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Amanda Knox murder trial verdict expected Thursday

Amanda Knox has been tried three times for the 2007 slaying of her roommate

Amanda Knox, 26, is awaiting the verdict in the third trial of the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher. Amanda Knox has been living in her hometown of Seattle after spending four years in prison before being acquitted and released. However, the Italian Court of Cassation overturned the verdict and opted to have the appellate court retry the case. Six jurors and two judges are expected to reach a verdict sometime Thursday evening.

Amanda Knox was a student at the University of Washington in Seattle attending a one-year study abroad course in Perugia, Italy. On November 1, 2007, Amanda Knox’s roommate, Meredith Kercher was found dead in the apartment that Kercher and Knox shared. Kercher had been stabbed more than 40 times and her throat slit open.

Amanda Knox, her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede were all tried and convicted for the murder of Kercher. Amanda Knox’s original trial created media frenzy worldwide and Knox was thrust into the international spotlight. Amanda Knox’s callous and bizarre behavior when being questioned by police (including allegedly doing cartwheels and making a flippant comment about how Kercher must have suffered when stabbed) led many to believe she had taken part in the murder.

Italian authorities presented the theory that Amanda Knox, Sollecito and another man had murdered Kercher because she refused to participate in a sex game.  The third man originally implicated in the murder turned out to have an airtight alibi. However, forensic evidence later tied Rudy Guede to the murder scene.

As the trial continued, tabloids ran stories calling Amanda Knox “Foxy Knoxy” and proclaimed her to be a cold-blooded, promiscuous murderer. Italian prosecutors were rumored to have leaked information to the press in order to help aid in creating negative public perception of Amanda Knox. Italian laws allowed for jury members to discuss the case with anyone while the trial was ongoing. Amanda Knox became a divisive issue worldwide with many coming to her defense and blaming the Italian authorities and courts for mishandling the case. Others used Knox’s strange behavior and salacious past as evidence that she was responsible for the crime.

In 2009,Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were both found guilty of murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Amanda Knox and Sollecito both maintained their innocence throughout the trial.  In 2011, an Italian appellate court overturned the original ruling and Knox and Sollecito were released. Amanda Knox returned home to Washington state and signed a multi-million dollar book deal. However, Italy has no laws prohibiting double jeopardy and in 2013 prosecutors chose to retry Knox and Sollecito for murder again.

Meredith Kercher’s family has suffered greatly for the past seven years and the three trials have done little to appease them, as they believe Amanda Knox and Sollecito were both involved in their daughter’s death, lamenting that no one remembers Meredith Kercher, but both Knox and Sollecito have inked book deals and made fortunes from the murder and trial. A lawyer for the Kercher’s released a statement that noted, “They are tired of this long trial and they want justice.”

If Amanda Knox is found guilty, the big question is whether or not she will be extradited back to Italy to serve her sentence.  Seattle-based extradition lawyer, Brian Zagaris said, ““The Senate considers whether a treaty country’s criminal justice is fair. She can try to make the unfairness argument in that case, but U.S. jurisprudence limits such arguments.”

This article will be updated as soon as the verdict is announced.


Tax tips for college students

Tax season starts Friday. Are you prepared?

Tax season is just around the corner and it’s time to start compiling those financial documents. While many students are not required to do so, it’s important that every college student file their taxes. According to tax consultant Margaret Munro, “If you are required to file, you absolutely must. If you’re not required to file because your income was low, you may want to file because you may have had taxes withheld that you can’t get back without a tax return.”  These College News tax tips will help make for a stress-free filing.

1. Preparation: Gather all of your important financial documents and file them together so that they are easily accessible when it comes time to file. Employers are legally obligated to send out W-2 forms by January 31st. Find out whether or not parents can claim you as a dependent, as it will affect your filing as well.

2. Research: College students often don’t realize that they may qualify for tax credits. The four most important tax credits for students are the American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, student loan interest deduction and tuition and fees reduction. Most students qualify for one, if not all of the credits and looking into the requirements often means a hefty refund, even if the student is not employed.

3. Scheduling: It’s long been a joke that people wait until the last minute to file taxes, but it is important to start early and set aside time to file. As soon as a student has gathered all of the necessary info, there is no need to wait. Whether e-filing or going the traditional route and filing paper forms, the sooner a student files, the sooner they will see a refund check. Traditional filing sees a refund in six to eight weeks and e-filing can see a refund direct deposited in as little as 72 hours.

