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Alabama

In a mystery straddling two states, three men and a woman were found dead of shotgun blasts in north Alabama after two of them were targeted in a Tennessee child pornography investigation, police say. It’s being called a triple murder-suicide pact, as it appears the shooter killed his sister, former brother-in-law and friend before turning the 12-gauge on himself. The four left handwritten suicide notes claiming their innocence and making requests for their funeral arrangements. Authorities discovered the notes, along with the bodies, in a car near Double Springs, last week, Sheriff Rick Harris in Winston County told CNN. Kristie Hunt Campbell Hamrick, 39; her ex-husband, Robert Samuel Hamrick, 30; her brother, Andy Hunt, 38; and family friend Kevin Carey, 30, who all listed the same Savannah, Tenn. address as their home, were inside the vehicle. Campbell Hamrick and her ex-husband became targets of a pornography probe after a teenage girl made allegations in September to the Department of Children’s Services, which contacted the Hardin County, Tenn., police, said Sheriff Samuel Davidson.

California

A local husband and wife became the first couple in the country to each donate a kidney through the National Kidney Registry. “Saving your kidney for a rainy day is like saving your fire extinguisher while watching your neighbor’s house burn,” Alexis Wesley said. It’s that type of thinking that lead Wesley and her husband, Charles, to a Sharp Memorial Hospital room. Alexis had surgery Monday night. “It is really easy and a really, really simple way to save someone’s life,” she said. The impact of her decision is anything but simple. Alexis and Charles Wesley made history, when they used the National Kidney Registry to save 10 lives. The non-profit connects patients with compatible donors through exchanges. The Wesley’s donation prompted others to follow suit and set in motion two transplants in California, two in Maryland, as well as one in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. “I don’t really need to meet the person,” Alexis Wesley said. “I just wanted to know if his transplant was successful.”

Colorado

Those deciding accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes’ fate should expect the whole process to take eight months, a judge ruled Wednesday, suggesting—while few question who is behind the massacre—that other factors might prolong the case. District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. detailed his estimate in an order pertaining to the questionnaire prospective jurors will have to fill out. Agreeing with the prosecution that it’s better to overestimate than underestimate how long everything will take. Samour said jurors will be told jury selection could go on for two to three months. The actual trial is expected to last four to five months more, he said. Other parts of the judge’s order allude to what may be the biggest complicating factor in the trial—mental health, including the prospect of a person pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, as Holmes has done. Jury selection in the case is expected to begin Feb. 3, 2014, according to Colorado state courts spokesman Rob McCallum.

Illinois

Left to babysit her 6-month-old granddaughter, a suburban Chicago woman instead turned on the infant, bludgeoning her and cutting her throat, prosecutors said Monday. Alfreda Giedrojc is being held without bail after a court appearance Monday afternoon, said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. She was charged with first-degree murder in the death of her granddaughter, Simonton said. The girl’s father brought her to Giedrojc’s home in the southwestern suburb of Oak Lawn on Sunday while he helped with repairs on a nearby home, Simonton told CNN. Giedrojc laid the child on the floor, pulled a sledgehammer from a nearby closet and swung it down on her head and body several times. She then picked the baby up and used a carving knife to slit her throat when she was still alive, Simonton said. Oak Lawn Police Det. Mike Kaufmann said the 61-year-old Giedrojc expressed remorse for the child’s death when questioned, and investigators have found no record of previous arrests or mental illness.

Louisiana

Three men are being held on million dollar bonds after they were caught with 71.8 pounds of cocaine at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport. The Louisiana State Police reports that the bust happened on Oct. 8. Troopers were contacted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) regarding the suspicious flight pattern of a plane headed for refueling at the Baton Rouge airport. The plane took off from the Texas/Mexico border and was occupied by Vincenzo Salzano, 55 of Aurora, Colo.; Mohammad Nekouie, 32, of Denver, Colo.; and Armondo Salzano, 32, of Littleton, Colo. They told officials they were headed to Atlanta and agreed to a search of the plane. Troopers located the cocaine, but have not said where it was stashed. The cocaine has an estimated street value of $2.2 to $2.5 million. All three were arrested and charged with possession with the intent to distribute. They were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Ohio

The two Ohio prison guards responsible for checking on imprisoned Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro “did not timely perform” required rounds, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Thursday. The agency said they appeared to have falsified “the post log book for their rounds.” Castro, who was held at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, was found hanged with a bed sheet last month. Prison medical staff tried to revive him. The guards were placed on leave as investigators looked into Castro’s suicide. Any disciplinary action, which could include termination of employment, will be determined by the Ohio State Highway Patrol at the conclusion of its investigation. Castro pleaded guilty in August to 937 counts, including the kidnapping of Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry. He was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years.

South Carolina

Two people have been charged after an investigation into a Piedmont gaming store prompted federal agents to raid the business, according to federal officials. Bobby Moseley Sr. and Jerome Michael Caldwell were both charged with one count of operating an illegal gambling business and one count of money laundering, according to the indictment. The Secret Service seized $242 million in property and real estate, and $144 million used in money laundering, according to the indictment. Agents with the Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service raided the store on Kiawa Lane on Wednesday, according to a source with the Secret Service. There is no word yet what prompted the raid or what authorities were looking for, but FOX TV Carolina crews said they could count about a dozen sweepstakes machines outside the business and even more inside.

Utah

Hundreds of people braved cooler temperatures to run around downtown Salt Lake City Sunday in nothing but their underwear for the Utah Undiewear Run. Event organizers said they don’t tell people who attend the free speech event what to advocate for, and participants pushed for everything from legalizing marijuana to same-sex marriage reform and autism awareness. Organizer Eric Steen said the event takes a unique approach to pushing for reform. “You can go out in suits and picket signs and stuff like that and make a statement, but nobody really looks at those guys,” Steen said. “But you go out in your underwear, everyone’s going to look at you to see what’s going on.” Several weeks ago, event organizers were told they would have to pay several thousands of dollars to carry out the run as a planned event, in order to pay for police and other resources. Instead, event organizers changed the date and made the event a free speech protest.

Compiled By Juliana Norwood. CNN News Wire contributed to this report.