TEARS


Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of N.R.A., Dies at 83

Charlton Heston, who appeared in some 100 films in his 60 year acting career but who is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben~Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 83.

Charlton Heston had been suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Charlton Heston posed with his Oscar statuette after winning the 1959 Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Ben~Hur.

His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the family, Bill Powers, who declined to discuss the cause. In August 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he had been diagnosed with neurological symptoms “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“I’m neither giving up nor giving in,” he said.

Every actor dreams of a breakthrough role, the part that stamps him in the public memory, and Mr. Heston’s life changed forever when he caught the eye of the director Cecil B. De Mille. De Mille, who was planning his next biblical spectacular, “The Ten Commandments,” looked at the young, physically imposing Mr. Heston and saw his Moses.

When the film was released in 1956, more than three and a half hours long and the most expensive that De Mille had ever made, Mr. Heston became a marquee name. Whether leading the Israelites through the wilderness, parting the Red Sea or coming down from Mount Sinai with the tablets from God in hand, he was a Moses to remember.

Writing in The New York Times nearly 30 years afterward, when the film was re-released for a brief run, Vincent Canby called it “a gaudy, grandiloquent Hollywood classic” and suggested there was more than a touch of “the rugged American frontiersman of myth” in Mr. Heston’s Moses.

The same quality made Mr. Heston an effective spokesman, off screen, for the causes he believed in. Late in life he became a staunch opponent of gun control. Elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1998, he proved to be a powerful campaigner against what he saw as the government’s attempt to infringe on a Constitutional guarantee, the right to bear arms.

In Mr. Heston, the N.R.A. found its embodiment of pioneer values, pride, independence and valor. In a speech at the N.R.A.’s annual convention in 2000, he brought the audience to its feet with a ringing attack on gun-control advocates. Paraphrasing an N.R.A. bumper sticker (“I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands”) he waved a replica of a colonial musket above his head and shouted defiantly, “From my cold, dead hands!”

Mr. Heston’s screen presence was so commanding that he was never dominated by mammoth sets, spectacular effects or throngs of spear waving extras. In his films, whether playing Buffalo Bill, an airline pilot, a naval captain or the commander of a spaceship, he essentially projected the same image muscular, steely eyed, courageous. If critics regularly used terms like “marble monumental” or “granitic” to describe his acting style, they just as often praised his forthright, no~nonsense characterizations.

After his success in “The Ten Commandments,” Mr. Heston tried a change of pace. Another legendary Hollywood director, Orson Welles, cast him as a Mexican narcotics investigator in the thriller “Touch of Evil,” in which Welles himself played a murderous sheriff in a border town. Also starring Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich, the film, a modest success when it opened in 1958, came to be accepted as a noir classic.

But the following year Mr. Heston stepped back into the world of the biblical epic, this time under the director William Wyler. The movie was “Ben~Hur.” Cast as a prince of ancient Judea who rebels against the rule of Rome, Mr. Heston again dominated the screen. In the film’s most spectacular sequence, he and his co~star, Stephen Boyd, as his Roman rival, fight a thrilling duel with whips as their horse drawn chariots careen wheel~to~wheel around an arena filled with roaring spectators.

“Ben~Hur” won 11 Academy Awards, a record at the time, including those for best picture, best director and, for Mr. Heston, best actor.

He went on to star opposite Sophia Loren in the 1961 release “El Cid,” battling the Moors in 11th century Spain. As a Marine officer stationed in the Forbidden City in 1900, he helped put down the Boxer Rebellion in Nicholas Ray’s 1963 epic “55 Days at Peking.” In “Khartoum” (1966), he played Gen. Charles (Chinese) Gordon, who was killed in a desert uprising led in the film by Laurence Olivier’s Mahdi. When George Stevens produced and directed “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in 1965, there was Mr. Heston, back in ancient Judea, playing John the Baptist to Max von Sydow’s Jesus.

He portrayed Andrew Jackson twice, in “The President’s Lady” (1954) and “The Buccaneer” (1958). There were westerns (“Major Dundee,” “Will Penny,” “The Mountain Men”), costume dramas (“The Three Musketeers” and its sequel, “The Four Musketeers,” with Mr. Heston cast as the crafty Cardinal Richelieu in both) and action films aplenty. Whether playing a hard bitten landowner in an adaptation of James Michener’s novel “The Hawaiians” (1970), or a daring pilot in “Airport 1975,” he could be relied on to give moviegoers their money’s worth.