4. Resources: Need help filing? E-filing is the easiest route and most tax companies offer completely free basic packages (which will suffice for most students).  Not only that, but if there is any confusion or questions, most college campus accounting departments offer free tax help.

Like all things college-related, filing taxes takes time and preparation is key. Not only that, but filing early and while in college sets a good financial precedent and prepares the student for life as an adult outside and academic institution

Justin Bieber arrested for DUI

Justin Bieber was arrested after failing a field sobriety test in Miami Beach

Justin Bieber was arrested early Thursday morning in Miami Beach after he was caught drag racing and failed a field sobriety test. Justin Bieber and a friend were pulled over shortly after leaving a nightclub when cops found the duo racing red and yellow Lamborghinis. This dangerous spectacle comes on the heels of Justin Bieber causing over $20,000 in damage to his neighbor’s Calabasas home after he and his posse pelted the residence with eggs.

Justin Bieber’s neighbors called the cops and the egging resulted in a search warrant being issued and Bieber’s best friend, Lil’ Za being arrested for cocaine possession.  However, Justin Bieber has been on a downward spiral for the past year. At only 19, Justin Bieber is one of the most successful pop music acts ever. However, as is often the case with a meteoric climb, it was quickly followed by an epic fall. As of late, Justin Bieber routinely gets into scuffles with the paparazzi, including an incident where Justin Bieber had to be restrained by his own bodyguard while threatening to “beat the f**k” out of a photographer in London. Not only that but he has faced a very public breakup with fellow teen-sensation, Selena Gomez, as well as photographic proof of   Bieber smoking pot and possibly abusing “purple drank” with friends.

He also managed to offend history buffs and Holocaust survivors during a recent trip to the Anne Frank House, commenting in the guest book, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.”
This was followed up with Justin Bieber urinating in a custodian’s mop bucket, being fined for public graffiti, visiting a brothel and spending the night with a prostitute (and possible porn star).

The pint-sized pop star’s entitled behavior seems to have finally caught up with him. Justin Bieber is currently being booked and processed where he will await a bail hearing. This story will be updated as more details become available.

Paul Walker dies in car crash

Paul Walker killed in fiery car crash that claimed two lives

Paul Walker, star of the hit “ The Fast and the Furious” franchise died Saturday afternoon in a car crash that took place in Valencia, CA. Paul Walker’s publicist, Ame Van Iden, confirmed the tragic news.

“It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide,” the statement read. “He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news.”

Paul Walker began his acting career as a child starring in commercials. In the late 1990s he had several minor hits under his belt with “Varsity Blues” and “She’s All That,” but he shot to stardom as undercover officer Brian O’Conner in 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious.”  The movie was a box-office success and spawned six sequels, the last of which Paul Walker had finished filming earlier this fall.

While exact details of the accident are still under investigation, it is believed that Paul Walker’s friend lost control of his red Porsche about 3:30 p.m. and hit either a light pole or a tree about 300 yards from the event they had attended. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the car was engulfed in flames. There is no word on whether or not Paul Walker and his friend died in the initial crash or the ensuing fire, but both men were pronounced dead on arrival.

Hollywood reacted swiftly, releasing heartfelt statements via social media over the shock of Paul Walker’s untimely death. Vin Diesel, his co-star in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise took to Instagram, posting a picture of the duo with the caption, “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new angel. Rest in Peace.”

Universal Studios released a statement as well, saying, “Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the “Fast and Furious” films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest condolences to Paul’s family.”
Paul Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow. He was only 40.

Shark Week returns

The 2013 Shark Week premiered days after two shark attacks off the coast of Maui

Ladies and gentleman, it’s that time again: Shark Week is here. The highly anticipated weeklong block of programming on the Discovery Channel kicked off last night and remains as popular as ever.

Shark Week has been an annual event since 1987 and gained massive popularity in the past few years, with millions of people sharing information and videos via social media. The cleverly marketed Shark Week is one of the biggest television events of the year and has spawned a pop culture phenomenon—having everything from memes and drinking games made in its honor.

The true stars of the shows are the sharks themselves. This year’s Shark Week follows one of the most deadly years for shark attacks in recent history and arrives mere weeks after the surprise hit that was “Sharknado.” The Discovery Channel started Shark Week off with “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” which tried to prove the existence of a prehistoric beast that was nearly 70-feet long and went extinct over a million years ago.

