- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 28, 2003

Dean wins online poll

Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean won an online poll held by MoveOn.org, but fell short of grabbing enough votes to win the 1.4 million-member liberal group’s endorsement, sponsors said yesterday.

Mr. Dean, former governor of Vermont, won nearly 44 percent of the 317,639 votes cast in the virtual primary, but he needed a majority to win the advocacy group’s endorsement and the expected windfall of campaign contributions and grass-roots support it would generate.

Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich finished second in the nine-candidate Democratic field with nearly 24 percent, and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was third with just under 16 percent. The rest of the candidates were bunched in the low single digits.

Co-founder Wes Boyd said 54,370 members pledged to volunteer for their candidate of choice; 49,132 pledged to donate an estimated $1.75 million and 77,192 agreed to be added to their candidate’s e-mail list.

Woman sentenced for killing fetus

ERIE, Pa. — A woman who was convicted of murder under a seldom-used state law for attacking her romantic rival and killing the teenager’s fetus was sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison.

An Erie County jury convicted Corinne Wilcott, 21, in March of third-degree murder and assault in the June 8, 2002, attack on Sheena Carson, which resulted in the death of Miss Carson’s unborn child. Wilcott was sentenced Thursday. She could have received a maximum 20 to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutors painted Wilcott as a woman motivated by jealousy, saying she attacked Miss Carson because Miss Carson was pregnant by Wilcott’s husband, Kareem.

Wilcott’s attorney, Tim Lucas, said he planned to challenge Pennsylvania’s fetal-homicide law in an appeal.

Mr. Lucas argued that the law conflicts with the state’s abortion law about what constitutes a human being. Under the abortion law, a woman may not terminate her pregnancy after the first 24 weeks; the fetal-homicide law applies to the death of a fetus at any stage of development.

Senate OKs Abizaid as Franks successor

The Senate confirmed Army Lt. Gen. John P. Abizaid to replace Gen. Tommy Franks as head of the U.S. Central Command that oversees the hot spots of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Senate by voice vote approved Gen. Abizaid, who served as Gen. Franks’ deputy, to take the helm at Central Command at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.

Gen. Abizaid, who is of Lebanese descent, speaks Arabic, has a master’s degree in Middle East studies from Harvard University, and studied at the University of Jordan in Amman.

Rumsfeld, S. Korean envoy agree to transfers

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his South Korean counterpart, Defense Minister Cho Young-kil, agreed yesterday to move ahead with the transfer of some military missions from American to South Korean forces.

No final decisions were made, but previous discussions have involved transfer to the South Koreans responsibility for countering North Korean special-operations forces. That mission is now carried out by Americans, including Army units with Apache helicopters to monitor the South’s coastline.

There also has been a proposal to give South Korea the military meteorology mission done now by U.S. forces.

The United States also wants South Korea to play a bigger role in missile defense.

Ex-priests accused of abuse released

LOS ANGELES — Two former priests were freed from jail yesterday after a Supreme Court decision invalidating a state law that retroactively extended the statute of limitations on old molestation cases.

Lawrence Lovell, 55, and Michael Wempe, 63, were among 11 Roman Catholic priests in Los Angeles County whose charges will likely be dismissed because they were brought under the 1994 law.

“I have absolutely nothing that I want to say to you, OK?” Mr. Wempe told reporters as he left jail. Asked if he felt vindicated, he said: “No.”

Investigations of clergy abuse have been among the most widely publicized as people came forward to report sometimes decades-old molestations. But Thursday’s high court decision affects other cases as well, and state authorities say about 800 cases not involving priests will have to be reviewed.

The 1994 law allowed prosecutors to pursue cases in which the statute had already expired. But the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot retroactively erase statutes of limitations. The majority said it was fundamentally unfair to change the rules after the fact.

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