It has been busy on the news front this week, with several major stories erupting. Here is a recap of this week’s national news headlines.
BENGHAZI HEARING ON CAPITOL HILL
The investigation into the attacks on the United States Consulate, and CIA Annex compound in Benghazi, Libya continued on Wednesday. Three crucial witnesses to the attacks in Benghazi testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Gregory N. Hicks, Mark I. Thompson, and Eric Nordstorm; all three career State Department officials appeared before the Committee to provide insight, information, and clarification regarding the actions of the State Department before, during, and after the attacks.
The Chair of the Committee, Congressman Darrell Issa (R), opened the hearing, stating that “The witnesses before us are actual experts on what really happened before, during, and after the Benghazi attacks”, and that “these witnesses deserve to be heard.” Issa also noted the importance of seeking justice for the four Americans who perished in the attacks, stating that the “goal in this investigation is to find answers, because their families deserve answers.”
The most revealing information out of Wednesday’s hearing was the fact that former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton personally called Hicks, who was second in command to Ambassador Stevens. While describing the events of September 11, 2012, Hicks specified that “Secretary of State Clinton called me along with her senior staff… and she asked me what was going on. I briefed her on developments.”
Furthermore, Hicks hinted at the fact that the attacks were premeditated, and coordinated. While recounting the ambush at the Annex compound, Hicks stated that “shortly after we arrived at the annex the mortars came in” and that “the accuracy was terribly precise.”
Although the hearing rendered little new information into the investigation on the attacks, and the State Department’s handling of it, there are reports that more hearings are expected to be held in the near future.
THREE MISSING CLEVELAND WOMEN FOUND AFTER TEN YEARS
Three women who have been missing for over ten years in Cleveland, Ohio suddenly appeared on Monday. After being held in a basement by a man named Ariel Castro; Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight escaped to freedom.
The girls franticly escaped from the basement of 2207 Seymour Avenue after Amanda Berry screamed for help through the crack of the front door. Neighbor Charles Ramsey came to her aid, as he kicked down the door and called 911.
Shortly after the escape, all three girls, and a child who was also rescued from the basement, visited a local hospital to receive medical examinations. They were all released the following day after the visit, in good physical condition.
Ariel Castro, the alleged kidnapper of the three girls has been arrested, and is being charged with four counts of kidnapping, and three counts of rape. The lead prosecutor in this case is also examining the possibility of charging Castro with aggravated murder, in relation to the termination of at least three pregnancies. This charge would allow the prosecutor to seek the death penalty. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty even stated that “capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct.”
Castro appeared in court on Thursday for his bail hearing. The bond was set at $2 million on each case, totaling $8 million. His next appearance in court will consist of a displaying of the evidence. It will be presented to a Grand Jury to decide if the case should proceed.
JODI ARIAS CONVICTED OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER
In a long-awaited verdict inthe Jodi Arias trial, a jury found Arias guilty of first degree murder onWednesday. Arias was charged with first degree murder after it was alleged that she killed her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
Throughout the trial, Arias admitted to killing Alexander, although she claimed to have done so in self-defense. Prosecution however repeatedly argued that Arias’ actions were premeditated, and excessive as she shot Alexander, slashed his throat, and stabbed him twenty-seven times.
In a post-conviction interview with Fox 10 Phoenix, Arias revealed her thoughts about the next phase of herlife. Arias stated the following:
“I think I just went blank… I just feel overwhelmed. I think I just need to take it a day at a time. It was unexpected for me… There was no premeditation on my part.”
When asked about her thoughts on the possible penalties of her conviction, she stated the following:
“The worst outcome for me would be natural life… Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I said years ago I’d rather get death than life and that still is true today. I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
The sentencing phase of the Arias trial is set to begin next Wednesday, where the jury is set to decide on whether Arias will receive the death penalty, or life in prison.