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Nation briefs for Monday, Feb. 15

ILLINOIS

Apartment fire kills 7 in Cicero

An early-morning fire that ripped through a suburban Chicago apartment building Sunday left seven people dead, including a newborn baby, a 3-year-old and four teenagers. The death toll rose as investigators searched through the charred remains of the three-story building in Cicero. Initial reports indicated the victims may have been related.

ARIZONA

Most of his life in prison, dead at 94

Deaf, nearly blind, confined to a wheelchair and suffering from dementia and mental illness, the oldest death row inmate in the United States died Friday of natural causes at age 94. Viva Leroy Nash died in the state's prison complex in Florence, said a Department of Corrections spokesman. Said one of his attorneys, Thomas Phalen, "He was born in 1915 and he was sent to prison in 1930," he said. "He had 15 years of life in southern Utah, at a time when Utah and Arizona was the wild, wild West - and he went to prison in 1930, and he remained in prison for the next 80 years, more or less." Phalen said Nash was sent to the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1930 for an armed robbery. He spent 25 years in prison for shooting a Connecticut police officer in 1947. In 1977, Nash was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for a robbery and murder in Salt Lake City but escaped in October 1982. Weeks later, Nash went into a coin shop in Phoenix, demanded money and killed Greggory West. He was convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft, and sentenced to death in 1983.

Three killed in copter crash

A helicopter crash just north of Phoenix killed at least three people Sunday, including a child. Residents in the area known as Cave Creek heard noises and saw parts flying off the 6-seat helicopter before it crashed and burst into flames.

ALASKA

Avalanche: Snowmobiler missing

Rain, low clouds and predicted high winds Sunday grounded searchers seeking the body of a ConocoPhillips Alaska employee missing and presumed dead in an avalanche that killed the head of the company. The avalanche around noon Saturday on the Kenai Peninsula buried Jim Bowles, 57, head of ConocoPhillips Alaska, and Alan Gage, 39, part of the company's capital projects team in Anchorage. Gage remains missing. The men were in a party of 12 snowmobilers in the Grandview wilderness area, part of the Chugach National Forest, between the tiny communities of Moose Pass and Portage.

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