oversee the signing of investment agreements in the energy and transportation industries, part of Beijing’s plan for a China-Pakistan “economic corridor.”

“This is very important for our economic stability and development,” said political science professor Raul Bakhsh Rais.

TIME indonesia

U.S. Man Gets 18-Year Prison Sentence for Murdering Girlfriend’s Mother

Tommy Schaefer of Chicago, Ill., stands inside a cell before his trial at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia, April 7, 2015.
Firdia Lisnawati—AP Tommy Schaefer of Chicago stands inside a cell before his trial at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia, on April 7, 2015

An American man has been found guilty in Indonesia for murdering his girlfriend's mother

(BALI) — An Indonesian court has convicted an American man of murdering his girlfriend’s mother and sentenced him to 18 years in jail.

The Denpasar District Court ruled Tuesday that Tommy Schaefer, 21, was guilty of battering Sheila von Wiese-Mack to death in a hotel room on the resort island of Bali. Also on trial is his girlfriend Heather Mack, 19, who is charged with helping in the Aug. 12 murder.

Schaefer and Mack, both from Chicago, are being tried separately in the same court with the same judges and prosecutors.

They were arrested a day after the body of von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort.

TIME Media

South Carolina Paper’s Domestic-Killings Series Wins Pulitzer

Jim Neff, center, investigations editor at the Seattle Times, gives a speech in the paper's newsroom April 20, 2015
Ted S. Warren—AP Jim Neff, center, investigations editor at the Seattle Times, gives a speech in the paper's newsroom on April 20, 2015

2015 Pulitzer Prize list announced

(NEW YORK) — It was a list no state wanted to top. And when South Carolina was ranked as having the highest rate of women being killed by men, The Post and Courier of Charleston set out to explore why.

Starting in 2013, the newspaper began an investigation that has spurred proposals for reform and on Monday won the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

The New York Times collected three Pulitzers and the Los Angeles Times won two as the awards honored news outlets large and small. The 70,000-circulation Daily Breeze of Torrance, California, won the local reporting award for exposing corruption in a school district, while the 84,000-circulation Post and Courier was recognized for examining the deaths of 300 women in the past decade.

“We felt so passionate about this project, and we felt so passionate about the difference it could bring to South Carolina,” Publisher P.J. Browning said.

Since the series was published, state lawmakers have proposed tougher penalties for domestic violence, and Gov. Nikki Haley created a task force to investigate the problem.

The Seattle Times took the breaking news award for covering a mudslide that killed 43 people and exploring whether the disaster could have been prevented.

“When public officials were saying, ‘Oh, this was unforeseen,’ we showed that it was not unforeseen,” Editor Kathy Best told staffers.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both won investigative reporting prizes, the Times for an examination of lobbyists’ influence on state attorneys general, the Journal for detailing fraud and waste in the Medicare payment system.

The Times‘ coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa won Pulitzers for international reporting and feature photography, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was honored in the breaking news photography category for images of racial unrest touched off by the deadly police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Washington Post took the national reporting prize for exposing security lapses that spurred an overhaul of the Secret Service.

The Los Angeles Times‘ prizes were for feature writing that put a human face on California’s drought and for Mary McNamara’s television criticism.

Bloomberg News was a first-time winner, taking the explanatory reporting award for an examination of corporate tax dodging.

The commentary prize went to the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg, who examined justice issues including the case of a man wrongfully convicted of killing a police officer. The editorial writing winner, Kathleen Kingsbury of The Boston Globe, chronicled restaurant workers’ low wages and the toll of income inequality.

Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News won the editorial cartooning prize for his look at such issues as immigration and gun control.

The Pulitzers, established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer and first given out in 1917, are American journalism’s highest honor. The public service award consists of a gold medal; the other awards carry a prize of $10,000 each.

In the prizes’ arts categories, Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See,” an emotional and intimate World War II novel, won for fiction. The drama prize went to Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “Between Riverside and Crazy,” a dark comedy about a cantankerous ex-cop and the hard-luck orphans who become his surrogate family.