In 1965 he was cast as Michelangelo in the film version of Irving Stone’s novel “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” Directed by Carol Reed, the film pitted Mr. Heston’s temperamental artist against Rex Harrison’s testy Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to create frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Mr. Heston’s performance took a critical drubbing, but to audiences, the larger than life role seemed to be another perfect fit. Mr. Heston once joked: “I have played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses. If that doesn’t create an ego problem, nothing does.”

Mr. Heston was catapulted into the distant future in the 1968 science fiction film “Planet of the Apes,” in which he played an astronaut marooned on a desolate planet and then enslaved by its rulers, a race of anthropomorphic apes. The film was a hit. He reprised the role two years later in the sequel, “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.”

    Son of the Midwest

It was all a long way from Evanston, Ill., where Charlton Carter was born on Oct. 4, 1924, and from the small town of St. Helen, Mich., where his family moved when he was a small boy and where his father ran a lumber mill. He attended a one room school and learned to fish and hunt and to savor the feeling of being self reliant in the wild, where his shyness was no handicap.

When his parents divorced in the 1930s and his mother remarried, his stepfather’s surname was Heston, the family moved to the Chicago suburb of Winnetka. He joined the theater program at his new high school and went on to enroll at Northwestern University on a scholarship. By that time, he was convinced he had found his life’s work.

Mr. Heston also found a fellow drama student, Lydia Clarke, whom he married in 1944, just before enlisting in the Army Air Force. He became a radio gunner and spent three years stationed in the Aleutian Islands. After his discharge, the Hestons moved to New York, failed to find work in the theater and, somewhat disenchanted but still determined, moved to North Carolina, where they spent several seasons working at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Theater in Asheville.

When they returned to New York in 1947, Mr. Heston got his first big break, landing the role of Caesar’s lieutenant in a Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” staged by Guthrie McClintick and starring Katharine Cornell. The production ran for seven months and proved to be the high point of Mr. Heston’s New York stage career. He appeared in a handful of other plays, most of them dismal failures, although his performance in the title role of a 1956 revival of “Mr. Roberts” won him praise.

If Broadway had little to offer him, television was another matter. He made frequent appearances in dramatic series like “Robert Montgomery Presents” and “Philco Playhouse.” The door to Hollywood opened when the film producer Hal B. Wallis saw Mr. Heston’s performance as Rochester in a “Studio One” production of “Jane Eyre.” Wallis offered him a contract.

Mr. Heston made his film debut in 1950 in Wallis’s “Dark City,” a low grade thriller in which he played a small time gambler. Two years later, he did his first work for De Mille as a hard driving circus boss in “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Throughout his career he studied long and hard for his roles. He prepared for the part of Moses by memorizing passages from the Old Testament. When filming began on the sun baked slopes of Mount Sinai, he suggested to De Mille that he play the role barefoot, a decision that he felt lent an edge of truth to his performance.

    Filmography: Charlton Heston

Preparing for “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” he read hundreds of Michelangelo’s letters and practiced how to sculpt and paint convincingly. When filming “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” (1959), in which he played the pilot of a salvage boat, he learned deep-water diving. And he mostly rejected stunt doubles. In “Ben-Hur,” he said, he drove his own chariot for “about 80 percent of the race.”

“I worked six weeks learning how to manage the four white horses,” he said. “Nearly pulled my arms right out of their sockets.”

As the years wore on, the leading roles began to go to younger men, and by the 1980s, Mr. Heston’s appearances on screen were less frequent. He turned to stage work again, not on Broadway but in Los Angeles, at the Ahmanson Theater, where he played roles ranging from Macbeth to James Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” He also returned to television, appearing in 1983 as a paternalistic banker in the miniseries “Chiefs” and as an oil baron in the series “The Colbys.”

Rifles and a ‘Cultural War’

Mr. Heston was always able to channel some energies into the public arena. He was an active supporter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., calling him “a 20th century Moses for his people,” and participated in the historic march on Washington in 1963.

He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1966 to 1971, following in the footsteps of his friend and role model Ronald Reagan. A registered Democrat for many years, he was nevertheless selective in the candidates he chose to support and often campaigned for conservatives.

In 1981, President Reagan appointed him co-chairman of the President’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities, a group formed to devise ways to obtain financing for arts organizations. Although he had reservations about some projects supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Heston wound up defending the agency against charges of elitism.

Again and again, he proved himself a cogent and effective speaker, but he rejected suggestions that he run for office, perhaps for a seat in the Senate. “I’d rather play a senator than be one,” he said.

