Midday Roundup: Justina Pelletier finally goes home

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 6/19/14, 12:52 pm

There’s no place like home. A 16-year-old girl caught up in a tense custody case with the state of Massachusetts has reunited with her family. Justina Pelletier posted a video on her Facebook pages saying, “I’m so excited to be home. I can’t wait! I’m just so happy to be home!” Pelletier had been hospitalized without her parents’ consent since February 2013. Doctors had diagnosed her with mitochondrial disease, but when her parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital for treatment for flu-like symptoms, the hospital said she had a psychiatric disorder instead. When the Pelletiers disagreed with their treatment plan and tried to discharge her, the statetook custody of the teen. After an intense legal fight, much of which played out in the media, a judge ruled Tuesday she could return to her parents’ care.

Executions resume. States carried out three executions in a 24-hour period late Tuesday and early Wednesday. The lethal injections worked as planned in the deaths of Marcus Wellons, 59, who was put to death in Georgia for the 1989 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl; John Winfield, 46, who was executed in Missouri for killing two women in 1996; and John Ruthell Henry, 63, a Floridian who was convicted of killing his estranged wife and her son in 1985. Death penalty opponents renewed their zeal after a problem IV caused a painful and protracted execution in Oklahoma seven weeks ago. That execution amplified a national debate about the secretive ways many states obtain lethal injection drugs from loosely regulated compounding pharmacies. Before Tuesday, nine executions were stayed or delayed, though not all for reasons related to the drug question.

Pushed back. Intense fighting is raging in eastern Ukraine, and an insurgent leader says rebels are losing the battle. Rebel chief Igor Strelkov said in a statement on YouTube that Ukrainian forces far outnumber his men, who will likely retreat. Strelkov issued a desperate plea to the Kremlin for military assistance. But Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a bid to avoid further Western sanctions, has stonewalled the insurgents’ pleas to join Russia and welcomed a peace plan proposed by the Ukrainian president.

Brought to justice. A decade after a court ruling allowed him to live out his quiet, middle-class life in the United States, an 89-year-old Philadelphia man faces possible extradition to Germany for Nazi war crimes. He is charged with aiding in the killing of 216,000 Jewish men, women, and children at a Nazi death camp. Johann “Hans” Breyer, a retired tool-and-die maker, is being held without bail on allegations stemming from his suspected service as an SS guard at Auschwitz during World War II. He was arrested Tuesday outside his home in northeast Philadelphia. Earlier that day, the district court in Weiden, Germany, issued a warrant charging him with 158 counts of complicity in the commission of murder. Each count represents a trainload of Nazi prisoners from Hungary, Germany, and Czechoslovakia who were killed between May 1944 and October 1944, according to U.S. prosecutors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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