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CALIFORNIA: Meat supplier under probe

The federal government suspended purchases of meat from a slaughterhouse under investigation for animal cruelty. The USDA bought 21 million pounds of beef from Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford in 2011 for the national school lunch and other federal food programs. An undercover video taken at the slaughterhouse shows cows being shocked, kicked and shot on their way to slaughter.


INDIANA: 16 years later, a new trial

Kristine Bunch, 38, tasted freedom for the first time Wednesday after 16 years behind bars for a murder she said she didn't commit. A Decatur County judge set bail at $5,000. The state plans to try her again on murder and arson charges for the 1995 fire that killed her son, Tony, 3. The state Court of Appeals ordered a retrial, saying evidence used to convict her was outdated, weak and withheld from the defense.


MINNESOTA: Dem drops re-election bid

A Democrat who had a rest-stop sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy dropped his re-election bid for the State Legislature on Wednesday. Rep. Kerry Gauthier, 56, told The Associated Press Democratic leaders had pressed him to withdraw. He told the AP that an overdose of muscle relaxants that led to his hospitalization last week was a suicide attempt. He'd earlier admitted he has been in recovery from chemical dependency for 30 years with one relapse.


NEW JERSEY: Mom kills boy, 2, and self

A woman who had previously admitted blacking out from drug use decapitated her 2-year-old son and put the head in her home freezer, then called 911 before killing herself early Wednesday, five months after having regained custody of the child, authorities said. Chevonne Thomas had lost custody of Zahree Thomas in 2010 after allegedly leaving him unattended in a car, and admitting she blacked out in a nearby park after smoking marijuana laced with PCP. Police say she stabbed herself in the neck as officers were outside.

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