He became a Republican after Democrats in the Senate blocked the confirmation of Judge Robert Bork, a conservative, to the Supreme Court in 1987. Mr. Heston had supported the nomination and was critical of the Reagan White House for misreading the depth of the liberal opposition.

Mr. Heston frequently spoke out against what he saw as evidence of the decline and debasement of American culture. In 1992, appalled by the lyrics on “Cop Killer,” a recording by the rap artist Ice T, he blasted the album at a Time Warner stockholders meeting and was a force in having it withdrawn from the marketplace.

In the 1996 elections, he campaigned on behalf of some 50 Republican candidates and began to speak out against gun control. In 1997, he was elected vice president of the N.R.A.

In December of that year, as the keynote speaker at the 20th anniversary gala of the Free Congress Foundation, Mr. Heston described “a cultural war” raging across America, “storming our values, assaulting our freedoms, killing our self-confidence in who we are and what we believe.”

    A Relentless Drive

The next year, at 73, he was elected president of the N.R.A. In his speech at the association’s convention before his election, he trained his oratorical artillery on President Bill Clinton’s White House: “Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21 year old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”

He was in the news again after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in April 1999, when he said that the N.R.A.’s annual membership meeting, scheduled to be held the following week in Denver, would be scaled back in light of the killings but not canceled.

In a memorable scene from “Bowling for Columbine,” his 2002 documentary about violence in America, the director, Michael Moore, visited Mr. Heston at his home and asked him how he could defend his pro~gun stance. Mr. Heston ended the interview without comment.

In May 2001, he was unanimously re~elected to an unprecedented fourth term by the association’s board of directors. The association had amended its bylaws in 2000 to allow Mr. Heston to serve a third one year term as president. Two months after his celebrated speech at the 2000 convention, it was disclosed that Mr. Heston had checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation program after the convention had ended.

Mr. Heston was proud of his collection of some 30 guns at his longtime home in the Coldwater Canyon area of Beverly Hills, where he and his wife raised their son, Fraser, and daughter, Holly Ann. They all survive him, along with three grandchildren.

Never much for socializing , he spent his days either working, exercising, reading (he was fond of biographies) or sketching. An active diarist, he published several accounts of his career, including “The Actor’s Life: Journals 1956~1976.”

In 2003, Mr. Heston was among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Bush. In 1997, he was also a recipient of the annual Kennedy Center honors.

Mr. Heston continued working through the 1990s, acting more frequently on television but also in occasional films. His most recent film appearance found him playing a cameo role, in simian makeup, in Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes.”

He had announced in 1999 that he was receiving radiation treatments for prostate cancer.

He had always hated the thought of retirement and once explained his relentless drive as an actor. “You never get it right,” he said in a 1986 interview. “Never once was it the way I imagined it lying awake at 4 o’clock in the morning thinking about it the next day.” His goal remained, he said, “To get it right one time.”

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Thank you AP news and ROBERT BERKVIST
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I am sure that all of you Baby Boomers out there have seen all of Charlton Heston’s movies and it would be hard to pick out one that was truly your favorite. AS they were all so good and he was a master at his craft.

Mr. Heston was a Civil Rights advocate and was very Philanthropic work through out his life time.
I will miss him and will continue to re~watch his movies.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Diana inquest: ‘Hot murder’

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If the public following the inquest into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and her lover expected a showdown in Court 73 from Mohamed Al Fayed , they certainly got one.

The billionaire father of Dodi Al Fayed, who died in a car crash with Diana, was testifying in the inquest into the couple’s death. And within minutes, the teary eyed Egyptian called the August 1997 crash “hot murder.”

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“I will not rest until I die. If I lose everything to find the truth,” Al Fayed told the court.

Al Fayed repeated his allegations that the royal ramily was responsible for the crash, that Diana was pregnant and that the couple was about to announced their engagement. Allegations a string of other witnesses have denied.

When an inquest lawyer challenged Al Fayed as to why he didn’t tell everybody as soon as he knew about Diana and Dodi”s alleged engagment, Al Fayed tersely replied, “it was one hour before they were murdered. Am I going to announce it after they were dead?”

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He also added his allegation that Prince Philip, the husband of the Queen, couldn’t bear to have a Muslim be stepfather to the future king of England.

