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On the Calendar:  Thursday, 3/5/2015 11:00 AM
~Red Beans & Blues Brunch~: DUE TO WEATHER: This event has been moved back to March 5. Join the Union Arts Council and the Union Parish Library as we host a Red Beans and Blues Brunch with local blues artist Slim Finley. Calendar

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AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Hold that gold watch. Peyton Manning is taking one more shot at the silver trophy. Weeks of speculation about the five-time MVP's future ended Wednesday with word that he's returning for an 18th season in the NFL and fourth in Denver. A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Manning will take a $4 million pay cut, from $19 million to $15 million, but that he can make it all back through performance incentives. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement of the deal. Manning, who is still scheduled to make $19 million in 2016 in the final season of the five-year contract he signed in 2012, will take his physical and sign his revised contract Thursday. Manning mulled retirement after the Broncos' playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. But he determined he still had the health and hunger to keep playing at age 39, when he tries to become the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl. "We're just excited to have him back," Pro Bowl running back C.J. Anderson told the AP. "Of course, he just wants to go out there and win that ring. And we're just trying to go out there and help him win it. ... If he said he's mentally and physically ready to play, that doesn't mean it's at a subpar level. It means it's at a high level." Manning, who won a title with the Colts in 2006, met with general manager John Elway a few weeks ago after taking some time to decompress from an arduous season and told him he wasn't ready to retire. Reminiscent of Brett Favre's annual flirtations with retirement, however, this saga dragged on as the Broncos and Manning's agent Tom Condon reworked the quarterback's contract. The $4 million savings won't drastically change Denver's free agency plans. It gives Elway about $20 million to work with, but much of that will go to his own restricted free agents and a large draft class. After dealing with a nagging thigh injury that hampered his performance down the stretch, Manning worked out this offseason in New Orleans with physical trainer Mackie Shilstone, renowned for helping athletes extend the twilight of their careers. On Feb. 12, Manning flew to Denver in team owner Pat Bowlen's jet to meet with Elway, CEO Joe Ellis and new coach Gary Kubiak. He also huddled with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who replaced Adam Gase, Manning's co-pilot in Denver's offense who followed John Fox to Chicago. Kubiak has designed mainly West Coast offenses throughout his career that often require the quarterback to line up under center and roll out. Mobility has never been Manning's calling card; he's been most comfortable making quick throws out of the shotgun in recent years. Yet, Kubiak said it's "easy to build a playbook" for Manning and noted that Joe Flacco, whom he tutored in Baltimore, rolled out a mere two dozen times last season. Manning is all in. "Aside maybe from Tubby Raymond's Delaware Blue Hen Wing-T offense, I feel pretty comfortable playing in any offense," Manning said recently. Elway said Kubiak's offense reminds him of the system he ran during the final, Super Bowl-winning years of his career, when Kubiak was his offensive coordinator. "Peyton can fit into this offense very easily," Elway said. "It's very dependent on balance. Peyton won't have to throw the ball 50 or 55 times. That gets more helpful, the older you get." Manning has successfully adjusted before: the last two times he had a new head coach, he went 14-2 and 13-3. Twelve hours after Manning delivered a shocker following Denver's 24-13 loss to the Colts in the playoffs, saying he was unsure about his football future, Elway beseeched him not to make a rash decision. Elway used the same give-him-space approach when he lured Manning to Denver following the quarterback's tearful release from Indianapolis in 2012. Manning had missed the entire 2011 season following neck fusion surgery, casting doubt on his future, so the Colts cut him to clear the way for No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck. Manning has led the Broncos to the best record in the NFL in each of his three seasons in Denver. Yet, each time, they unraveled in the playoffs: a 35-point Super Bowl loss to Seattle and two stunning home flops following first-round byes. Manning, who has thrown 131 of his NFL-best 530 touchdown passes in a Broncos uniform, has but one Super Bowl title, three fewer than Tom Brady, whom he'll face for the 17th time in 2015. While Brady readily professes his desire to play well into his 40s, Manning has always taken it one year at a time. In September, Manning said he liked Brady's "When I suck, I'll retire" quote. Manning is 179-77 in the regular season. His nine one-and-out playoff performances are about the only blot on a career that features an unprecedented five MVP honors but half as many rings as brother Eli. Manning owns most of the significant QB records and is 2,148 yards shy of breaking Favre's career yardage record of 71,838. He's also nine victories short of breaking Favre's record of 186 career wins. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL --- Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Thu, 05 Mar 2015 02:05:00 +0000
MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year labor contract

