A Northern California white supremacist convicted of killing a child molester has been sentenced to 26 years to life in prison, while his wife — convicted of being an accessory — will be released from jail in about two months, The Sacramento Bee reported (http://bit.ly/17D3Y4l ) Saturday.
Charles Francis Gaskins, 48, was sentenced Friday after pleading no contest in March for the killing of Neil Hayes in 2009. A probation report said Gaskins was a member of a supremacist group that required its members to attack anyone with a history of child molestation.
Gaskins and his wife — Sandra Sheaves — was living in a home she owned in Carmichael, a community outside of Sacramento, when they allowed the 66-year-old Hayes to move in. Gaskins had met Hayes while they were both serving time in prison, The Bee said.
When Sheaves discovered on the Megan's Law website that Hayes was a registered sex offender, she told Gaskins.
Gaskins and Sheaves confronted Hayes in the garage of the home, with Gaskins killing him by repeatedly hitting him in the head with a large rock, prosecutors said.
Hayes' body was later found dumped along the side of a rural road about 35 miles away in Placerville.
As part of his no-contest plea, Gaskins insisted authorities go easy on Sheaves, who also was charged with Hayes' murder.
Prosecutors agreed, allowing her to plead no contest to accessory to murder. Sheaves, 43, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
"In a way, you almost instigated this, by showing the information from Megan's Law to Mr. Gaskins," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Sharon Lueras said in sentencing Sheaves.
With time served and other factors, Sheaves is expected to be released in 66 days, according to her attorney, James Warden.
Faced with hefty operating costs, the foundation building the 9/11 museum at the World Trade Center has decided to charge an admission fee of $20 to $25 when the site opens next year.
The exact cost of the mandatory fee has not yet been decided.
Entry to the memorial plaza with its twin reflecting pools will still be free.
The decision to charge for the underground museum housing relics of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks has been met with dismay by some relatives of 9/11 victims.
Memorial foundation head Joseph Daniels said Saturday that the museum has little choice. It's expected to cost nearly $60 million a year to operate the site.
Daniels said the museum will be free during certain hours every week.
Niall Ferguson, a Harvard history professor and author, is apologizing for saying economist John Maynard Keynes didn't care about the future because he was gay and had no children.
Ferguson made the remarks on Thursday during a question-and-answer session after a prepared speech at the Altegris Strategic Investment conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Asked to comment about Keynes, he suggested that the British economist's philosophy was shaped by being homosexual and therefore childless.
The remarks were reported by the website of Financial Advisor magazine and other online publications.
On Saturday Ferguson acknowledged the remarks and said he never should have suggested Keynes' economic philosophy was inspired by his personal life. He said he deeply apologized.
Federal authorities are placing intense pressure on what they know to be the inner circle of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, arresting three college buddies of surviving brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and keeping Tamerlan Tsarnaev's 24-year-old widow, Katherine Russell, in the public eye with their open surveillance and leaks to media about investigators' focus on her.
Legal experts say it's part of their quest not just to determine whether Russell and the friends are culpable but also to push for as much information as possible regarding whether the bombing suspects had ties to a terrorism network or accomplices working domestically or abroad. A primary goal is to push the widow and friends to give their full cooperation, according to the experts.
Russell is "assisting" investigators, a source close to her tells Fox News, though reports say she may not be fully cooperating.
David Zlotnick, a professor of law at Roger Williams University and former federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia, said authorities may be tracking Russell closely because they feel she's not being completely honest about all she knows.
"It seems to me they don't believe her yet," he said.
Dzhokhar is in a prison hospital, facing a potential death sentence if convicted of the terrorism plot that authorities allege the 19-year-old and his late 26-year-old brother carried out April 15. Twin pressure cooker bombs detonated near the race's finish line, leaving three people dead and injuring more than 260 others. Tamerlan died in a gunfight with authorities April 19, a day after authorities released photos of the suspects.
Tamerlan's widow has been ensconced at her parents' North Kingstown, R.I., home since then. Much about her remains a mystery, including what she knew or witnessed in the weeks, months and years before the bombings, and what she saw and did in the days after.
