house of horrors
July 9, 2014

No one wants to see their house featured on a documentary about serial killers, but that's exactly what happened to Catrina McGhaw.

McGhaw was shocked when a relative told her to turn on a program about Maury Travis. There on the television screen she saw crime scene photos of her house and even the dining room table she was given by the landlord. It turns out that the home she rented for $810 a month in Ferguson, Missouri, had once been Travis' residence, where he recorded some of his crimes. "The whole basement was his torture chamber and it's not okay," McGhaw told news station KMOV.

This was something that her landlord — who happens to be Travis' mother — never told her, McGhaw says. Immediately, she tried to get out of the lease, but said Sandra Travis wouldn't let her. Travis told KMOV that she told McGhaw about the house's sinister past before she moved in, something McGhaw vehemently denies. As the law stands now, violent crimes, murders, and suicides don't require disclosure when you're buying or renting a house.

The St. Louis Housing Authority has since become involved, and McGhaw will be moving at the end of July. Now that she knows the history of the house, she says she can't stop thinking of an eerie incident that happened when a 2-year-old relative went downstairs and stood near one of the poles where Travis — who killed himself in jail in 2002 — tied up a victim. "She looked over, and she was like, 'She's scared, she's scared,' like she saw somebody that was scared and crying," McGhaw said. "Nobody was there." --Catherine Garcia

7:52 a.m. ET

The universe's largest known structure has turned out to be nothing more than a supervoid — a.k.a, a really big hole.

Scientists discovered the supervoid, a blob that's a stunning 1.8 billion light years across, during a recent astronomical survey. Istvan Szapudi, who led the research, told The Guardian that the hole may be "the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity."

Szapudi explained that the astronomers had hoped to find the void, because it provides an explanation for why previous reports showed the area as "unusually cool," The Guardian reports. The new research suggests that the "Cold Spot," where the hole was discovered, could be a result of the supervoid draining the energy from light traveling through the region. The void could help explain the universe's formation after the Big Bang, because light photons would lose energy and become cooler after passing through the void, The Guardian explains.

A giant hole may not seem exciting, but for scientists, the rare find is spectacular. "It just pushed the explanation one layer deeper," Roberto Trotta, a cosmologist at Imperial College London, told The Guardian. "Now we have to figure out how does the void itself form." Meghan DeMaria

Money and politics
7:32 a.m. ET
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) will let his super PAC, Right to Rise, do a lot of the heavy lifting (and fundraising) in his undeclared presidential campaign, The Associated Press reports, citing "two Republicans and several Bush donors familiar with the plan." Right to Rise might do many of the things presidential campaigns typically do, like run TV ads and direct-mail campaigns, get-out-the-vote drives, and gather voter data.

"Nothing like this has been done before," campaign spending limit opponent David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, tells AP. "It will take a high level of discipline to do it." The advantages for Bush are obvious: Money. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts from people, groups, and corporations, while campaigns must limit donors to $2,700 in the primary and another $2,700 in the general election.

The downside? Once Bush launches his 2016 bid — but not before — he and his campaign can't coordinate with the super PAC. At least not legally. Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell downplayed the strategy, telling AP that "any speculation on how a potential campaign would be structured, if he were to move forward, is premature at this time." Read more about Bush's evolving plan, and how it fits with campaign finance laws, at AP. Peter Weber

Egypt in turmoil
6:34 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, a judge in Cairo handed down 20-year prison sentences to ousted President Mohamed Morsi and 12 other defendants, most of them members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, for the death, kidnapping, and torture of protesters in the violent demonstrations that led to overthrow of Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president. Judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef acquitted the men of murder, which could have led to death sentences.