The week promises even more mayhem with multiple shows dedicated to “Jaws” or Jaws-esque experiences as well as the Discovery Channel’s own spin on cataclysmic events involving these deadly predators called “Sharkpocalypse.” Despite the fact that sharks have not done anything new and just continue with their general maiming and killing, people are endlessly fascinated by them and this year proves to be no different.

As a preemptive welcome to Shark Week, two shark attacks took place off the coast of Maui last week. Both a surfer and a snorkler were attacked in two separate incidents at two different beaches mere days apart. The beaches were temporarily closed down, but have since reopened.

As for everyone else, they’ll stick to watching Shark Week and hopefully not experience any real sharks firsthand.

Cringeworthy: Virginia Tech student doesn't know Nirvana

A letter to the band’s old record label drew ire at its gaffe

One Virginia Tech student just bought herself a lifetime of ridicule after she sent out a request to Sub Pop Records asking that one of their most famous bands participate in a video collage along with many other high-profile artists and athletes.  The letter requested that Nirvana record a video message for Virginia Tech’s homecoming court, showing their support for the school.

Somehow this poor girl missed the memo that Kurt Cobain has been dead for nearly 20 years. Not only that, but the person who penned the missive refers to Nirvana as “her,” implying that the Virginia Tech student doesn’t even realize that Nirvana is a band and not a solo pop act.

It seems hard to be that far removed from pop culture history as to not even know who Nirvana is and the impact that they had on modern music. Alas, apparently it’s possible.

To read the tragic letter in its entirety (with fancy stationary to boot) visit New York Daily News.http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/clueless-student-asks-nirvana-endorsement-19-years-late-article-1.1409636

Sharon Osbourne slams Kanye West

The outspoken wife of Ozzie Osbourne made it clear that she was not impressed by Kanye-I”m the center of the universe-West

Sharon Osbourne has never been known for her tact and that’s why people love her. Sharon Osbourne, wife of music legend Ozzie Osbourne, pulls no punches when it comes to voicing her opinions (be it about her own life or others). It’s what makes her great and a reason why she is often asked to judge reality competitions as well as lead the co-hosts of The Talk.

Currently drawing Sharon Osbourne’s ire is Kanye West. The foul-tempered, egotistical and often delusional superstar clearly thinks he’s a cut above, well, everyone and pitches a hissy fit if anyone dares to disagree with that sentiment. Cue Ms. Osbourne.

In a moment of complete and utter awesomeness, Sharon Osbourne called West “average” and noted, “I have no time for him. He bores me. He’s an average-looking man with an average talent, but he’s a great salesman.”

Seriously, this woman just made my day. Keeping on track with the idea that Kanye West is great at marketing, she said, “He should sell cars because they would f—ing fly out the door. He’s his No. 1 fan.” No doubt Kanye will have an equally unpleasant response for Osbourne, possibly in the form of an ALL CAPS Twitter rant or shoving the photographer who dares mention it to him.

However, Kanye West wasn’t the only male pissing Osbourne off that day as she had equally unpleasant (but true) words about Anthony Weiner. The mayoral candidate, who is notorious for his love of inappropriate crotch shots, is refusing to drop out of the race, which makes Osbourne think he’s “a prick.”

I’d like to slap him,” she said. “He did a news interview … where he seemed so smug and said he only wanted to talk about issues. What a crock of s–t. How much time is he going to spend f—ing around with his d–k, and how much time is he going to spend on the people of New York?”

Word to the wise: Don’t get on Sharon Osbourne’s bad side. Or maybe don’t behave like an obnoxious lout and you won’t be able to snag a spot on her list in the first place.

Kiddie porn purveyor may go free due to technicality

Pedophile has US District Judge on his side

In truly disturbing news of just how defective the U.S. judicial system can be, an admitted pedophile may walk free due to a technicality.

Yuri Berschansky, 29, was arrested after U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents found more than 100 child pornography videos on his home computer. The arrest was made in 2010 when Berschansky was found sharing the child pornography videos on a file-sharing site. Berschansky admitted to keeping the porn in a file he titled “K for Kiddie.” He even bought a laptop for his mother so she wouldn’t find the mass quantities of child pornography he had saved on his desktop.

