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An Orange County man accused of hiring hit men to murder his wife so he could avoid a costly divorce has been convicted of murder.

A district attorney's statement Friday says 61-year-old Magdi Girgis (MOG'-dee GURR-ghiss) of Westminster has been found guilty in the 2004 killing.

A few days before her death, 55-year-old Ariet (AHR'-ee-et) Girgis had testified in a domestic violence case against her husband, saying her marriage was "miserable." He was convicted on domestic violence charges after her death.

Two suspects allegedly entered the victim's home in Sept. 2004 and murdered her with a sharp object.

Prosecutors say the killer and a middleman involved in the contract slaying remain at large.

A third person, Anthony Edward Bridget, was arrested last year and faces charges including conspiracy and murder.

High court to hear dispute about TV over Internet

•  Headline News     updated  2014/04/21 14:38

Thirty years ago, big media companies failed to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings.

Now they're back — and trying to rein in a different innovation that they say threatens their financial well-being.

The battle has moved out of viewers' living rooms, where people once marveled at their ability to pop a cassette into a recorder and capture their favorite programs or the sporting event they wouldn't be home to see.

The new legal fight shifts to the Supreme Court Tuesday with arguments against a startup business using Internet-based technology to give subscribers the ability to watch programs anywhere they can take portable devices.

Aereo takes free television signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers in 11 cities.

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

•  Headline News     updated  2014/04/17 14:40

An appeals court said Wednesday that federal officials should have consulted wildlife agencies about potential harm to a tiny, threatened fish before issuing contracts for water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation violated the Endangered Species Act when it failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service in renewing 41 contracts a decade ago. The appeals court sent the case back to a trial judge for further proceedings.

The ruling arises from one of several lawsuits filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmentalists seeking to protect the Delta smelt. The ruling won't affect water flows because protections for the smelt were kept in place during the lawsuit.

"This about how we are going to manage the water in the future," said Douglas Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Water-rights holders and government lawyers argued that consultation wasn't necessary because the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was required to renew the contracts and had no discretion over terms of the agreement that would control water levels in the Delta.

Oklahoma gay-marriage case before US appeals court

•  Court News     updated  2014/04/17 14:38

Court arguments over Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage will center on whether voters singled out gay people for unfair treatment when they overwhelmingly defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Judges at a federal appeals court in Denver will hear arguments Thursday from lawyers representing a couple challenging Oklahoma's ban and the Tulsa County clerk who refused to grant them a license. The judges heard a similar case from Utah last week.

Oklahoma voters approved the ban in 2004 by a 3-1 margin. The Tulsa couple tried to obtain a marriage license shortly afterward.

A federal judge overturned the ban in January, saying it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Lawyers for the state say voters have a right to set their own laws.

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