Happening Today: O.J. Simpson, Heroin Crisis, R. Kelly, Kermit the Frog

What to Know

  • O.J. Simpson will have a lot going for him when he asks parole board members to release him after serving more than eight years
  • Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere, putting people, often children, at risk
  • The Muppets Studio is blaming "unacceptable business conduct" for its dismissal of Steve Whitmire as the longtime voice of Kermit the Frog

Get the top headlines of the day in your morning briefing from NBC 4 New York, Monday through Friday. Sign up for our newsletter here.

O.J. Simpson Faces Good Chance at Parole in Robbery

O.J. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate No. 1027820, will have a lot going for him when he asks state parole board members this week to release him after serving more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. Now 70, Simpson will have history in his favor and a clean record behind bars as he approaches the nine-year minimum of his 33-year sentence for armed robbery and assault with a weapon. Plus, the parole board sided with him once before. No one at his Thursday hearing is expected to oppose releasing him in October — not his victim, not even the former prosecutor who persuaded a jury in Las Vegas to convict Simpson in 2008. Four other men who went with Simpson to a hotel room to retrieve from two memorabilia dealers sports collectibles and personal items that the former football star said belonged to him took plea deals in the heist and received probation.

Suspect in 4 Pennsylvania Murders Claimed He Killed Others, Sources Say

The suspect in the murders of four young men in Bucks County made claims that he had killed other people prior to the most recent incident, according to NBC10 sources. Cosmo DiNardo told police he killed others years before he and his cousin were charged in a grisly crime spree that ended with police unearthing the victims' bodies from two deep pits on the DiNardo family's sprawling Bucks County farm, sources said. However, sources have not confirmed the validity and time frame of the 20-year-old's claim. DiNardo’s attorneys refused to talk about the case or their client’s alleged claim of prior murders when approached by NBC10’s Deanna Durante. Last week DiNardo's attorneys told reporters he confessed to murdering Jimi Taro Patrick, 19; Dean Finocchiaro, 19; Mark Sturgis, 22; and Tom Meo, 21. Police found the four men at the Pennsylvania farm after a grueling, five-day search in sweltering heat and pelting rain. The confession was in exchange for being spared the death penalty, according to DiNardo’s attorney.

"It's Raining Needles": Drug Crisis Creates Syringe Pollution Threat

They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere. In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900 gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 the same month in 2016. People, often children, risk getting stuck by discarded needles, raising the prospect they could contract blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV or be exposed to remnants of heroin or other drugs. It's unclear whether anyone has gotten sick, but the reports of children finding the needles can be sickening in their own right. One 6-year-old girl in California mistook a discarded syringe for a thermometer and put it in her mouth; she was unharmed.

Preventive Care, Screenings Could Be Compromised by GOP Bill

President Trump has often said he doesn't want people "dying in the streets" for lack of health care. But in the United States, where chronic conditions are the major diseases, people decline slowly. Preventive care and routine screening can make a big difference for those at risk for things such as heart problems and cancer, especially over time. That edge is what doctors and patients fear will be compromised if Republican efforts to repeal the Obama-era health law lead to more uninsured people. The uninsured tend to postpone care until problems break through. It's a message that lawmakers are hearing from doctors' groups and constituents, in letters and emails, and at town hall meetings.

R. Kelly Accused of Brainwashing Women in “Cult,” Report Says

Parents and former members of R. Kelly’s reported “inner circle” have accused the R&B superstar of brainwashing women and keeping them in a “cult” where he controls their every move, according to a new report. In an explosive BuzzFeed News article written by Jim DeRogatis, parents of at least two women say they’ve been in a battle to get their daughters back from Kelly and reported “sources,” including women in his close circle, have made allegations suggesting mental and physical abuse of several women by the artist. In the article, the parents of Georgia and Florida singers say their daughters each met Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, at concerts when they were in their late-teens, but what they claim was supposed to be a professional relationship, eventually transformed into a sexual one. One couple, identified only as J. and Tim, said they haven’t seen their daughter since December. Buzzfeed said it verified the full names of both the parents and their daughter using public record, but was not reporting the victims' name and her parents' last name to protect her privacy.

Kermit Actor Fired For “Unacceptable” Conduct, Studio Says

The Muppets Studio is blaming "unacceptable business conduct" for its dismissal of Steve Whitmire as the longtime voice of Kermit the Frog. Whitmire had been with the Muppets since 1978. He took over as Kermit after the death of Muppets founder Jim Henson in 1990. His firing was made public last week. In its statement the Muppets Studio did not detail Whitmire's "repeated unacceptable business conduct," but said it spanned "a period of many years."Whitmire could not immediately be reached for comment, but told The Hollywood Reporter that the studio felt he had been too outspoken in expressing how the Kermit character should be portrayed. The studio said veteran Muppets performer Matt Vogel is now taking over as Kermit.

Contact Us