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What the shooter’s life is like in jail

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In observation reports from February 17 to 24, deputies described Nikolas Cruz’s[1] activities, demeanor and behavior.
Throughout the week, Cruz was segregated from other inmates due to his high-profile status.[2] He started in the infirmary and was transferred to a different cell on February 23.
On February 24, a deputy noted that Cruz had a visit with an unidentified family member.[3] Otherwise, his defense attorneys and physicians were his only other visitors.
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Deputies outlined Cruz’s movements and interactions in brief notes and checked boxes throughout their shifts. His lawyer cautioned against reading too much into the notes.
“They are snippet observations from corrections officers and are not clinical impressions made by his treating psychologist or psychiatrist at the jail. They don’t show a complete picture. They are generated because Mr. Cruz has a high-profile case and is on suicide watch,” Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes said in a statement.
Here are some highlights from each day:

February 17

Cruz is housed in a single-man cell in the infirmary, three days after the massacre in Parkland. Deputies described his appearance as relaxed and his behavior as cooperative.
He showered at 1 p.m. and ate his entire meal.

February 18

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Still in isolation, Cruz drank juice and refused a meal in the morning, one deputy said.
Another deputy described Cruz as “lying on his back staring at the ceiling.” His reactions were “calm” and “slow” when a doctor or nurse asked him questions.
The next deputy took notes on his communication in an “attorney/doctor interview.” The deputy described Cruz as “very engaged, responsive” and “talkative.” He leaned forward in his chair and nodded “yes” and “no.”

February 19

One deputy described the inmate as “cooperative when asked to do something.”
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Another said he was “well-groomed” and had a “quiet demeanor.” “He follows commands” and “talks softly,” a deputy noted. His thinking appeared “logical.”
Another deputy noted that Cruz did not make eye contact and “often sits with a blank stare, appears to be in thought.”
He cooperated with verbal orders and was “guarded” when questioned by medical staff. “Speech is slow and sometimes slurred,” the deputy noted.
Cruz finished his entire meal that night, showered and brushed his teeth, the deputy wrote. “In bed frequently but does not appear to sleep,” the deputy said.

February 20

More of the same comments from three deputies about the inmate’s appearance, behavior and thinking:
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“Well-groomed, calm/quiet demeanor.”
“Follows commands, talks softly and very little.”
“Follows commands and responds to questions.”
“Appears slower than normal in his movement,” a different deputy said.
“Appeared to break out in laughter both during and immediately following his professional visit at 1848 hours and later at 1910 hours.”

February 21

Another day in which deputies described Cruz as “unremarkable” and “relaxed” as he sat in his cell.
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“Seems coherent. Minimal interaction during shift,” a deputy said in a report logged at 6:30 a.m.
“Ate very little of his food … slept most of the time. However, appeared restless for part of night.”
Another deputy noted that he “avoids eye contact” and “looks downward with a blank stare.”
“Inmate nods his head as a response initially but uses normal speech when prompted.”
On this day, he ate his entire meal and took his medication, another deputy wrote. Later in the evening, another deputy described him as restless, “tossing and turning while laying down.”

February 22

Hours later, another deputy described Cruz at 2:48 a.m. as “restless” and “tossing from time to time.”
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“A lot of tossing and turning,” another deputy said at 3:36 a.m.
“Restless, tossing from time to time his bunk, staring at ceiling,” a deputy wrote in a report logged at 11:20 a.m.
Otherwise, deputies reported he ate most of breakfast and all of his lunch: 4 slices of bread, 1 apple, 1 jelly, 1 peanut butter cookies, 1 bag of cookies, juice.
A deputy described his communication with his attorney as “engaged, conversating, understanding what was being said.”

February 23

The next day, Cruz was moved to another unit.
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One deputy noted he “avoids eye contact” and “looks downward with blank stare.” Another said he has “good eye contact with people speaking to him.”
He ate all of his lunch and refused to come out of his cell for recreational time.
While speaking to his attorneys, he appeared to be “coherent,” a deputy said. “Inmate was also observed smiling and giggling.”

February 24

More of the same: relaxed, unremarkable, well-groomed. “Made good eye contact when given verbal orders,” a deputy wrote in a report logged at 7:02 a.m.
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He ate his entire breakfast, took a shower and brushed his teeth. He was “given time to walk outside his cell and did so.”
“Had a family visit per command staff,” another deputy wrote.
He requested to read a Bible before another restless night of sleep, another deputy said.
“(Twists) and turns in bunk, does not sleep, stares at wall in deep thought, eyes closed, appears to be resting, not asleep.”

