Nation briefs 10/16/06

Monday, October 16, 2006

Man charged with killing parents, sisters in Iowa

BONAPARTE, Iowa -- A 22-year-old man has been charged with murdering his parents and three teenage sisters at their home in southeastern Iowa, authorities said Sunday. Shawn Bentler is accused of gunning down five family members and faces five counts of first-degree murder, the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office in Iowa said. He is being held on a $2.5 million bond at the Adams County jail in Quincy, Ill. The victims were found early Saturday near Bonaparte, according to the sheriff's office. They were identified as Michael Bentler, 53; his wife, Sandra, 47; and their daughters Sheena, 17; Shelby, 15; and Shayne, 14. Autopsies were planned for Sunday. Investigators have not offered a motive for the killings, Saunders said. "It's going to take them a while," he said. The Bentlers were an affluent family that owned an elevator and lumber company that served most of southeast Iowa.

Wife of gunman thanks Amish for forgiveness

LANCASTER, Pa. -- She's thankful for their "forgiveness, grace and mercy." The wife of the Amish school gunman released a statement saying she and her three young children have been overwhelmed by the support of the Amish and others in Lancaster County. "Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need," Marie Roberts wrote. "Gifts you've given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. ... Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you." Since the Oct. 2 shooting, members of the Amish community have said they forgive Charles Carl Roberts IV, who killed five girls, wounded five others, then shot himself as police closed in on the West Nickel Mines Amish School.

Two GOP senators call for a new strategy in Iraq

WASHINGTON -- Two leading Republican senators called Sunday for a new strategy in Iraq, saying the situation is getting worse and leaving the United States with few options. Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John Warner of Virginia are part of the growing list of Republicans who are speaking out against President Bush's current plan for Iraq as U.S. casualties rise. Hagel said he agreed with Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said after a recent visit to Iraq that the country was "drifting sideways." Warner has urged consideration of a change of course if the Iraq government fails to restore order over the next two or three months.

-- From wire reports

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