(BOSTON) -- A man was charged Tuesday with possession of a hoax device, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace after two suspicious bags were found near the finish line of the Boston Marathon amid stepped-up security on the anniversary of the bombings that shook the city a year ago.
The device the suspect -- identified as Kayvon Edson -- had was a rice cooker, not an actual explosive device, police said.
The two suspicious bags -- only one of which police say they believe the man dropped -- were both exploded Tuesday evening after the suspect had been detained for questioning.
"With the marathon coming, we are taking it serious," Boston Police Officer Randall Halstead said. "Our officers are trained in looking for any kind of suspicious activity, and when it is brought to their attention or they notice it, which was in this case, they act upon it."
The race takes place on April 21, but Tuesday was a day of remembrance in Boston, a year after bombings at the finish line killed three and injured 264.
Police said the bags were left in the area of Boylston St. and Exeter St., and the road was closed. Both bags were exploded by Boston Police as a precaution.
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(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius' defense appeared to have suffered a blow Wednesday when a forensic witness who contradicted the prosecution's version of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp was challenged on his credentials as an expert in forensics and other elements of his testimony.
The witness, Roger Dixon, was forced to admit under questioning by prosecutor Gerrie Nel that he was not an expert in forensics, pathology, ballistics, blood spatter, or sound and optics.
Dixon told the court Tuesday that Steenkamp was close to the door and angling toward the door on her right side as if she was reaching for the doorknob. He also concluded that Pistorius fired four shots through the bathroom door in quick succession.
Dixon's testimony contradicts the prosecution's forensic experts who determined that Steenkamp was facing the door when the first bullet struck her in the hip and knocked her down. Nel had also told the court that she was afraid of Pistorius and was talking to him through the locked door when he shot her.
The prosecution had also argued that Pistorius fired one shot and Steenkamp screamed before Pistorius fired three more rounds.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with murder for shooting Steenkamp, 29, before dawn on Valentine's Day 2013. He could be sentenced to at least 25 years if convicted. Pistorius, a legless paralypian sprinter known as Blade Runner, claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
Dixon's testimony included a bullet-by-bullet account of Steenkamp's wounds, prompting another bout of retching by Pistorius in court.
In addition to giving a different version of how Steenkamp was shot, Dixon told the court that he helped record sounds of a cricket bat hitting against a door to show to the court that the sounds neighbors testified were the sound of gunshots could have been Pistorius breaking down the door to get to his mortally wounded girlfriend.
Nel questioned Dixon's expertise and professional affiliations.
"Are you a sound expert?" Nel asked.
"I would hope I'm a sound expert," he replied.
Nel repeated the question, referring to sound and acoustics specifically, to which Dixon said the test he did of the sound made by a cricket bat hitting a door and a gun firing was to determine whether the two could be confused.
"[The] expertise used was attempting to reconstruct the situation...I was not listening to myself making that sound," he said.
Nel asked Dixon how he conducted tests on how dark it would have been in Pistorius' bedroom when he claims he didn't know Steenkamp had gone into the bathroom.
"The instruments that I used were my eyes," Dixon said.
Dixon's qualifications as a forensics expert were also questioned by Nel, with the prosecutor getting so aggressive that the judge admonished him, "Mr. Nel, please restrain yourself.”
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(WASHINGTON) -- “A marathon is a celebration of life and endurance and the human spirit,” Rep. Kyrsten Sinema says. “Runners are such a tight-knit community. Even if we don’t know each other, we treat each other like friends.”
Next week, Sinema, a freshman Democrat from Arizona, will be one of two members of Congress running in the 118th Boston Marathon, joining Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass.
“Boston is like the Holy Grail of running events,” she told ABC News. “I never thought I would ever find my toe at the starting line at Boston.”
Sinema, 37, is running in honor of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old boy killed by the first blast in last year’s twin bombing. She says she has raised $20,000 for Team MR8, a charity established in memory of Martin by his parents.
Of the 36,000 racing bibs available for the historic occasion, 5,500 slots are reserved for charity runners like Sinema, a self-described “endurance runner” who would not qualify based on speed. She said Martin’s parents chose her and a friend to run in honor of their son.
“I’m so privileged to be running in honor of Martin Richard and for the other victims and survivors,” she said. “That is a big responsibility to carry to that start line and to carry those 26.2 miles across that finish line, so I’m going to spend those four-plus hours with Martin and the other victims and survivors in my heart.”
While most members of Congress would probably struggle to run even one mile, Sinema says she has completed eight marathons as well as an Iron Man triathlon.
“This is going to be by far the most emotional marathon I’ve ever run,” she admitted.
Sinema calculates that she runs about 40 miles per week at a pace of about 10:30 per mile. Her best finish came this January in Phoenix when she completed the P.F. Chang's Rock N'Roll Marathon in 4 hours and 29 minutes.
“If I’m having a good day on Monday, I can smash that record, so that’s my intention,” she pledged. “It’s also the most exciting course in the world and it’s going to be a really, really emotional day so I have my fingers crossed that that will bring me across the finish line faster.”
Sinema is also holding several events this week in her district to continue raising money for others touched by the tragedy. In addition to Team MR8, she says she has raised nearly $10,000 for One Fund Boston, the foundation established by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to support the victims and survivors, and $4,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Greater New England.
So after last year’s horrific bombings, is she concerned at all about the security surrounding the marathon?
“I have zero concerns about security,” she said. “The City of Boston has done an incredible job preparing for this marathon and I have 100 percent confidence that it’ll be a flawless event.”
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