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News Wrap: Norwegian Shooter Found Sane in Court, Sentenced for Killing 77

August 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: A court in Norway today ruled that Anders Breivik was sane when he killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage last year. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum under Norwegian law.

We have a report from Emma Murphy of Independent Television News.

EMMA MURPHY: He is responsible for Europe’s worst peacetime atrocity, and yet Anders Breivik swaggered and smirked his way into court.

There was, of course, his trademark clenched fist salute. And then he turned to face the families of the dead and the victims who had survived his attack, the smile as he turned back chilling even to those who had not suffered at his hands.

And then that smile again as judges ruled he was sane when he committed his crimes. It was just the result he wanted. As he refused to acknowledge the court because it stood for multiculturalism, he apologized through a translator for not killing more.

ANDERS BEHRING BREIVIK, convicted shooter (through translator): In my view, this sentence and judgment is illegitimate. At the same time, I cannot appeal against the judgment, because by appealing I would legitimize the court. I would like to end with an expression of regret and apologize to all militant nationalists in Norway and in Europe.

EMMA MURPHY: The judgment saw him sentenced to 21 years in prison for this bomb attack in Oslo from which he fled dressed in a fake police uniform and for attack on the island of Utoya. A harrowing description of how 69 young people were slain was outlined by judges. Even then, Breivik was unmoved.

It took over three hours for the court to hear how each of the 77 victims died, individual descriptions for individual lives and deaths, people like Elisabeth Lie. She was 16 and shot three times as she tried to run from Breivik.

Her father told me of his feeling towards her killer after the hearing.

MAN: He is a sick man, evil, sick maniac.

EMMA MURPHY: There is a hope here in Norway that prison will not just protect the public from Anders Breivik’s actions, but also his beliefs. He will not be allowed to define this country’s future, as he has its recent past.

KWAME HOLMAN: Breivik’s sentence could be extended if he’s later found too dangerous to be released. He said he wouldn’t appeal the sentence.

A chaotic scene unfolded this morning on a crowded sidewalk outside New York’s Empire State Building. A man opened fire with a handgun. He killed one person, a former co-worker, before being shot to death by police. The gunman, authorities said, was a clothing designer who was fired a year ago. At least nine people were wounded after police confronted the man on Fifth Avenue.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said they may have been struck by police gunfire.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, New York: There were a number of shots fired. The perpetrator clearly turned his gun on the police and tried to shoot them. Whether he got off any bullets, we just don’t know yet. The cops returned fire, killing him.

That’s what we know and that everybody else that was shot was just grazed or is going to survive. There’s no reason to think that any of them were that serious.

KWAME HOLMAN: Separately, in Chicago, 19 people were shot and wounded in a spate of incidents overnight. Eight of them were shot on a single street in a drive-by shooting. Chicago authorities are battling an increase in homicides, many gang-related.

Tropical Storm Isaac lashed the Caribbean today, swirling over Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Projections show Isaac will gain hurricane status over the Gulf of Mexico and eventually make landfall again near the Alabama-Mississippi border.

But Tampa, Fla., site of next week’s Republican National Convention remains vulnerable. The National Hurricane Center’s director, Rick Knabb, said Isaac’s potential is unknown.

RICK KNABB, National Hurricane Center: We don’t know, quite frankly, exactly what shape Isaac will be in when it emerges somewhere north of Cuba over the weekend or late in the weekend. So there’s both track and intensity uncertainty here.

And that is why we can’t pinpoint any one spot in South Florida or any one spot elsewhere in Florida that would receive the strongest winds or the heaviest rains and flooding and highest storm surges along the coast.

KWAME HOLMAN: Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Republican officials said there are no plans to cancel next week’s convention.

The issue of President Obama’s birthplace bubbled up again today in the campaign. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was rallying in his home state, Michigan, alongside running mate Paul Ryan when Romney made this quip about his own birth certificate.

MITT ROMNEY (R): Now, I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital.

No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KWAME HOLMAN: Hawaii officials repeatedly have verified President Obama’s birthplace, in the face of accusations he wasn’t born in the U.S.

The Obama campaign immediately condemned Romney’s comment, saying in a statement, “Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”

Romney has said in the past he believes the president was born in the United States.

The author of a purported firsthand account of the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden may be investigated for failing to clear his book with the Pentagon first. “No Easy Day” is set to be released on September 11 by Dutton Publishing. 

Reportedly, it was written under a pseudonym by one of the members of the Navy team that conducted the raid. FOX News identified him yesterday. Preorders for the book moved it to the top-selling slot on Amazon today.

Stocks did a turnaround on Wall Street today after a letter to Congress surfaced in which Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke again indicated the Fed may do more to spur the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 100 points to close just under 13,158. The Nasdaq rose 16 points to close above 3,069. But for the week, the Dow lost nearly 1 percent; the Nasdaq fell two-tenths of a percent.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.