References

  1. ^ Nikolas Cruz’s (www.cnn.com)
  2. ^ his high-profile status. (www.cnn.com)
  3. ^ unidentified family member. (www.cnn.com)

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Houston Recalls Legacy of George Bush, Its Lone Star Yankee and Senior Booster

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HOUSTON — Inside the airport that bears his name, George Herbert Walker Bush looks, at a distance, as if he’s wearing a cape.

An 8-foot-tall bronze statue at the Houston airport shows Mr. Bush, who , Barbara Bush[4], who died in April at the age of 92. After Mr. Bush’s death on Friday, Houston lost its two most famous residents in the span of seven months.

“George H.W. Bush served with valor and integrity as the 41st president of the United States,” Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, said in a statement. “But to Houstonians he was one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbors. He and his wife, Barbara Bush, were our sports teams’ biggest fans, and boosters for everything Houston.”

This was the man whose most memorable quote in years had to do with men’s hosiery. In 2012, as his fondness for wearing bright eye-catching socks was going strong, he explained that he simply “likes a good sock.” At his wife’s funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Mr. Bush wore a pair of socks with a colorful stack-of-books design, a tribute to Mrs. Bush’s advocacy work for family literacy.

In Houston and its surrounding suburbs, Mr. Bush had not only an airport in his name but a park, a high school and a few more life-size statues. Above Buffalo Bayou, a bronze statue of Mr. Bush looks out into the distance with his hand in his pocket, gazing at, of all things, James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state and Mr. Bush’s tennis partner at the Houston Country Club. The statues of the two close friends face each other in the downtown park, separated by about 100 yards, in Houston’s oddest and longest-running staring contest.

“All I can do now,” Mr. Bush told The New York Times in 2011 about the statue, “is hope that the pigeons will be kind and gentle.”

Charles C. Foster, a Houston immigration lawyer and a longtime friend of the Bush family, came up with the idea for the George H.W. Bush Monument, which was unveiled in 2004. Mr. Foster recalled the day he sat in Mr. Bush’s office at 10000 Memorial Drive and asked for his blessing for the project.

Image
Mr. Bush in 1970, when he was a congressman.CreditAssociated Press

“He looked at me and he sort of looked up at the ceiling,” Mr. Foster said. “He pointed to the ceiling and said, ‘Shouldn’t you wait until I’m up there?’ And then he said, pointing downward, ‘Or perhaps down there?’”

In 1990, Mr. Bush helped turn the eyes of the world to Houston.

As president, he brought thousands of reporters and foreign dignitaries to Houston that summer for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, an annual gathering of the world’s economic powers. The summits had been held in a number of global cities — London, Tokyo, Paris, Venice — and Mr. Bush made the case that his adopted hometown belonged among such world-class company.

Houston was scrappier back then. The city was rebounding from an oil bust in the 1980s that crippled the economy, and it tried hard to present its best, and cleanest, face to the cameras and the visitors, picking up millions of pounds of trash, repaving roads and enlisting the aid of 12,000 volunteers.

“That was huge for Houston,” Mr. Foster said of the 1990 summit. “When the president had a chance, he could have picked some mountain retreat. But he picked his hometown. He was well aware of the chip on our shoulders that we didn’t feel like Houston got the recognition that it should.”

Now, with 2.3 million residents (compared with 1.6 million in 1990), Houston is the fourth-largest city in America, known as much for its diversity as its energy-capital status. George Bush High School, part of the Fort Bend school district, is 43 percent Hispanic, 38 percent black, 12 percent Asian and 4 percent white. More than 90 languages and dialects are spoken in the district.

Early Saturday morning in the upscale Tanglewood area, Houstonians paused at the gates at South Post Oak Lane and North West Oak Drive — the entrance to the gated community where Mr. Bush lived. Someone draped an American flag in the center of the gates, decorated for the holidays with Christmas wreaths.

Shirley Matthews, 66, a lifelong Houstonian who lives nearby, walked up and took a picture of the memorial for her mother. “He was just a good person,” she said. “He wasn’t perfect. But it’s family, and we love each other.”

References

  1. ^ died at his home here on Friday (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ Read the obituary of George H.W. Bush. (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ the funeral for his wife (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ Barbara Bush (www.nytimes.com)

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A Close Race, a Mysterious Ballot and Control of Alaska’s House at Stake

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With a crucial legislative seat in Alaska teetering toward a tie earlier this month, lawmakers in Juneau braced for the possibility of a coin toss deciding control of the state’s House of Representatives. Then a mysterious extra ballot emerged that threw the process into further disarray.

Amid several counts, the latest coming on Friday afternoon, a single ballot drew scrutiny across the state.

The state’s review board certified the race, between Kathryn Dodge, a Democrat, and Bart LeBon, a Republican, as a tie earlier this week, with exactly 2,661 votes going to each candidate. The extra ballot, for Ms. Dodge, could have settled the race for the Fairbanks-area district seat.

