TIME Crime

Florida Mom Convicted of Murdering Her 2 Teenage Kids

Julie Schenecker Convicted Murder
With the jury in deliberations, Julie Schenecker is escorted from Judge Emmett Lamar Battles' courtroom on May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Daniel Wallace—Zuma Press

Julie Schenecker of Tampa will face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility for parole for killing her teens in 2011.

A Florida woman was convicted Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder for killing her two teenaged kids. Jurors rejected an insanity plea for Julie Schenecker, a former Army linguist from Tampa who shot her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son in 2011.

Schenecker will face a mandatory life sentence. She will not be eligible for parole.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours on Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Schenecker’s attorney’s argued that she was medicated and suffering from depression and bipolar disorder at the time of the killings. The prosecutor, however, said she deliberately drove 27 miles to purchase the gun she eventually used to kill her children. On Thursday, a jury of her peers agreed with the prosecution.

Following the conviction, a visibly distraught Schenecker addressed the court. “Your honor I’m prepared and I accept your sentence,” she said through tears, before taking responsibility for shooting her teens, Calyx and Beau. “I apologize. I apologize to every in this courtroom.”

“I know our children are in heaven,” she said. “I want people to try to find comfort in believing as I do that they are in no pain and they are alive and enjoying everything and anything heaven has to offer.”


Glenn Close Comes Back to Broadway in A Delicate Balance

Glenn Close
Glenn Close poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 20, 2014. Victoria Will—Invision/AP

In November, the Tony-winning actress will star alongside John Lithgow and Martha Plimpton in an upcoming revival of Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize winning drama, A Delicate Balance, scheduled to run 18 weeks at the Golden Theatre

It’s been 20 years since Glenn Close has performed on Broadway, but the Tony-award winning actress is making a comeback this fall. Close is set to star in a revival of A Delicate Balance, which first premiered on Broadway in 1966.

Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama will officially open on Nov. 20, according to the Hollywood Reporter, though preview performances begin in October. Pam MacKinnon, who won a Tony Award for another Albee play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, will direct the play, which also stars John Lithgow and Martha Plimpton.

Close, who was a stage actress before moving to the big screen — her first feature film was 1982’s The World According to Garp — already has three Tonys to her name, including one in 1995 for her role as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

The revival is set to run for 18 weeks at the Golden Theatre.

[Hollywood Reporter]


Report: Uber Nearing $10B Valuation

The Uber driver app on the windshield of UberX driver Regan Rucker, indicates surge pricing during peak ridership on April 4, 2014 in Washington. Evelyn Hockstein—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Bloomberg reports the company is in talks with investors that could triple the ride-share company's value if secured

Car service Uber is reportedly considering new rounds of financing that could value the start up at over $10 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Citing unnamed industry sources “close to the situation,” Bloomberg says the San Francisco company’s value—currently $3.5 billion— could triple if it secures investments from private equity firms.

The $10 billion valuation would align Uber with another sharing-economy giant, Airbnb, which was valued at $10 billion recently.

Uber did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment on the report.


TIME Syria

Abducted Relief Workers Released in Syria

Médecins Sans Frontières says five workers who were kidnapped in January have been released after spending months in captivity

The humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced Thursday that five staff members had been released from captivity in Syria. An armed group had abducted the aid workers from a MSF hospital in northern Syria in January. Three workers were reportedly released in April and the final two were released on Thursday.

“The relief of seeing our colleagues return safely is mixed with anger in the face of this cynical act that has cut off an already war-ravaged population from desperately needed assistance,” Médecins Sans Frontières International President Joanne Liu said in a statement.

Médecins Sans Frontières did not released the identities of the workers, but says all are safe and with families.

Also known as Doctors without Borders, MSF has been providing medical care in Syria since 2012. The country’s civil war began in 2011. Fighting between the government and rebel forces has killed more than 150,000 and displaced millions.

TIME Marriage

Arkansas Judge Strikes Down All Laws Banning Same Sex Marriage

Gay Marriage Arkansas
Brandon Armstrong, left, and Thomas Etheridge, right, both of Alexander, Ark. kiss and embrace after they were wed in the rotunda of the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark. on May 12, 2014. Stephen B. Thornton—The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/AP

The Pulaski County Clerk tells TIME his office has already begun issuing licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the judge's Thursday decision

The latest in an ongoing legal tug-of-war between the state and the state judiciary, an Arkansas judge ruled on Thursday that any state law banning same-sex marriage was void.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling came a day after the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the state’s request to stay Judge Piazza’s May 9 ruling allowing same-sex marriage, but cited a different state law on the books that prohibited clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Piazza’s response was to strike down all laws that prevent same-sex couples from getting married.

Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane told TIME that Thursday’s decision was broad enough to cover all legislation that could affect same-sex marriage. His office is already issuing licenses to same-sex couples, he said.

“We’ve already had one couple come in,” Crane told TIME. “We don’t have a line yet, but it’s been less than an hour.”

TIME Economy

Dow Falls 1% Just Days After Record Peak

Analysts blame poor earnings from retailers and glum economic reports

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down on Thursday, marking the index’s second slump since last week’s record peaks and the worst day since early April.

The Dow suffered a steep fall on Thursday, dropping 1%, or 167.16 points, to end the day at 16446.81. S&P 500 had a similar fate, falling 17.68 points, or 0.94% to close at 1870.85. Lackluster earnings reports from retailers Wal-Mart and Kohl’s helped bring the Dow down, CNBC reports, as did disappointing outlooks from homebuilders, a decline in industrial production and higher consumer prices in April.

