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Astronaut Charged with Murder of Two Sisters
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James Halsell. Photo courtesy of NBC.

Summary: A retired NASA pilot has been charged with murder after allegedly drinking and driving.

Astronaut James Halsell’s retirement has taken a dark turn. The Air Force Academy graduate and former commander of five NASA space shuttle missions was charged with murder this week.


On Monday, the 59-year-old retiree drove his car on a near-empty highway in Alabama when he struck and killed two young sisters. He is now being charged for their murder, and police say speed and alcohol are reasons for the tragedy. Court documents showed that troopers found an empty package of sleeping pills and an empty bottle of wine in Halsell’s motel room.

Police said that Halsell’s vehicle crashed into a Ford Fiesta that the two sisters were riding in at 2:50 a.m. Niomi Deona James, 11, and Jayla Latrick, 13, were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the car, killing them. The sisters’ father, Pernell James, 37, was driving his family to a summer-long vacation to Alabama.

Dennis Stripling, the mayor of Brent where the girls are from, told NBC News that the event was “tragic” and that the family was “like 20 minutes from home when this accident happened.”

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Halsell told police that he had no recollection of the wreck, and in a court deposition, a trooper revealed he had numerous signs of extreme inebriation. He was subsequently arrested and released on a $150,000 bail.

James was sent to the hospital and was expected to be released on Tuesday. Another passenger identified as Shontel Latriva Cutts, 25, was listed in fair condition.

What do you think will happen to Halsell? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: NBC


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