77-year-old Carroll County woman dies while awaiting trial in husband’s murder case

A 77-year-old Carroll County woman died Monday, May 13, while awaiting trial on murder charges in connection with the beating death of her husband. According to the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, Gail D’Anthony died while in the custody of the Maryland Department of Health, to which she was committed because it was determined she was incompetent to stand trial and was a danger to herself and to others. A competency hearing was scheduled in June.

Prosecutors said D’Anthony was charged on accusations that she used a cane in the fatal beating of her 72-year-old husband, John D’Anthony III, on the night of March 1, 2023, at the couple’s Westminster home.

Prosecutors said an autopsy confirmed John D’Anthony suffered extensive injuries, including blunt force injuries, including, but not limited to, lacerations to his mouth, a broken neck, a broken right rib, two black eyes and large contusions to his hands and forearms.

The medical examiner found the injuries were inconsistent with a single fall or otherwise natural death and ruled it a homicide, prosecutors said.

Witnesses told investigators that Gail D’Anthony confessed to killing her husband by pushing him to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the ground and hitting him with a cane repeatedly to keep him down until he was no longer breathing, prosecutors said.

Gail D’Anthony’s daughter, Jessica Annoreno, released a statement on behalf of her father through the state’s attorney’s office, “Anyone that knew Jack D’Anthony knew he was a good person. He was a good father and a good grandfather. I will never forget the day my mother called to admit to me what she did to him. He didn’t deserve to die that way, so it is frustrating that the case ended short of getting the justice that he deserves. My family will continue to celebrate his life.”

“Gail D’Anthony did not escape justice via her death. She will now answer for her crimes to a higher authority. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Jack D’Anthony,” Carroll County State’s Attorney Haven Shoemaker said in a statement.

Cruise ship traffic set to kick off for first time since bridge collapse

For the first time since the collapse of the Key Bridge, cruise ships will embark from and arrive at the Port of Baltimore.

According to the Port of Baltimore, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Vision of the Seas’ will depart from the Port on May 25 for a five-night voyage from Baltimore to Bermuda.

In announcing this excitement development, the Port of Baltimore took to “x,” sharing “Baltimore is Back.”

Moreover, on May 17, a separate cruise line announced that one of their ships, the Carnival Pride, is set to resume sailing from the Port of Baltimore on May 26.

The Carnival Pride will arrive in charm city following a week-long cruise that embarked from Norfolk, Va., where Carnival temporarily moved its Baltimore operations after the collapse.

The port is home to year-round sailing, servicing cruise ships from Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian.

According to officials, the ship’s next sailing, a 14-day cruise to Greenland, is expected to sail round-trip from Baltimore.

Speaking on the boat’s return to Baltimore, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy shared,

“We are extremely grateful to the officials and incredible first responders in Baltimore, who’ve shown great leadership and resolve in this difficult time, as well as our supportive partners in Norfolk, whose rapid response allowed us to continue to deliver our scheduled sailings for our guests.”

“It’s been our goal to resume operations in Baltimore as soon as possible, and after working closely with local, state and federal agencies, we look forward to a successful return.”

Giant set to close Edmondson Ave location, as Wilkens Avenue store set to re-open

Giant Food announced it will close a west Baltimore location as another store is set to re-open this summer.

Giant announced it’s closing the store at 4624 Edmondson Ave. effective on June 13, while the location at 4622 Wilkens Ave. will celebrate its re-opening on June 7.

Giant President Ira Kress released a statement, saying: “We believe the expansion and enhanced amenities at our newly remodeled Wilkens Avenue store offers a fantastic replacement for our Edmondson Avenue location. We look forward to welcoming our Edmondson Avenue customers to their new store.”

The statement also said that all the employees from the Edmondson location were offered the opportunity to transfer to a nearby location.

The store will also notify pharmacy customers that their prescriptions will be moved to the a Giant store closest to their homes.

Baltimore City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, D-District 8, released a statement, saying: “Upon learning this unfortunate news, I immediately reached out to the new ownership team of Edmondson Village Shopping Center to discuss the possibility of opening a grocery store at this location. They’re very supportive of the idea, and it’s my hope that this can come to fruition. At the moment, we still have a long road ahead.”

Kim Klacik projected winner in Republican primary for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District

Republican Kim Klacik is the projected winner of the 2024 Republican primary for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, according to the Associated Press.

Klacik filed for her current congressional run in February of this year. She ran for Congress in 2020. She went viral during her first run for Congress in a video of her walking some streets of Baltimore, which sparked debate across party lines. “I believe in fighting for every American who loves this country,” reads a statement on Klacik’s website.

“Young or elderly, weak or strong, we all make up this great nation. We cannot create a stronger union without prioritizing the needs of our people first. That is why I am running for Maryland’s second district, and I hope to gain your support.”

Klacik is running to replace retiring 11-term U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger. Ruppersberger has issued his support for John Olszewski Jr., the current Baltimore County executive.

