- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Authorities recover Blake attorney’s computer

LOS ANGELES — A computer that was stolen from the home of Robert Blake’s attorney and contained information about the former “Baretta” star’s murder case turned up at a pawn shop, authorities said yesterday.

Two teenage boys were arrested on suspicion of robbery after the laptop and other items were found in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles.

Two weeks ago, the judge in the murder case delayed opening statements in the trial until next Monday at the request of defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach because of the Dec. 1 theft. Mr. Schwartzbach declined to say yesterday whether any information was missing from the computer.

Mr. Blake, 71, is charged in the 2001 shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

INDIANA

Muslim scholar resigns appointment

SOUTH BEND — A Muslim scholar whose work visa was abruptly revoked after he was hired by the University of Notre Dame said yesterday he has resigned his appointment.

“I’m abandoning the idea of moving to the United States,” Tariq Ramadan told the Associated Press from Geneva. “I want to maintain my dignity.”

Mr. Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, was barred from working in the United States in August just days before he was to begin teaching at Notre Dame. The Department of Homeland Security cited security concerns. Mr. Ramadan said there is nothing in his past to justify the ban.

ARKANSAS

Christmas cards spring man from jail

HARRISON — A man with plenty of time to spare as he awaited trial on drug charges sold the Christmas cards he drew to raise enough extra money to help him post bond and get out of jail.

In October, authorities arrested Charlie Cook and his bail was set at $30,000; with help from some of his Christmas card money, he was able to post bond on December 7.

After visiting with prison missionaries, Mr. Cook became inspired to draw winter scenes as Christmas cards. Clarence Yoder, a Mennonite who had visited Mr. Cook in jail, liked the cards so much that he took them to his bakery and sold them for $2 each. Mr. Cook’s wife works at Mr. Yoder’s bakery.

CALIFORNIA

Naval Surface Force gets new commander

SAN DIEGO — Rear Adm. Terrance T. Etnyre will take command of the San Diego-based Pacific Fleet Naval Surface Force, the military announced this week.

In addition, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced that President Bush has nominated Adm. Etnyre for promotion to the rank of vice admiral. The surface force includes the Navy’s cruisers, destroyers, amphibious assault craft and other warships.

Adm. Etnyre now serves as commander of the Atlantic Fleet’s Naval Surface Force, which is based in Norfolk. He is a 1970 graduate of the University of Michigan and was commissioned an ensign in July 1971. His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (three gold stars) and the Bronze Star with Combat V.

FLORIDA

Mom arrested after toddler dies

ORLANDO — A woman was arrested on child-abuse charges yesterday after her 3-year-old daughter was found dead in a filthy motel room where they lived with the woman’s husband and five other children, authorities said.

The two adults already were serving four years’ probation after the child’s father, Nathan Gadison, used a belt to beat at least two children, including the girl who died, officials said.

Deputies found dirty diapers and trash littering the room at the extended-stay motel, and baby bottles containing moldy milk, said Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman Barbara Miller.

GEORGIA

Twin sisters deliver sets of twins

ATLANTA — Two twin sisters are seeing double — or make that quadruple — after delivering two sets of twin boys yesterday.

Ashlee Spinks of Indianapolis and Andrea Springer of Conyers, Ga., both 21, delivered their boys by scheduled Caesarean sections yesterday about an hour apart at Northside Hospital.

The two couples said twins run in the families of all four parents.

ILLINOIS

Blood-pressure drugs eyed for higher risk

CHICAGO — Older women who combine two popular blood-pressure drugs might be raising their risk of death, according to a study of more than 30,000 women. But doctors warned that the research has flaws and said it is too soon to know whether the commonly prescribed drug combination really is dangerous.

In the Albert Einstein College of Medicine study, women who combined diuretics with calcium channel blockers — among the most frequently prescribed drugs for high blood pressure — had nearly twice as many fatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular deaths as women on diuretics plus beta blockers or ACE inhibitors.

IOWA

Smoke forcesplane to land

DES MOINES — A Northwest Airlines flight from Detroit to Denver was diverted here briefly yesterday when smoke started accumulating in the rear cargo area — a problem traced to a faulty fan.

The plane with 151 persons aboard was forced to land when the smoke began “irritating people’s eyes, noses and throats,” said Roy Criss, spokesman for the Des Moines International Airport.

About a dozen passengers sought treatment at the airport for smoke irritation, he said.

MAINE

Governor orders hiring freeze

BANGOR — Gov. John Baldacci is attempting to curb spending by ordering a hiring freeze and limiting overtime, travel and other expenses in the next six months.

Mr. Baldacci, a Democrat, signed a special budget and expenditure order telling state agencies that only vacant positions vital to the state’s health, safety and welfare will be filled through June 30.

MASSACHUSETTS

City chops down’Liberty Tree’

BROCKTON — A 300-year-old sycamore that served as a marker on the Underground Railroad and a meeting place for abolitionists including Frederick Douglass has been cut down after city officials said it was too badly damaged to save.

The remains of the “Liberty Tree” were fed into a chipper on Monday despite the efforts of residents who had tried to win National Historic Register status for the tree and build a park and museum around it.

Brockton Mayor John Yunits said he had to put public safety ahead of sentiment.

MICHIGAN

Teacher found guilty of hacking husband

PONTIAC — A jury rejected an elementary school teacher’s claim of self-defense and convicted her of murder yesterday for hacking her husband to death with a hatchet.

Nancy Seaman, 52, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

The verdict came after two weeks of harrowing testimony, including graphic autopsy photos of Robert Seaman. Seaman tearfully said she had been abused throughout her 31-year marriage and was defending herself from her husband.

PENNSYLVANIA

Officials apologize for scissors arrest

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia officials have apologized for the arrest of a 10-year-old girl who was taken to jail for having a pair of scissors in her book bag at school.

The head of Philadelphia’s public schools and the city police commissioner called the child’s mother on Monday to apologize, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Porsche Brown, a fourth-grader, was handcuffed and taken to a local police precinct. Schools leader Paul Vallas termed the incident an “overreaction.”

The girl was suspended Thursday from Philadelphia’s Thomas Holme Elementary School when a pair of 8-inch scissors were found in her book bag. Students are banned from taking scissors, which are considered potential weapons under state law, to school, the Inquirer reported. The school principal said she was following district procedures when she called the police.

TEXAS

Court hears appeal by child-killer mom

HOUSTON — Andrea Yates’ murder convictions for drowning her children should be overturned because the state’s expert witness gave false testimony about working on an episode of “Law & Order,” her attorneys told a state appeals court yesterday.

Yates was sentenced to life in prison in the 2001 deaths of three of her children after jurors rejected her insanity defense.

Psychiatrists testified that Yates suffered from schizophrenia and postpartum depression.

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