The sentences can be appealed, but Morsi faces three other trials, and the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — the former general who overthrew Morsi — has cracked down harshly on the Muslim Brotherhood. The sentencing hearing, from a makeshift courtroom at the national police academy, was broadcast on national TV. Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
6:01 a.m. ET

Monday was April 20, and Jon Stewart got all dressed up to celebrate 4/20 with a lighthearted look at pot in the news. CNN, the object of Stewart's frequent mockery, seemed ripe for the picking, but actually turned out substantive reports on the benefits of medical and recreational marijuana for patients and state tax coffers, respectively. "This pot story isn't fun at all," groovy Stewart said on Monday's Daily Show.

That's when Jessica Williams made an appearance as the voice of a sober new generation of pot smokers, playing the foil to Stewart old-school stoner shtick. But since this is The Daily Show, and not sketch comedy, Stewart got in the last jibe, at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who it turns out is only against certain suspect forms of raising revenue for his state, regardless of opposition from the feds. —Peter Weber

Police Under Fire
5:32 a.m. ET

Police in Baltimore arrested Freddie Gray, 25, on April 12, and took him to the station in police van. Gray, who is black, died on Sunday after a weeklong coma, and police say they aren't sure how he came to "suffer a significant spinal injury that led to his death," Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said at a news conference on Monday, after days of protests. "We have no evidence — physical, video, or statements — of any use of force."

Six officers have been suspended with pay while the department investigates what happened, Commissioner Anthony Bratts said, and police have adopted new policies on transporting suspects and giving them medical care. "When Mr. Gray was put in that van, he could talk, he was upset," Rodriguez said. "And when he was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe." Billy Murphy, the Gray family's lawyer, said Gray's "spine was over 80 percent severed at his neck."

The arrest report said that Officer Garrett Miller wanted to charge Gray with possessing a switchblade knife, and suggested he was pursued because he made eye contact with police and fled. "I understand the community's frustration,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at the news conference. "I understand it because I'm frustrated. I’m angry that we are here again, that we have to tell another mother that her child is dead." You can watch excerpts of the news conference below. —Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
4:27 a.m. ET

On Monday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart gave one cheer for the bipartisan Medicare payment reform Congress passed last week, a mere 18 years after creating the problem in the first place. Oh good, he quipped, "you decided to fix it once your procrastination could legally vote." The bipartisan effort was a nice change, but the over-the-top back-patting was a little too much for Stewart. The result? Some pretty good mockery.

When President Obama offered to throw lawmakers a party for doing their job, Stewart jabbed: "They don't need a trophy for showing up — they're Congress, not millennials." He followed that up by borrowing a phrase from George W. Bush (and speechwriter Michael Gerson): "Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations." Seriously, he added, "imagine if normal people reacted this way to the dutiful executing of basic occupation tasks." And the segment ends with just that, a look at how such self-congratulatory zeal might look in a New York deli. Watch. —Peter Weber

You Forgot About Me
3:33 a.m. ET

Staff of Maine Township High School District 207, in a northwest suburb of Chicago, were moving to a building next door when they made an unexpected discovery:

"One day a few weeks ago, one of the assistants was going through a filing cabinet and found a file that had a manuscript from The Breakfast Club dated Sept. 21, 1983," District 207 Superintendent Ken Wallace tells the Chicago Tribune. "It's a first draft of the screenplay by John Hughes." He said the plan is to preserve and display the piece of cinematic history, noting that "the odds of having such an iconic movie filmed and associated with your district are astronomical."

As to how Maine South High School came to have an original first draft, that's no mystery: Much of the iconic film was shot during the spring of 1984 inside Maine North High School, closed in 1981. The movie's library set was built inside the North Maine gym. Scribbled on the manuscript is "Reviewed and approved by Dr. Murphy," referring to then-Superintendent John Murphy; school district officials typically looked over scripts before allowing movies to be filmed on school property.

Among changes between the script and the final movie: The original name was "Saturday Breakfast Club," and Molly Ringwald's character had a different name. Read more about the discovery, just in time for the film's 30th anniversary, at the Chicago Tribune. Peter Weber

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