Four big takeaways from Day 16 of Trump’s hush money trial

The criminal hush money trial of former President Donald Trump reached a crescendo Monday when the state’s star witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, testified about his ex-boss directing him to “just take care of” a payment to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the waning days of his 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen claimed that Trump blessed those negotiations, approved the final deal, and signed off on the reimbursement plan in the final days before his presidential inauguration. Cohen testified that the sole purpose of the scheme was to protect Trump’s political fortunes and obscure his role in orchestrating the arrangements.

“Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign off,” Cohen said on the stand.

Trump is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records to hide the reimbursement of a hush money payment that Cohen made to Stormy Daniels in order to boost Trump’s electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election. The payment was to buy Daniels’ silence about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump that the former president has steadfastly denied.

Cohen delivered critical testimony for prosecutors from a man who they acknowledge carries significant baggage. But instead of the hyperbolic bombast Cohen often espouses from behind his keyboard, the Michael Cohen jurors met on Monday stayed on message.

The big question now: Will jurors buy it?

Here are four big takeaways from Day 16 of Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

‘Just do it,’ Cohen said Trump told him

Donald Trump’s fixer-turned-foe claimed that the then-candidate ordered him to “just do it,” referring to the execution of a payment to Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 campaign.

It was the most direct testimony jurors have heard tethering Trump to the concept of “catch-and-kill” payments to keep unfavorable stories under wraps. Cohen said he solicited feedback from Trump at every point in the process — from the moment he learned of the allegations to the day payments were executed.

He did so “because everything required Mr. Trump’s sign off,” Cohen said.

“I wanted to ensure that once again he approved what he was doing, because I required approval from him on all of this,” Cohen said.

After hesitating to approve a payment to Daniels, Trump relented, Cohen said, after discussing the matter with “some friends.”

“He stated to me that he had spoken to some friends, some individuals, very smart people. It’s $130,000. Just pay it. There’s no reason to keep this thing out there. Just do it. So he expressed to me, ‘Just do it,’” Cohen said.

Daniels’ payment was ‘all about the campaign,’ Cohen said

If Stormy Daniels’ story had emerged in the press prior to the 2016 election, Cohen testified that the fallout would have been “catastrophic” for Trump’s campaign — particularly in the wake of the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump was heard boasting about grabbing women.

“Women are going to hate me, guys may think it’s cool,” Cohen recalled Trump telling him, “But this is going to be a disaster for the campaign.”

“At the time, Mr. Trump was … polling very poorly with women,” Cohen testified, saying that, coupled with the “Access Hollywood” release, “would have been ‘catastrophic’ for his electoral prospects.”

When the time came to execute a payment to Stormy Daniels, Trump still encouraged Cohen to hold out — allegedly citing the upcoming Election Day deadline.

“I want you to push it out as long as you can,” Cohen said Trump told him about the Daniels story. “Push it out past the election, because if I win, it has no relevance, and if I lose, I don’t really care.”

In short, Cohen said, “This was all about the campaign.”

Cohen stayed on script

Michael Cohen as a witness is a far cry from the Michael Cohen jurors have heard about so far.

Other witnesses have called him a “jerk” and “difficult” — describing him as a vicious pit bull who would eviscerate anyone who threatened to damage the reputation of his former boss.

But today, in front of the jury, he seemed earnest, morose and — most importantly for the state — on script.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger tried to back up every word of Cohen’s testimony with documentary evidence or prior testimony — questioning him in a deliberate style of testimony-document-testimony-document — relying as little as possible on his word alone.

And toward the end of a long day on the stand, Cohen sprinkled in a moment of levity — perhaps in an effort to endear himself to jurors — when he acknowledged his reputation as being short-fused.

Asked about his reaction to learning that his bonus at the Trump Organization would be slashed by tens of thousands of dollars, he said, “Even for myself, I was unusually angry,” drawing laughter from the gallery.

Cohen’s testimony will continue Tuesday

Cohen will return to the witness stand on Tuesday morning, when Hoffinger is scheduled tom continue her direct examination. Prosecutors still need to ask Cohen about the invoices and checks he received — documents that are central to their case.

At some point on Tuesday, Cohen will face what will likely be a hostile cross-examination from a member of Trump’s legal team — a tete-a-tete that will no doubt test the limits of his temperament.

The state has suggested they could rest their case as soon as this week — meaning Cohen will be one of their final witnesses.

Source WBAL

Democrat Thiru Vignarajah drops out of 2024 Baltimore mayoral race, endorses Shelia Dixon

Baltimore Democratic mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah is dropping out of the race.

“I’ve never done this before,” Vignarajah said of what he considers bittersweet news.

Vignarajah, 47, announced his decision Wednesday afternoon, and endorsed former Mayor Sheila Dixon’s campaign.

“This was, as you might imagine, not an easy decision,” Vignarajah said. “When we entered this race, it was because of the love I have — the love all of us have — for this great city. I still don’t know of any other city in the country that has a bigger distance between where we are and where we could be. Leadership his needed to unleash that potential.”

Vignarajah spoke of his support for Dixon, saying: “Sheila Dixon loves this city with all of her heart, she has her whole life … She has devoted herself to public service, she has devoted herself to make this city a little bit better.”

