TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — One of three young sisters who authorities say were imprisoned in an Arizona home for months testified Wednesday that her mother and stepfather monitored the girls with video cameras, awoke them at night to march in place, and forced them to urinate and defecate in their bedroom closets.
The girl who testified in the kidnapping and abuse case was 13 when she and her 12-year-old sister escaped through a bedroom window and sought a neighbor’s help in 2013. Authorities say the oldest sister was kept in a separate room.
The girl wept on the witness stand as she recounted for several hours the abuse and bizarre rules her parents imposed on the sisters.
She said she feared for her life after defendant Fernando Richter broke her bedroom door in half and acted erratically while holding a knife. She opened a window that she thought would set off an alarm but didn’t, then escaped with her younger sister.
“Something in my heart, I knew I needed to get out or something bad was gonna happen,” the girl testified.
Fernando and Sophia Richter have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, child abuse and domestic violence charges.
The Associated Press does not generally name minors who authorities say are victims of crimes.
Prosecutors say the girls were not allowed to leave their rooms during the three to four months they lived in the Tucson home. Prior to that, they lived in Catalina, a nearby town in Pinal County, where prosecutors say they were also abused.
The Richters face a separate criminal case in Pinal County that includes charges of kidnapping and child abuse. They have also pleaded not guilty in that case.
Defense attorney Paul Skitzki, who represents Fernando Richter, said during opening statements in the Tucson case that the state doesn’t have enough evidence to prove its allegations. He said his client’s mother will testify to having seen the girls roam freely around the house and even leave for outings.
The girl who testified Wednesday said she was taken out of school in the fifth grade and didn’t receive home schooling or any other type of education in the following two years.
Now a sophomore in high school, she described how her parents’ behavior became more and more erratic as time passed. She said the sisters were allowed out of their room while living in the Catalina house but were hidden in a car when the family moved to Tucson. The younger sisters were covered by bags while the oldest was in the trunk.
After the move, the girl said, cameras tracked them night and day, and they were rarely allowed to leave their rooms.
They didn’t know where they lived or what the outside looked like, and the two youngest sisters were allegedly banned from speaking to their older sister, who was kept in a different room.
Asked why she hadn’t escaped earlier, the girl said: “I never tried because I didn’t wanna get punished. I didn’t wanna get whooped. I didn’t wanna get yelled at,” she said.
The two other sisters were expected to testify on Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) — For Sir Simon Rattle, Beethoven was, of course, brilliant. And perhaps crazy.
How much of the composer’s creativity was tied to his loss of hearing?
“If he had not been so cut off from the world by this cruel affliction, could he have gone to the place he went? I wonder,” the British conductor said. “It’s no wonder even many of his most intelligent contemporaries thought that he was insane. (Carl Maria von) Weber walked out after the first movement of the Seventh Symphony saying that he’s no longer writing anything that could be called music, this is only fit for the lunatic asylum.”
Long known as an advocate of contemporary composers, Rattle focused his fall on Beethoven. He conducted two complete cycles of the nine symphonies at Berlin’s Philharmonie last month, then took the Berlin Philharmonic on tour for additional cycles in November at the Philharmonie de Paris, Vienna’s Musikverein and New York’s Carnegie Hall. One more is planned for Tokyo’s Suntory Hall in May.
Rattle thought back to a conversation he had in 1988 with Herbert von Karajan, the Berlin Philharmonic’s leader from 1955-89.
“When I had my last talk with Karajan, sitting in what’s now my dressing room, he said, ‘Oh, Simon, you know you have to write off your first 100 Beethoven Fifths.’ At this point I’d conducted three, and so I gulped,” Rattle recalled this month. “He could be a tough old bugger, obviously. He was very, very welcoming to young musicians. There was a kind of gruff charm about him.”
Now 60, Rattle conducted his first Beethoven cycle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1995 and led the Vienna Philharmonic in performances at Berlin, Tokyo and Vienna in 2001 and 2002 when EMI released a complete set. He became the Berlin Philharmonic’s chief conductor in 2002 and conducted his first Beethoven cycle with that orchestra six years later.
“Sometimes at the beginning it was a struggle for me to bring everything I’ve learned from working for a quarter of a century with period instruments into Berlin,” Rattle said, “but actually I think somewhere we’ve met, and that’s very satisfying. There’s a kind of energy and passion and fierceness of the way they play, which is irreplaceable, and for music like this, which seems to ask more energy and intensity than anyone can give, they’re a wonderful fit.”
Beethoven’s symphonies premiered from 1800 through 1824 — three years before his death at age 56. Camillo Hildebrand conducted Berlin’s first Beethoven cycle in April 1914, and Karajan conducted the nine symphonies with Berlin at Carnegie Hall in 1965.
