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Troy students get 'out of this world' lesson from RPI grad

TROY - Rick Mastracchio is a 1987 RPI grad who is currently living on the International Space Station.

On Friday, he answered questions from students here on Earth.

After all of his training, one student wanted to know if there is anything surprising about life in space.

"The beauty of the Earth. It's amazing you spend your whole life trying to get off of the Earth," said Mastracchio. "The first thing you do is turn around and look back at the Earth and see how beautiful it was. You miss it almost instantly."

Mastracchio says he was also surprised by how much he enjoys floating in zero gravity.

He says he often eats his lunch while hanging upside down.

Accused child pornographer appears in federal court

Jesse Sawyer Jr. is accused of molesting young girls and taking pictures of the abuse with one of them. - File

ALBANY - A Troy man accused of molesting young girls and escaping to Florida appeared in federal court in Albany on Friday.

Jesse Sawyer Jr., 25, is charged with producing child pornography.

Sawyer is accused of sexually abusing three girls between the ages of 2 and 5 years old, and taking pictures of the alleged abuse.

After a week and a half on the run last month, Sawyer was caught in Florida. He was released a short time later due to a paperwork delay, but recaptured later that day.

Sawyer faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted of the charges.

In court Friday Sawyer waived a detention hearing and waived a preliminary hearing.

He was returned to Rensselaer County Jail where he awaits further court action.

Jurors watch video deposition of teen accused in dad's murder

TROY - Rensselaer County jurors had the chance to see firsthand, Trinity Copeland's demeanor in the hours after her father's shooting death.

Copeland was 17-years-old when prosecutors say she shot her father in the head, as he slept on the couch in their Troy apartment

Jurors watched a video of Troy police questioning Trinity.

In it she appears very unemotional, at one point talking about TV shows and movies with the detective.

She did break down once in the video and the defense has been quick to point out that people deal with grief or shock in different ways.

According to video from the Troy Police Department, Trinity Copeland initially insisted an intruder broke into her Seventh Avenue home in Troy in July 2012 and shot her father.

Area teachers selected for NYS Master Teacher Program

A big honor for several teachers in the Capital Region.

The teachers were picked for New York State’s Master Teacher Program.

The program honors growth, mentorship and leadership.

Only 215 teachers were selected this year.

The list of Capital Region teachers is below, courtesy of the Governor’s Office:

Daniel Anderson, Queensbury School District

Janice Balogh, Schodack School District

Theresa Billington, Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District

Heather Buskirk, Johnstown School District

Jeffrey Bower, Scotia-Glenville School District

Kim Bruton, Troy School District

Elizabeth Carroll, North Colonie Central School District

Stephanie Conklin, Saratoga Springs City School District

Tammy Darby, Lake George School District

Kristin Darlington, Galway School District

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Handgun stolen in 2009 found in Albany

This is the gun that police say they recovered. - Albany Police Department

A stolen handgun missing for five years is found in Albany.

Quintril Clark of Albany, and Dezmon Smith and Christopher Dukes of Troy now face weapons possession and stolen property charges.

The men were caught after someone noticed a group with a gun walking near North Second and Walter Streets on Wednesday.

Officers were able to link the gun one stolen in 2009 from Greene County.

Smith faces an additional drug charge because police say he had cocaine on him.

Day four of Copeland trial reveals some twists

TROY -- The tearful Trinity Copeland jurors saw in court Thursday is not the Trinity Copeland witnesses recalled today. 

On the stand, three members of the Troy Police Department described the then 17-year-old they encountered at the murder scene on Seventh Avenue in July 2012 as calm and unemotional.

One of the officers testified that Trinity asked him then -- not once, but twice -- if "he (her father Harlan Copeland) was dead yet."  A second police officer told jurors that Trinity initially stated it was an intruder who got into the apartment and shot her father but a detective later testified that there wasn't sign of a struggle or break-in.

Wheelchair-bound woman rescued from Troy fire

Crews respond to a burning apartment building in Troy - Abigail Bleck / WNYT

TROY - A wheelchair bound woman had to be rescued from a burning apartment building in Troy on Thursday afternoon.

The fire broke out shortly before 3 p.m. in the area of 4th Street and Harrison Avenues.

The woman was on the second floor. Her dogs also made it out safely.

Crews say the fire started in the back of the building.

Six apartments are in the building. There is no word on damage.

The woman suffered burns and smoke inhalation.