Al Fayed then let out a torrent of claims and exhortations: That members of the Royal family were racist and that he deserved a fair hearing in court because he had brought so much business into the UK.
Some of his curt answers actually drew laughter from members of the public watching the testimony via video in an adjourning room.

“Diana suffered for 20 years from this Dracula family,” Al Fayed said, to chuckles inside and outside the court.

Some of the exchanges would be funny, were it not so clear that Al Fayed is still grieving for his son and is clearly disturbed by suggestions his version of events are “hallucinations.”

The inquest continues…
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Thank you CNN News and CNN correspondent Alphonso Van Marsh in London.
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This Baby Boomer thinks she was murdered as well!

What say you, Baby Boomers?

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

A 20 year old pregnant Marine had a superficial wound to her neck that may have occurred after death, according to autopsy results released Friday.

If so, the finding casts doubt on the main suspect’s story.

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Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach’s neck wound may have occurred after her death, according to autopsy results
Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach’s body and that of her fetus were found beneath a fire pit this year near the North Carolina home of Cpl. Cesar Laurean, the main suspect in the case.
The bodies were found after Laurean’s wife produced a note he had written claiming that Lauterbach slit her own throat during an argument, officials have said.

A gaping 4 inch wound was found on the left side of Lauterbach’s neck, according to autopsy results released by the office of the chief medical examiner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The wound is “incised,” meaning it is a clean cut such as that made by a sharp instrument. However, the wound itself would not have been fatal, as there was only minimal damage to the underlying muscle, the results said.

“The autopsy confirms that there was a superficial incision to the neck that appears to have been made post mortem,” said a statement from Merle Wilberding and Chris Conard, attorneys representing Lauterbach’s mother, Mary Lauterbach. “If so, that incision may have been made to have the body conform to Cesar Laurean’s story that she had ‘killed herself by slitting her throat.’ “

“It looks like that incision was done to try to conform with the story he tried to present through his note and through his wife,” Wilberding said. “The autopsy would support the criminal investigation conclusion that Laurean’s story is not supported by the evidence.”

The neck wound did not appear to have resulted from the attempt to burn the body, the autopsy results said, but it “may have occurred after death.”

Lauterbach was eight months pregnant when she was last seen near Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, in December. Her body was found a month later.

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Officials have said that Lauterbach died from blunt force trauma to the head. The results released Friday were the full results of the autopsy conducted in January.

Authorities believe that Laurean, who faces murder and other charges in the case, has fled North Carolina for his native Mexico to avoid prosecution. Lauterbach had accused him of raping her, but it is unclear whether he was the father of her child.

Authorities believe that Laurean killed Lauterbach on December 14 and used her ATM card 10 days later. He has been indicted on charges of murder, ATM card theft, attempted card theft, fraud and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Police said this week that there were no updates in the search for Laurean. A Mexican court has issued a provisional arrest warrant for him.

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Thank you CNN News

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Well, what do you think Baby Boomers…the bodies [mother and child] found under a fire pit, where he lives…a wound that did not kill her…a wound that ANY pregnant woman would NOT inflict on herself. Ladies we all know that a mother would not kill her unborn child…a note saying…that was the reason she died. What delusions of grandeur and narcissism.

And this dirty, rotten, filthy sum bucket, of a so called man, is the MAIN and only suspect in killing of this unborn child and woman… this so called man, the possible woman and child killer, hits the path to MEXICO. Not to prove that he is innocent but to save his own hide…leaving his wife and family alone to fend for their selves.

“Innocent until proven guilty”, you say…I say “this one is guilty until proven innocent!”

The Mexican government has this slimy, sum ball running loose in their country and yet has an innocent Canadian citizen, like Brenda Martin, locked up with out so much as a trail…for over TWO stinking years!

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I feel great despair for Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach’s family and friends. I pray that soon, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth…for Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child, be found and repaid.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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From TAMPA Florida, Harry Richard Landis, who enlisted in the Army in 1918 and was one of only two known surviving U.S. veterans of World War I, has died. He was 108.

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Harry Richard Landis, one of only two surviving vets of WWI, died Monday at 108.

Landis, who lived at a Sun City Center nursing home, died Monday, according to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.

The remaining U.S. veteran is Frank Buckles, 107, of Charles Town, West Virginia, according the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, John Babcock of Spokane, Washington, 107, served in the Canadian army and is the last known Canadian veteran of the war.

Another World War I vet, Ohioan J. Russell Coffey, died in December at 109. The last known German World War I veteran, Erich Kaestner, died New Year’s Day at 107.