Speaking to why he’s endorsing the former mayor, Vignarajah said there’s more at stake to this election than just politics.

“When I talk to Sheila, when I hear her hopes and dreams for the city, when I hear the kinds of people that she knows are needed in government, that’s the kind of shared vision that I was excited to get behind,” Vignarajah said.

Dixon said she’s grateful and humble for Vignarajah’s supporting, saying she looks forward to working with him on his ideas, including one to create a digital tracking system for reporting issues in need of city services via 311.

“Choosing to step up out of this race is evidence of your love for Baltimore and your willingness for the best of Baltimore,” Dixon said.

As a former criminal prosecutor at the federal, state and local levels, Vignarajah ran in 2017 and 2022 for city state’s attorney. He first ran for mayor in 2020.

Source: WBAL

Protests at Columbia and other schools escalate

Pro-Palestinian protests continued at major US universities through Friday evening decrying Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Throughout the week, several schools called police on protesters, leading to the arrests of hundreds across the country. Protesters have demanded schools divest campus funds from entities connected to Israel.

Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to the enclave’s health ministry. Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack on Israel killed about 1,200 people.

College administrators are facing increasing pressure from lawmakers to rein in protests. At Columbia – the epicenter of the demonstrations – the school’s senate passed a resolution late Friday to investigate the university leadership’s handling of the protests. 

Purported recording of Pikesville HS principal was not authentic, contained AI content

The former athletic director at Pikesville High School has been arrested in connection to an AI-generated impersonation of the school’s principal. Dazhon Darien, 31, faces multiple charges, including stalking, theft, disruption of school operations, and retaliation against a witness, according to charging documents obtained by 11 News.

Police said the charges are connected to an investigation that started on Jan. 17 into a voice recording circulated on social media that was alleged to have been the voice of the school’s principal, Eric Eiswert.

Police said the audio clip, which was an alleged race-based commentary on the school’s students and teachers, was spread on social media. That led to the temporary removal of Eiswert from the school, as well as many hate-filled messages on social media and numerous calls to the school.

Police said Thursday afternoon that detectives have conclusive evidence based on a forensic analysis by the FBI that the recording was not authentic. Police said the analysis indicated the recording contained traces of AI-generated content. Detectives then sought an additional analysis by the University of California, Berkley, which arrived at the same findings as the FBI’s analysis.

Police said investigators believe Darien made the recording to retaliate against Eiswert, who, at the time, was pursuing an investigation into the potential mishandling of school funds.

Tennessee House passes bill allowing armed teachers, sending bill to the governor

Tennessee House Republicans on Tuesday passed legislation to allow some trained teachers and school staff to carry handguns despite pleas from Democrats, students and gun-reform advocates to defeat the bill.

Dozens of protestors in the galleries began chanting “Blood on your hands” as soon as the legislation passed, prompting House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, to order state troopers to clear the galleries. Many protestors continued to chant and stomp down at lawmakers as the House floor fell into chaos over parliamentary issues.

Four Republicans ultimately crossed the aisle to join Democrats in voting against the bill, with another three abstaining from the vote. Still, the measure easily sailed through the House on a 68-28 vote and is all but guaranteed to become law within weeks, as Gov. Bill Lee can either sign it into law or allow it to become law without his signature. Lee has never vetoed a bill.

Armed teachers, who will be required to undergo training that some opponents have argued is not intensive enough, will be allowed to carry handguns in their classrooms and in most campus situations without informing parents and most of their colleagues they’re armed.

On Tuesday, Republicans rejected several Democratic attempts to amend the bill, including requiring teachers keep their handguns locked up except during a school security breach, holding teachers civilly liable for using their handgun on campus and informing parents when guns are on campus.

The passage of the bill comes a little more than a year since the Covenant School shooting in Nashville left six people dead, including three children. And Democrats on Tuesday were broadly critical of the bill, both skeptical it could effectively stop a school shooter and concerned about unintended consequences, such as a teacher leaving a gun unattended for a student to find or the use of increased force during in-school discipline issues.

Baltimore port to open deeper channel, enabling some ships to pass after Key Bridge collapse

ONFIRE-TV.com – Officials in Baltimore plan to open a deeper channel for commercial ships to enter and leave the city’s port starting on Thursday — a significant step toward reopening the major maritime shipping hub that has remained closed to most traffic since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed last month. The new channel will be 35 feet (12 meters) deep, which is a substantial increase over the three other temporary channels established in recent weeks. It puts the cleanup effort slightly ahead of schedule, as officials previously said they hoped to open a channel of that depth by the end of April.

Five of the seven cargo ships that have been stuck in Baltimore’s harbor will be able to pass through the new channel, including one loaded car carrier, officials said Tuesday, marking one month since the deadly disaster. Other ships are scheduled to enter the port, which normally processes more cars and farm equipment than any other in the country.

“Four weeks ago, our way of life was dealt a huge blow with the collapse of the Key Bridge,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said during a news conference.