- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 7, 2004

OHIO

Man rescued after days in mud

PORTSMOUTH — A man who fell from a bridge and then spent almost three days stuck in mud on a riverbank was rescued Tuesday evening, authorities said.

William Purdy, 50, who has Parkinson’s disease, had been missing since Saturday morning, his family said. Passers-by spotted him near the bridge on the edge of town where few people go walking.

It took rescuers about an hour to free Mr. Purdy, who was “cold, talkative and tickled to death that someone found him,” Portsmouth Police Detective Lynn Brewer said.

Mr. Purdy told police he fell from the bridge into the Scioto River late Saturday or early Sunday. He managed to swim to shore but then got stuck on the bank, the detective said.

TENNESSEE

Historic plane to leave Memphis

MEMPHIS — The Memphis Belle, the World War II bomber that was named for its pilot’s sweetheart, is headed north to the U.S. Air Force’s national museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Local preservationists who have struggled for decades to keep the plane in its namesake city are not pleased, but seem resigned to the move.

“There’s a range of feeling on this,” said Andy Pouncey, president of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association. “There’s a group that wants to fight. There’s a group that thinks it’s going to a higher place. And there’s a group that’s exhausted by all of it.”

The Belle was one of the first B-17s to complete 25 combat missions over German-occupied Europe.

ALABAMA

Accused racist’s role ‘limited’ in case

BIRMINGHAM — Prosecutors in the death-penalty case against Eric Rudolph, who is accused of several bombings, are distancing themselves from a government expert who once acknowledged making jokes and comments ridiculing blacks.

Forensic chemist Edward Bender, who works for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, had only a “limited role” in analyzing evidence from the 1998 fatal bombing of an abortion clinic and won’t testify in Mr. Rudolph’s trial next year, prosecutors said in papers posted yesterday on a court Web site.

Mr. Rudolph pleaded not guilty to charges that he set the bomb that exploded outside a Birmingham abortion clinic on Jan. 29, 1998, killing a police officer and critically injuring a nurse. He also is charged in the fatal bombing at Atlanta’s Olympic Park in 1996 and a pair of 1997 bombings in Atlanta. He was arrested last year in North Carolina.

Mr. Bender’s racial views became an issue last year in the Washington-area sniper case because he testified without prosecutors’ disclosing his racial comments to attorneys for the two black defendants.

ARKANSAS

World War II vet to receive honor

BENTON — A World War II veteran is being honored posthumously for secretly recording information about hundreds of fellow prisoners at a Nazi prison camp, military officials said.

Marie Hall will formally accept the Legion of Merit medal for her brother, Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Ewell Ross McCright, who died in 1990. The award recognizes meritorious conduct and is the seventh-highest award that an armed forces member can receive.

“McCright was a true American hero,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Anthony Przybyslawski told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

When Mr. McCright died, a friend presented the recorded information to Arnold Wright, also of Benton, who published them in the 1994 book “Behind the Wire: Stalag Luft III, South Compound.”

With the backing of five retired Air Force generals, Mr. Wright lobbied for a medal for Mr. McCright’s work.

CALIFORNIA

Prosecution rests in Peterson trial

REDWOOD CITY — Prosecutors in the Scott Peterson murder trial called to the stand their 174th and final witness, a police investigator who portrayed the former fertilizer salesman as a man on the run because he killed his pregnant wife, Laci.

Modesto Detective Jon Buehler wrapped up 19 weeks of testimony by the state’s witnesses, describing the details of Mr. Peterson’s arrest on April 19, 2003. The defense begins its case on Tuesday.

Detective Buehler told jurors that Mr. Peterson had a large backpack and an overnight bag stuffed with everything from hunting knives and a water purifier to snorkeling and fishing equipment to a shovel and duct tape. Mr. Peterson also had several changes of clothes, four cell phones, two driver’s licenses — his and his brother’s — six credit cards, including one in his half-sister’s name, and nearly $15,000 in cash.

Prosecutor Dave Harris showed photographs of the equipment. Mr. Peterson’s attorney Mark Geragos showed photos of similar clothes and equipment found in Mr. Peterson’s truck months earlier, portraying him as a man who simply lived out of his vehicle.

MISSISSIPPI

FEMA subcontractor faces sex charges

WIGGINS — A subcontractor working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been arrested and is accused of trying to coerce a woman into having sex in exchange for Hurricane Ivan disaster benefits, authorities said.

Frank Jason Cole, 27, of Memphis, was being held without bail on an attempted rape charge, while police investigated whether there are other victims.

Mr. Cole was one of 25 field inspectors who have visited more than 4,530 southern Mississippi homes and approved nearly 3,700 applications for disaster relief, a FEMA official said.

TEXAS

Killer executed despite lab questions

HUNTSVILLE — A convicted killer was executed even though the handling of his case by Houston’s troubled police lab had been called into question by two state senators and the police chief.

Edward Green III, 30, was put to death on Tuesday night despite his attorneys’ pleas that evidence relevant to his double murder trial might be in some of the 280 recently discovered boxes that had been mislabeled and improperly stored.

Green’s attorneys, as well as the senators and the police chief, had wanted all executions out of Harris County stayed pending review of the boxes. In Green’s case, prosecutors said all evidence had been accounted for. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, refused to impose the blanket moratorium on executions. The U.S. Supreme Court and Texas’ high court also declined to block Green’s execution.

Green was convicted of fatally shooting Edward Haden, 72, and Helen O’Sullivan, 63, during a 1992 robbery.

In a final statement while strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Green apologized to their relatives.

NEBRASKA

Finance professionals oppose casino plans

OMAHA — Local financial planners, accountants and insurance agents joined efforts to defeat casino gambling proposals on the November ballot.

One proposal would allow two casinos in Omaha and more than 4,900 video poker and slot machines at various locations across the state. The second would allow two casinos in Nebraska, with sites to be determined later.

OKLAHOMA

State recalls tourist brochures

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma tourism officials have recalled about 200,000 brochures with images of activities that might have seemed uninviting to some travelers, such as cow-manure tossing and re-enacting Confederate battles, officials said yesterday.

The pamphlet, called 2005 Annual Events Guide, featured events and activities throughout Oklahoma. It also was riddled with spelling, grammatical and factual mistakes.

“We discovered the material in the event guide was culturally insensitive and contained errors,” said state tourism director Rob Gray.

Confederate flags have been a flash point in U.S. politics with some arguing that they have racist overtones.

The guide was produced by an employee who was no longer with the office, Mr. Gray said.

WASHINGTON

Volcano calms; scientists lower alert

SEATTLE — Government scientists said volcanic activity on Mount St. Helens had started to taper off and downgraded their safety warning yesterday, after nearly two weeks of seismic activity and steam eruptions.

“Evidently, we’ve gone through a major change here,” said Willie Scott, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “We no longer think that an eruption is imminent in minutes or hours.”

Decreased earthquake activity, lower rockfall and mild steaming all led to the decision to lower the agency’s warning level to the second highest level of “increased activity”, Mr. Scott said.

Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 and killed 57 persons.

WYOMING

Northwest begins flights from Casper

CASPER — Years of negotiations culminated in the first Northwest Airlines flight from Casper to Minneapolis. Two flights a day now are scheduled on new, 50-seat jets.

Passengers on the inaugural flight included Mike Sullivan, a former Wyoming governor and ambassador to Ireland, who was headed back overseas on business.

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