- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2006

DISTRICT

White House heckler charged in court

A woman accused of heckling Chinese President Hu Jintao during a White House appearance was charged yesterday in federal court with a misdemeanor of willfully intimidating, coercing, threatening and harassing a foreign official.

Wang Wenyi, 47, had obtained temporary press credentials as a reporter for a Falun Gong newspaper and positioned herself Thursday on a camera stand in front of the platform where President Bush and Mr. Hu stood.

According to Secret Service translations provided in court documents, she shouted in Chinese: “Stop oppressing the Falun Gong,” as well as “Your time is running out,” and “Anything you have done will come back to you in this lifetime.”

She also shouted in heavily accented English: “President Bush, stop him from killing,” and “President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong.”

She was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a banned religious movement in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service agents led her off the stand.

Standing beside Mr. Bush, Mr. Hu had just begun his opening remarks when the woman started yelling. Mr. Hu paused briefly, then resumed speaking even though the woman kept screaming for several minutes before she was forcibly removed.

A group of 35 to 40 supporters attended Miss Wang’s arraignment yesterday.

Miss Wang, who is from New York, was released on the condition that she remain there and come to Washington only to consult with her attorneys or attend legal proceedings. She must also stay away from the White House.

If convicted, she could receive up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Shortly after she was released, Miss Wang read a prepared statement to reporters, calling her protest an individual act of conscience.

“It’s not a crime, but an act of civil disobedience,” she said.

Zoo gets first look at sloth bear cub

Veterinarians at the National Zoo have gotten their first look at the sloth bear cub that was born in January.

They were able to conduct a quick exam Thursday, after numerous attempts by animal care staff to separate the cub and its very protective mother, Hana.

Veterinarian Carlos Sanchez said the male cub, which weighs about 11 pounds, appears strong and healthy.

Zoo officials said this is the third cub for Hana. She gave birth to two cubs in December 2004, but both cubs died within four days of being born.

At birth, sloth bear cubs are very small, fragile and dependent on their mothers. They are known to stay in their dens until they are a few months old.

The zoo said Hana and her cub will go on exhibit in a few weeks.

REGION

Metro records another busy day

Metro is crediting a jump in gasoline prices, pleasant weather and all those tourists for soaring ridership on the rails this week.

The transit system reported Thursday was the sixth busiest ridership day in its 30-year history, with passengers taking 780,820 trips. That was 48,444 more trips than the same day last year.

Besides Thursday’s big crowds, Metro said Wednesday was the 14th highest ridership day and Tuesday ranks as the ninth busiest.

Typically, Metro’s top ridership days coincide with big events.

Last week, for example, Metro had its second busiest day ever due to the April 10 immigrant rights rally on the Mall.

VIRGINIA

FREDERICKSBURG

Food worker faces felony for spitting

A Stafford fast food employee is facing felony charges after a man told police she spat in his drink.

Shaleesheya Ford, 18, is charged with adulteration of food, obstruction of justice and making a false report.

She faces up to 10 years in prison.

It happened April 14 at a Taco Bell along Garrisonville Road and started when a customer couldn’t get some tea.

According to Stafford General District Court records, the 35-year-old victim — who did not want to give his name — purchased food at the drive-through window but didn’t get the iced tea he ordered.

He said he complained and later got the drink. But when he opened it up he saw “a strange substance” floating in the cup.

Investigators later linked the incident to the woman.

RICHMOND

Court says charges cannot be refiled

The Virginia Supreme Court yesterday reversed a man’s abduction and firearms convictions because the charges were refiled after initially being dismissed by the prosecutor.

George Julious Roe was indicted in Richmond in 2002 on four felony charges. But when his trial date arrived, Roe was in federal custody and the commonwealth’s attorney had not arranged to get him to court.

The prosecution asked for a continuance, which was denied, and then dismissed the charges. Another grand jury later indicted Roe on the same charges. He was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions, ruling that the dismissal order amounted to a “nolle prosequi,” or decision not to prosecute. Such a decision preserves the state’s right to refile charges.

However, the Supreme Court said that nolle prosequi and dismissal are not synonymous. The circuit court speaks through its orders, the court said, and in this case the prosecution “specifically requested that the charges be ‘dismissed,’ not that the charges be nolle prossed.”

MARYLAND

BETHESDA

Van Susteren ends U.S. Senate bid

The only woman competing to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes has dropped out.

Forensic psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren said funding concerns are the reason for her decision.

She has raised $500,000 but said that’s not enough to separate herself from the crowd of Democratic candidates, including Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and Kweisi Mfume, former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Mrs. Van Susteren said she will help the eventual nominee, although she wouldn’t endorse one of the other candidates.

She said it’s important for the candidate to have success in other areas and a diverse occupational background.

ELKTON

Bail set for suspect in bayonet stabbing

Bail has been set at $750,000 for the Elkton man charged in a fatal stabbing during a brawl in North East.

Robert Roberts, 38, of Elkton, said during his bail hearing Thursday that he did not kill Tyreak Wilcher, 24, also of Elkton.

Authorities said Mr. Wilcher was killed with a 12-inch bayonet during a street fight Tuesday night that involved about 100 people outside the Cedar Hill apartment complex.

Mr. Roberts said he has known Mr. Wilcher his entire life and said he was charged in the stabbing because he was in the vicinity.

The charges include first-degree murder.

Mr. Roberts also is charged with attempted murder in the assault of Mr. Wilcher’s cousin, Elliott Jones, 23, of North East.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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