Major League Soccer and its players' union agreed in principle to a five-year labor contract, establishing free agency for the first time and averting a possible strike ahead of Friday's season opener. The deal, the culmination of talks that began last weekend in Washington, D.C., was announced Wednesday night and would replace the contract that expired Jan. 31. Under the agreement, players 28 and older could become free agents if they have eight seasons of MLS service and their contracts have expired, a person familiar with the details said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not yet been announced. The minimum salary would rise to $60,000, with a provision that some players could have a $50,000 minimum, the person said. The minimum was $48,500 for the first 24 roster spots on each team last year and $36,500 for the last six, with a requirement players at the lower figure had to be under 25 years old. Each team's salary budget will rise from $3.1 million last season to about $3.5 million this year. Only a portion of the salaries of high-priced designated players count against the budget. "This agreement will provide a platform for our players, ownership and management to work together to help build Major League Soccer into one of the great soccer leagues in the world," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. MLS's 20th season begins this weekend, with the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy hosting Chicago in the opener. The Fire traveled to California on Wednesday for the match. "We are pleased to finally turn our fans attention back to our players and the competition on the field as we get started on the 2015 season," Bob Foose, executive director of the MLS Players Union, said in a statement. Orlando and former FIFA Player of the Year Kaka host New York City and former Spanish World Cup champion David Villa on Sunday in the debut of the expansion teams that raise the league's total to 20 teams. The league and the U.S. Soccer Federation are in the first year of eight-year broadcast agreements with ESPN, Fox and Univision Deportes that they hope will increase MLS's exposure and ratings. MLS was established as a single entity in which the league owns all players' contracts. While stars such as Seattle's Clint Dempsey earn up to nearly $7 million, half the league's players last September had salaries under $100,000, according to the union. The previous labor contract, in 2010, was reached five days before the season opener. This deal, like the 2010 agreement, was reached with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. MLS has never had a work stoppage.

Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:05:00 +0000
With Peterson's status in question, Vikings pay a visit

The Minnesota Vikings have made their in-person pitch to Adrian Peterson, the latest step toward resolving the star running back's unclear status. Whether it's keeping him or turning to a trade, the Vikings will likely make up their minds soon about whether Peterson will continue his NFL career in purple. General manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer spent about four hours Wednesday afternoon at Peterson's home north of Houston. KHOU-TV recorded video of Peterson emerging from the gated mansion wearing a white T-shirt and black workout pants to greet the pair with a hug. Spielman and Zimmer left together later, dressed in sport coats and blue jeans, while photographers from several media outlets captured on camera their departure in a gray car. This was the first time they've had with Peterson since he was placed on paid leave in mid-September following his indictment in a child abuse case involving his 4-year-old son that was resolved with a plea bargain. The NFL later suspended Peterson without pay under the personal conduct policy, a punishment supposed to be in effect through April 15. But last week a federal judge overruled the league's arbitrator who had denied Peterson's appeal. The NFL promptly appealed the decision to a higher court and put Peterson back on the exempt list in the meantime, which created the opportunity for direct contact by the Vikings. "I appreciate Rick and Coach Zimmer coming down to see me today," Peterson said in a statement. "We had a great dialogue and they were able to understand where I was coming from and concerns my family and I still have. We respect each other and hopefully the situation can pan out so that everyone involved is content. " Peterson told ESPN in a recent interview he's uneasy about returning to the organization, though he's still under contract with a $12.75 million base salary for 2015. His agreement to the meeting Wednesday stemmed from his respect for Zimmer, for whom he's only played one game. The Vikings have plenty of space under the salary cap to keep Peterson on his current contract. Everyone from co-owner Mark Wilf to Spielman to Zimmer has said they'll welcome Peterson back once he's fully reinstated by the NFL. Only if Peterson wants to be there, of course. If the relationship were determined to be irreparable, the Vikings would probably try to deal him for a draft pick or two. The Spielman-Zimmer visit to Peterson's home conjured reminders of 2010, when the Vikings sent three players to persuade quarterback Brett Favre to return for another season. Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson and Ryan Longwell spent an August night at Favre's house in Mississippi before he decided to come back. That story didn't turn out well, as the Vikings went 6-10 after reaching the NFC championship game the previous season behind a career-best performance by Favre. His consecutive games streak was stopped at 297 that December because of a shoulder injury. His career ended two weeks later with a concussion. --- AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:08:00 +0000
Ray Allen says he will not play this NBA season

