- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Retarded convict faces execution

AUSTIN, Texas Barring a last-minute intervention by the courts or Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a condemned murderer said to have the mental capacity of a 12-year-old will be executed this evening.
Oliver David Cruz, 33, is scheduled to die by lethal injection for the 1988 rape and murder of Air Force linguist Kelly Elizabeth Donovan. Psychology tests show Cruz has an IQ of between 64 and 76, a finding the state did not dispute at the time of his trial.
The pending execution has prompted a flurry of legal challenges, pleas for clemency and renewed calls for legislation banning the execution of the mentally retarded. Mr. Bush, the Republican presidential nominee, opposes a ban.

Gamblers may apply self-bans at casinos

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. Compulsive gamblers who can't resist the lure of clinking slot machines and spinning roulette wheels may soon be able to get help by banning themselves from casinos.
The state of New Jersey, which already maintains a list of mobsters, cheats and others who are not allowed in casinos, is proposing a "self-exclusion" program.
Gamblers could register with the state and provide a photograph of themselves to casinos, which would then be required to deny them access.

Inmate escapes prison in tractor-trailer cab

HUNTSVILLE, Texas An inmate driving a tractor-trailer cab avoided a hail of gunshots from guards and smashed through a prison fence yesterday, then fled in another vehicle believed to have been driven by his wife.
Authorities and tracking dogs were searching for Terry Rhodes, 31, who escaped from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wynne Unit at the edge of Huntsville.
Rhodes, who had been a diesel mechanic before being sentenced to 45 years for aggravated sexual assault, worked as a mechanic at the prison and had access to corrections department trucks like the one that was stolen.

Accident survivor saves child in car crash

BARTLETT, Tenn. A little more than a year ago, a surgeon put Rob Gingery's broken body back together so his family could have an open coffin.
The 37-year-old electrician had slammed into a curb on his Harley-Davidson. The bike skidded 175 feet and his body cartwheeled out of control, cracking his skull.
If he lived, doctors expected he would be brain-damaged, spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair and in need of constant care. Mr. Gingery not only lived, he recently had a chance to repay the grace he believes was granted.
Last month, at the same intersection where he almost died, he crawled inside a wrecked truck and rescued a child who was being strangled by her seat belt, an act for which he received a certificate of valor from Mayor Ken Fulmar.

'Friends' star sues magazine over photos

LOS ANGELES "Friends" actress Jennifer Aniston is no friend of Celebrity Skin magazine.
Miss Aniston sued the magazine's publishers Monday for printing photographs of her sunbathing topless in her back yard. The lawsuit claims the magazine violated Miss Aniston's right to privacy when a "stalkerazzi" snapped the photos of her after climbing a neighbor's fence.

Protesters ousted from mayor's office

MONTGOMERY, Ala. Three civil rights leaders were thrown out of City Hall yesterday after protesting the violent arrest of a black man by two white police officers.
Nine uniformed Montgomery police officers entered Mayor Bobby Bright's office at the close of city business and carried away state Sen. Charles Steele and two other civil rights activists.
They promised to return this morning, even after the mayor issued an executive order banning demonstrations in his office. "This is just the beginning," Mr. Steele said. "The world should know that Alabama is a police state."

From combined dispatches and staff reports.

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