Landis trained as a U.S. Army recruit for 60 days at the end of the war and never went overseas. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs counts him among the 4.7 million men and woman who served during the Great War.

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The last time a known U.S. veteran of a war died was September 10, 1992, when Spanish~American War veteran Nathan E. Cook passed away at age 106.

In an interview with The Associated Press in April in his Sun City Center apartment, Landis recalled that his time in the Student Army Training Corps involved a lot of marching.

“I don’t remember too much about it,” said Landis, who enlisted while in college in Fayette, Missouri, at age 18. “We went to school in the afternoon and drilled in the morning.”

They often drilled in their street clothes.

“We got our uniforms a bit at a time. Got the whole uniform just before the war ended,” Landis said. “Fortunately, we got our great coats first. It was very cold out there.

He told reporters in earlier interviews that he spent a lot of time cleaning up a makeshift sick ward and caring for recruits sickened by an influenza pandemic.

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When asked whether he had wanted to get into the fight, Landis said, “No.”

When the war ended on November 11, 1918, Landis recalled a final march with his unit.

“We went down through the girls college, marching down the street. We got down to the courthouse square and there was a wall around this courthouse. We got to the wall and (the drill instructor) didn’t know what to do and we were hup, two, three, four, hup, two, three, four,” Landis said, laughing at the memory. “Finally, we jumped up on the wall and kept going until we got to the courthouse ~ hup, two, three, four ~ and he said dismissed.”

He said he and some fellow recruits piled into a car to go to the next town.

“What we did there, why we were there, I couldn’t tell you,” Landis said.

He signed up to fight the Germans again in 1941, but at age 42 was rejected as too old.

“I registered, but that’s all there was to it,” Landis said.

Landis was born in 1899 in Marion County, Missouri. He joined the Student Army Training Corps in 1918 but got out when the war ended.

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He was a manager at S.S. Kresge Co., which later became Kmart, in Niagara Falls, New York, and Dayton, Ohio. His fondest memory was taking golf vacations with three friends and their families, a tradition that ended more than five decades ago with the death of his best friend.

“We really looked forward to getting our old foursome together and going somewhere for a couple of weeks,” Landis said. “Sadly, my favorite best friend lived until he was only 60 years old. We were like brothers. We could talk about business, serious things and we could act like a couple of kids.”

Landis retired to Florida’s warmer climate in 1988 and lived in an assisted living center with his wife of 30 years, Eleanor.

His first wife, Eunice, died after 46 years of marriage. Landis had no children. He said he enjoyed a good game of golf until his health kept him off the course.

Landis laughed when asked the secret to his longevity.

“Just keep swinging,” he said.
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Thank you AP News

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Thank you for serving our country, Harry Richard Landis.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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In from DAYTON, Ohio , jury selection began Monday in the trial of a woman accused of killing her 1 month old daughter by burning the child in a microwave oven.

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China Arnold could face the death penalty if a jury finds she deliberately killed her baby in a microwave oven.

If convicted of aggravated murder, China Arnold, 27, could face the death penalty.

Investigators believe Arnold killed 1 month old Paris Talley by putting her in a microwave at her home. Arnold’s attorneys argue she had nothing to do with the baby’s death in 2005.

Coroner’s officials have said the baby suffered high heat internal injuries and had no external burns. They have ruled out scalding water, open flame or other possible causes of death that could have damaged the skin.

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion has said Arnold had nothing to do with her daughter’s death and was stunned when investigators told her that a microwave might have been involved. Arnold took the baby to the hospital after finding her unconscious and does not know how she died, Rion said.

During a pretrial hearing in July, police Detective Michael Galbraith said Arnold told him she arrived home in the early morning hours after drinking, fell asleep and was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by the baby’s crying.

She said she warmed a bottle in the microwave oven, tried to give it to the baby, changed the child’s diaper and then fell asleep on the couch with the baby on her chest.

Arnold said she and her children were the only ones in the apartment until her boyfriend arrived several hours later and noticed something was wrong with the baby.

Galbraith said Arnold told him: “If I hadn’t gotten so drunk, I guess my baby wouldn’t have died.”

When cross examined by Rion, Galbraith acknowledged that Arnold told him she did not know how the baby suffered the burns and that she had nothing to do with it that she could recall.

Earlier this month, defense witness Robert Belloto, a staff pharmacist at Good Samaritan Hospital, testified he does not believe it would have been possible for Arnold to place the baby in the microwave because the woman was so intoxicated.