MIAMI (AP) Ray Allen might return to the NBA - just not this season. The league's all-time leading 3-point shooter who played for two NBA championship clubs announced Wednesday that he decided not to sign with any franchise for the remainder of this season, although he left the door open for a possible return in 2015-16. "Over the past several months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what is best for me," Allen said in a statement released through the office of his agent, Jim Tanner. "I've ultimately decided that I will not play this NBA season." Allen's future has been the source of incessant speculation since last summer, so much so that at one point Tanner felt compelled to post a message on social media and deny widespread reports that the future Hall of Fame sharpshooter had signed with Cleveland. "Ray has received enormous interest from a number of NBA teams throughout this season," Tanner said in the same statement. "We will communicate with interested teams as Ray makes a decision for the 2015-16 season." Allen turns 40 on July 20, though he's long prided himself on keeping an extremely high level of fitness. Many of his social-media posts in recent months have been directly related to either his workouts, his passion for running or to encourage others to become more fit. Allen is a 10-time All-Star who was part of Boston's title in 2008 and Miami's in 2013 - the season when he hit one of the biggest shots in NBA postseason history, a overtime-forcing 3-pointer from the right corner with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of that season's Finals against San Antonio. The Heat won that game, then prevailed in Game 7 for their second straight crown. He also played for the Heat in 2013-14, then became a free agent and will stay that way - for now, anyway. "I'm going to take the remainder of this season, as well as the upcoming offseason, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I will play in the 2015-16 season," Allen said. Allen's 2,973 3-pointers lead the NBA's all-time chart by a wide margin, 413 ahead of Reggie Miller and 928 up on Jason Terry, who is third on that list. Allen - the former Connecticut star who played for Milwaukee and Seattle before moving on to Boston and Miami - also ranks among the league's career leaders in free-throw percentage (7th), minutes (12th), games played (15th), points (22nd) and field goals made (24th). In exactly 1,300 regular-season games, Allen averaged 18.9 points. He also averaged 16.1 points in 171 postseason contests.

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:47:00 +0000
AP sources: Eagles deal running back McCoy for Bills' Alonso

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) LeSean McCoy will lead Rex Ryan's "ground and pound" running attack for the Buffalo Bills next season. Two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to trade McCoy, their star running back, to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The people spoke under condition of anonymity because the teams had not announced the deal. ESPN first reported the trade. The deal has been agreed to, but can't be completed until the 2015 league season begins on Tuesday. McCoy had an inconsistent season last year after leading the NFL with 1,607 yards rushing in 2013. At his best, McCoy is an elite multidimensional running back who has been a proven threat as both a runner and receiver. He enjoyed his best season in 2013, scoring nine touchdowns rushing, adding 539 yards receiving and one touchdown. One reason for McCoy's drop in production last season was a banged-up offensive line in which all five projected starters never played one game together. McCoy's addition leaves C.J. Spiller in search of a new team. He is eligible to become a free agent next week. Buffalo's 2010 first-round draft pick told the NFL Network the Bills informed him of the trade, and told him "they were going in that direction, pretty much giving me a `Thank you for your service."' "Nothing has changed," Spiller said about his offseason approach. "The game plan is still the same. The only thing is that I won't be returning to Buffalo." Alonso will be reunited with Chip Kelly, who coached the linebacker at his previous job at Oregon. Alonso made an immediate impact in Buffalo after being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. He emerged as a top defensive rookie of the year contender after leading Buffalo with 159 tackles, two fumble recoveries and tying for the team lead with four interceptions while barely missing a snap in playing all 16 games. Alonso's career was derailed in July when he sustained a season-ending left knee injury during a pre-training camp workout at Oregon. He spent all of last season recovering and is expected to be healthy for the start of spring minicamps. In Buffalo, McCoy, 26, will be reunited with former Eagles running back Bryce Brown, who was acquired by the Bills in a trade in May. With questions at quarterback, the Bills are intending to introduce a run-heavy offense under Ryan and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The trade to acquire McCoy is the next in a series of moves to upgrade the Bills' running attack, which sputtered under former coach Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract on Dec. 31. Buffalo finished 25th in the NFL in yards crushing in managing 1,482 yards to set a 16-game season franchise low. That was regarded as a huge disappointment for a team that entered the season featuring an established one-two running back tandem of Spiller and Fred Jackson. Injuries didn't help. Spiller missed seven games with a broken collarbone, while Jackson was slowed by knee and groin injuries. The Bills have already taken a gamble to upgrade their offensive line by signing guard Richie Incognito, who had been out of football since the middle of the 2013 season for his involvement in the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal. Roman has an established track record for running the ball after spending the previous four seasons overseeing the 49ers' offense. The 49ers finished among the top 10 in yards rushing all four times. Roman's approach isn't expected to change in Buffalo based on comments he made during his introductory news conference in January. "If you can exert your will at the line of scrimmage, it's going to open a lot of other things in the offense," Roman said. "So to simply say, `Hey, we're just going to run the football,' well, nobody simply runs the football. But we want to run the football to a level of where people respect and fear us in our ability to do so." The quiet and soft-spoken - but hard-hitting - Alonso quickly emerged as a fan favorite in Buffalo for his durability and on-field intensity. With two interceptions in a 23-20 win over Baltimore on Sept. 29, 2013, Alonso became the league's first rookie linebacker since Al Richardson in 1980 to have an interception in three straight games. After playing the middle linebacking role as a rookie, Alonso was set to move to an outside position before he hurt his knee. --- AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 02:20:00 +0000
AP source: Vikings to meet with Adrian Peterson on Wednesday

