tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 25, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
on the broadcast tonight, terror arrests here in the u.s. a last-minute takedown at the airport. what the feds say the suspects were prepared to do with isis overseas and here at home. what the jury heard at the "american sniper" trial that the public hasn't heard until now. 100 inches of snow as boston smashes a record. a massive pileup in maine and new states of emergency tonight in the south. pot fight in the nation's capital. d.c. set to light up at midnight. why some in power say it still won't be legal. and making a difference, something amazing happening tonight at the movies. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt.
good evening. as so many in this country look on with revulsion at the atrocities and brutality of isis overseas, there has been a slow trickle of others who have been compelled to travel to syria to join the movement. and that said the fbi alludes arrested two new york men arrested here in the u.s. today allegedly were preparing to join the fight there or wage war on u.s. soil. in all three people were arrested today and conspireing to help isis to the point of supporting or car out attacks here at ho. we get the latest from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: at new york's kennedy airport fbi arrested a brooklyn man headed overseas to join isis fighters. they accuse him of plotting with another brooklyn man, juraboev to get to syria through turkey. authorities say if the men couldn't get there they talked of staging attacks here perhaps
a planting a bomb at coney island or killing police or attacking president obama. >> it was the raw statements t were not able to go that they would seek to acquire weapons here. handguns, machine gun, and seek to attack very specifically police officers. >> reporter: the fbi says the case began last august when jurabeov asked whether he could be a martyr if he were to "shoot ohm to strike fear in the hearts of infidels." investigators say even after he admitted posting that message, when fbi agents questioned him at his apartment in august he kept right on planning. the fbi says he e-mailed an is supporter overseas abo parents saying, i need to sneak out of here with extreme caution without being noticed by them. the fbi says he was under close surveillance in brooklyn meeting with someone he did not know was an undercover informant. >> they really make us question the approach the federal government takes to young muslim men in america. >> reporter: prosecutors say a
third man, habibov raised money to help the other two pay for plane tickets. >> those people exist in every state. i have home grown violent extremist investigations in every single state. >> reporter: the men arrested today face charges of material support to terrorism. as for their plans to stage attacks here, investigators say they never got beyond the talking stage that the men had no guns or explosives. lester. >> all right, pete, thanks. officials estimate more than 100 recruits have left the u.s. to join isis in syria. thousands more have made the journey from europe and other arab states. the one thing most of them have in common, to get to syria they first have to pass through turkey. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel is there tonight. >> reporter: this is the highway to jihad. almost all of the hundreds of foreign fighters who flock to syria to join isis sneak across turkey's border with syria. among them those three british teens who came through turkey last week. and the wife of one of the paris terrorists.
the border stretches across 500 miles of hills and farmland. it's hard to patrol although turkey has now finally started pouring resources into fortifying it. but before reaching the border any would-be jihadist has to pass through here, istanbul international airport. it's one of the busiest in the world, where turks will probably tell you east meets west. and that's really the problem. with so much traffic they can't stop everyone. officials here say they've put together a blacklist of possible extremists, a list with 10,000 names provided by foreign intelligence agencies. but critics say turkey still isn't doing enough. the new york suspects were being tracked by u.s. law enforcement. and if they had passed on that information, the suspects would almost certainly have been stopped at immigration. but u.s. officials decided not to take that chance. richard engel, nbc news, istanbul. in texas the man convicted of killing "american sniper" chris kyle and his friend chad littlefield will spend the rest
of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. and tonight we are finally able to show the emotion in the courtroom and the striking evidence that was kept from the public eye until now. we get our report from nbc's jacob rascon. >> reporter: the trial made popular by a blockbuster war movie took less than three hours to decide. >> we, the jury, find the defendant eddie ray routh guilty of the felony offense capital murder as charged in the indictment. >> reporter: chris kyle's widow taya responded on facebook "god bless the jury and good people of stephenville, texas." the littlefield family tell me the verdict was an answer to their prayers. >> i've seen more good in this world than bad. even though i lost my son -- >> reporter: for the first time the public can now hear the evidence presented to the jury. >> and later said i'm driving a
dead man's truck. >> reporter: routh's escape attempt. his rambling confessions. [ inaudible ] it wasn't it wasn't a want to i had to. >> reporter: testimony from three dozen witnesses. >> said we loved each other. and kiss and hug like we always did. >> reporter: two years ago kyle and littlefield took routh to a texas gun range to help him cope with ptsd, but routh turned on them shooting them in the back. the defense argued routh suffered from schizophrenia and believed he was protecting himself. >> he said that he took their souls before they could take his. >> reporter: the prosecution said he was faking it and was high. >> only about 1% of criminal defendants actually employ the insanity defense, and it is successful in very few cases. usually it fails. >> reporter: for the littlefields, the guilty verdict
brings comfort and closure. >> i'm glad that justice was served for him. >> that day when he left he kissed me good-bye and kissed his dad and hugged us. little did i know i would treasure those moments the rest of my life. >> reporter: sentencing was immediate. the prosecution did not seek the death penalty. routh's defense attorney tells nbc news he does not believe routh got a fair trial and will file an appeal. lester. >> jacob rascon tonight. thank you. the city of boston tonight has surpassed 100 inches of snow this winter. and the misery gets worse by the day from north to south. you can see what it looks like from space. so much of the nation encased in ice and that triggered a massive pileup today on the road. as nbc's gabe gutierrez reports. >> reporter: the crashes were out of control. this morning more than 70 vehicles smashed into each other on i-95 near bangor, maine. at least 17 people were injured. nurse lori welch's car was hit
three times, but she survived and helped other victims in the massive pileup. >> i helped a girl who was injured, severely injured, get her out of a vehicle that was like a truck that was just folded right up in two. >> reporter: record cold continues to grip the northeast. today, boston surpassed 100 inches of snow so far this season. >> i think it's ridiculous. i think we have to, you know, move somewhere elsewhere it's warmer. >> reporter: poughkeepsie, new york hit negative 12 degrees. washington, d.c. plummeted to 6 degrees, breaking a 50-year record. near dallas a school b on its side. no one was hurt. major cities shut down today across the south. birmingham, little rock and atlanta. >> the decision that we've made is we're going to be on the safe side and not the sorry side. >> reporter: a year ago in atlanta less than three inches of snow stranded drivers for up to 18 hours and forced children to sleep at school. >> we don't want a repeat of last year.
