CRIME - Arson feared at slaying site - HOMOSASSA, Fla. — Someone intentionally burned down a mobile home where 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford was raped, killed and buried four years ago this month, authorities said Monday. The child’s abduction and murder by John Evander Couey prompted lawmakers in Florida and other states to pass Jessica’s Law to keep better track of sex offenders. GOVERNMENT
Californians seek one voteSACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers on Monday were locked in a search for one more vote to approve a $42 billion budget-balancing plan. The stalled effort prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make good on an earlier promise to begin the layoff process for thousands of state workers.
Death penalty ban consideredSANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Monday he has softened his stance on the death penalty and may sign a repeal bill if it reaches his desk. The Legislature is considering abolishing capital punishment. OCTUPLETS
Grandmother softens stanceLOS ANGELES — The mother of the Southern California woman who used a fertility doctor to give birth to octuplets, despite already having six children, sounded a conciliatory note toward her daughter in an interview Monday. Angela Suleman said her anger subsided after she saw the babies. DEATH
Fall claims publisher KnopfNEW YORK — Alfred A. Knopf Jr., son of publishing legends and an influential publisher in his own right, died Saturday. He was 90. Knopf died of medical complications from a fall in mid-January, his wife, Alice, said. ANIMALS
Beaver’s return signals successDETROIT — Wildlife officials are celebrating the sighting of a beaver in the Detroit River for the first time in decades, signaling that efforts to clean up the river are paying off. From Wire Services
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