A former police officer who murdered nine people during a 1986 crime spree in Florida was executed on Tuesday after his attorneys’ last-minute appeals were rejected. Manuel Pardo, 56, was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison at 7:47pm, about 16 minutes after the lethal injection process began. His attorneys had tried to block the execution by arguing that he was mentally ill, but federal courts declined to intercede. Prison officials said his final words were: “Airborne forever. I love you, Michi baby,” referring to his daughter. Pardo also wrote a final statement that was distributed to the media, in which he claimed that he never killed any women, but “accepted full responsibility for killing six men.”
Terror suspects arrested
Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested two Alabama men on terrorism charges, accusing them of plotting to wage violent jihad overseas after meeting online in 2010. Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair and Randy Wilson, also known as Rasheed Wilson, were arrested in separate locations in Georgia, according to the FBI and US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama. Authorities said Wilson was a friend and former roommate of Omar Shafik Hammami, a US citizen who was added to the FBI’s most wanted list of terrorism suspects last month. Hammami is suspected of being a senior leader in al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based militant group, and is wanted on terrorism charges in Alabama. Wilson was taken into custody in Atlanta as he attempted to board a flight headed to Morocco on Tuesday, and Abukhdair was apprehended at an Augusta bus terminal, authorities said.
Quintuplets’ mom dies
Mary Ann Darling Fischer, the woman who gave birth to the first known surviving quintuplets in the nation, passed away on Sunday at age 79. Thrust into the spotlight after giving birth to the four girls and one boy, Fischer and her then-husband retreated into the most quintessential South Dakota activities: They took part in a bowling league, hunted pheasants and attended regular Sunday church services. “I would rather go into the delivery room than come down here,” Fischer said as she faced 30 reporters at her first news conference following the birth of the babies. The Fischers didn’t know they were expecting quintuplets until a few days before the babies were born two months premature. Andrew Fischer said he “shook,” while Mary Ann, 30 at the time, started crying when the doctor told them that instead of one baby, they were having five.
‘Doomsday’ good for village
Believers of a Mayan calendar prediction that the world will end on Dec. 21 have flooded into a small village near the ancient city of Ephesus. Some New Age spiritualists are convinced of a Dec. 21 “doomsday” foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs — at least according to some interpretations. Sirince, a village of about 600 inhabitants, has a positive energy, according to the doomsday cultists, who say that it is close to an area where Christians believe the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven. The Mayan prophecy has sparked a tourism boom in the village, which is now expected to host more than 60,000 visitors, local media said. “It is the first time we witness such an interest during the winter season,” local media quoted hotel owner Ilkan Gulgun as saying.