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Articles written by Brian Melley

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Crew was asleep when fatal boat fire ignited, officials say

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California scuba dive boat was operating in violation of Coast Guard regulations when crew members were sleeping and a pre-dawn fire killed 34 people, leaving grieving families wondering if a required night watchman could have...

 

Probe to find cause of boat fire could lead to criminal case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The captain and crew who leapt from a burning dive boat off Southern California saved themselves as 34 people perished below deck. Whether their escape from the Conception before dawn Monday was the only viable option, an act of...

 

US West struggles to hit goals of fighting fire with fire

KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — The thick scent of smoke hung in the midday air when a trail along the Kings River opened up to an ominous scene: flames in the trees and thick gray smoke shrouding canyon walls. Firefighters were on the jo...

 

US fighter jet crashes in Death Valley, 7 park visitors hurt

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed Wednesday in Death Valley National Park, injuring seven people who were at a scenic overlook where aviation enthusiasts routinely watch military pilots speeding low through a chasm dubbed Star Wars...

 

Chinese billionaire indicted in US aluminum import scheme

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Chinese billionaire has been charged in Los Angeles in a complex scheme to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. Zhongtian Liu, the founder of China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, and...

 

Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in killing of captive in Iraq

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A decorated Navy SEAL was acquitted Tuesday of murder in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq in 2017. The verdict was met with an outpouring of emotion as the military jury also cleared Special Ope...

 

Witness at Navy SEAL trial: I killed victim out of mercy

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A witness called to testify against a decorated Navy SEAL charged with murder said Thursday that he killed the victim, a bombshell admission he described as an act of mercy for the wounded Islamic State fighter. Special Operator...

 

Key witness in Navy SEAL case stuns court by taking blame

SAN DIEGO (AP) — When prosecutors called a special forces medic to testify, they expected him to bolster their case against a decorated Navy SEAL accused of stabbing an Islamic State fighter in his care. Corey Scott delivered in part, saying...

 

Prosecutor: Navy SEAL bragged he 'got' victim with knife

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A decorated Navy SEAL stabbed to death a wounded and captive teenage Islamic State fighter in Iraq and then bragged about it, a military prosecutor told jurors Tuesday during opening statements in a politically charged...

 

Lawyers for freed Navy SEAL want war crime case dismissed

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Attorneys for a decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner will try again Friday to have the case dismissed after their client was unexpectedly freed from custody. A military judge released...

 

Report highlights utility failures in biggest US gas leak

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An investigation into the cause of the largest-known release of methane in the U.S. faults a California utility for the way it maintained its natural gas storage field before the massive 2015 blowout. The report released Friday...

 

Parents who starved and shackled children sentenced to life

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The eldest son and daughter of a couple who starved and shackled 12 of their children spoke publicly for the first time Friday, alternately condemning and forgiving their parents before a judge sentenced the pair to up to...

 

Judge dismisses porn star's hush money suit against Trump

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday tossed out porn actress Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against President Donald Trump that sought to tear up a hush-money settlement about their alleged affair. U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero in...

 

Robert Durst defense: Evidence could be 'game over' for heir

LOS ANGELES (AP) — New York real estate heir Robert Durst is charged with one count of murder, but will have to defend himself in three killings at trial later this year in California. Los Angeles prosecutors won a victory Tuesday in persuading a...

 

In smoldering wildfire ruins, life goes on for a hardy few

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — Brad Weldon lost his home to fire when he was a kid, so when a deadly wildland blaze came roaring toward his ranch house in the pines where he lives with his 89-year-old blind mother, he wasn't going to let disaster strike...

 

California hopefuls blame incumbents as farm towns struggle

HURON, Calif. (AP) — A rooster signals the start of the day as workers wearing sombreros emerge from the shadows and shuffle past boarded-up businesses in this tiny farm town. They converge on a dimly lit dirt lot outside Panaderia de Dios, a...

 

North Korean charged in crippling Sony hack, WannaCry virus

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A computer programmer working for the North Korean government was charged with devastating cyberattacks that hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment and unleashed the WannaCry ransomware virus that infected computers in 150 countries...

 

Hatred, DNA link California man to gay student's slaying

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges that he murdered a gay University of Pennsylvania student in a hate crime after prosecutors linked him to the stabbing through DNA and showed he...

 

Huge Los Angeles gas leak leads to $120 million settlement

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California utility reached a nearly $120 million settlement over a massive blowout at a natural gas storage field that became the nation's largest known release of climate-changing methane and forced thousands to flee...

 

States vow to continue fight against Trump's car fuel rules

LOS ANGELES (AP) — State prosecutors who pre-emptively sued months ago to block anticipated efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken car fuel-efficiency standards blasted the Trump administration Thursday for doing so and vowed to...

 

Fire victims: 2 firefighters, great-grandmother, children

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Two young children and their 70-year-old great-grandmother died in the wildfire that swept into the city of Redding with devastating speed, their family said Saturday, and a bulldozer operator who died working to contain the...

 

California fires burn boats, threaten Gold Rush-era relics

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Even a lake didn't provide safe harbor from erratic California wildfires. With flames exploding around Whiskeytown Lake, an effort to save boats at a Northern California marina by untying them from moorings and pushing them...

 

'Terrifying' tornados of flame burn California city; 2 dead

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that roared with little warning into a Northern California city claimed two lives as thousands of people scrambled to escape before the walls of flames descended from forested hills onto their neighborhoods,...

 

California judge affirms ruling for coffee cancer warnings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has issued a final ruling requiring coffee to carry cancer warning labels in California. Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle issued his decision Monday that Starbucks and other coffee companies failed to show...

 

Ex-cop arrested in sadistic crime spree from '70s and '80s

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A man once sworn to protect the public from crime was accused Wednesday of living a double life terrorizing suburban neighborhoods at night, becoming one of California's most feared serial killers and rapists in the 1970s...

 

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