State, nation and world news Sept. 29, 2010

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Around the State:

Six dead in South Florida family shooting

A Riviera Beach, Fla., man killed his wife and four of his five stepchildren before he shot himself Sept. 27. Patrick Dell, 41, and his wife, 36-year-old Natasha Whyte-Dell, were in the process of a bitter divorce. Friends said even with Dell’s reoccurring threats on his Whyte-Dell’s life, she would always take him back. Neighbors and friends insisted Dell was paranoid and obsessive. Riviera Beach Police spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said a police officer was checking a suspicious vehicle around 2 a.m., when he heard shots fired. By the time the officer approached the home, the family had already been killed.
Around the Nation:
Research shows most Americans are atheist or agnostic

According to the New York Times, researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public life phoned over 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions related to ritual, belief and practice in Christianity. On average, the people that scored highest were atheist and agnostics. Associate Director for Research at the Pew Forum Alan Cooperman said atheist consciously deviated from religion after examining it closely. Average number of questions answered correctly, out of 32: Atheist/agnostic: 20.9, Jewish: 20.5, Mormon: 20.3, White Evangelical Protestant: 17.6, White Catholic: 16.0, White Mainline Protestant: 15.8, Nothing in particular: 15.2, Black Protestant: 13.4, Hispanic Catholic: 11.6.

Around the World:

Mexican mayor, aide found stoned to death

Mayor of Tancitaro, Mexico, Gustavo Sanchez and his aide, Rafael Equihua, were found Sept. 27 and were reported to be stoned to death. The bodies were discovered in an abandoned pickup truck. The attorney general said they are investigating possible motives. Tancitaro is home to only 26,000 people, but soldiers have destroyed more than 20 methamphetamine labs in the past year, and suspected gang members have killed several police officers .City Council Chief Gonzalo Paz was kidnapped, tortured and killed last year, and in December 2009, the mayor and several other city officials resigned after being threatened.

Compiled by Spinnaker and Wire Services