Later on Friday, the mystery appeared to have been solved — but the standoff over who won the election continued.

Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the state elections office, said that workers at Fairbanks’s No. 6 precinct told officials that a woman had come into the polling place to request a special needs ballot on behalf of her husband, who was outside in a vehicle.

The woman came back into the precinct. Her husband had made a mistake, she told the precinct worker, and needed a new ballot. She left behind the one he had already marked, thus making it a spoiled ballot.

The precinct chair told the worker who took the spoiled ballot to put it into a secrecy sleeve, “and that they would deal with it later in the day,” Ms. Miller said.

But instead, the spoiled ballot was put into a compartment with other questioned ballots.

Typically, Ms. Miller said, spoiled ballots are destroyed once they are accounted for. So, because the mystery ballot was found to be spoiled, it will not be counted, she said.

Still, that left the question of what happens if the recount that began on Friday afternoon ends in a tie — again.

Ms. Miller said that both candidates had five days to file a legal challenge to the results. And if the court decided the recount went as it should have, and the race was still a tie?

The prevailing candidate would be determined “by lot,” Ms. Miller said. “It could be a coin toss or some other way of deciding, as long as it’s random.”

It would not be the first time an Alaska race was determined by coin toss.

In 2006, State Representative Bryce Edgmon[1], a Democrat from Dillingham, beat the incumbent, Carl Moses. Mr. Moses’s name was drawn, so he got to make the call: Heads.

The state’s elections director at the time flipped an Alaska Mint medallion — the side with a walrus being heads and the side with the state seal being tails. It landed state seal side up.

Ms. Miller would not speculate about when the recount would be complete, but said both candidates were present, along with observers and officials.

Mr. LeBon did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Sara Harriger, a spokeswoman for Ms. Dodge, said in a statement that during Friday’s recount, one additional vote was found for Ms. Dodge and a challenged ballot was allowed for her opponent, Mr. LeBon, which meant that the tally stood at 2,662 apiece. Still tied.

Ms. Dodge said in a statement that she believed every legally cast ballot should be counted. “I just want everyone watching this process to take away a sense of confidence in our democratic system and a commitment to cast their votes in future races,” she said, “and knowing that their votes will matter.”

Ms. Dodge had said earlier on Friday that legal action “unfortunately” seemed probable.

“It’s certainly not what any of us expect when we set out to campaign, to find ourselves in a squeaker of this nature,” she said. “I hope we don’t have a coin toss. I don’t know quite what to say, but it doesn’t feel like it’s an appropriate way to settle an election.”

In Alaska, the repercussions of this race will be felt into the next legislative session, though party control of the House in Juneau will be far from clear-cut.

Political coalitions in Juneau do not always come down to party-line votes like in other state houses. Even if Ms. Dodge wins the race, Democrats would still not have an outright majority, and so members of the House will still be tasked with negotiating a coalition majority.

References

  1. ^ Bryce Edgmon (akleg.gov)

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3 Killed After Pickup Truck Fleeing Border Patrol Hits Tire Spikes and Crashes

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Three people in a packed pickup truck were killed on Thursday afternoon after the driver ran over tire spikes and crashed on a Southern California highway while trying to flee Border Patrol officers, the authorities said.

The officers turned on their vehicle’s emergency lights and began chasing the pickup truck on Interstate 8, near Boulevard, Calif., at around 4:20 p.m., according to the United States Customs and Border Protection. The authorities said they believed that the pickup truck had been illegally driven over the southern border and had crashed through an “iron bar vehicle barrier.” They said they identified it by matching a piece that was missing from the truck to one agents had spotted on the ground near the border, though they did not elaborate.

The pickup truck reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, weaving between cars and bypassing others on the side of the highway, before it drove over spikes that the Border Patrol had placed on the road, the California Highway Patrol said. About a mile later, the truck spun out of control and flipped over, ejecting the nine people who were riding in the truck’s bed, the authorities said.

A woman inside the truck, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed, as were two people riding in the bed, the police said. Seven people who had “multiple serious injuries” were taken to the hospital, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection said.

The driver, a United States citizen whose name was not released, was the only person wearing a seatbelt, the agency said. The California Highway Patrol took the man into custody, but it was not clear whether he had been charged. The identities of the passengers in the truck have not been released either.

“The investigation into the smuggling incident is ongoing,” the spokesman said in an email, “and the Border Patrol is fully cooperating with the CHP in their investigation of the collision.”

About an hour after the crash, the Border Patrol stopped another vehicle that officers believed had crossed over the border with the pickup truck, the agency said. The driver of that car was also arrested.

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