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Adrian Peterson is about to feel what it's like to be recruited again. Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman plan to travel to Peterson's home near Houston on Wednesday to meet with their disgruntled star running back, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because neither side was publicly discussing the process. Peterson's wife, Ashley, will also be part of the meeting in which Zimmer and Spielman will try to convince the 2012 league MVP that he should remain with the Vikings after missing almost all of last season while addressing child abuse charges in Texas. It will be the first time Peterson will meet face to face with Vikings officials since September, and time is of the essence. The new league year, including trades and free agency, opens March 10. The door opened for the sides to meet after a federal judge ruled last week that an arbitrator erred in retroactively punishing Peterson under the league's new personal conduct policy even though Peterson whipped his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch before the policy change. The NFL increased the minimum suspension for acts of domestic violence from two games to six. U.S. District Judge David Doty said the arbitrator failed in his duties and sent the case back to league. The NFL is appealing Doty's ruling. It has removed Peterson from the suspended list and placed him back on paid leave, which allows the running back to meet with Zimmer and Spielman. The case could also return to arbitration or be settled. USA Today first reported the planned meeting. Peterson has expressed displeasure with what he believes is a lack of support from key members of the Vikings front office throughout his ordeal. That, coupled with a possible desire by the Vikings to restructure a contract that is set to pay the soon-to-be 30-year-old Peterson $12.75 million next season, has put a strain on the relationship. "I think it's been very clearly stated that we want Adrian Peterson back," Spielman said on Monday. "There's no question about the talent. He's a unique talent, and he's under contract with us next year."' Peterson told ESPN last month that he felt "uneasy" with the team. Spielman has declined to comment on the Vikings' plans for Peterson's salary, but the team has made several high-profile statements in the last two months in support of Peterson, including from Spielman, owner Mark Wilf and COO Kevin Warren. No one has been more vocal in his support of Peterson than Zimmer, the straight-talker who only got to coach Peterson for one game in his first season on the job. Throughout last season while the legal process played out, Zimmer was the lone Vikings voice to regularly back Peterson. Now he'll have a chance to try to smooth things over between the organization and the face of the franchise. --- AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:27:00 +0000
Denver Nuggets fire coach Brian Shaw with team in slide

