WASHINGTON — U.S. forces have captured a suspect in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in an operation over the weekend ordered by President Donald Trump, a White House statement said Monday.

Mustafa al-Imam was captured on Sunday in Libya and will be brought to the United States to face charges, Trump said in the statement, referring to the events as terrorist attacks.

The assaults on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. citizens.

“Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice,” Trump said in the statement.

The statement didn’t say where or how al-Imam was captured or whether he had already arrived in the U.S.

Al-Imam, whose age is estimated at 46, is the second Benghazi suspect to be taken into U.S. custody. The suspected mastermind, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, is currently on trial in Washington.

Al-Imam faces charges of killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility using a firearm and dangerous weapon; conspiring to do the same; providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death; and weapons charges.



Supreme Court turns down property rights challenge to developer fees

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Monday it has turned down a property rights case from West Hollywood that challenged a California requirement that developers subsidize the creation of affordable housing.

The justices said Monday they will not hear an appeal from the builders of an 11-unit condo who said the fees violate the Constitution’s prohibition against taking private property “for public use without just compensation.”

The court’s action on the developer-fee case comes as a disappointment to builders and business groups that had hoped the more conservative justices would rein in the power of local governments to demand fees or other benefits in exchange for approving a building permit.

The California courts have said these fees are not an “exaction” or a taking of property, but rather a reasonable regulation of development.

Lawyers for West Hollywood said the California Legislature has required cities and counties to take specific steps to promote the creation of more affordable housing. The city has required developers to either set aside 20 percent of the units to be sold at below-market rates or to pay a fee that will be used to subsidize housing for people with low or moderate incomes.

Jonathan and Shelah Lehrer-Graiwer applied for a permit to build the 11-unit condo at 616 N. Croft Ave. and were required to pay a fee of $540,000 to subsidize affordable housing elsewhere. They objected, citing Supreme Court rulings that said permit restrictions must be related to the impact of a new development.

A state appeals court rejected their constitutional challenge, citing a California Supreme Court ruling two years ago that upheld a similar ordinance in San Jose.

Lawyers for the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento appealed on behalf of the developers, urging the high court to decide whether the U.S. Constitution puts limits “on a government’s authority to use the permit process to force private property to dedicate private property to a public use.”

—Tribune Washington Bureau


St. Louis man, 79, headed back to prison for his fourth murder

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man paroled from prison after murdering three people in the 1970s is heading back after killing a woman he said he suspected of stealing from him at his St. Louis apartment complex earlier this year.

Torrance C. Epps, 79, pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, assault, two gun charges and two counts of armed criminal action. St. Louis Circuit Judge Dennis Schaumann accepted terms of a deal with prosecutors and sentenced Epps to 18 years in prison.

The judge asked Epps to explain why on Jan. 19 he rolled his wheelchair through the Lafayette Towne senior housing complex where he lived, shooting at people and killing Tiandra Johnson, 32, in the complex’s office. Johnson was a manager at the complex. Epps claimed he saw Johnson watch him leave earlier that day and suspected her of entering his apartment with a backup key from the office to steal from him.

Police have said Epps had reported a break-in at his apartment and items missing in the days before the shooting. He first fired several shots at a woman near her apartment, then went to the leasing office and pointed a revolver at another person before shooting Johnson.

Epps had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the fatal shootings on Dec. 3, 1973, of three of his wife’s relatives in their St. Louis home. He murdered his wife’s mother, Pauline Clark, 44, and his wife’s grandparents, Matthew and Pauline Sherman, both 72, with a revolver.

Epps had served 14 years when he was first paroled in September 1988 and sent to a halfway house. He escaped a month later and was a fugitive for eight years. He was caught in a food stamp fraud crackdown when he paid an undercover federal agent $380 for $615 in food stamps, and was returned to prison. He was paroled in 2003.

—St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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