The Pulitzer for general nonfiction went to “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” Elizabeth Kolbert’s exploration of the impact of human behavior on the natural world. David I. Kertzer’s “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” won for biography-autobiography. “Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People,” by Elizabeth A. Fenn, won for history.

Gregory Pardlo’s “Digest” captured the poetry prize, and Julia Wolfe’s “Anthracite Fields” won for music.

TIME Iran

Lawyer: Washington Post Reporter in Iran Faces 4 Charges

Washington Post's Jason Rezaian has been arrested for nearly 9 months and faces charges of espionage and three other crimes

(TEHRAN) — A Washington Post reporter jailed for nearly nine months in Iran faces charges of espionage and three other crimes, his lawyer revealed Monday following her first in-depth meeting with the journalist.

The Post, citing a statement from defense lawyer Leila Ahsan, said Jason Rezaian also faces charges of “conducting propaganda against the establishment,” ”collaborating with hostile governments” and “collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Ahsan described the journalist as being in good spirits and health, but said his continued detention alongside other inmates and a lack of access to outside media has taken a toll on his well-being.

Ahsan’s comments were the first confirmation of the exact charges Rezaian faces.

Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said in a statement that Ahsan’s meeting with Rezaian on Monday lasted 90 minutes and was conducted in the presence of an official translator. Baron said the charges, which he described as “ludicrous,” carry a maximum penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison.

“It is absurd and despicable to assert, as Iran’s judiciary is now claiming, that Jason’s work first as a freelance reporter and then as the Post’s Tehran correspondent amounted to espionage or otherwise posed any threat to Iranian national security,” Baron said.

Rezaian’s lawyer said his continued imprisonment without bail is unjustified.

“There is no legal basis for continuing his detention,” she told the AP. No trial date has been set, she added.

Earlier Monday, the official IRNA news agency quoted Gholamhossein Esmaili, the director-general of the Tehran provincial justice department, saying Rezaian’s case had been referred to a branch of Revolutionary Court. He said the process of bringing the case to trial had been prolonged because “the case has various aspects and (the case file) is thick.”

Rezaian, 39, was arrested on July 22 along with his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is a reporter for The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, and two other journalists whose names have not been made public.

All but Rezaian have since been released, though Baron said Salehi also faces “an impending trial on an equally baseless charge.”

The Post has repeatedly criticized its reporter’s detention and the limits on his access to legal assistance. Baron said the judge hearing the case, Abolghassem Salavati, rejected “several initial choices” of lawyers for Rezaian.

Among them was Masoud Shafiei, who represented three American hikers arrested by Iranian authorities in 2009. He however was prevented from completing the formalities needed to represent Rezaian, leading the family to eventually hire Ahsan. She only met him once briefly, before she had officially been named as his attorney, prior to Monday’s meeting.

“We continue to believe that Jason’s defense team should be permitted to grow to include additional lawyers of his choosing,” Baron said.

Judge Salavati has presided over a number of politically charged cases, including those of protesters arrested in connection with demonstrations that followed the 2009 presidential elections. He is known for his tough sentencing.

Deputy U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday if the reports were true, the charges are “patently absurd” and should be dropped immediately and Rezaian should be freed.

“He should immediately be freed so he can return to his family. The charges should immediately be dismissed,” Harf said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the charges against Rezaian are absurd, should be dismissed, and that he should be released to his family.

Washington has pressed Iran to release Rezaian and other Americans jailed in Iran, including during talks on the sidelines of negotiations about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Rezaian’s detention and possible trial comes as Iran negotiates with world powers over its contested nuclear program.

TIME Food & Drink

Blue Bell Creameries Issues Recall of All Products

Blue Bell ice cream in Lawrence, Kan., Friday, April 10, 2015
Orlin Wagner—AP Blue Bell ice cream in Lawrence, Kans., on April 10, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries is recalling all of its products, thanks to a listeriosis scare

(BRENHAM, Texas) — Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall Monday night for all of its products on the market after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeriosis.

The company “can’t say with certainty” how the bacteria was introduced to the manufacturing line, Blue Bell’s chief executive Paul Kruse said in a statement.

