Briefs from Tribune news services
Democrat Markey wins Senate election to replace Kerry
Boston • Longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey defeated Republican political newcomer Gabriel Gomez in a special election on Tuesday for the state's U.S. Senate seat long held by John Kerry, a race that failed to draw the attention that the state's 2010 special Senate election did.
Markey, 66, won the early backing of Kerry and much of the state's Democratic political establishment, which was set on avoiding a repeat of the stunning loss it suffered three years ago, when Republican state Sen. Scott Brown upset Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in the election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Markey had an advantage of about 8 percentage points over Gomez with most precincts reporting late Tuesday, according to unofficial returns.
Iowa town under flood watch as creek crests near record
New Hartford, Iowa • Hundreds of people have fled their homes following an evacuation order in a northeast Iowa town that's threatened by a rain-swollen creek.
The Butler County sheriff and other emergency officials were in New Hartford on Tuesday to help with the mandatory evacuation.
New Hartford, nearly 90 miles northeast of Des Moines, was devastated in June 2008 when Beaver Creek crested at a record 15.7 feet. The National Weather Service says more than 7 inches of rain fell Monday in portions of the Beaver Creek basin, ground that was already saturated.
The creek crested at 15.15 feet by 7:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Judge in Trayvon Martin case weighs police calls evidence
Sanford, Fla. • Several times in six months, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman called police to report suspicious characters in the gated townhouse community where he lived. Each time, when asked, he reported that the suspects were black males.
On Tuesday, the judge at Zimmerman's murder trial in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin listened to those five calls and weighed whether to let the jury hear them, too.
Prosecutors want to use them to bolster their argument that Zimmerman was increasingly frustrated with repeated burglaries and had reached a breaking point the night he shot the unarmed teenager.
Judge Debra Nelson did not immediately rule on whether to admit the recordings.
Man savagely beats woman in front of child in home invasion
Millburn, N.J. • Police are searching for a man who appears on a hidden-camera video repeatedly beating a New Jersey woman in front of her young daughter during a home invasion.
The attacks occurred Friday in a room where the woman and her 3-year-old daughter were sitting on a couch watching cartoons. The nanny cam video shows the man punching and kicking the woman. Police say he had forced his way into the home.
The woman said she didn't scream during the beatings because if she did her daughter would have and she didn't want the girl to get hurt. The woman suffered a concussion, chipped teeth and cuts. The girl wasn't injured.
The man fled with the woman's wedding ring and other jewelry.
Police Capt. Michael Palardy said he was revolted by what he saw the man do to the woman on the video. "There was no reason for him to touch her at all because she would have willingly gave him what he wanted," Palardy said. "I've probably gone through this video 20 times, and it still sickens me every time I see it. He had no regard for her life. He didn't care if she lived or died."