Nation & World Briefs 02-05-13 Records: Vet charged in Texas shooting deaths had been taken to metal hospital, claimed PTSF

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Iraq War veteran charged with gunning down two men on a Texas shooting range -- including a highly decorated former Navy SEAL sniper -- had been taken to a mental hospital twice in recent months and told authorities he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to police records.

After the shootings, Eddie Ray Routh, 25, also told his sister and brother-in-law he had "traded his soul for a new truck," according to an Erath County arrest warrant affidavit obtained by WFAA-TV. Police said Routh was driving the truck of victim and ex-Navy SEAL author Chris Kyle at the time of his arrest.

Routh is charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Kyle, author of the best-selling book American Sniper, and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range Saturday in Glen Rose. He is on suicide watch in the Erath County Jail, where he's being held on $3 million bail, Sheriff Tommy Bryant said.

Routh, a member of the Marines Corps Reserve, was first taken to a mental hospital Sept. 2 after he threatened to kill his family and himself, according to police records in Lancaster, where Routh lives. Authorities found Routh walking nearby with no shirt and no shoes, and smelling of alcohol. Routh told authorities he was a Marine veteran who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Denies prostitution allegation: After ducking comment for days, Sen. Robert Menendez is forcefully denying allegations he engaged with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. Calling the claims false "smears," Menendez told reporters on Monday that he had done nothing wrong. He condemned what he called "anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals" who he said have driven false stories into the mainstream media. Menendez's public denial came after the FBI last week conducted a search of the West Palm Beach offices of a Florida doctor who also was the senator's biggest political donor in his re-election campaign last year. The Daily Caller, a conservative website, reported Menendez had used a business jet owned by Dr. Salomon Melgen to fly to the Dominican Republican for trysts with prostitutes. None of the allegations has been substantiated.

Obama signs bill: President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill raising the government's borrowing limit, averting a default and delaying the next clash over the nation's debt until later this year. The legislation temporarily suspends the $16.4 trillion limit on federal borrowing. Experts say that will allow the government to borrow about $450 billion to meet interest payments and other obligations. The Senate gave the bill final approval last week and sent it to Obama, who signed it Monday shortly after returning from Minneapolis.

FDA allows generic version: Federal regulators say approval of the first generic version of cancer drug Doxil will help resolve a lingering shortage triggered by manufacturing deficiencies. The shortage of the Johnson & Johnson injectable medication, made under contract by Ben Venue Laboratories, has continued on and off for a few years. It's resulted in rationing, with some patients with ovarian and other cancers getting less-effective care, and disrupted studies testing Doxil against possible new treatments. The Food and Drug Administration said it's approved a generic version, called doxorubicin, made by Sun Pharma Global FZE.

To hold hearing on alcohol ban: Indiana lawmakers are ready to hear what the public has to say on proposals to end the state's long-running ban on Sunday retail alcohol sales. The Indiana House's public policy committee has scheduled a Wednesday public hearing at the Statehouse on bills that call for a lifting of the state's ban. Indiana is currently the last state in the nation to bar retail alcohol sales on Sundays.

Canada begins phasing out its penny: Canada started phasing out its penny, the nuisance coins that clutter dressers and cost more than their one-cent value to produce. The Royal Canadian Mint on Monday officially ended its distribution of pennies to financial institutions. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced last year they were a nuisance and have outlived their purpose. While people may still use pennies, the government has issued guidelines urging store owners to start rounding prices to the nearest nickel for cash transactions. Electronic purchases will still be billed to the nearest cent. The government has said the cost of the penny exceeds its monetary value. Production is $11 million a year. The coins, which feature two maple leaves and Queen Elizabeth II in profile, will remain legal tender until they eventually disappeared from circulation.

'Cookie Monster' sends second note: Police in Germany say someone dressed as the Cookie Monster has sent a second note regarding a stolen cookie sculpture -- this time saying he wants to return it. But officials aren't sure the person in the photo actually stole the 44 pound, century-old sculpture. The gilded bronze item was part of a statue outside German cookie baker Bahlsen's Hannover office, and it was reported stolen last month. The Hannover police's statement says a local newspaper on Monday received a picture of someone dressed like the Sesame Street character holding what appears to be the stolen cookie. An earlier letter demanded that cookies be delivered to children at a city hospital, but the new note made no demands.

To put "Fish McBites" in Happy Meals: McDonald's says it is offering its first new Happy Meal entree in a decade: Fish McBites. The world's biggest hamburger chain said the Fish McBites will be widely available at U.S. restaurants starting this week through March, to coincide with Lent. The Happy Meals will come with seven pieces of Fish McBites, French fries, apple slices and a drink. The company had already announced last month that the Fish McBites would be sold on the standard menu in three sizes -- snack (10 pieces), regular (15 pieces) and shareable (30 pieces). Fish McBites, which are fried pieces of fish, will use the same Alaska pollock used in the fast-food chain's Filet-O-Fish.

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