- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Mentally ill man wins execution stay

ATLANTA Georgia's Supreme Court yesterday granted an indefinite stay of execution to a mentally ill prisoner who had been scheduled to go to the electric chair this week for the murder of a teen-age girl, a state official said.
The court decision came several hours after attorneys for Alexander Williams, 32, asked the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to halt the execution, scheduled to take place tomorrow night at a state prison in Jackson.
Williams, a paranoid schizophrenic who dresses up like the Lone Ranger and talks with invisible frogs in his cell, was sent to death row for the 1986 abduction, rape and murder of 16-year-old Aleta Bunch in Augusta.

Earthquake jolts eastern states

DANBURY, Conn. A mild earthquake jolted parts of Connecticut and New York yesterday, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, officials said.
The quake measured 2.5 on the Richter scale and struck at 1:42 a.m. EDT, said the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. It was centered in the small town of Carmel, N.Y., 10 miles northwest of Danbury, Conn.
Dozens of people called police to say they felt the ground shaking and other rumblings, said Danbury Police Sgt. Alan Mattie.

City restricts panhandlers to zones

ORLANDO, Fla. Panhandlers will be restricted to special zones in downtown Orlando under an ordinance approved this week by the City Council.
The ordinance bans begging throughout much of downtown except for about two dozen small zones. The ban, which also extends to people who hand out fliers, takes effect next month.
The ordinance is part of Mayor Glenda Hood's plan to revive downtown, whose restaurants, bars and shops have lost business in recent years to Walt Disney World and Universal Florida.

Seattle regulates Skid Road's drinking

SEATTLE The city is cracking down on public intoxication along the original Skid Road, inspiration for the term, Skid Row, applied to down-and-out urban areas.
The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to declare Pioneer Square an "alcohol impact area," allowing the state Liquor Control Board to tighten restrictions on stores, restaurants and taverns that sell alcohol for off-premises consumption.
Businesses in the gentrifying area first will be asked to halt sales of malt liquor and fortified wine after midnight. The board could make a ban mandatory. It already bars sales of 14-percent-or-more alcoholic beverages.

Hospital uses one body for four transplants

BOSTON An accident that claimed the life of one person last week gave new hope to four others when a hospital performed four transplant operations using organs from a single donor.
The 12-hour procedure at Brigham and Women's Hospital last week involved five surgical teams, more than 100 people and what one doctor called "miraculous" timing.
The transplants of two lungs, a heart and kidney were made possible when one hospital turned down the donor's lungs, and the next four matches on the donor list happened to be patients at Brigham and Women's.
"It's serendipity as much as anything," said Dr. Scott Swanson, who handled one lung transplant.

N.J. students flunk over essay questions

TRENTON, N.J. New Jersey's 100,000 fourth-graders do pretty well on multiple-choice tests in math and science. Just don't expect them to be able to write home about it.
State education officials announced yesterday that more than half the fourth-graders in New Jersey failed the language-arts section of a skills-assessment test, given last spring, that required open-ended answers to questions on reading comprehension and writing.
Essay-writing questions posed the main problem.
Forty percent of the students got a zero grade on one essay question that asked them to craft a paragraph of disjointed information into a coherent story.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

Man pleads no contest over school-death gun

DETROIT, Mich. The Michigan man whose gun was used by a 6-year-old boy to fatally shoot a classmate in February, pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter yesterday.

The plea came the day jury selection was to begin in the trial of Jamel James, 20, whose loaded .32-caliber handgun was left in a shoebox at the home.

"We recommended 2 to 15" years, said prosecutor Daniel Stamos. The plea bargain, "might have saved him a year or two in prison if he was convicted."

James' loaded gun was found by 6-year-old Dedric Owens who took it to school Feb. 28 and fatally shot Kayla Rolland, also 6. Dedric was too young under state law to be charged with a crime.

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