Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Prison Guard Got Artwork for Allegedly Helping Escapees
Guard Gene Palmer accepted paintings from two convicted killers before providing them tools that would later help them bust out of their upstate New York prison earlier this month, according to court documents. Palmer was charged Wednesday in the alleged plot, and his arraignment was expected to continue at 4 p.m. ET Thursday. His lawyer denies Palmer purposely meant to help the men escape. Read more in NEWS.
2. Boston Bomber Tells Victims He’s Sorry During Sentencing
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev finally broke his silence Wednesday, apologizing in court to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. "I am sorry for the lives that I have taken," he said in his first court comments. He has been condemned to die by lethal injection at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terra Haute, Indiana. Read more in NEWS.
3. Charleston Church Resumes Bible Study as Pastor Mourned
Almost 100 people turned out for the first Wednesday night Bible study at the South Carolina church where nine people were gunned down last week. The special moment came after thousands publicly mourned its pastor and one of the victims, Clementa Pinckney, a state senator whose body was lying in state at the Capitol. Read more in NEWS.
4. Confederate Flags Fall in Alabama After Furor Grows
The four Confederate flags on the state Capitol grounds in Montgomery were removed Wednesday morning amid a growing backlash against the rebel banner following the South Carolina shooting. The national outcry over the flag comes as retailers pull related products from its stores. Warner Bros. announced that it would no longer license production of the General Lee, the iconic car in "The Dukes of Hazzard" that had a Confederate flag painted on its roof. Read more in NEWS.
5. Anticipation Mounts for Major SCOTUS Decisions
Seven cases are left for the Supreme Court to decide — including one that could legalize same-sex marriage across the country and one that will significantly affect the future of Obamacare. The court is scheduled to announce decisions Thursday, Friday and Monday, but there's still no indication which decisions will be released on which days. Read more in NEWS.
6. John Kerry Denies NSA Spying Against French Presidents
The secretary of state on Wednesday sought to quell a firestorm over allegations that the NSA eavesdropped on French President Francois Hollande and two predecessors, saying "that is not happening." Whistleblower website WikiLeaks released documents late Tuesday claiming the NSA spied on the French leaders between 2006 and 2012. Read more in NEWS.
7. Bobbi Kristina Brown Moved to Hospice Care
The only daughter of the late singer, Whitney Houston, has been moved into hospice care, nearly five months after the 22-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathtub of her home. Her grandmother said she has "irreversible" brain damage, and hospice care focuses on providing comfort to patients with terminal conditions, rather than trying to cure them. Read more in POP CULTURE.
When 8-year-old Zeke Ortiz grows up, he quickly answers that he wants to be a pro basketball player. And as for the talented young hoops player, being born deaf won't stop him.