DENVER (AP) Last week, Denver Nuggets players broke their huddle with a chant of "1-2-3 ... Six weeks," interpreted by some as a countdown to the end of a season gone sour. Brian Shaw didn't even make it that far. The first-time head coach was fired after 1 1/2 seasons on Tuesday, with the team at 20-39 and struggling to win at home. Assistant coach Melvin Hunt was promoted to interim coach and the Nuggets promptly won in his first game, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 106-95 to end a six-game slide. The timing of the dismissal was somewhat surprising given that just last week general manager Tim Connelly seemed to signal Shaw's job was safe at least through the end of the season. "We were hopeful we could dig ourselves out of the hole, play more respectful basketball," Connelly explained. "Unfortunately, our struggles have been pretty immense and led to today." Bucks coach Jason Kidd said he had dinner with Shaw the night before and that Shaw didn't appear to have any sort of inkling his firing was imminent. "This wasn't anything, I don't think, he saw coming," Kidd said after his team's morning practice. "It's unfortunate what happened with B-Shaw, being one of my mentors as a player and also a good friend." Shaw went 56-85 for a .397 winning percentage. The Nuggets were in the midst of 10 straight losses at home - one shy of tying the franchise record set in 1997-98 - before ending the skid on Tuesday night. The team has also nosedived since the All-Star break, going 1-6, and attendance has suffered. Forward J.J. Hickson said Shaw addressed the team before departing. Shaw's message was simply to "finish up strong and be pros. Wished all of us luck," Hickson recounted. Asked if Shaw lost the locker room, Hickson said, "not in my opinion." "Have to look in the mirror individually, and own up to some of the stuff that's going on around here," Hickson added. Nuggets President Josh Kroenke said the team will look for a permanent coach after the season. "This has been a trying season for all of us," Kroenke said in a statement. "And we appreciate Nuggets fans continued faith and patience as we build our proud organization back to the NBA's elite." Shaw replaced George Karl, who was ousted after Denver won a franchise-record 57 games in 2012-13 only to be bounced from the first round of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. The first season as an NBA head coach for Shaw was marked by injuries and a dispute with point guard Andre Miller, who was eventually traded to Washington. The Nuggets went 36-46, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03. The Nuggets returned to health this season, but failed to live up to expectations. The affable Shaw was seemingly on the hot seat in November after Portland torched the Nuggets for 84 points in the first half. It was the most points scored in the first half by a Denver opponent since Phoenix scored an NBA-record 107 points on Nov. 10, 1990. Things began to settle down, though, and the Nuggets went on a five-game win streak. Later, Shaw even eliminated morning shoot-arounds on game days to give his players more time to rest. In January, Ty Lawson was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence. A month later, the speedy point guard skipped the first practice after the All-Star break when he missed his flight back from Las Vegas. That didn't sit well with Shaw, who kept Lawson out for a game. Last Friday against Utah, Nuggets players uttered the "1-2-3. ... Six weeks" chant when Shaw wasn't around. Shaw told The Denver Post and other outlets Monday the chant "all stemmed from me saying that we hadn't won a game in six weeks on our home floor. So I just want to set the record straight in terms of that. That's the real truth behind what's taken off and put us all in a bad light." After winning three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers during his playing career, Shaw won two more as an assistant under Phil Jackson before becoming associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers. He interviewed for a dozen head coaching positions before Kroenke hired him on June 25, 2013. Kroenke called Shaw a "champion and a gentleman." He noted that since the Kroenke family purchased the franchise in 2000 "we have constantly strived to field a competitive team." In noting the 10 consecutive playoff appearances and 57-win season in 2012-13, he said: "Expectations have been raised and we want more." Hunt, who's in his fifth season as an assistant for the Nuggets, said he will borrow some tactics from both Karl and Shaw. "All 10 toes are in," Hunt said. "We're going to figure out a way to win games." --- AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:50:00 +0000
AP Source: Greg Hardy to meet with NFL officials

