The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to review the case of Hannah Overton, 35, the Corpus Christi mother accused of salt poisoning her 4-year-old foster child who died in 2006. Although the courts previously denied two other appeal requests, revelations that the state withheld key evidence, specifically regarding sodium levels in Andrew Burd's stomach at the time of death (see "Second chance," Sept. 24, 2011), have spurred the evidentiary hearing, expected to take place within 90 days.
A British couple has lost their appeal against a 2011 ruling that fined them for denying lodging to a gay couple at their Cornwall bed and breakfast. Peter and Hazelmary Bull hoped to persuade the court that their policy of restricting double beds to married couples was not directed at sexual orientation but sexual practice. The appeals judges ruled that the policy constituted discrimination because "the restriction is absolute in relation to homosexuals but not in relation to heterosexuals" since homosexuals cannot marry and therefore have no way to comply with the policy.
Malaysian officials deported Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari, 23, back to his country, where he is expected to stand trial for posting on Twitter an imaginary conversation with the Prophet Muhammad. Although Kashgari removed the tweets six hours after posting them and publicly apologized, he received so many death threats that he fled the country. Under Islamic law the comments could be considered blasphemy and punishable by death.
An Amish dairy farmer shut down his business after a judge ruled last month that he violated federal law by selling raw milk across state lines. In 2010, federal agents raided Dan Allgyer's Rainbow Acres Farm in Lancaster County, Pa., after a sting operation revealed he was selling the unpasteurized milk to consumers in Washington, D.C., who were part of a group called Grassfed On The Hill. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, drew attention to the case last May when he introduced a bill to allow interstate sales of raw milk.
Missionary Bert Elliot, age 87, the older brother of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, died Feb. 17. Bert and his wife Colleen went to Peru in 1949 and established some 150 churches during more than 60 years of service.
Crystal Cathedral senior pastor Sheila Coleman, the first child of founder Robert H. Schuller, has temporarily stepped down from the board of directors. The church has faced turmoil in recent years, including filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010. In February the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County purchased the church building for $57.5 million but agreed to let the congregation pay rent to remain at the facility for three years.