>> reporter: today chelsea whitmore closed her pet store hours early. >> it's different here. we're not prepared for that. >> reporter: in florida farmers are fighting the freeze keeping the air moving around crops to keep them alive. in a region not used to snow, even a small amount can bring a city to a standstill. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta. >> here's the part where we hold our breath. the forecast, meteorologist dylan dreyer is in boston. first of all it's hard to imagine what 100 inches of snow looks like. but i have a feeling you're going to show us. >> reporter: i'm going to show you, lester. because we have picked up 101.8 inches in boston. we had to break out a 2 x 4 to tell you just how much snow that is. all we need is six more inches for this to be the snowiest winter ever on record. but tonight we are focused on the snow well south of here all the way down from mississippi over into the carolinas. that's where we're seeing the heaviest snow right now.
it's going to remain heavy through the night with washington, d.c. picking up a couple of inches by early tomorrow morning. but our jackpot area for snow this time around looks to be in northern north carolina up into virginia. from raleigh to norfolk, that's where we could end up with 9 to 12 inches of snow overnight. then behind this system we're looking at the next arctic air mass to work its way in. fargo, north dakota will be feeling like 33 degrees below zero tomorrow morning. that cold spreads east as we go into friday morning with 5 below in pittsburgh and even colder windchills. and, lester, it looks like saturday morning will be even colder for parts of the northeast. >> all right, dylan dreyer, thank you. a crack in the gas main underneath a new jersey neighborhood ultimately led to the explosion that leveled a home there according to investigators. 15 people were injured, two critically when the home was blasted to bits yesterday. authorities believe the leaked gas was somehow ignited by a spark. we're learning more tonight about the moments leading up to a train disaster in southern california. dozens were injured when a
commuter train collided with a truck on the tracks yesterday. an attorney for the truck driver says he only fled for his life after repeatedly trying to move his truck off the tracks. that contrasts with what the ntsb claims that the truck was never really stuck. at the stroke of m the nation's capital will greatly relax its marijuana laws, but the impending change has led to a battle between city hall and congress. one that has d.c.'s own mayor facing a warning that she could end up behind bars over all this. nbc's peter alexander explains. >> reporter: the nation's capital is now locked in its own drug war. without getting too deep into the weeds, this is a fight over weed. beginning at midnight tonight d.c. residents 21 and over can legally possess up to two ounces of pot, roughly a sandwich bag's worth for personal use. and grow as many as six plants at home. >> it allows for the home use and home growth of marijuana. >> reporter: there are restrictions. you can't sell it, no growing
pot outdoors and no lighting up anywhere outside your home. but could it all go up in smoke? unlike alaska, colorado and washington state where marijuana use is legal, the district of columbia is not a state and answers to congress, which tried to block the plan after d.c. voters overwhelmingly approved it last fall. now with d.c. leaders insisting they'll move forward, two house republicans are warning the district to reconsider calling it a knowing and willful violation of the law. even threatening washington's mayor could get sent to prison. >> i have a lot of things to do here in the district of columbia. me being in jail wouldn't be a good thing. >> reporter: ultimately it would be up to the justice department to prosecute city officials, which isn't likely. and congress hasn't struck down a specific d.c. law in 25 years. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. with just 48 hours until the department of homeland security runs out of money, the senate has voted overwhelmingly to move forward on a bill that funds the department without any provisions concerning
immigration and have sparked a standoff between republicans and democrats. the fate of the bill is uncertain as conservatives in the house are pressuring leaders to stand firm against the senate. president obama who's in the thick of the heated battle over immigration is taking his message directly to the people in a town hall airing this evening on telemundo and msnbc. the event is hosted by jose diaz-balart who spoke with the president a short time ago. jose. >> reporter: good evening, lester. the president if anything not only didn't back down today over criticism. he said that the battle is just beginning as far as the executive actions that he took last year that would benefit up to 5 million undocumented workers in the united states if they have u.s.-born children or legal residents, they would not qualify for deportation. the federal judge in texas believes otherwise. the president is not backing down. as a matter of fact, he believes that immigration reform is still
possible under his administration. >> i haven't given up on passing it while i'm president. we're going to keep on pushing. and although so far the republican party has been pretty stubborn about this issue, if they start feeling enough pressure, that can make a difference. >> reporter: and the president added that the shift on who should be deported in the united states has also changed. that includes not focusing on parents with u.s.-born children but rather on criminals, on felons, lester. >> all right, jose. you can see all of jose diaz-balart's town hall at 7:00 p.m. on telemundo and 8:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. still ahead here tonight, the price you pay to heat your home and fill up your car. surprising reasons they're suddenly getting more expensive. also why has southwest airlines been flying more than 100 planes that have missed t s. word tonight from the feds. you're down with crestor. yes!
