NEWS BRIEFS: Pop star Prince dies at 57, Ohio family murder was ‘methodical,’ Virginia governor restores felons’ voting rights, Clemson protest leads to promise of greater diversity , Tiger sighting in Houston


Pop star Prince dies at 57

Pop star Prince died Thursday, April 20, at age 57. According to the BBC, he was found unresponsive inside an elevator at his home. Last Friday, April 15, he was rushed to a hospital in Illinois where he was treated and released shortly afterwards, reportedly for an overdose of the drug Percocet, a painkiller. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnesota said that it conducted a post-mortem examination that began at 9:00 a.m. local time on Friday, April 21, adding that it could take several weeks before results are released. A transcript of the emergency call made at 9:43 a.m. local time by an unidentified male has been released. He discovered Prince unresponsive and called to report his death. Thousands of people gathered to pay tribute to the 1980s star, including hosting an all-night party at the bar where Prince recorded the song “Purple Rain.”

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Officials say Ohio murders were ‘methodical and well-planned’

Officials said April 24 that the murders of eight family members, killed execution-style April 22, were “methodical and well-planned.”  The victims were discovered on four “rural properties” in Ohio.  Fox News reports, “Most were apparently sleeping when they were killed.”  Officials also said that three marijuana growing operations had been discovered during the investigation.  There has been no suspect named yet nor have authorities reported how many people may have been involved in the crime.  Residents, who feel they may be in harm’s way, have been encouraged “‘to be armed.’”  A 4-day-old infant as well as two other young children were found at the crimes scenes unhurt.

According to Fox News, “All the victims identified Saturday were members of the Rhoden family: 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.; his 16-year-old son, Christopher Rhoden Jr.; 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden; 38-year-old Gary Rhoden; 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden; 20-year-old Hannah Gilley; and 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden.”

Fox News also reports, “‘This was a preplanned execution of eight individuals,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “It was a sophisticated operation. And those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution.’”

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Virginia governor restores felons’ voting rights

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia restored voting rights to convicted felons Friday, April 21, overturning a Civil War-era provision that he said aimed at disenfranchising African-Americans, reported the New York Times. McAuliffe’s action enables felons, including those convicted for murder, who have finished their prison sentence as well as parole or probation to register to vote. The majority of these felons are African-Americans, who are also a majority in the Democratic Party, McAuliffe’s political party. Actions similar to this have been debated recently, bringing more attention to policies that could have a large effect on African-Americans. Opponents of McAuliffe’s action accuse him of “political opportunism.”  The governor defended his action, saying, “There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it.”

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Clemson protest leads to promise of greater diversity

Students at Clemson University ended their 8-day protest over the lack of diversity throughout the campus, reported Fox News on April 21. According to Fox News, student protestors left Clemson’s administrative building after a sit-in demanding changes to the university’s administrative policies to promote diversity. The protest was prompted by rotting bananas being placed on an African-American history sign at the university.

“About 6 percent of Clemson students are black, the lowest of any of South Carolina’s four-year public colleges,” stated Fox News.

Jim Clements, president of the university, released a statement that promised to announce specific goals to promote the enrollment of more minority groups, including a permanent multicultural center.

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Houston police respond to tiger sightings

Police received numerous calls in a suburb of Houston on April 21 about seeing a tiger wandering the streets. The Conroe Police Department posted pictures of the animal on Facebook and asked the public to help find its owner in a Coral Cove Pass subdivision. According to CNN, officers captured the female tiger and transported her to a local animal shelter because her front claws had been removed and she was wearing a collar and leash. Conroe Police Sgt. Kevin Johnson told CNN that the tiger was evacuated from a nearby rescue farm due to intense flooding, but the tiger apparently was given to someone unprepared to house the animal and she escaped.

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