“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Kruse said.

The first recall in the family-owned creamery’s 108-year history was issued last month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked ice cream contaminated with listeriosis to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with the disease.

The foodborne illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

The recall extends to retail outlets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.

A manufacturing facility in Oklahoma where operations were suspended earlier this month for sanitizing will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate the source of the bacteria, the statement said.

Blue Bell is also implementing a process to test all of its products before releasing them to the market.

TIME Courts

Utah Woman Gets Up to Life in Prison in Deaths of 6 Newborns

(PROVO, Utah) — A mother who killed six of her newborn babies and hid their bodies in her garage was sentenced to up to life in prison Monday at an emotional hearing in which a prosecutor depicted her as an “incredibly indifferent and callous” murderer.

The judge imposed a sentence against Megan Huntsman that went beyond what was called for in a plea deal because he was so repelled by the killings. Judge Darold McDade said that he heard about the case before it came to his courtroom and hoped it wouldn’t be assigned to him.

Huntsman, 40, told police she was too addicted to methamphetamine to care for more children during the decade when the babies were killed. Police said she concealed her pregnancies, gave birth at home and choked and strangled the children with her own hands just minutes after they were born. She killed six babies, and a seventh body of a newborn found in her garage was found to be stillborn.

Police found the bodies wrapped in cloth, put in plastic bags and packed into boxes. She eventually moved out of the house and left the decomposing remains behind. She thought about moving the bodies, but said she couldn’t think of a way to do it without getting caught.

It remains unclear how Huntsman concealed the pregnancies, births and murders from family members and friends.

“These were very cold, calculated killings,” prosecutor Jeff Buhman. “She was a woman who was remarkably, unbelievably, incredibly indifferent and callous.”

Family members sobbed in the courtroom as Pleasant Grove police Detective Dan Beckstrom spoke about the killings.

He said the first body was discovered by one of the couple’s daughters as she cleaned out the garage with her father, Darren West, shortly after he finished an eight-year federal prison stint on meth charges in April 2014. He lived with Huntsman during the decade when the babies were killed, but police have said they aren’t investigating him in the deaths.

Huntsman has three surviving children, and Huntsman opted to not kill one of them because people found out about the pregnancy, Buhman said.

Still, her family painted a picture of a shy, quiet person in a bad marriage who didn’t know how to speak up for herself but was a good mother to her three other children.

Huntsman said in a statement she couldn’t explain the deaths to herself. She could be seen dabbing at her eyes during the hearing, but she showed little other visible emotion.

“I know I didn’t feel strong enough to be a mother to those tiny babies, and in some small way I wanted to help them avoid the terrible life I would have given them,” said defense attorney Anthony Howell, reading from a letter she wrote.

Sister Jamie Huntsman read letters from two of Huntsman’s other children, who described their mother as smiling and laughing.

“This is not the mom I know,” she read. “I remember the mom I know, the one that made dinner for us every night, cleaned our house and loved not only her kids but kids in general.”

The description contrasted sharply with new details revealed by police Monday.

Buhman said she gave birth at home, twice when other people were in the house.

“She made sure the bathroom, or the bedroom, was cleaned before anyone got home and the baby was wrapped up quickly and thoroughly and stored in the garage before anyone would know,” Buhman said.

Over the years, she could smell their decomposing bodies in the garage but never moved them, he said.

West spoke briefly to reporters outside the courtroom Monday, saying that the details about the babies’ deaths were difficult to hear.

She agreed to plead guilty rather than go to trial under an agreement that reduced her minimum possible sentence to five years but left fewer options for appeal. Prosecutors said it would have been hard to prove the case against her at trial if she hadn’t cooperated with police.

McDade departed from that deal Monday, giving Huntsman a longer minimum sentence. “I really thought I’d seen it all until this case came along,” he said.

A parole board will make the final decision on how much time Huntsman spends in prison.

The sentence brings closure to a case that shocked residents of Pleasant Grove, the mostly Mormon community about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City where Huntsman stored her babies’ tiny bodies for more than a decade.

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