R. Kelly's verdict is in

·6 min read

R&B star R. Kelly was found guilty in a sex trafficking trial. President Joe Biden got his COVID-19 booster vaccine. And the search for Brian Laundrie continues.

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R. Kelly found guilty

R&B star R. Kelly was convicted in New York after a six-week trial featuring graphic testimony from dozens of accusers. A jury of seven men and five women found the 54-year-old guilty of racketeering Monday after two days of deliberations. Kelly remained motionless, eyes downcast as the verdict was read. The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls – and keep them obedient and quiet – amounted to a criminal enterprise. Kelly was also convicted of criminal counts accusing him of violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.” The charges date back decades and stem from six complaining witnesses, including the late singer Aaliyah, called Jane Doe No. 1 by prosecutors. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, didn't take the stand during his trial.

In this illustration drawn from a video feed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes, bottom, presents her closing statement to the jury, pointing to a large panel of photos of R. Kelly's inner circle and employees on Sept. 22 in New York. R. Kelly is depicted at the defense table in inset on upper left.
In this illustration drawn from a video feed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes, bottom, presents her closing statement to the jury, pointing to a large panel of photos of R. Kelly's inner circle and employees on Sept. 22 in New York. R. Kelly is depicted at the defense table in inset on upper left.

Biden got boosted

President Joe Biden received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on live TV Monday, days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots for millions of Americans who received their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. "Boosters are important, but the important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated," Biden said, noting about 23% of Americans haven't received a first shot. People 65 years and older, residents in long-term care settings and people 50-64 with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot, the CDC said Thursday. People 18-49 with underlying medical conditions and people 18-64 years who are at increased risk for exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster, the CDC said. Biden said he didn't have any side effects after his first or second dose. The first lady was also expected to receive a booster shot, he said.

President Joe Biden receives a COVID-19 booster shot in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus Sept. 27 in Washington.
President Joe Biden receives a COVID-19 booster shot in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus Sept. 27 in Washington.

What everyone's talking about

FBI reports record surge in 2020 murders

The FBI reported a nearly 30% increase in murders in 2020, the largest single-year jump since the bureau began recording crime statistics six decades ago. The surge in killings drove an overall 5% increase in violent crime last year, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. Violence stalked most major cities, the report found, even as the coronavirus pandemic exacted its own deadly toll. Although the reported annual increase was dramatic, the total number of homicides last year – 21,570 – did not surpass some stunning totals in the early 1990s, including the nearly 25,000 murders recorded in 1991.

  • Mass shootings, homicide rates, gun sales hit highest levels since 1990s.

A couple embrace at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House on April 20.
A couple embrace at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House on April 20.

Search for Brian Laundrie scaled back

The manhunt for Brian Laundrie in a Florida nature reserve will be scaled back this week, days after a county coroner said Laundrie's fiancee, Gabby Petito, died by homicide. The FBI leads the search that will be "targeted based on intelligence," North Port police said. More than 75 law enforcement personnel from 16 agencies joined the search last week in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County after the FBI issued a federal arrest warrant. Authorities used a diver unit, dogs, drones and ATV vehicles to search the wetlands. Sunday, FBI agents visited Laundrie's home and asked his parents for some of their son's personal items to help with "DNA matching," the family's lawyer told NBC News and Fox News. Laundrie was last seen nearly two weeks ago when he told his parents he was going hiking in Carlton Reserve after returning home Sept. 1 without Petito from a cross-country trip to national parks.

Search teams fan out at the Carlton Reserve near North Port, Fla., to search for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, on Sept. 22.
Search teams fan out at the Carlton Reserve near North Port, Fla., to search for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, on Sept. 22.

Real quick

Thousands of NY health care workers could lose jobs

Tens of thousands of health care workers across New York state could lose their jobs as soon as Monday, the state-imposed deadline for them to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. All health care workers at hospitals and nursing homes are required to have at least one dose under the mandate issued last month by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. At least 8,700 nursing home workers chose to get vaccinated to avoid losing their jobs, state data showed. The percentage of nursing home staff receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine increased to 89% as of Sunday, up from 83% on Wednesday. About 16,000 of the 145,000 total nursing home workers statewide had yet to comply with the vaccine mandate. Hospitals reported 84% of their roughly 450,000 workers were vaccinated as of last week. That left the future employment of about 72,000 hospital workers unclear. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she is considering plans to declare a state of emergency, bring in the National Guard and hire workers from other states and countries if staffing becomes dangerously low.

Medical professionals pronate a 39-year-old unvaccinated COVID-19 patient in the medical intensive care unit at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.
Medical professionals pronate a 39-year-old unvaccinated COVID-19 patient in the medical intensive care unit at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: R. Kelly, COVID-19 vaccine boosters, Brian Laundrie, New York health workers. It's Monday's news.