(CNN) -- Forty years after they were convicted by a jury of firebombing a grocery store in Wilmington, North Carolina, civil rights activists who became known as the "Wilmington 10" were pardoned Monday by the state's outgoing governor.
"These convictions were tainted by naked racism and represent an ugly stain on North Carolina's criminal justice system that cannot be allowed to stand any longer," said Gov. Beverly Purdue. "Justice demands that this stain finally be removed."
In 1972, nine black men and one white woman were convicted in the store firebombing in the coastal city despite their claims of innocence and their supporters' vehement argument that the defendants were victims of racially biased prosecutors.
Their sentences were reduced in 1978 by the state's governor then, Jim Hunt, and two years later their convictions were overturned in federal court for reasons of misconduct by the prosecutors.
But until Monday there were no pardons, and the sting of the guilty verdicts still followed the six surviving members of the group that was known nationwide as the Wilmington 10.
A man gunned down Thursday on Chicago's West Side marked what police say is the city's 500th homicide of the year. It's a dubious distinction that hasn't occurred since 2008, when the city ended the year with 512 murders.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the total "an unfortunate and tragic milestone, which not only marks a needless loss of life but serves as a reminder of the damage that illegal guns and conflicts between gangs cause in our neighborhoods."
"The brave officers of the Chicago Police Department work tirelessly to continually reduce crime, but this is not just a law enforcement issue," Emanuel said in a statement.
Two firefighters were shot and killed and two others taken to a nearby hospital after a gunman opened fire on them as they responded to a house fire in Webster, N.Y., this morning, according to authorities and local media.
Officials at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., told ABCNews.com that two men were taken there this morning and were in "guarded condition" after suffering gunshots.
There is "no active shooter, or shooters" at this time, Webster Police Chief Gerald L. Pickerin told reporters this morning, according to ABC affiliate WHAM-TV.
The fire spread to three homes on Lake Road, according to WHAM.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican authorities on Wednesday said 22 people died in an attempted jail break in the northern state of Durango that sparked a bloody shootout between guards and inmates.
Nine guards and 13 prisoners were killed in the incident that took place in the city of Gomez Palacio on Tuesday, said Fernando Rivas, a spokesman for Durango state police.
"The number of dead could increase although we hope not. A number of guards and prisoners are currently in a critical state," he said, noting that it was possible guards were complicit in allowing the weapons to enter the prison.
Initial reports on Tuesday night indicated that 17 had died in the attempted breakout.
Two Irving, Texas, women are suing two Texas State Troopers and the director of the Department of Public Safety after they say they were violated during roadside cavity searches in full view of the public and without probable cause.
On July 13, while driving along state Highway 161, Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs were stopped for littering by Trooper David Ferrell. In the dashcam video released by the women and their attorney, Ferrell can be heard telling the women they would both be cited for littering for throwing cigarette butts out of the car.
Farrell then returned to his cruiser and, in the video, can be heard calling female trooper Kelley Helleson to the scene to search both women whom he said were acting weird.
CHICAGO (AP) — Two bank robbers pulled off a daring escape from downtown Chicago's high-rise jail Tuesday by apparently scaling down about 20 stories using a makeshift rope tied to the bars in a cell window.
Police helicopters and canine units swarmed the area, but not until more than three hours after Joseph "Jose" Banks and Kenneth Conley went unaccounted for during a 5 a.m. headcount, U.S. Marshal's Service spokeswoman Belkis Cantor said.
Both men were still at large late Tuesday night.
Investigators found a broken window in the men's cell, where window bars were found inside a mattress, according to an FBI affidavit filed late Tuesday. Fake metal bars also were found in the men's cell, a rope was tied to a window bar, and each man's bed was stuffed with clothing and sheets to resemble a body, the affidavit said.
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With the purpose of writing about true crime in an authoritative, fact-based manner, veteran journalists J. J. Maloney and J. Patrick O’Connor launched Crime Magazine in November of 1998.
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