TIME Television

Neil Patrick Harris Had a Shot at the Late Show Hosting Gig

Neil Patrick Harris Late Show
Neil Patrick Harris attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Benefit on May 2, 2014 in New York City. Julian Mackler—BFAnyc/SIPA USA

The How I Met Your Mother star said that he was approached for the job by CBS, but declined because he thought he'd get bored of the repetitive format. The network also approached him about replacing Craig Ferguson, but he again declined

Neil Patrick Harris could have been the next host of the Late Show, but the actor told Howard Stern on Wednesday he didn’t want the gig.

During an appearance on the Howard Stern radio show, Harris said that while he and CBS executives never etched out a specific deal, the network approached him about taking over for David Letterman, who will retire in 2015. The How I Met Your Mother star said he wasn’t interested.

“In that instance I felt like I knew what my skill sets were,” Harris said. “I was surprised that he pitched me that idea, and I sort of sat for a minute with it and told him the things that concerned me about the longevity of that kind of gig… I think I would get bored of the repetition fast.”

Harris is instead toying with the idea of hosting a weekly variety show, something he said CBS execs might be interested in. When asked about taking over the 12:30 show, which Craig Ferguson will be leaving in December, Harris still said no.“It’s still nightly, you’re still coming out with the same content,” he said. “And now you’re just getting bitter that no one is watching.

Listen to the full interview here.


Kate Middleton’s Phone Was Hacked 155 Times by Tabloid Editor

Kate Middleton Phone Hacked
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Winmalee Girl Guides Hall during her Australian tour in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney on April 17, 2013. Paul Miller—EPA

Clive Goodman, a former editor at the now-defunct tabloid News of the World, admitted to hacking Kate Middleton's phone no less than 155 times, and intercepting the phones of Prince William and Prince Harry dozens of times

A former British tabloid editor admitted to hacking Kate Middleton’s phone a whopping 155 times on Wednesday.

Clive Goodman, who served as a royal editor at the now-defunct News of the World said he also intercepted Prince William and Prince Harry’s calls dozens of times while on the witness stand on Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. He began targeting Middleton around 2005, when she and Prince William began getting more serious.

“I have been as open and honest about hacking about hacking as I can be, but nobody has asked me any questions about this before,” Goodman said.

Goodman, who has been charged with conspiring to pay for royal phone information, was jailed in 2007 for eavesdropping on royal aides’ phone calls. He is now among several former News of the World employees on trial for phone hacking and other misdeeds while at tabloid.


TIME apps

Facebook Rolls Out Foursquare-Like Feature to Some iOS Users

The feature allows Facebook users to see more relevant information about places and events where they've checked-in

How about we all just call it “Facesquare”?

For a select number of iOS users, on a limited basis, Facebook has made a new function available, which bears a striking resemblance to a key component of social location-sharer Foursquare, The Verge reports.

The new feature helps users divulge information about the places they visit, using a color-coding system: Places appear in red, birthdays are blue and photos are in yellow.

On Foursquare, when users “check in,” they are shown reviews, photos and other information about the location, provided by previous visitors.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company’s motivation behind the roll-out is to “help you discover information about where you are or what you do next, or inspire conversations with your friends around you.” It may also be the latest parlay on the social media cards table.

[The Verge]

TIME Crime

Victims Who Get Rape Exam More Likely to Tell Police, Study Says

In a study on a 2005 amendment to the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, the Urban Institute found that sexual assault victims with access to free medical exams were more likely to report the crime, but barriers with the police still exist

Victims of sexual assault are increasingly given access to free medical exams after the crime without facing pressure to report the matter to police, according to a new study. But barriers to access remain, especially for minority women, and the close correlation between medical exams and reporting to police raises the prospect that federal efforts to de-couple the two haven’t been fully realized.

The Urban Institute study, funded by the Department of Justice and released Wednesday, sought to assess whether a 2005 amendment to the 1994 Violence Against Women Act is succeeding in funding rape exams and ensuring victims aren’t pushed to report crimes as a condition. Researchers largely gave the six states and 19 jurisdictions studied high marks on this front. But the study also found that victims who do obtain the exams are more likely to report the crime. And researchers expressed doubt that the funding is succeeding in increasing the total number of victims seeking help.

“Most victims who access the exam, according to our respondents, report to police,” said Janine Zweig, the lead author of the report. But Zweig said “the spirit of the law has not come to pass.”

“The ability to get the exam for free without reporting to police does not seem to have translated into a much larger number of victims getting the exam and participating in the criminal justice process,” she said.

Rape exams—which can include treatment of injuries, collection of blood and urine, testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and referrals to counseling services—are an opportunity to collect evidence that can potentially lead law enforcement to identify perpetrators. But the uniqueness of the crime—the majority of sexual assault victims know their attackers and many victims don’t recognize that an assault has occurred—has been shown lead some victims to completely shy away from help.

Before the 2005 amendment was passed, some law enforcement agencies were found to have required victims of sexual assault to report the crimes when receiving a rape exam. Congress clarified that victims are not obligated to report to police when they receive the exam. The idea was that victims could take their time when considering whether or not to report to police, while allowing for the collection of evidence that could be used during a later investigation. In the meantime, they would have access to a plethora of medical services to aid in their recovery.

But only three localities reported that more than a quarter of victims received exams without reporting to police, according to the report. The majority of localities estimated that only between 5 to 10% of victims didn’t report their assault.

What’s more, victims in some groups face additional barriers to accessing the exams altogether. More than half of providers surveyed said non-English speakers had increased difficulty receiving an exam, partly because of language barriers. In one location, victims who were undocumented immigrants reported forgoing help to avoid the risk of deportation or arrest. Those in rural areas and Native Indians face difficulties traveling to the limited number of providers in their state.

Some victims even reported not receiving exams because they did not want to report to police, showing there remains a gap in public knowledge around the requirements of these exams.

“When someone chooses to forgo the exam for whatever reason, everyone loses,” Zweig said.

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