Utah

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Utah Approves Firing Squads

Gov. Gary Herbert signs law to OK backup to lethal injection

(Newser) - Utah became the only state to allow firing squads for executions today when Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law approving the method's use when no lethal-injection drugs are available. Herbert has said he finds the firing squad "a little bit gruesome," but Utah is a capital punishment... More »

Utah OKs 'Landmark' Mormon-Backed LGBT Rights Bill

Gov. Gary Herbert expected to sign 'Utah compromise' today

(Newser) - Both Mormon leaders and gay rights advocates are praising new legislation known as "the Utah compromise." Passed in the Republican-controlled legislature last night amid cheers, it prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and employment, the New York Times reports, while simultaneously protecting religious... More »

Utah Lawmakers OK Return of Firing Squads

It's not clear whether governor will sign 'backup method' bill

(Newser) - Under a bill passed by Utah's state Senate yesterday, the state's executioners won't have to worry about a shortage of lethal injection drugs unless there's also a shortage of bullets. The bill, introduced by its Republican sponsor as a "backup," allows the use of... More »

Cops Heard Mysterious Voice Coming From Flipped Car

And not the voice of a toddler

(Newser) - A remarkable footnote to the story of the 18-month-old who was rescued after as many as 14 hours upside-down in an overturned car with her dead mother in a Utah river: The four responding Spanish Fork officers who flipped the car swear they all heard a voice saying "help... More »

Baby Alive in Submerged Car, Hours After Crash

But mom is found dead in front seat

(Newser) - A fisherman spotted an overturned car in a Utah river yesterday—and when first responders showed up, they looked inside and found a dead mom and her 18-month-old girl still alive some 14 hours after the accident may have happened, NBC News reports. Police officers "tipped the car on... More »

DEA Agent Warns Utah of Pot-Crazed Rabbits

He argues against legalization of medical pot

(Newser) - People who advocate legalizing medical marijuana in Utah clearly haven't given much thought to the risk of pot-crazed rabbits running wild, a DEA agent testified last week. Special Agent Matt Fairbanks told a state Senate hearing about how in the course of his marijuana eradication work, he had encountered... More »

Utah Mom Pleads Guilty to Smothering 6 Newborns

Megan Huntsman faces life in prison

(Newser) - A Utah mother accused of killing six of her newborn babies and storing their bodies in her garage pleaded guilty to six counts of murder today. Megan Huntsman, 39, faces up to life in prison. She will be sentenced April 20. The deaths sent shockwaves through the quiet, mostly Mormon... More »

Utah Hunter Kills Famed 'Grand Canyon' Gray Wolf

Hunter said he thought endangered gray wolf was a coyote

(Newser) - Hundred of miles from its Wyoming home, "914F" wandered to the rocky North Rim of the Grand Canyon last fall—the first gray wolf spotted there in 70 years, the Arizona Republic notes—before heading into Utah, likely searching for food or a mate. But in December, the wolf'... More »

Utah Lawmakers Debate Sex With Unconscious People

Law also applies to spouses, committee member told

(Newser) - A Utah bill stating that unconscious people cannot consent to sex proved to be more controversial than expected when it came before a legislative committee earlier this week. Rep. Brian Greene wondered if it meant that somebody who had sex with an unconscious spouse could be charged with rape, saying... More »

The Creepy Ties Between This Killer, Dead Utah Family

Dan Lafferty says he and Kristi Strack fell in love

(Newser) - Cult leader and convicted killer Dan Lafferty didn't just develop a relationship with Utah couple Benjamin and Kristi Strack, found dead in September along with their three children. Lafferty—whose philosophy states the world is run by the devil and the apocalypse is imminent—says his ideology influenced their... More »

Utah Parents' Apocalyptic Beliefs Led to Kids' Murder

Stracks had spoken of impending doom, police say

(Newser) - Benjamin and Kristi Strack had spoken of escaping "impending doom," relatives told investigators after the Utah couple and their three children were found dead in September —but they thought they were talking about moving somewhere like Montana and living off the grid. Instead, the Stracks killed themselves... More »

Fugitive Who Escaped Jail 34 Years Ago Is Caught

Utah's Sam Gene Harris is being sent back to Mississippi

(Newser) - Police in Utah say they've arrested a man who escaped from a Mississippi jail 34 years ago. Authorities said today that 61-year-old Sam Gene Harris also escaped from jails in Oregon before landing in the small central Utah town of Wellington several years ago. Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood... More »

Boy, 3, Answers Mom's Phone in Stolen Car

Utah boy honked horn so cops could find vehicle

(Newser) - Elizabeth Barrios was separated from her 3-year-old son for 20 terrifying minutes after a thief stole her car while he was inside yesterday—but it could have been a lot longer if he hadn't known how to unlock her phone. The Ogden, Utah, woman left her car unlocked and... More »

Mom Who Inspired Sarah McLachlan Dead at 34

Kathy Taylor of Utah inspired Sarah McLachlan, others

(Newser) - Kathy Taylor, who inspired singer Sarah McLachlan and others, has died in Utah after a fight against cancer while pregnant with her sixth child. She was 34. Taylor died at her home in Bear River on New Year's Eve, four months after she was diagnosed with an aggressive form... More »

Guy Builds Snow Cave to Survive 2 Nights in Canyon

Lawrence Orduno also has frozen Gatorade, lighter to thank

(Newser) - Lawrence Orduno got separated from a friend while snowmobiling in a remote canyon in Utah Saturday, and then his snowmobile got stuck in the snow. But the 48-year-old managed to survive two nights on his own, he told the AP in an interview this week. First, he managed to find... More »

Rare Gray Wolf in Utah Shot by Mistake

Hunter says he thought it was a coyote

(Newser) - A hunter in Utah says he got a startling surprise this weekend after killing a coyote: The coyote turned out to be a gray wolf, a rarity in those parts. The hunter notified state wildlife authorities, who confirmed that he had indeed shot a 3-year-old female wolf near the city... More »

Girl Banned as Hospital Volunteer for Wearing Pants

Utah student Ellie Kaiser was told females can't wear pants at festive fundraiser

(Newser) - Ellie Kaiser was excited to volunteer for the Festival of Trees on Saturday to help raise money for the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. The high school senior and National Honor Society student put on her most professional attire—a conservative-looking pantsuit she plans to wear to... More »

Troopers Drive Woman Across Utah to See Sick Son

Helen Smith, 87, got pulled over first

(Newser) - When 87-year-old Helen Smith of Nevada learned that her son was near death in a Utah hospital, she hopped in her car and began the 350-mile trip. The problem is that she buzzed by a Utah trooper en route, and he pulled her over to issue a warning, reports KUTV... More »

Dying Girl Flooded With Christmas Cards

Addie Fausett of Utah isn't expected to see another holiday

(Newser) - If doctors are correct that 6-year-old Addie Fausett of Utah won't live to see another Christmas, her family has arranged to make her last one memorable. When Addie, who stopped growing at age 3, said she wanted to have friends like her older sisters, her grandmother took to Facebook... More »

Cops Say Utah Girls Made Up Abduction Story

2 teens bought duct tape they were supposedly bound with: police

(Newser) - Two teen girls from Bountiful, Utah, who claimed to have been kidnapped at knifepoint, kept holed up all day in an SUV, and held overnight in September are now being accused of making the whole story up. The cops investigating the case say the girls appear to have used public... More »

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