The week at a glance...United States

United States

Riverside, Calif.

Racist slain at home: A white supremacist leader was shot to death this week by his 10-year-old son, police said. Jeff Russell Hall, 32, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest in the home he shared with his wife and five children. Police believe Hall’s son gunned him down intentionally, and they booked the boy into the county juvenile hall on homicide charges. The authorities said the unnamed suspect used a handgun to shoot Hall at 4 a.m. on the living-room couch. “Motive is the big question,” said Riverside police Lt. Ed Blevins. Hall had been a regional director of the National Socialist Movement, which advocates white separatism. Neighbors said he was an intimidating presence in the community, flying a swastika flag at his home at Halloween and welcoming guests while wearing a KKK hood. “It was scary here,” said neighbor Juan Trejo. “Hopefully we’ll never see any of them again.”

Helena, Mont.

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Medical marijuana stymied: The state legislature this week approved a law restricting the use and supply of medical marijuana, dealing a blow to Montana’s burgeoning pot industry. The law, which will go into effect July 1, prohibits licensed growers from providing marijuana to more than three people. Patients will also have to present more rigorous proof of illness to receive a marijuana prescription. Montana legalized medical marijuana in 2004, and the number of licensed users has jumped from 4,000 in 2009 to nearly 30,000 this year. Almost 5,000 dispensaries have opened across the state in the past seven years, but many will be forced to close thanks to the new law. Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer—who earlier vetoed an outright repeal of the 2004 law—said he was unhappy with the new legislation, but that it was preferable to the “wild, wild West” situation that currently exists.

Valparaiso, Ind.

Teen girl charged with sex assault: A 16-year-old Indiana girl was charged as an adult after police said she sexually assaulted a developmentally disabled 17-year-old boy. April Kuchta faces a misdemeanor battery charge and several felony counts that prosecutors deemed serious enough to warrant treating her as an adult. Police said Kuchta used text messages to lure the boy to her house, held him at knifepoint, handcuffed him, and sexually assaulted him, while recording the incident with her cell phone. The boy was allegedly covered with a blanket and handcuffed for two hours. Another girl, a 14-year-old, allegedly stuffed tissue in his mouth and taped it shut. The 14-year-old, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and confinement charges in juvenile court, wept during her hearing. Both girls are accused of inviting others over to witness the victim’s sexual humiliation.

Washington, D.C.

Trump roasted: Would-be presidential candidate Donald Trump sat stone-faced last week through a blizzard of jokes aimed his way at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner. President Obama mocked Trump for his birther obsession, saying that since he had succeeded in getting Obama to release his birth certificate, Trump could move on to weightier matters, like “did we fake the moon landing?” Then Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers launched into a classic comedy roast with Trump as the target. “Donald Trump often talks about running as a Republican, which is surprising,” said Meyers. “I just assumed he was running as a joke.” The next day, Trump lashed out at the comedian, telling an interviewer that Meyers “has no talent.” Asked why he didn’t enjoy all the attention he got at the event, Trump said, “I am not looking to laugh along with my enemies.”

Birds Point, Mo.

River levee blown: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers destroyed a large section of a levee along the Mississippi River this week to save an Illinois town from surging floodwaters. The controlled explosions sent torrents of water into evacuated farmland and homes in Missouri in order to spare the town of Cairo, Ill., which lies at the confluence of the swollen Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The action was expected to reduce water levels by about four feet by the end of the week, but a Corps commander said it might be necessary to open further “floodways” downriver in coming days. State authorities in Missouri were unhappy at the sacrifice of around 130,000 acres of farmland to waters from the blown levee, and some local farmers have sued the federal government for compensation. “Tell me what that’s going to do to this area,” said local commissioner Carlin Bennett. “It’s a mini tsunami.”

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Searching for victims: A week after a “supercell” of deadly tornadoes tore through the South, authorities were still digging through the rubble for the dead. “There are still people that ain’t been found,” said Alabama resident Doug Bryant, who counts 22 of his relatives homeless after the storms. At least 236 people died in Alabama, power was out for hundreds of thousands, and more than 15 schools sustained major damage. The 1.5-mile-wide twister that cut a path of destruction from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham killed 65 people, making it the deadliest single tornado in the country in more than 50 years, with winds measuring up to 190 miles an hour. The huge twister was part of a storm system that traveled from Mississippi to North Carolina, spawning other powerful tornadoes on its nearly 400-mile journey. During one 24-hour period last week, the National Weather Service estimated that 226 tornadoes killed a total of 334 people, making it the deadliest single day for tornadoes since 1925.

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