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News in Brief

Priest accused of ‘inappropriate contact’ with minor, adults

PURCELLVILLE (AP) The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office says a Catholic priest in Purcellville is accused of inappropriate contact with a minor and adults. The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has placed Father Ronald S. Escalante on leave pending an investigation by ...

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Man gets life for injecting former girlfriend with cyanide

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has been sentenced to life in prison for poisoning his former girlfriend by injecting her with cyanide. Lawyers for Joseph Merlino III had argued that he spend 20 to 34 years behind ...

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Docs: Crew used encrypted comms to orchestrate robberies

NORFOLK (AP) Court documents say a highly organized crew using encrypted communications robbed three Tidewater grocery stores earlier this year. Citing court documents, The Virginian-Pilot reported the crews used lookouts, earpieces and police scanner apps to coordinate maneuvers in the string of ...

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Attorney General Mark Herring running for governor

(AP) Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says he’s going to run for governor. Herring, a Democrat, told The Washington Post he’s planning to run in 2021. Virginia does not allow governors to seek consecutive terms, meaning current Gov. Ralph Northam ...

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Virginia House Democrats pick new leader

(AP) Virginia House Democrats have picked Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Springfield to be their new leader, a move that could help pave the way for her to become the state’s first female House speaker. House Democrats announced Dec. 8 they ...

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Man who drove into crowd convicted of first-degree murder

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) A man who drove his car into counterprotesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Virginia was convicted Dec. 7 of first-degree murder, a verdict that local civil rights activists hope will help heal a community still scarred ...

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Virginia files lawsuit against Mountain Valley Pipeline

(AP) Virginia’s attorney general and its Department of Environmental Quality have filed a lawsuit against the Mountain Valley Pipeline for what they call repeated environmental violations. Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said in a statement Dec. 7 that the lawsuit ...

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Teacher fired for refusing to use trans student’s male pronouns

WEST POINT (AP) A high school teacher who refused to use a transgender student’s new pronouns has been fired. The West Point School Board voted unanimously Dec. 6 to dismiss Peter Vlaming after a four-hour hearing that drew an overflow ...

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Supreme Court rejects appeal of deaf, mute defendant

(AP) Virginia’s top court says it doesn’t have jurisdiction in the appeal of a deaf and mute man who has been confined for 13 years despite never being tried for the 2005 slaying he is charged with. Oswaldo Elias Martinez, 43, ...

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Jury to deliberate over Charlottesville fatal car ramming

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) A jury is set to begin deliberating in the murder trial of an Ohio man accused of intentionally driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally, killing one woman and injuring dozens. A ...

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