News on the go: March 13, 2013

Maura Zurick

The judge in the James Holmes case, the shooter of the Colorado movie theater massacre, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Holmes Tuesday. The defense team said he was not yet ready to enter one. If convicted, the former graduate student could be executed or spend life in prison. Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will pursue the death penalty but would make their decision known on April 1.

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A jury, Tuesday, reached a verdict in the murder case against the Ohio “Craigslist killer” Richard Beasley, the man charged with killing three men whom he lured to Ohio with false Craigslist job offers. The jury’s next decision will be whether to recommend the death penalty. Beasley’s partner in the crimes, Brogan Rafferty, was convicted and sentenced last year to life in prison.

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In Vatican City, black smoke steaming from the Sistine Chapel chimney Tuesday signaled that the cardinals failed to choose a new pope on their first vote. Since Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the Catholic Church has faced divisions and revelations of corruption and mismanagement. Voting will resume Wednesday morning.

New York City Police Officer Gilberto Valle was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy in a case that involved cannibalism fantasies. Valle, part of an Internet world involving cannibalism fetishists, chatted online about abducting, roasting and eating women. His defense team said he was just spinning sick and twisted fantasies. However, he could face life in prison at sentencing June 19. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and illegally using a police database.

Colorado lawmakers voted to approve civil unions for gay couples Tuesday. Dem. Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill into law soon. Once the bill is signed, Colorado will join a dozen other states that allow civil unions. Currently, six states allow gay marriage.

The Curiosity rover on Mars found evidence that the “red planet” could have supported primitive life. Last month, the rover drilled into rocks on the planet then tested the powder. Chief scientist of the California Institute of Technology said the tests found that Mars could have supported life and if the planet still had a water supply it would be safe to drink. The rock showed clay minerals that formed in a watery environment; it also had traces of sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and other chemical ingredients important for life.

All information is from The Associated Press.

Contact Maura Zurick at [email protected].