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Why Cleveland Police Officer Verdict Was Announced Over Holiday Weekend

People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Cuyahoga County Judge John O'Donnell Saturday acquitted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo in the 2012 shooting deaths of two unarmed people. But why was the decision announced at the start of Memorial Day Weekend?

"The decision to announce the verdict in this high-profile case on a holiday weekend was not made lightly," Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Administrative and Presiding Judge John J. Russo said in a statement.

"The prime consideration was to not delay the reading of the verdict any longer than necessary," the statement added. "While the wait was difficult for many, it was especially hard on the parties involved in the case and their families. Once Judge O’Donnell reached his verdict and finished writing his opinion, he and the Court wanted to let the parties know the decision as quickly as possible.

"It was agreed that by announcing it on a Saturday morning, the potential for downtown traffic issues and the resulting impact on the community could also be lessened," the statement said.

Russo also wrote: "On this Memorial Day Weekend, we honor and thank those who served our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms and rights that we enjoy."

Brelo was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter and a lesser charge of felonious assault in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, as O'Donnell said he couldn't determine whether the officer alone fired the fatal shots at the end of a 137-bullet barrage.

O'Donnell ruled that Brelo's use of deadly force was constitutionally reasonable based on how the events unfolded.

"It was reasonable, despite knowing now that there was no gun in the car and he was mistaken about the origin of the gunshots," he said.

Prosecutors said Brelo, 31, was one of 13 officers who fired 137 times into the couple's car in the November 2012 shooting. The 22-mile, high-speed chase through Cleveland began when an officer tried pulling over Russell for a turn signal violation. His car backfired while speeding away, causing officers to think someone in the car had fired a gun.

No gun was ever found in the car. Russell and Williams were each shot more than 20 times.

Brelo was the only officer charged criminally because prosecutors said he intended to kill Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, alleging that he reloaded during the shooting barrage and that it was his final salvo that killed the couple.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Why Cleveland Police Officer Verdict Was Announced Over Holiday Weekend

People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Cuyahoga County Judge John O'Donnell Saturday acquitted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo in the 2012 shooting deaths of two unarmed people. But why was the decision announced at the start of Memorial Day Weekend?

"The decision to announce the verdict in this high-profile case on a holiday weekend was not made lightly," Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Administrative and Presiding Judge John J. Russo said in a statement.

"The prime consideration was to not delay the reading of the verdict any longer than necessary," the statement added. "While the wait was difficult for many, it was especially hard on the parties involved in the case and their families. Once Judge O’Donnell reached his verdict and finished writing his opinion, he and the Court wanted to let the parties know the decision as quickly as possible.

"It was agreed that by announcing it on a Saturday morning, the potential for downtown traffic issues and the resulting impact on the community could also be lessened," the statement said.

Russo also wrote: "On this Memorial Day Weekend, we honor and thank those who served our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms and rights that we enjoy."

Brelo was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter and a lesser charge of felonious assault in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, as O'Donnell said he couldn't determine whether the officer alone fired the fatal shots at the end of a 137-bullet barrage.

O'Donnell ruled that Brelo's use of deadly force was constitutionally reasonable based on how the events unfolded.

"It was reasonable, despite knowing now that there was no gun in the car and he was mistaken about the origin of the gunshots," he said.

Prosecutors said Brelo, 31, was one of 13 officers who fired 137 times into the couple's car in the November 2012 shooting. The 22-mile, high-speed chase through Cleveland began when an officer tried pulling over Russell for a turn signal violation. His car backfired while speeding away, causing officers to think someone in the car had fired a gun.

No gun was ever found in the car. Russell and Williams were each shot more than 20 times.

Brelo was the only officer charged criminally because prosecutors said he intended to kill Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, alleging that he reloaded during the shooting barrage and that it was his final salvo that killed the couple.


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Ireland Votes to Approve Marriage Equality

Supporters react outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- Citizens of Ireland voted on Saturday to amend the country's constitution to legalize same-sex marriage.

The nation's constitution requires a referendum to amend. The BBC News reported an "unusually high" turnout Saturday.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny tweeted saying that he had voted yes for marriage equality, and in a second tweet, said he was "amazed" by the positive turnout.

Former White House Senior Adviser under President Obama David Plouffe posted a message to Twitter calling the vote a "smashing victory for marriage equality."

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also tweeted her support for the vote.


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Senate Blocks Extension of Patriot Act Provisions, NSA Begins 'Winding Down' Bulk Collection of Phone Records

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate blocked a House bill early Saturday morning that would have extended three sections of the Patriot Act which are set to expire on June 1.

Sixty votes were needed to pass the House-approved USA Freedom Act. But the vote late Friday night saw the bill get just 57 votes in support. After the bill failed, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., attempted to get it passed by unanimous consent, but failed to do so.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made multiple attempts to pass shorter extensions, but was blocked four times, including three objections from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.