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well, on top of this brutal winter now we're seeing fuel prices increase costing people more money to warm their homes and fill up their cars. nbc's anne thompson takes a look at some of the surprising reasons why. >> reporter: a subzero start to the day and waist-deep snow are surmountable challenges for peterson oil service in worcester, massachusetts. but after a mo costs, howard peterson just passed along some of the increase to its customers. >> our price went up 20 cents a gallon. >> reporter: an increase that
adds to the stress of the 5,000 low income families mary's organization helps. >> when people run out of home heating oil, their pipes burst. that creates another burden and another cost. it's a tragedy really. >> reporter: at the pump it's a steady climb. the national average price for gasoline going up every day for the last 30. now almost $2.33 a gallon. are the days of $2 gasoline over? >> the days of $2 gasoline probably are over, at least for the time being. as we get to the peak of the summer driving season, drivers will probably be paying closer to $3. >> reporter: pushing prices higher, unexpected problems at oil and gas refineries. cold weather stops some production, there's a strike at a dozen refineries. and last week's explosion at exxon mobil's refinery drove california gas prices to $3.03 the highest in the lower 48. >> hurt a lot of people. >> reporter: gas station owner andre raised his prices three times tuesday. >> you have to move it and you
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welcome back. the company that owns discount retailers that t.j.maxx and home goods says it's boosting pay to u.s. employees to at least $9 an hour. it comes just a week after the world's largest private employer walmart announced it is increasing wages for hundreds of thousands of workers. both moves come as low paying retailers are finding it tougher to hang onto e airlin planes that have missed a key inspection. the feds gave southwest five days to do specific maintenance
checks for backup hydraulic systems on 128 planes. in the meantime they're still allowed to takeoff. southwest initially grounded the planes yesterday after the issue was discovered. nba superstar lebron james has a av offers. lebron sr. says it should be a violation to go after kids that young. when we come back, cinema where the m stories aren't the ones on the screen. stories aren't the ones on the screen. claritin-d presents two allergy sufferers. one had allergies with nasal congestion so he tried the newest allergy spray, which could take several days to feel the full effect of relief. the other went straight to the pharmacy counter for the fast, powerful relief of claritin-d. it's tough on allergies with nasal congestion and starts to work in just 30 minutes. the moral? nothing works faster than claritin-d. find
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bottom line, ask your doctor about linzess today. when you think about it, movies hold so much power for us. they show us what we are, maybe what we'd like to be. in connecticut movies have become a way for people to find opportunity at a spectacular theater when few others would give them a chance. nbc's harry smith takes us to a cinema that's making a difference. >> reporter: valerie jensen is a force to be reckoned with. >> this symbolizes to me what we are doing here. if you don't have a job, if you can't find your place in life, you can feel like a discarded piece of junk.
>> reporter: the sculpture hangs from the ceiling of the gleaming new prospector movie house in ridgefield, connecticut. from the moment you walk in the door you know something remarkable is happening. most of the 80 people who work here have disabilities. concessions, ticket sales, even welcoming guests. >> enjoy the show. >> reporter: christopher man creates posters and writes commercials for the theater. so you've written this. >> all here. all in my brain. all by myself. i don't need any help. i can do it. >> reporter: jensen, whose sister has down syndrome, spent a career developing arts programs for the disabled until she realized. >> really didn't need more trips to the pond. didn't need more trips to the zoo. we just needed meaningful employment. >> reporter: the lady with the pink hair raised millions of dollars, built a state-of-the-art movie house.
and through training and trial and error finds ways to help prospects succeed. >> i work with my prospects to find what their sparkle is. >> reporter: few understand better than michael obediah. m.s. put him in a wheelchair. >> we're cracking open this incredible treasure of human potential. >> reporter: 30-year-old jessica strawn, whose learning disabilities and anxieties made prior jobs unbearable, thrives here. >> i've gained so much confidence. it's unbelievable. it really is because i never thought i'd actually be able to be happy at work. >> reporter: a lot of lives have been changed in the few months this place has been open. just think if this could work in your town. harry smith, nbc news, ridgefield, connecticut. that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. you for watching and good night.