London terror scare unexplained as suspects freed

Police officers and Transport for London workers stand at the entrance of Oxford Circus subway station in the west of London after it was reopened Nov. 24, 2017 following a terror warning that turned out to be a false alarm. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Updated 26 November 2017

London terror scare unexplained as suspects freed

LONDON: Two men suspected of involvement in a fight that sparked a terror scare in London’s Oxford Street shopping district have been questioned by police but released without charges, a spokesman said Sunday.
Armed officers locked down the area around Oxford Circus for more than an hour on Friday after reports that shots had been fired, and 16 people were hurt as crowds fled the scene.
Police, who responded as if the incident were terror-related, said they found no trace of suspects, evidence of gunfire or casualties.
The British Transport Police later said they believed it all began with an “altercation between two men” on the platform of the Underground station, issuing CCTV image of the pair.
A 21-year-old and a 40-year-old subsequently came forward and were interviewed, but a spokesman for the force on Sunday said: “They have not been arrested or charged.”
No further suspects are being sought.
Oxford Circus, the junction of London’s Oxford Street and Regent Street, is one of the busiest areas in London, and was packed with shoppers seeking bargains on “Black Friday.”
Britain is on high alert after five terror attacks since March.


Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

A woman holds a sign during a protest against the execution of Rodney Reed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

  • Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed

WASHINGTON: A Texas appeals court has suspended the execution of convicted murderer Rodney Reed — who has long claimed his innocence — in a case that has attracted widespread public attention and a celebrity-backed campaign.
Reed, a 51-year-old African-American, was sentenced to death in 1998 after being convicted by an all-white jury of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
His execution by lethal injection had been set for November 20, but Reed says he did not commit the crime, and his lawyers and supporters say that evidence proves he is innocent.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced on Friday that it had “voted unanimously to recommend the governor grant a 120-day reprieve” to Reed, who had appealed for clemency.
The state appeals court then halted the execution later in the evening.
Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed.
Kardashian said on social media she was with Reed when he received news about the reprieve.
Although traces of Reed’s DNA were found in the victim, he has always maintained that he and Stites were secretly having an affair.
Reed’s lawyers say that evidence obtained after the trial points to another suspect — the victim’s fiance, Jimmy Fennell, a former policeman who later served a 10-year prison sentence for another rape.
“The strong evidence exonerating Mr.Reed and implicating Fennell continues to mount,” the lawyers wrote in the clemency petition lodged with the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.
In the clemency request, they included a testimonial from a former co-worker of the victim who confirmed the affair.
According to another affidavit, a former prison inmate said he heard Fennell brag during a prison yard conversation about committing the murder.
Fennell has denied involvement in Stites’ murder.
The Texas board declined Reed’s request to downgrade his sentence.
His lawyers also have filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay of execution.