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News
Man indicted in Gwinnett triple homicide
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Man indicted in Gwinnett triple homicide

Man indicted in Gwinnett triple homicide
Robert Bell

Man indicted in Gwinnett triple homicide

A Gwinnett County grand jury indicted a man accused of fatally shooting three people, and wounding a fourth, during a domestic dispute in September.

Robert E. Bell was indicted Wednesday on three counts of murder, felony murder and aggravated assault. He was also indicted on one count of aggravated battery.

Bell had been staying in the Snellville home of Angelina Benton, 34, for a couple of weeks, according to police.

It is believed that on Sept. 15, Bell, armed with an assault rifle, was lying in wait for Benton, her 12-year-old son, Joseph McDonald, her 19-year-old godson, Raynard Daniel, and her boyfriend, Justin Cato, when they return home from a weekend trip. Cato, who was shot in the leg, was the only one to survive.

Bell was arrested Oct. 24 in New Orleans, after spending more than a month on the run.

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  • Samsung seems to be playing it safe with its first major smartphone since the embarrassing recall of its fire-prone Note 7. The Galaxy S8 features a larger display than its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, and sports a voice assistant intended to rival Siri and Google Assistant. But there is no increase in battery capacity, providing the battery more breathing room. The Note 7 pushed the engineering envelope with its battery, which contributed to a series of spontaneous smartphone combustions. The Galaxy S8 will come in two sizes, both bigger than last year's models. Both models have screens that curve around the edges and get rid of the physical home button. The Note 7 recall cost Samsung at least $5.3 billion. Though many customers remain loyal, any further misstep could prove fatal for the brand. 'We're in the process of earning back that trust,' said Drew Blackard, a senior director of product marketing for Samsung. In the U.S., Samsung will start taking orders Thursday, with shipments scheduled for April 21. Prices haven't been announced yet. ABOUT THAT BATTERY Samsung has blamed the Note 7 fires on multiple design and manufacturing defects in its batteries. Inspectors concluded that the initial batteries were too small for their capacity, and that their external pouch put pressure on the internal structure, leading to damage and overheating. Samsung recalled the phones and shipped replacements, but the newer batteries had welding defects and a lack of protective tape in some battery cells. Samsung recalled the replacements, too, and scrapped the phone. The company says phones will now go through multiple inspections, including X-rays and stress tests at extreme temperatures. The standard-size S8 phone has as much battery capacity as last year's Galaxy S7, but the phone is 4 percent larger by volume. The larger S8 Plus model has 3 percent less capacity than the Galaxy S7 Edge and the same capacity as the Note 7, but the phone's volume is larger by 12 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Both models have larger displays, meaning more drain on the battery. Samsung says that software and processor efficiencies will let the new phones offer all-day battery life under normal use. BIGGER, WIDER SCREENS The S8 phone's display measures 5.8 inches diagonally, compared with 5.1 inches on the S7. The S8 Plus will be 6.2 inches, compared with S7 Edge's 5.5 inches and the Note 7's 5.7 inches. Both S8 models are taller than their predecessors, but widths are roughly the same to preserve one-handed use. Samsung is getting rid of the 'Edge' distinction and bringing curved sides to all S8 phones. It's also minimizing the frame, or bezel, surrounding the display; gone is a horizontal strip with the home button at the bottom. Instead, Samsung is embedding a virtual home button in the display, leaving Apple's iPhones as among the few to sport a distinct home button. VOICE ASSISTANT Samsung claims its new voice assistant, Bixby, will do much more than rivals from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. For one thing, Samsung says Bixby will be able to handle any smartphone task currently managed by touch. Bixby will also offer information on books, wine and other products scanned with the phone's camera. But there's a major caveat: Bixby will work only with selected Samsung apps, including the photo gallery and messages. Not all touch commands will have voice counterparts right away. Other apps will be able to adopt Bixby, but Samsung has had a mixed track record in getting other companies to support its home-brewed functions like Bixby. 'I think the brand will struggle to compete in the longer term with the broader digital ecosystems from Google, Amazon or Apple,' Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said. 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  • The Trump administration has asked a federal appeals court to postpone ruling on the merits of President Barack Obama's sweeping plan to address climate change. The request late Tuesday came hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that seeks to roll back his predecessor's effort to curb carbon emissions. The regulations — known as the Clean Power Plan — have been the subject of long-running legal challenges by mostly Republican-led states and industry groups that profit from burning coal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard arguments in the case last year and could issue a ruling any time. Environmental groups oppose any delay. A ruling in favor of the Obama-era rules could help environmental groups battle Trump administration efforts to undo them.