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TRUCKER CONVICTED IN 19 IMMIGRANTS' DEATHS

Truck driver Tyrone Williams was convicted Monday in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed into a sweltering semitrailer truck in the deadliest human smuggling attempt in U.S. history. The jury will return on Wednesday to begin hearing evidence on whether Williams, 35, should get the death penalty.

It was the second time Williams was found guilty in the case; an appeals court said the earlier verdict was flawed.

The jury deliberated more than four days before convicting Williams of all 58 counts of conspiracy, harboring and transporting for agreeing to drive the illegal immigrants from south Texas to Houston in 2003. The more than 70 immigrants packed into the trailer clawed at the insulation, broke out the taillights and screamed for help as the heat climbed. Nineteen suffocated or died of heat or dehydration.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. 22 ILLNESSES LINKED TO THREE TACO BELLS

An E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 22 people - two of them seriously - was linked by health investigators Monday to three Taco Bell restaurants in New Jersey. Investigators also were examining whether an outbreak of 14 cases on Long Island was connected to the fast-food chain.

The people who fell ill in New Jersey had eaten at one of the Taco Bells between Nov. 17 and Nov. 28. "We have to find the food they all had in common," said David Papi, director of health for Middlesex County.

Elsewhere ...

NEW YORK: Socialite Brooke Astor's son was cleared Monday of abusing her - but he was forced to return $11-million in cash, jewelry and art to his 104-year-old mom.

Times wires

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