At Tuesday night’s Carnegie performance of the First and Third Symphonies, the opening of a two-season “Perspectives” series, Rattle used a pared-down string section with eight first violins rather than 12. He had three double basses for the First and five for the “Eroica,” drawing exquisite playing from strings, woodwinds and brass. Strings bubbled for the Third’s scherzo, and horns could have not played more delicately. Hunching his shoulders and sweeping his arms, his white mop of hair bobbing, Rattle elicited a performance of uncommon detail.
His first experience with the composer was on vinyl recordings, “some of the 78s that my dad collected when he was courting my mother, who ran a record store.”
“My first ‘Pastorale’ was (Leopold) Stokowski and the Philadelphia on God knows how many sides,” Rattle said. “I think it was a little bit of shock when I heard it in the concert, that it didn’t keep on stopping, that it actually carried on.”
He favored the idiosyncratic performances of Wilhelm Furtwaengler over the more brisk tempi of Arturo Toscanini. When he conducts the later symphonies, Rattle adds strings for a fuller sound, especially in the first two movements of the Ninth.
“As you go on, particularly the Ninth Symphony, it’s inventing a new world,” Rattle said. “And it’s so clear that you are then somewhere else that it goes way beyond Wagner.”
In recent years, the complete Beethoven symphonies have been performed at Carnegie by Claudio Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic (1987), Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (1996), Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin (2000), and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (2013).
Audio and video recordings of Rattle’s Berlin performances last month are to be released by the Philharmonic in March.
These cycles are Rattle’s method of focusing attention on Beethoven, the revolutionary.
“We should remember how astonishing and astounding and dangerous the music is now,” Rattle said. “We know it so well, but we should never get used to it. Nobody has Francis Bacon on their walls in their house — or very few people — but sometimes people listen to Beethoven as though it was background and a comfort, and I think that is very dangerous.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Univision is the latest media company to offer a streaming service as it prepares for an initial public offering.
Following in the footsteps of HBO, CBS and Showtime, broadcast networks Univision and UniMás can now be streamed for $6 a month or $60 a year.
The two channels are already free to anyone with a TV and an antenna. The new service, called Univision Now, is geared toward people who want to watch on their phones, computers and tablets. You would also be able to watch shows on a TV through Apple’s AirPlay, which lets you beam from your iPhone or iPad to the screen.
The media company with a huge Hispanic audience announced an IPO in July. But TV watchers are increasingly moving online, causing volatility in the shares of media companies. Univision and UniMás are already available as part of a $5 add-on pack on Sling TV, Dish Network’s online mini-bundle.
Streams are live, and there is a “DVR” function that stores all video for up to three days. Not everything on the channels will be on the app, but soccer games are. (CBS’ subscription service has some sports blackouts.)
Local news from Houston, Los Angeles and New York that Univision broadcasts is available and other markets will be added, said Univision spokeswoman Rosemary Mercedes.
Univision Communications Inc. also owns cable channels and has digital investments like Flama.
DETROIT (AP) — After seven days of testimony, closing arguments are next in the trial of a Detroit-area police officer whose bloody beating of a driver was captured on dashcam video.
Jurors rode in vans Tuesday to see the street in Inkster where Floyd Dent was stopped by police and punched in the head 16 times by William Melendez last January.
Melendez is charged with assault and misconduct in office. Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in Wayne County court.
The dashcam video wasn’t publicly known until WDIV-TV aired it in March. Melendez was fired, and Inkster agreed to pay $1.4 million to the 58-year-old Dent.
Melendez didn’t testify at trial. Defense attorney James Thomas says the punches were justified because Dent was aggressive and resisting police.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is asking a judge to throw out a $3 million civil lawsuit against it over the arrest of a University of Virginia student that sparked outrage when video of it surfaced.
The Daily Progress (http://bit.ly/1LkhQ4x ) reports the defendants filed the motion Monday, asking the court to throw out the lawsuit filed by Martese Johnson, a University of Virginia student who was arrested on St. Patrick’s Day.
ABC agents say Johnson was attempting to enter a bar with a fake ID. Johnson, who filed the lawsuit in October, says his ID was valid and he was not intoxicated during the bloody altercation.
Charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice against Johnson were later dropped.
ABC says the lawsuit fails to state any claim against the defendants and says there was probable cause for his arrest.
Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — If you don’t have an extra $15,000 or so to spend on a night in a royal suite at Dubai’s luxury Burj Al Arab hotel, there’s now an online tour that offers a free virtual glimpse of its extravagance.
The hotel, known for its distinctive sail design and lavish interiors, partnered with Google to provide videos and a 3-D online tour of its lobby, suite, helipad, bar, spa and restaurants.
The two-story royal suite depicted in the tour includes a marble staircase with a cheetah-print carpet, a rotating canopy bed, all in bright reds and yellows, and much more.
The tour notes that “the master bedroom features a generous dressing room, which is larger than the average hotel room.”
Burj Al Arab virtual tour: http://inside.jumeriah.com