Aggressive string of executions scheduled to end today; Ohio woman already had contacted police over harrassment; Coulter may still go to Berkeley; and more headlines to start your Thursday, April 27, 2017.
ARKANSAS SET TO CONCLUDE APRIL EXECUTIONS
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas' aggressive effort to execute condemned inmates is set to conclude Thursday after the state Supreme Court refused to halt the execution of a man who killed a former deputy prison warden following an escape.
Kenneth Williams, 38, was sentenced to death for killing Cecil Boren after escaping from the Cummins Unit prison in a barrel of hog slop. Williams was initially serving a life term for killing a university cheerleader whose family he taunted when jurors spared his life.
Unless a court intervenes, Williams will die in the same prison from where he escaped in 1999.
COULTER STILL MAY GO TO BERKELEY DESPITE CANCELED SPEECH
BERKELEY, Calif. — Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she was forced to cancel her speaking event Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley amid concerns of violence but might still "swing by to say hello" to all her supporters.
Police and university officials said they were bracing for possible trouble whether Coulter comes to campus or not, citing intelligence and online chatter by groups threatening to instigate violence.
In emails to The Associated Press, Coulter confirmed that her planned speech on illegal immigration, followed by a question-answer session, was canceled. But she remained coy about what she might do instead.
"I'm not speaking. But I'm going to be near there, so I might swing by to say hello to my supporters who have flown in from all around the country," Coulter said in an email. "I thought I might stroll around the graveyard of the First Amendment."
CAPTIVE WOMAN HAD COMPLAINED OF HARASSMENT
Police say an Ohio woman who was kidnapped and kept trapped in a small pit in her neighbor's shed had reported receiving harassing phone calls and text messages from him.
Blanchester police say the woman was reported missing early Wednesday and was found about two hours later by officers responding to neighbors' calls about a woman crying. They say she reported the harassment by Dennis Dunn in October. But they say she declined to participate in any prosecution of him at that time.
Dunn was arrested and jailed Wednesday. He awaits a court appearance Thursday on a felony kidnapping charge.
GATHERING OF NATIONS BEGINS TODAY
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One of North America's most prominent powwows is set to begin in New Mexico in the wake of pipeline protests in North Dakota that became a historic display of Native American solidarity.
The Gathering of Nations is one of the world's largest gatherings of indigenous people. Last year's event attracted about 3,000 dancers from hundreds of tribes in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It routinely draws at least 80,000 visitors.
The event that opens Thursday in Albuquerque is intended to be nonpolitical, but Larry Yazzie, its official announcer, said people will be reminded why they are coming together, and that the "water protectors" — those who joined the pipeline protests — will be acknowledged.
PGA STARS: ZURICH FORMAT TO SHOW FUN SIDE OF GOLF
AVONDALE, La. — It has the feel of a guys' weekend out in New Orleans for Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth and a host of fellow PGA Tour stars at the new team event that the Zurich Classic has become.
Watson expects the revamped format in the Big Easy, which debuts Thursday, to be a treat for fans and players — and good for golf.
"For them to come up with this idea of showing the fun side of golf ... you're going to see a lot of smiles, a lot of laughing and a lot of enjoyment of the game," said Watson, who won the Zurich Classic in 2011, when it was a traditional, stroke-play event.
Now there are 80 two-player teams, and the players got to choose their partners.