- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2005

KANSAS

BTK suspect appears in court

WICHITA — The man accused of the BTK serial killings waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday, an acknowledgment that the state has enough evidence to go to trial.

During the hearing, which lasted only a few minutes, Dennis Rader calmly answered “Yes, sir” to questions from Sedgwick County District Judge Gregory Waller about whether he wanted to waive the hearing and whether he understood his rights.

Mr. Rader, 60, was arrested Feb. 25 and is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. He will enter a plea at his arraignment, set for May 3.

BTK is a self-coined nickname that stands for “bind, torture and kill.”

TEXAS

Apollo 13 engineers get honor

HOUSTON — A group of engineers was honored yesterday for concocting a plan using plastic bags, cardboard and duct tape to save Apollo 13’s astronauts after their spacecraft was crippled by an explosion 35 years ago.

Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert would have died without the engineers’ quick thinking, said John Schneiter, president of GlobalSpec, the New York company that presented the award — a crystal globe.

Sunday marked the 35th anniversary of the spacecraft’s return to Earth after its aborted moon mission. It was crippled by an oxygen tank that overheated and exploded.

ALASKA

Jogger survives bear attack

SOLDOTNA — A 51-year-old jogger was in serious condition after he was mauled by two bears when he came across a half-eaten moose carcass near Soldotna.

Scott MacInnes was knocked to the ground Monday by either one or both of the animals and sustained bites to the abdomen, head, neck, face and leg, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The bears abruptly broke off their attack, and Mr. MacInnes escaped to a nearby house. He underwent surgery at Central Peninsula General Hospital later that day.

“He’ll recover,” said sister Ann Mize of Anchorage. “He’s lucky to be alive. He’ll be in the hospital for at least a week.”

ARIZONA

Policeman proposes SWAT monkey

MESA — Police tactical units usually don’t engage in a lot of monkey business, but one SWAT team wants to add a capuchin monkey to its staff.

“Everybody laughs about it until they really start thinking about it,” said Sean Truelove, an officer with the Mesa Police Department who builds and operates tactical robots for the unit in suburban Phoenix.

Officer Truelove said the department is trying to obtain a capuchin, considered the second smartest primate behind the chimpanzee, with about $100,000 in grant money.

Officer Truelove says the monkey, which would cost $15,000, could become the ultimate SWAT reconnaissance tool. He said the monkey could be trained to unlock doors and search buildings.

CALIFORNIA

Jackson defense challenges photos

SANTA MARIA — Michael Jackson’s attorney yesterday challenged the authenticity of photographs that appeared to show the mother of the pop star’s accuser with severe bruises from a purported beating by store security guards.

The woman’s family received a settlement of more than $150,000 after the 1998 incident. The episode is unrelated to the child-molestation case against Mr. Jackson, but the singer’s attorneys have seized on it to argue that the family has a history of making false claims for money.

Mr. Jackson is accused of molesting the woman’s son two years ago, when the boy was 13.

CONNECTICUT

Presidential library sought for Huntington

NORWICH — A local man says the first president to serve under the Articles of Confederation — Samuel Huntington of Norwich — was technically the nation’s first president.

Now, Bill Stanley is seeking $10 million to build a presidential library for Huntington here.

Mr. Stanley, president of the Norwich Historical Society, asked the City Council on Monday night to donate $1 million from funds it expects to receive from the Mohegan American Indian Tribe, owners of Mohegan Sun Casino.

But Norwich Mayor Arthur Lathrop said he plans to use the $1 million from the Mohegans for downtown redevelopment, not a presidential library.

FLORIDA

Child killer stabbed in prison

INDIANTOWN — A man serving life for the slaying of a 14-year-old girl was in stable condition yesterday after being stabbed with a homemade knife.

Thomas Meek, 52, was airlifted Monday from the Martin Correctional Institution to a West Palm Beach hospital.

Prison officials have questioned another inmate but have not made any arrests, Corrections Department spokesman Sterling Ivey said.

HAWAII

More tourists arrive, but they spend less

HONOLULU — Travel to the islands is booming and overall visitor expenditures grew 7.9 percent to $1.8 billion so far this year, officials say.

On average, however, tourists are spending a little less, $159.50 per day. State tourism liaison Marsha Weinert says she hopes it’s just a “hiccup” and not a trend.

MONTANA

‘Marlboro Country’ adopts smoking ban

HELENA — Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, signed into law Monday a compromise no-smoking ban between public-health groups and Montana tavern owners in “Marlboro Country.”

The prohibition on public smoking takes effect Oct. 1 for all buildings and offices open to the public, but it will not apply to Montana’s 1,700 bars for four more years, a concession to the tavern industry.

Over the years, Madison Avenue has used Montana as a backdrop in some of the Marlboro Man cigarette ads depicting rugged cowboys puffing on cigarettes.

NEW JERSEY

Man survives plunge; girlfriend found dead

EVESHAM TOWNSHIP — Police dispatched yesterday to tell a woman that her boyfriend had survived a vehicle’s plunge into a river found the couple’s house on fire and the woman dead inside.

Authorities have not said whether the case is a botched murder-suicide attempt or came about through other circumstances.

Emergency operators received a call about a vehicle splashing into the Delaware River shortly before 2 a.m. Firefighters used a boat to rescue a man who managed to climb atop the partially submerged vehicle, said Jack Smith, spokesman for the Burlington County prosecutor’s office. The man was released after treatment.

Denne Keller, a neighbor of the couple and former neighborhood association president, said other neighbors had told them they heard the couple fighting in recent weeks.

NEW YORK

Man accused of threatening judge

NEW YORK — A New York man was arrested yesterday on charges of threatening to kill a Brooklyn federal judge and bomb his courthouse amid growing concern about the safety of the nation’s judiciary and courtrooms.

Wazir Khan, 20, who lives in New York’s borough of Queens, was charged with threatening to kill someone and destroy the Brooklyn federal courthouse, federal prosecutors said.

The arrest follows the slayings of the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan H. Lefkow in their Chicago home in February and the Atlanta shooting deaths of Judge Rowland Barnes of Fulton County Superior Court and three others.

Although the charges do not say why Mr. Khan made the threats, authorities said his mother had a pending criminal case before the judge that had been set for trial this week before she pleaded guilty to credit-card theft on Monday.

WEST VIRGINIA

Vandals drain lake at children’s camp

SCOTT DEPOT — Hundreds of underprivileged children could miss out on canoeing, fishing and swinging on cables this summer after vandals drained most of the water from the lake at a Salvation Army camp.

Camp Happy Valley’s caretaker, David Stover, returned from vacation Saturday to find only about 2 feet of water in Lake Mary Beth, which normally is 12 to 14 feet deep.

State police are investigating the case. Whoever drained the lake used a temporary pipeline recently installed over an earthen dam between the lake and a small creek. The pipeline, a self-siphoning system, was set up in case the dam developed problems from recent heavy rains.

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