Suspect blames twin
A judge says an army officer linked by DNA to a string of sexual assaults on young girls will be allowed to blame his twin brother at trial. The judge on Friday ruled that it would be “inappropriate” to bar Aaron Lucas’ attorneys from presenting his identical twin as an alternate suspect given the siblings’ shared DNA, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. In an Oct. 22 filing, Lucas’ attorneys said investigators picked the wrong sibling after discovering a DNA link to an unsolved attack on a young girl in Alabama in 2007 and another in Texas in 2009. Lucas has denied luring or trying to lure 11 girls into his vehicle in Colorado between 2009 and last year. His attorneys have said the Alabama and Texas cases involve his twin brother, Brian Lucas, who the defense says has lived in both states. Investigators say Brian Lucas has denied involvement in the alleged crimes.
Vigilantes take over town
Vigilantes belonging to a “self-defense” movement have taken over town in Michoacan state amid confrontations that left two people dead and three wounded. State prosecutor’s spokeswoman Magdalena Guzman says the clash took place in a hamlet near the town of Tancitaro, which vigilantes from two nearby towns took over on Saturday in a bid to kick out the state’s dominant drug cartel. Investigators are trying to determine whether the dead are vigilantes or gunmen of the Knights Templar cartel.
Dogs tamed in Europe first
Humans first made dogs their best friends in prehistoric Europe, where groups of hunter-gathers learned to tame dangerous wolves into companions between 19,000 and 32,000 years ago, scientists said on Thursday. The new research, based on analysis of DNA fragments from fossils of ancient wolves and dogs, confounds earlier theories that dogs were originally domesticated in the Middle East or East Asia. Olaf Thalmann, from the University of Turku, and colleagues believe they have placed initial doggy taming firmly in Europe after finding that modern dogs’ DNA most closely matches that of either ancient European canines or modern European wolves, but not wolves outside Europe. “We’re pretty sure that Europe played a major role in the domestication of the dog,” Thalmann, whose research was published on Thursday in the journal Science, said in an interview.
Boy chained to dead chicken
A North Carolina social worker has been arrested after her foster child was found chained to the porch of her home with a dead chicken around his neck, police said. The 11-year-old boy was discovered, shivering and alone, restrained by a handcuff around his ankle, a Monroe deputy sheriff said in a statement. The officer was responding to a complaint next door when he noticed the child and initiated an investigation, ultimately removing five children from the home. Dorian Lee Harper, 57, was arrested at the scene, and Wanda Sue Larson, 57, who also lived there, was charged later. The couple had adopted four of the children, aged from eight to 14, and were serving as foster parents for the 11-year-old. They have both been charged with “intentional child abuse — inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment, and cruelty to animals,” the statement said.