A team of smokejumpers parachuting into a fire in the mountains of Southern Oregon landed in an illegal marijuana garden being prepared for growing season.
The six smokejumpers from a base in Redmond found the site Monday evening, when there was a rash of lightning strikes.
Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson says the smokejumpers notified authorities, who hiked into the remote site in the Rogue River-Siskiyou (SIS'-kee-yoo) National Forest. They seized two guns and more than 1,000 little pot plants.
Carlson says the site near the community of Applegate was being cultivated by growers for Mexican drug gangs, and it's been used before.
She says the smokejumpers saw some people but weren't sure whether they were pot growers, so no one was arrested.
The smokejumpers extinguished the fire after it burned less than an acre.
Arizona authorities have arrested an 18-year-old Phoenix man in connection with a bomb threat that was tweeted after the Jodi Arias verdict was announced.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Joaquin Enriquez says Laquint Cherry was taken into custody early Thursday. He's facing a felony charge for making threats.
The investigation began Wednesday night after someone tweeted that an explosive device was going to be placed in the courtroom and was going to detonate Thursday afternoon. The sheriff's office increased security and conducted additional bomb sweeps but found nothing.
Enriquez says detectives traced the Twitter activity to a hotel in west Phoenix. The bomb squad and the SWAT team responded, and Cherry eventually came out of the hotel room. A woman who was with him was questioned and released.
Enriquez says the investigation is ongoing.
It wasn't immediately clear if Cherry had legal representation.
Jodi Arias will spend the weekend on suicide watch and return to court next week when jurors are expected to consider whether the death penalty should be an option for the former waitress' sentence.
Minutes after her conviction for killing a former boyfriend, Arias told a TV station she would "prefer to die sooner than later," complicating matters for defense lawyers who had hoped to spare her life during the penalty phase of the trial. The case was scheduled to resume Thursday, but court officials postponed it until Wednesday without any explanation.
The surprising interview with Fox affiliate KSAZ only added to the circus-like environment surrounding the trial, which has become a cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex, lies and violence. Since her arrest, Arias has repeatedly sought the spotlight, including TV interviews, 18 days on the witness stand before a global audience, jailhouse tweets and now the post-conviction comments.
She cannot choose the death penalty. It is up to the jury to make a sentencing recommendation, and the judge will then make the final decision.
If she were sentenced to death, she could decide not to appeal to speed up the process, but it could still take years to play out as she lives under punishing conditions on death row. The state Department of Corrections says Arizona death row inmates have little contact with the outside world and only get to leave their solitary cells for two hours a day, three times a week. They get three showers a week.
The panel of eight men and four women convicted Arias of first-degree murder Wednesday after about 15 hours of deliberations over four days. Testimony began in early January.
The so-called "aggravation" phase of the trial was expected to begin next week. When it does, jurors will deliberate one more time to determine whether the death penalty should be an option for sentencing Arias.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez must convince the panel that the murder was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner. This phase will be a mini-trial of sorts, as both sides call witnesses to present testimony to jurors — the defense in an effort to spare Arias' life, the prosecution to at least have a shot at a death sentence.
If jurors find the killing fits the definition of cruel and heinous, the panel will recommend either life in prison or death.
If the panel finds no aggravating factors exist, jurors will be dismissed and the judge will determine whether Arias should spend the rest of her life in prison or be sentenced to 25 years with the possibility of release.
Arias admitted killing her onetime boyfriend Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008. She initially denied any involvement, then later blamed masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense when the victim attacked her after a day of sex.
Prosecutors said she planned the killing in a jealous rage as Alexander wanted to end their affair and was planning to take a trip to Mexico with another woman.
Phoenix criminal defense lawyer Dwane Cates said Arias has presented obstacle after obstacle for her defense attorneys, who are now just trying to save her life.
"Her defense counsel put four years of their lives into this," Cates said. "They're trying to do everything they can for her, and every problem they have in this case is caused by her.
"Every time she opens her mouth, she creates a new problem for the defense," Cates added.
He said prosecutor Juan Martinez will likely play for jurors the jailhouse interview from several years ago in which she said she wouldn't be convicted — along with the interview she did after her conviction.
"I would say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, she challenged you to convict her and you did. Now give her her wish and put her to death,'" Cates said.
Defendants convicted of crimes rarely do interviews right after convictions and before being sentenced, but Arias honored an earlier request that she talk to the Fox station in the event of a first-degree murder conviction.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail system, has allowed Arias to do other media interviews and even put on a videotaped "American Idol"-style Christmas singing contest in which Arias took home the top prize.
The sheriff's office said no more interviews will be allowed with Arias now that she is on suicide watch.
During the next phase of the trial, prosecutors will likely call back to the witness stand the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, as well as the lead detective to explain for jurors how Alexander did not die quickly and likely suffered tremendous pain.
Arias stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, shot him in the forehead and slit his throat from ear to ear, leaving the motivational speaker and businessman nearly decapitated before she dragged his mutilated body into his shower where friends found him about five days later.
Complicating things even more for her attorneys are Arias' own words. As she sat in jail awaiting trial several years ago, she made a bold prediction during an interview on the television show "Inside Edition."
"No jury will convict me," she said. Then she went before a camera Wednesday and made more news.
"Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place," a tearful Arias said. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
Brian Skoloff can be followed at https://twitter.com/bskoloff .
Justices of Massachusetts' highest court heard arguments Thursday on whether special magistrates who are trying to unburden trial courts of a flood of drug cases tainted by a state laboratory scandal may release convicts on bail before they're granted new trials.
Special "drug lab" court sessions began after authorities shut down Hinton state lab in Boston last summer following allegations that former chemist Annie Dookhan faked test results and tampered with evidence in narcotics cases.
Dookhan, 35, of Franklin, has pleaded not guilty to perjury, obstruction of justice and other charges following a 27-count grand jury indictment stemming from cases in six counties. Authorities have said Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab.
Since then, dozens of defendants whose cases involved evidence that Dookhan handled have been freed while their new trial motions are pending.
But Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett is challenging whether the special magistrates, all retired Superior Court judges, may put sentences on hold and release drug convicts on bail before decisions on whether they'll get new trials.
Typically, a judge first decides whether a defendant should get a new trial and then considers whether that person should be free in the meantime.
Blodgett's office also is asking the high court to decide whether a special magistrate has the authority to reconsider a decision by a judge to deny a motion to put a sentence on hold and release a defendant on bail. And the district attorney wants the court to clarify whether a guilty plea by a so-called Dookhan defendant is valid if the process involves a judge and a special magistrate.
"The rules of criminal procedure are not being followed," Essex Assistant District Attorney Ron DeRosa told the seven judges of the Supreme Judicial Court.
But lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the state's public defender agency, Committee for Public Counsel Services, argued that the thousands of defendants whose cases are caught up in the crisis deserve immediate relief.
"Defendants lost their liberty on account of this fraud," CPCS attorney Beth Eisenberg told the justices.
The agencies made their legal arguments on behalf of two drug convicts from Essex County cases who are seeking release from custody.
ACLU lawyer Matthew Segal asked the justices to affirm the authority of the special magistrates, saying defendants are bearing a burden caused by misconduct at the lab.
In a third related case, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Miller argued on behalf of the Massachusetts Superior Court system, saying use of special magistrates is an effort by the court "to address these cases in a timely way and in an unchaotic way."
She said the lab scandal set up an unprecedented problem in the criminal justice system, and that inmates need a mechanism to come forward and ask for release.
A court spokeswoman said the justices will issue a ruling within 130 days.