"For those who want reform and want to prevent the government from holding the data, the Freedom Act is the only way to do it," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Saturday. "The House has passed it, the President wants it, all of the Intelligence personnel have agreed to it."

Boxer pointed blame across the aisle after the Saturday morning efforts to get the USA Freedom Act passed, saying "we tried with the majority to protect this country and the Republicans objected."

A senior administration official told ABC News on Saturday that the NSA has begun "winding down" its once-secret bulk collection of Americans' phone records in the wake of Congress' failure to extend the existing program.

"We've said for the past several days that the wind-down process would need to begin yesterday if there was no legislative agreement," the official said. "That process has begun."


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Researchers: Depression Linked to Increased Risk of Death in Heart Failure Patients

janulla/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers presented a study at a conference on Heart Failure Saturday, indicating that depression was linked to a five-fold increase in risk of death in heart failure patients.

According to a press release for the event, researchers followed patients for a year following hospitalization for heart failure. Those patients who suffered from moderate or severe depression were found to be five times as likely to die in the year after they were discharged from the hospital.

Depression is not uncommon in heart disease patients or patients who have undergone cardiac surgery.

More research would be needed to determine how to treat depression in cardiac patients.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Buffett: Raising Minimum Wage to $15 Would 'Reduce Employment in a Major Way'

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett objected to the idea of raising the minimum wage to $15 in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Friday, saying that such a move would "reduce employment in a major way."

"The American Dream promises that a combination of education, hard work and good behavior can move any citizen from humble beginnings to at least reasonable success," Buffett wrote, noting that for many Americans, that very promise has been fulfilled. However, Buffett acknowledges, "recently...the economic rewards flowing to people with specialized talents have grown dramatically faster than those going to equally decent men and women possessing more commonplace skills."

Buffett, the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, cites statistics from Forbes, highlighting the massive wealth of the richest Americans, compared to the "huge number of their fellow citizens...living the American Nightmare -- behaving well and working hard but barely getting by."

The mismatch between American workers and a larger-than-ever swath of available jobs, Buffett says, "is neither the fault of the market system nor the fault of the disadvantaged individuals. It is simply a consequence of an economic engine that constantly requires more high-order talents while reducing the need for commodity-like tasks."

Buffett discusses the importance of education in the op-ed, but notes that "even with the finest educational system in the world, a significant portion of the population will continue...to earn no more than a bare subsistence."

Regarding the increased minimum wage, which has inspired numerous rallies in recent months, including gatherings of fast food workers around the nation, Buffett says that while he may wish every job paid at least $15 per hour, "that minimum would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way, crushing many workers possessing only basic skills."

"Smaller increases, though obviously welcome, will still leave many hardworking Americans mired in poverty," he adds. The solution, Buffett argues, is an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides low-income workers with payments from the government that get smaller as their earnings increase.

"There is no perfect system," Buffett accepts, "and some people, of course, are unable to unwilling to work." Still, he urges, "let's replace the American Nightmare with an American Promise: America will deliver a decent life for anyone willing to work."


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Atlanta Hawks' Kyle Korver to Miss Remainder of NBA Playoffs

Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver will miss the remainder of the postseason with a severe right ankle sprain, the team announced Saturday, putting the team -- already down two games to none to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals -- and its season in deeper jeopardy.

Korver left Friday night's Game 2 in the third quarter after attempting to gather up a loose ball. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova appeared to roll onto Korver's ankle on the play.

Korver had struggled to find open shots since the Hawks' previous series against the Washington Wizards, shooting just 15 of 48 from the floor in that seven game series. He was just 7 for 16 in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals.


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Bill Murray Wants to Wish You "A Very Murray Christmas"

Dana Edelson/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Netflix has released a trailer for A Very Murray Christmas, its upcoming Christmas special starring Bill Murray set to debut in December.

The 24-second trailer, which is clearly a nod to his role in Lost in Translation, features a signature shrug from the actor while he dons a pair of headband antlers and gazes glumly out a Carlyle Hotel window at the New York City skyline -- all set to a score of jazz piano.

It's no coincidence that the trailer looks like the hit 2003 film. The special reunites the actor with Sofia Coppola, who last directed Murray in Lost in Translation, for which he earned his first Oscar nomination of his career.

A Very Murray Christmas pays tribute to the classic variety show and features Murray as the host, according to Netflix.

In the special, a snowstorm hits New York City and Murray worries that none of his guests will be able to make the trek, according to Netflix. But with a combination of divine luck and perseverance, he ends up partying the night away with countless A-list guests at The Carlyle Hotel.

The cast of partiers includes highly notable names, including George Clooney, Dimitri Dimitrov, Michael Cera, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Miley Cyrus, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones and more.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Memorial Day Services scheduled for tomorrow in South Central South Dakota
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Down payments due today for the June 9th Goat Tying and Breakaway Roping clinics in Winner
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Club Baseball from Friday at Leahy Bowl..
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