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers defensive end and soon-to-be free agent Greg Hardy will meet with NFL officials in New York on Wednesday to discuss his domestic violence case, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no public announcement of the meeting has been made. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment. The meeting means Hardy's lengthy legal saga could be coming to an end soon. Hardy has been on the commissioner's exempt list since September. He becomes a free agent March 10. While he's not expected to re-sign with Carolina, he could command millions on the market. Hardy, 26, was convicted of assault on a female and communicating threats last summer, but charges were dismissed Feb. 9 during an appeal trial when his accuser couldn't be located to testify. Prosecutors say Hardy reached a civil suit agreement with the accuser. The NFL has said it is investigating Hardy's case. The league unsuccessfully petitioned to have evidence from Hardy's first trial unsealed. Without that evidence, it may be difficult for the league to suspend Hardy. Hardy potentially faces up to a six-game suspension from the NFL for violating its domestic abuse policy even though the charges against him were dismissed. Hardy is seeking immediate reinstatement from the NFL - before he hits the free agent market next week - after a federal judge cleared way for Adrian Peterson's return to the league. Like Peterson, Hardy spent the majority of last season on the commissioner's exempt list preventing him from playing football. Hardy was Carolina's franchise player last season. Despite being convicted last summer he was allowed to play in Carolina's first game before eventually being placed on the commissioner's exempt list when Roger Goodell began to toughen his stance on domestic violence offenders in the wake of the Ray Rice incident. Still, Hardy collected $13.1 million last year from the Panthers as their franchise player. He had 15 sacks in 2013, tying a franchise record. Hardy posted photographs from photographs on social media of New York on Tuesday, but did not mention a meeting with the NFL. NOTES: The Panthers announced Tuesday they have re-signed defensive tackle Colin Cole to a one-year contract. Details on the contract were not available.

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:06:00 +0000
Trooper: Fingerprints show victim in Hernandez's rented car

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) A state police trooper who specializes in fingerprint analysis testified Tuesday in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez that the fingerprints of the former NFL player and his alleged victim, Odin Lloyd, were found inside a car that was allegedly used to drive Lloyd to his death. Prosecutors say Hernandez, then a New England Patriot tight end, and two friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up Lloyd from his home early on the morning of June 17, 2013, shortly before he was killed. Hernandez also is charged in another case with the fatal shootings of two men in 2012, and prosecutors previously suggested as a possible motive for Lloyd's death that Hernandez may have showed Lloyd the spot where the double slayings took place. But a judge ruled last year that prosecutors can't tell the jury about the double slayings. Massachusetts State Police Trooper David Mackin, who processed the fingerprints found inside a Nissan Altima that Hernandez had rented, testified Tuesday that Lloyd's fingerprints were found on the handle of the rear passenger side door. Lloyd's sister testified Monday that she saw Lloyd get into the rear passenger side of a silver Nissan that night but could not see the driver. Video from a neighbor's surveillance camera also showed Lloyd getting into a car at 2:32 a.m. Prosecutors have said Lloyd was dead by 3:30 a.m., shot to death in an industrial park near Hernandez's home. Mackin testified that Hernandez's fingerprints were found on the inside handle of the driver's side. Surveillance footage from the night of the killing shows Hernandez getting into the driver's seat of a Nissan Altima, which he had rented the previous week. The fingerprints of Ortiz and Wallace also were found inside the car, Mackin said. Wallace's fingerprints were found in various places, including on the inside driver's side window, the driver's side seatbelt latch, the front passenger inside door handle and the inside rear passenger door window. Ortiz's fingerprints were found on the rear passenger inside door handle. Ortiz and Wallace have also been charged with murder and have pleaded not guilty. They will be tried separately. Around 2 a.m. the day of Lloyd's slaying, Hernandez and Ortiz were captured on video at a gas station south of Boston. It shows Hernandez putting gas in a Nissan Altima before entering the gas station and buying gum and cigars with Ortiz. They get back in the car, with Hernandez in the driver's seat and Ortiz in the back. They leave at 2:12 a.m. Prosecutors have said the group then drives to Lloyd's home in the Dorchester section of Boston. During cross-examination Tuesday, defense attorney James Sultan went after Mackin's credentials, saying Mackin was not certified as a fingerprint expert. The defense has tried to paint a picture of a shoddy police investigation, and suggested that Mackin was on the prosecution's side. In other testimony Tuesday, prosecutors showed the jury text messages that Hernandez, sent to Lloyd hours before the shooting. In them, Hernandez says he wants to meet with Lloyd. "I'm coming to grab that tonight u gon b around I need dat and we could step for a little again," Hernandez wrote in one text to Lloyd at 9:05 p.m. on June 16. He sent more messages urging them to get together.

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 23:56:00 +0000
Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) Jimmie Johnson pulled away after the final restart with 13 laps to go Sunday, winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson, a six-time Cup champion, started near the back after failing to get in a qualifying run because of inspection issues. But the No. 48 Chevrolet was the fastest car on the track at the end of the weekend, cruising across the finish line a comfortable 1.803 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick. It was the 71st victory of Johnson's career, and his fourth at the 1.54-mile trioval south of Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third, followed by Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano.

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 23:24:00 +0000