It's unclear when Russell last communicated with her husband, but her lawyer, Amato DeLuca, told The Associated Press in an interview last month that the last time she saw him was before she went to work April 18. DeLuca said Tuesday that Russell had met with law enforcement "for many hours over the past week," and would continue to do so in the coming days. He previously told the AP that Russell didn't suspect her husband of anything before the bombings, and nothing seemed amiss in the days after.
Zlotnick said the fact that charges have been brought against the younger brother's three friends from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth over allegations they covered up for Dzhokhar indicates authorities are willing to go after the widow for similar actions. That puts pressure on Russell to cooperate.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, students from Kazakhstan, were charged this week with conspiring to obstruct justice by taking a backpack with fireworks and a laptop from Dzhokhar's dorm room, while Robel Phillipos was charged with lying to investigators about the visit to the dorm room. All three are 19 years old and face the possibility of five or more years in federal prison.
Investigators may also focus on the timeline of events regarding the teens' actions, experts say. The teens made contact with Dzhokar before a shootout that killed an MIT officer, but did not call authorities.
Federal, state and local authorities are also continuing to search the woods near the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus, a U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives official confirms to Fox News.
ATF spokeswoman Debora Seifert says no search warrants have been executed and they are searching public areas.
The lawyers for the Kazakh students said their clients had nothing to do with the bombing and were shocked by the crime. Phillipos' attorney, Derege Demissie, said he was accused only of a "misrepresentation."
Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge in Massachusetts and a professor at Harvard Law School, said she believes authorities will try to use the conspiracy charges against the friends to turn them into cooperating witnesses against Dzhokhar. They will also see if the defendants can help them determine if there's a wider plot and a continuing danger for citizens.
"I think it's to find out ... are there other tentacles here?" Gertner said.
A grand jury is likely already hearing testimony against Dzhokhar, said Michael Sullivan, a former U.S. attorney for Massachusetts who also once headed the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said investigators will be looking into whether the brothers tested bombs before the attack and asking questions about whom Tamerlan had contact with when he traveled to Russia last year.
Those are some of the things they would also want to know from Russell.
One of investigators' goals right now is "to figure out if she has knowledge of how he became radicalized, who he spoke to, how he may have learned to make the bomb and whether there are others out there who share his views," said Ron Sullivan, a professor and director of Harvard's Criminal Justice Institute.
In addition to threatening her with criminal charges and a potential prison sentence to get what they want from her, Ron Sullivan said authorities can bring social pressure to bear, including leaking information that suggests she isn't being helpful.
"She's the mother of a young daughter. I imagine she does not want to be deemed as a pariah or ostracized by the whole country," he said.
One question that swirls around Russell is what she saw inside the cramped Cambridge apartment she shared with Tamerlan, whom she married in 2010, and their toddler. Two U.S. officials have told the AP that Dzhokhar told investigators the bombs were assembled in that apartment. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the details of the ongoing investigation.
Robert Clark Corrente, a former U.S. attorney for Rhode Island, said it is unlikely Russell could be prosecuted if she saw a pressure cooker in the home. But if she saw a dozen pressure cookers and several bags of fireworks, that could be a different story.
Her culpability for her actions after the bombings is also a matter of degrees. She could be in trouble if authorities determine she harbored someone or destroyed evidence. But even if Russell communicated with her husband after the release of his photo as the bombing suspect, Corrente said she may not be charged because of the public way it happened.
"I think anybody would be expected to call his or her spouse and say, 'You won't believe what I just saw on TV,"' Corrente said.
The arrests of Dzhokhar's friends and scrutiny of Russell may also have a deterrent effect by demonstrating what happens to people who don't alert authorities if someone close to them is involved in a terror plot, Zlotnick said.
Eugene O'Donnell, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice lecturer and former police officer and assistant district attorney in New York City, said the message from federal authorities is clear: "No stone will be unturned" in their probe.
"I think after 9/11 there's really a kitchen sink approach to national security," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The public face of the National Rifle Association is imploring members to never surrender their weapons in the wake of recent gun control efforts in Congress that he said will "destroy us and every ounce of our freedom."
Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre spoke in Houston during the organization's annual member meeting, which is part of the yearly convention.
LaPierre told several thousand people that the "political and media elites" have tried to use December's shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and other recent mass shootings "to blame us, to shame us, to compromise our freedom for their agenda."
He also implored lawmakers to instead enforce current federal gun laws and rebuild the nation's mental health system.