Killer blames attack on ‘homosexual panic’


Killer blames attack on ‘homosexual panic’

COLUMBUS

A condemned killer is asking the Ohio Parole Board for mercy, saying he experienced a “homosexual panic” of self-revulsion before killing a man he picked up at a bar more than 30 years ago.

Death-row inmate Robert Van Hook was sentenced to die for fatally strangling and stabbing David Self in Cincinnati in 1985. Van Hook fled to Florida, where he was arrested and confessed.

The parole board heard arguments Thursday for and against Van Hook’s clemency request. Republican Gov. John Kasich has the final say. Van Hook’s execution is set for July 18.

Man evicted must leave by June 1

SYRACUSE, N.Y.

A court order says a 30-year-old upstate New York man who was evicted from his parents’ house must move out by noon June 1.

State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood signed the order Thursday.

It sets a hard deadline for Michael Rotondo to peacefully leave his parents’ home in Camillus before county sheriffs can be called in to forcibly remove him.

Rotondo had asked for at least 30 days to leave, arguing for a full six months during court arguments on Tuesday — which the judge called “outrageous.”

Report: Airstrikes in Syria kill 12

BEIRUT

Airstrikes overnight in eastern Syria killed at least 12 pro-government fighters, all reportedly foreign nationals, a war-monitoring group said Thursday. The Syrian government-run media blamed the strikes on the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

In Damascus, the SANA news agency said coalition aircraft struck military positions between the towns of Boukamal and Hmeimeh in Deir el-Zour province. It did not report any casualties.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war through a network of activists on the ground, said the fatalities were not Syrian nationals but foreign fighters. It said the coalition was likely behind the strikes.

Probe: Missile from Russia-based unit

BUNNIK, Netherlands

The missile used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard, belonged to a Russia-based military unit, an international team of investigators said Thursday after painstakingly studying video and photos of a military convoy.

The criminal investigation team “has concluded that the Buk Telar with which Flight MH17 was shot down is from the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade from Kursk in the Russian Federation,” said Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Netherlands’ National Crime Squad.

It was the clearest link yet published by the investigators to the involvement of Russian military in the deadly surface-to-air missile strike on the Boeing 777, and it echoed findings published in 2016 by the Bellingcat investigative group.

Russia has denied involvement in the downing of Flight 17, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it was blown out of the sky at 33,000 feet over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Cyclone pounds island

SALALAH, Oman

Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way to Oman on Thursday, sending torrents of water rushing down streets and sinking at least two ships. At least 17 people were reported missing in the powerful storm.

Mekunu’s sustained winds reached 96 mph, with gusts reaching 109 mph, India said.

Associated Press

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