Marine dies after training accident at Camp Pendleton

LOS ANGELES — A special operations Marine was killed during training at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps said Monday.

The member of the Marine Raider unit of the Special Operations Command was injured during a tactical vehicle training exercise Saturday. He was evacuated by a military aircraft, but died Sunday, a Marine spokesman said. Two others were also injured during the training.

Maj. Nick Mannweiler, the spokesman, said the vehicle rolled over during the exercise. Mannweiler said the MRZR, an off-road, four-person vehicle, can hold “a decent amount of ammunition and weapons” and that rollovers are not common. Headquartered at Camp Pendleton, the 1st Marine Raider Battalion is organized, trained and equipped to deploy for worldwide missions as directed by the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

The name of the Marine who died will be released after the next of kin has been notified. The Marine Corps is investigating the incident.

“Our thoughts are with his family and teammates during this difficult time,” the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command posted on Facebook.

Last week, three Marines were killed in a car bombing at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

— Los Angeles Times

Jayme Closs’ kidnapper refuses to cooperate in presentence investigation

MINNEAPOLIS — Jake T. Patterson, who pleaded guilty in March to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents in their Barron, Wis., home last fall, is refusing to cooperate with authorities preparing his presentencing investigation.

A letter from the probation and parole agent conducting the investigation was filed in Barron County Circuit Court Monday stating that Patterson was advised by his attorney on April 9 not to cooperate.

“Unless directed by the court, I am still planning to complete the PSI (presentence investigation) with whatever information I am able to obtain,” Wisconsin Probation and Parole Agent Jennifer Sem wrote in an April 10 letter to Circuit Judge James Babler.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette first reported the letter Tuesday, noting that criminal defendants don’t have to cooperate with the presentence investigation in Wisconsin. The report helps the judge determine an appropriate sentence.

Charles Glynn, an attorney for Patterson in the public defender’s office, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Patterson, 21, pleaded guilty in Babler’s Barron County courtroom last month to killing James and Denise Closs on Oct. 15, then kidnapping Jayme and concealing her for 88 days in his house near Gordon, Wis., about an hour north of Barron.

Patterson’s sentencing is scheduled for May 24 in Barron County Circuit Court. He faces up to life in prison for the killings and up to 40 years in prison for kidnapping the girl, who escaped from the cabin Jan. 10 while Patterson was out.

Patterson is being held in the Dunn County jail in Menomonie, Wis.

— Star Tribune

Woman takes baseball bat to St. Louis restaurant that ran out of chocolate ice cream

ST. LOUIS — A woman who wanted chocolate ice cream had a meltdown after employees at a St. Louis restaurant told her they only had vanilla last month, police say.

She spit on workers and took a baseball bat to the windows of a Rally’s restaurant in the Central West End after she was told they’d run out of chocolate early on March 27, police say. She broke out the windows of the restaurant about 2:25 a.m., according to authorities.

She then got in a vehicle and split, heading west.

Authorities are still looking for the attacker. She was described as a black woman with a medium complexion, between 25 and 35 years old, between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 6 inches tall, and 130 to 140 pounds. At the time, she was wearing a green jacket, a yellow shirt and blue jeans.

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Russian support for Stalin surges to record high, poll shows

MOSCOW — Respect among Russians for Josef Stalin has surged to the highest level of President Vladimir Putin’s era, with 70 percent saying his rule had been good for the country, according to a poll tracking attitudes toward the Soviet dictator.

A record 51 percent viewed Stalin positively in March, up from 40 percent a year earlier, the survey published Tuesday by the Moscow-based Levada Center showed. The proportion regarding him with admiration, respect or sympathy was the highest since it began the survey in April 2001, Levada said on its website.

“Nostalgia over the collapse of the Soviet Union is at a peak this year. In addition, Stalin is seen as a figure who ensured social justice,” something Russians are increasingly seeking amid discontent with falling living standards and a government reform of pensions, said Karina Pipia, an analyst at Levada. Even so, the people who admired Stalin “don’t really want to go back to those times,” she said.

Russians were more willing to defend the mass killings and political persecutions that accompanied Stalin’s 31-year rule until his death in 1953, according to the survey. Some 46 percent agreed that repressions were “definitely” or “in some way” justified by the results achieved under Stalin, up from 36 percent in 2017 and the highest level since the question was first posed in 2008. Another 45 percent said progress under Stalin didn’t justify the repressions.

The rise in Stalin’s standing follows Kremlin efforts to play down his tyranny in school history books and recast him as a modernizer who transformed the Soviet Union into a superpower through rapid industrialization and victory in World War II. It comes amid deepening disenchantment among Russians with Putin, the longest-serving Kremlin ruler since Stalin, following the unpopular increase in the pension age last year. There’s also growing hardship after five straight years of declining consumer incomes.

The March 21-27 survey of 1,600 people had a margin of error no greater than 3.4 percentage points.

— Bloomberg News