WASHINGTON

Death penalty continues to fall

Reliance on the death penalty continues to fall in this country, with 39 people executed this year, only the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 were put to death, a private group said Thursday.

The Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that opposes executions, also said the number of new death sentences was near its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in the 1970s. There have been 80 new death sentences this year, three more than in 2012 and down from 315 in 1996.

The 39 executions were carried out in nine states. Texas had the most, 16, followed by Florida, which had seven. Oklahoma had six, Ohio three, Arizona and Missouri two, and Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia, one.

Maryland abolished the death penalty this year, the 18th state to do so and the sixth in the last six years. - AP

MASSACHUSETTS

Harvard student freed

A Harvard student accused of making a bomb threat to get out of a final exam was under a great deal of pressure and is remorseful, his lawyer said Wednesday after his client was freed on bail. Eldo Kim, 20, was released on $100,000 bond into the custody of his sister, who lives in Massachusetts, and an uncle from North Carolina. Public defender Ian Gold says Kim was dealing with finals and the third anniversary of his father's death this month. - AP
VERMONT

Town hits a rich vein

A Vermont town of only 17,000 souls has smashed the national one-day record for blood donations. Rutland's 11th annual Gift of Life Marathon collected 2,337 pints of blood Tuesday. The previous one-day U.S. record of 1,968 pints was set by Manchester, N.H., in 2011. The online Guinness World Records says the one-day worldwide record, 43,732 pints, was set in India in 2010. - AP