Today in History
On May 13, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brady v. Maryland, upheld, 7-2, a lower court decision overturning the death sentence (but not the conviction) of John L. Brady for murder because the prosecution had withheld from the defense a statement by a separately tried accomplice, Charles D. Boblit, that he'd actually carried out the 1958 killing of William Brooks during a robbery. (Brady spent years in prison in legal limbo, declining his right to another sentencing hearing; he was eventually paroled. Boblit, 79, remains imprisoned in Maryland.)
On this date:
In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (the colonists went ashore the next day).
In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.
In 1917, three shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.
In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down, making them collector's items.)
In 1940, Britain's new prime minister, Winston Churchill, told Parliament: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, were spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.
In 1972, 118 people died after fire broke out at the Sennichi Department Store in Osaka, Japan.
In 1973, in tennis' first so-called "Battle of the Sexes," Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 in Ramona, Calif. (Riggs had his standing challenge to female players accepted by Billie Jean King, who soundly defeated Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in September.)
In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.
In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped a bomb onto the group's row house; 11 people died in the resulting fire that destroyed 61 homes.
In 1992, the Falun Gong movement had its beginnings in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun.
Ten years ago: A judge ruled that Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols should stand trial in state court on 160 counts of first-degree murder. (Nichols was later found guilty on 161 counts; the 161st count was for the fetus of a pregnant victim. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.) The government unveiled a more colorful version of the new $20 bill. Algerian army commandos freed 17 European tourists who'd been kidnapped in the Sahara Desert by an al-Qaida-linked terror group.
Five years ago: An embattled Hillary Rodham Clinton trounced Barack Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary. Eighty people were killed in coordinated bomb attacks on crowded markets and streets outside Hindu temples in Jaipur, India. LPGA great Annika Sorenstam announced she would retire at the end of the season. Actor John Phillip Law died in Los Angeles at age 70.
One year ago: The mutilated bodies of 49 people were found near Monterrey, Mexico, apparent victims of a drug cartel. A gunman assassinated Arsala Rahmani, a former high-ranking Taliban official working to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan. Donald "Duck" Dunn, 70, the bassist who helped create the gritty Memphis soul sound at Stax Records in the 1960s as part of the legendary group Booker T. and the MGs, died in Tokyo while on tour.
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