 However, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto wants the case thrown out as the search warrant accidentally lists the wrong apartment number. DHS agent Robert Raab accidentally transposed Berschansky’s apartment number with that of his neighbor which lives in the same duplex. Judge Matsumoto believes that a “technical error” invalidates the search warrant, saying, “The agents did not take every step that could reasonably be expected of them.”

Prosecutors are currently reviewing their options and plan on filing an appeal if the case is overturned. Berschansky’s defense attorney, Gary Farrell, couldn’t be happier with the mistake, noting, “It sounds corny, but the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures has to mean something.” (Yeah, totally. Let’s just forget that your client is a pervert.)

As for now, Berschansky is free on $60,000 bail and awaiting a federal court date.

Amanda Bynes breaks into retirement community

The troubled starlet had another run-in with the police after she trespassed on private property and refused to leave

Amanda Bynes is back. Everyone’s favorite train wreck has been lying low as of late, but Amanda Bynes just can’t stay out of trouble for long. The starlet and her horrific bargain basement wigs checked into the Ritz Carlton in New York last week, only to be kicked out by hotel staff.

Amanda Bynes’ problems began at check-in. She told the concierge working the front desk that she was “too ugly” to check her in, offered the number for a plastic surgeon and made the woman cry. After that patented Amanda Bynes move, hotel staff apparently found someone more attractive to complete her reservation, but Amanda Bynes wasn’t yet finished wreaking havoc.

Hotel staff described Amanda Bynes as a “nightmare” and noted that she continuously smoked pot in her hotel room and tried to cover it up with chemical sprays. Not only that, but she wracked up a $2,000 room service bill (that she didn’t want to pay) in just a matter of days. Despite repeated warnings from hotel staff, Amanda Bynes refused to stop smoking pot and she was ejected from the hotel. Amanda Bynes was last seen heading to the airport to board a plane to Los Angeles.

Amanda Bynes then took her traveling road show of crazy to Thousand Oaks, where she tried to break into a retirement community. She trespassed onto the property and was said to be drunk. When retirement community staff confronted her, she refused to leave. Quick thinking staff members tried to put her in a cab, but Amanda Bynes claimed she had no money for the cab ride. (She can afford to stay at the Ritz Carlton, but not a $30 cab ride. Sure.)

After residents of the retirement community continued to complain that Amanda Bynes was disturbing the peace, the police were called. Amanda Bynes was not arrested, but was apparently lectured by the responding officers before being escorted off of the premises. There’s no word on whether or not the cops gave Amanda Bynes a ride to her nearby Calabasas home.

Amanda Bynes is due back in court in late August stemming from charges when she threw a bong out the window of her apartment earlier this year. Hopefully she stays out of trouble in the interim and doesn’t mistake any more old folks’ homes as hotels.


As of this morning, Amanda Bynes is being held on a 5150 hold. She allegedly set fire to a driveway, and police determined she needed to under go a psychiatric evaluation.

A stranded Dave Matthews rescued by fans

Unsuspecting couple stopped to help a stranded bicyclist on the way to a Dave Matthews concert only to find Dave Matthews by the side of the road

Dave Matthews would have missed his Saturday concert in Pennsylvania if it weren’t for two helpful fans. Dave Matthews went out for a bike ride in Harrisburg before the show, but his bike got a flat tire on the way back to the venue. Stuck without a cell phone to contact anyone, Dave Matthews was rescued by Emily Kraus and her boyfriend.

The couple was on their way to the Dave Matthews concert, when they noticed a stranded bicyclist. Being good Samaritans, they pulled over to help, only to realize that the man was none other than Dave Matthews himself. They loaded up Matthews’ bike and drove him back to the venue.

Kraus told reporters, “We didn’t know how to make conversation with him, in fact, so we were talking about his tour and where he had come from. He had just been in Cincinnati and he said, ‘I’m taking a short break after this one because I have to drop my daughters off at camp.’ … He was just a very humble guy.”

As a thank you, Dave Matthews invited the couple to dinner, gave them backstage passes and front-row tickets (autographing them with the message “Thanks for the ride.”). Kraus said she was star struck and still can’t believe the encounter actually happened, saying “It was surreal. We couldn’t believe it.”

As for Dave Matthews, this isn’t the first time he’s encountered trouble while on tour. Back in 2005, the band’s bus driver emptied the bus’ septic tank over the Chicago River and doused a boat tour of people with the waste. Luckily for Dave Matthews (and the fans), this incident turned out a whole lot better.