- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2006

DISTRICT

Assault trial date set for immigrant

A trial date has been set for a Vietnamese immigrant accused of punching a high-ranking Vietnamese diplomat visiting the District last summer.

Tuan Phuoc Le, 34, of Atlanta, is scheduled to go on trial July 31 on charges of assaulting a foreign official. He faces up to three years in prison and deportation to Vietnam if found guilty.

Mr. Le is accused of punching the face of Nguyen Quoc Huy, vice chairman of the prime minister’s office for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, during a June 21 protest at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, according to filings in U.S. District Court.

Mr. Le, who emigrated to the United States in 1993 and is a legal permanent resident of the U.S., is the son of a black U.S. soldier who was killed in action in Vietnam.

Defense counsel said Mr. Le will plead not guilty to the charge by reason of insanity because communists tortured him in the years after the Vietnam War and the incident was the result of a flashback or post-traumatic stress disorder.

MARYLAND

COLLEGE PARK

Police post photos of post-game riot

The University of Maryland police department has posted on its Web site, www.umpd.umd.edu, photographs of a person they say committed crimes during the raucous celebration after the women’s basketball team’s national championship victory last week.

University police want to identify the man involved in the April 4 melee when hundreds of students filled downtown College Park, setting small fires along Route 1.

The photos were taken from footage shot by WBAL-TV (Channel 11) and show the man running up to what appears to be a fire, waving at the camera and running away.

The police department also has referred seven students to the university for possible violations of the on-campus code of conduct.

The campus judicial process is not a criminal proceeding but could lead to punishment by the university.

BALTIMORE

Police: Hostage taker attempted suicide

Before a handcuffed drug suspect took a hostage at a police station Thursday, he tried to hang himself in an interview room, then removed a light bulb and attacked an officer in the dark, police records show.

A court official ordered a suicide evaluation yesterday for Rodney Bethea, 21, who was held without bail.

Police arrested Mr. Bethea about 10:45 a.m. Thursday and took him to the Northwest District station.

After an interview with detectives, Mr. Bethea “attempted to hang himself in the interview room with a string,” according to police charging documents. When he failed, Mr. Bethea removed a 3-foot halogen light bulb from an overhead light, the documents say.

An officer noticed the lights were off in the interview room and went in. That is when Mr. Bethea jumped off a table, striking Officer Paul Southard’s head and causing “numerous lacerations” with the light bulb.

The officer was treated and released from a hospital.

Mr. Bethea then ran out of the interview room and into an office. He locked the door behind him and held a clerical worker hostage with a pair of scissors.

After a nearly three-hour standoff, Mr. Bethea was taken into custody when a SWAT team “forced the door open and utilized a stun gun” to capture him, police said.

The employee, Jessica Macus-Lowe, was not harmed.

Mr. Bethea was wearing handcuffs behind his back, but somehow maneuvered his hands to the front of his body, police said.

PARKTON

I-83 reopened after hazmat spill

The cleanup lasted well past midnight, but environmental officials finally managed to reopen Interstate 83 early yesterday after a chemical spill shut down traffic for much of Thursday.

The spill at 1:30 p.m. Thursday created major traffic snarls.

Southbound lanes opened at 3:30 p.m., but the northbound lanes were closed until about 1:30 a.m. yesterday, the State Highway Administration said.

A truck owned by Ecoflo, a waste disposal firm in Greensboro, N.C., was carrying containers of rocket fuel and a neutralizing agent when two of the containers became unstable, said Richard McIntire, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

An explosion from one container sent a sickly yellow smoke cloud billowing into the air, some witnesses told the Baltimore Sun. Chemicals from the second container bubbled over into a rust-colored foam.

The driver of the truck, Jimmy Faulk, 27, was treated and released at a hospital

Ecoflo spokeswoman Meryl Mullane said the hazardous waste in 55-gallon drums originated at a Navy installation at Indian Head.

Mr. McIntire said waste from the spill was transported yesterday morning to a hazardous waste dump site near York, Pa., and eventually will be transported to the hazardous waste processing plant in Greensboro.

BALTIMORE

Man gets 16 years for baby’s death

A 21-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 13-month-old baby.

Tavon Wilson was charged with child abuse and neglect after he took Dajay Mckoy to a hospital, saying the child appeared listless and was bleeding from the mouth.

Doctors determined the baby was suffering from shaken baby syndrome, and Wilson was arrested.

Wilson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February.

BALTIMORE

Restaurateurs admit hiring illegal aliens

The operators of three popular sushi restaurants pleaded guilty yesterday to harboring and employing illegal aliens and agreed to forfeit their restaurants to the government, federal prosecutors said.

Clarksville residents Tzu Ming Yang, 48; his wife, Jui Fan Lee Yang, 49, and Jack Chang, 41, knowingly employed workers who were in the country illegally, requiring them to work more than 40 hours a week and paying them substantially less than required by law, prosecutors said.

Up to 75 percent of the work force at the three restaurants was illegal aliens, prosecutors said.

The operators agreed as part of their plea agreement to forfeit their three restaurants, five cars bought through restaurant accounts and about $386,000 in cash.

VIRGINIA

CHARLOTTESVILLE

UVa. students protest for workers’ raises

University of Virginia students are pressing the school to provide a living wage for its workers.

Protests have taken place this week on campus, started by students and faculty who want workers to be paid $10.72 an hour, up from the current minimum wage of $9.37 an hour.

Students said they will continue their protest until something changes.

UVa. President John Casteen said Thursday that because the university is a state institution neither he nor the university’s Board of Visitors can raise the current minimum wage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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