Belloto said Arnold told him she had consumed about 40 percent of a pint of high proof rum in 90 minutes. But he acknowledged that he had no other corroboration for her claim.
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Thank you AP News
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I sit here with my head in my hands…wondering if I could live with myself, if I had allowed, been part of or commited such a horrible act against a child.

I THINK I would become insane and lost. If I wasn’t already!

Any opinions Baby Boomers???

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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More in from BLAIRSVILLE, Georgia, a young hiker whose body was found in northern Georgia was probably alive for three days before she died from blunt force trauma to the head, authorities said Tuesday.

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Meredith Emerson was last seen hiking with her dog on Blood Mountain in Georgia on New Year’s Day.

Meredith Emerson, 24, was decapitated after her death, an autopsy also found.

Investigators believe she was killed January 4, said Lee Darragh, district attorney for Hall and Dawson counties.
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Thank you AP and CNN News
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OK, that does it…this guy is an animal…This beautiful young woman, tortured at the hands of this sadist, for three days…her parents must be livid.

I don’t think I would have the capacity to forgive him. I am not that good of a person…perhaps, I am no better than he is to have so much hatred in my heart towards him…I will try to work on this personality flaw of mine.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

From RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday after addressing a large gathering of her supporters.

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The bomb explodes near Bhutto’s vehicle following a political rally in Rawalpindi.

Bhutto died of a gunshot wound to the neck, the Pakistani Interior Ministry said. The attacker then blew himself up. The bomb attack killed at least 22 others, doctors said.

Video of the scene just moments before the explosion showed Bhutto stepping into a heavily guarded vehicle to leave the rally.

John Moore, a photographer for Getty Images, said Bhutto was standing through the sunroof of her vehicle, waving to supporters, when two shots rang out.

Bhutto fell back into the vehicle, and almost immediately a bomb blast rocked the scene, sending twisting metal and shrapnel into the crowd, he added.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto’s vehicle. Watch aftermath of the attack.

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Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital, less than two miles from the bombing scene, where doctors pronounced her dead.

Her body was removed from the hospital, carried above a crowd of supporters, late Thursday night, and a Pakistan Air Force plane is flying the body to Sukkur, accompanied by her husband and three children, said Pakistan People’s Party leader Sen. Safdar Abbasi.

Bhutto is scheduled to be buried in the ancestral graveyard of the Bhutto family at Gari~Khuda Baksh in Sindh province Friday afternoon, he added.

Chaos erupted at the hospital when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived to pay his respects to Bhutto less than three hours after her death.

Hundreds of Bhutto supporters crammed into the entrance shouted and cried, some clutching their heads in pain and shock. Sharif called it “the saddest day” in Pakistan’s history. “Something unthinkable has happened,” he said. Watch Benazir Bhutto obituary »

Sharif said his party will boycott Pakistan’s January 8 parliamentary elections in the wake of the assassination.

President Pervez Musharraf said the killers were the same extremists that Pakistan is fighting a war against, and announced three days of national mourning.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Rioters burned tires and blocked roads in Karachi and other cities, police sources said. Police fired on an angry mob, killing two people, in the city of Khairpur in the Sindh province, Geo TV reported.

Bhutto’s husband issued a statement from his home in Dubai saying, “All I can say is we’re devastated, it’s a total shock.” He arrived in Pakistan late Thursday.

President Bush said those responsible “must be brought to justice” and praised Bhutto as a woman who had “fought the forces of terror” He said: “She refused to allow assassins to dictate the course of her country.”

The number of wounded was not immediately known. However, video of the scene showed ambulances lined up to take many to hospitals.

The assassination happened in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh Park, named for Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, who was assassinated in the same location in 1951.

The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif’s party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term.

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A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.

CNN’s Mohsin Naqvi, who was at the scene of both bombings, said Thursday’s blast was not as powerful as that October attack.

Thursday’s attacks come less than two weeks after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted an emergency declaration he said was necessary to secure his country from terrorists.

Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf’s government to protect her.

Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for CNN.com in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.

“The sham investigation of the October 19 massacre and the attempt by the ruling party to politically capitalize on this catastrophe are discomforting, but do not suggest any direct involvement by General Pervez Musharraf,” Bhutto wrote. **************************
Thank you CNN News and CNN’s Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report
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I will never understand why people, who are for peace, have to die so violently.

Not only Pakistan will mourn her loss. Her passing will be far reaching…even here, to the states.

R.I.P.

World Peace,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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