- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

FLORIDA

Jet passenger jumps onto runway

MIAMI — A passenger on a Continental Airlines jet forced open a door and leaped to the runway after struggling with the crew as the aircraft taxied for takeoff at a Fort Lauderdale airport, police reported yesterday.

The man, identified as Troy Rigby, 28, bit another passenger as people on the jet tried to restrain him Monday after he began banging on windows and cabin doors, shouting that he had to get off the flight, according to a report by the Broward County sheriff’s office.

After the pilot depressurized the cabin, Mr. Rigby opened an exit door and jumped to the tarmac below, where police subdued him with electric shock-firing guns and took him into custody.

He was taken to a hospital from the airport, said the Broward County sheriff’s office. It was not clear whether he was injured. The passenger who was bitten suffered minor injuries.

Mr. Rigby is being charged with criminal mischief and trespass, attacking a police officer and resisting arrest. Police also discovered that he faced an outstanding warrant for possession of marijuana.

IDAHO

Panel urges schools to end ‘spud break’

THOMAS — A Snake River School District study committee is recommending ending the practice of suspending public school classes for two weeks each fall to allow students to work in the potato harvest.

Superintendent Russell Hammond said the “spud break” falls at the same time that students are taking achievement tests to show progress under the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

KANSAS

Therapist jailed for patient abuse

WICHITA — A therapist who ran a group home for the mentally ill was sentenced to 30 years in prison for enslaving its residents, forcing them to work naked and making them perform sex acts. His wife received seven years behind bars.

Arlan Kaufman, 69, and his wife, Linda, were convicted in November on charges that included health care fraud, forced labor and involuntary servitude.

“You are an arrogant individual. You don’t recognize what you have done is wrong,” U.S. District Judge Monti Belot told Arlan Kaufman on Monday. “You see yourself as a victim of some massive conspiracy.”

In sentencing Linda Kaufman to a shorter term, the judge agreed with a psychologist that she had a dependent personality and was manipulated by her husband.

MASSACHUSETTS

Jury deliberations begin in Geoghan case

WORCESTER — A jury began deliberating yesterday in the murder case against an inmate who said he was insane when he strangled child molester John Geoghan in the former clergyman’s prison cell.

The jury got the case after prosecutors argued that Joseph Druce, 40, was a conniving killer who planned the slaying for weeks so he could be a “big shot” in prison.

But Druce’s attorney said the inmate was severely mentally ill and under the delusion that God had chosen him to kill Geoghan — a central figure in the scandal that engulfed the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston — and send a message to pedophiles around the world.

Druce sneaked into Geoghan’s cell at the state prison in Shirley in August 2003, jammed the door shut with a book, then beat and strangled the 68-year-old before the guards could stop him.

MINNESOTA

House fire kills father, 3 daughters

PEQUOT LAKES — A father and three of his daughters were killed Monday in a blaze that started near a wood-burning stove, authorities said.

Authorities identified the victims as Stephen Stork, 55, and daughters Tiffaney, 26; Sondra, 24; and Marcie, 17.

A fire detector was found in the central Minnesota home, but its battery had been pulled out of the contact by the width of a paper clip, said Crow Wing County Sheriff Eric Klang.

Autopsy results were pending, but the sheriff said it appeared the victims were overcome by smoke inhalation.

Leslie Stork, the wife and mother of the victims, was at work at a nursing home when the fire started.

NEW YORK

‘05 warmest year in century, study says

NEW YORK — Last year was the warmest in a century, nosing out 1998, a federal analysis concludes.

Researchers calculated that 2005 produced the highest annual average surface temperature worldwide since instrument recordings began in the late 1800s, said James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The result confirms a prediction the institute made in December.

Mr. Hansen said the analysis estimated temperatures in the Arctic from nearby weather stations because no direct data were available. Because of that, “we couldn’t say with 100 percent certainty that it’s the warmest year, but I’m reasonably confident that it was,” Mr. Hansen said.

More important, he said, is that 2005 reached the warmth of 1998 without help of the “El Nino of the century” that pushed temperatures up that year.

NORTH CAROLINA

Banker charged in daughters’ deaths

CHARLOTTE — A banking executive was charged in the killings of his twin 5-year-old daughters, who were found stabbed at the family’s home.

David Crespi made his initial court appearance Monday on two charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Samantha and Tessara. No plea was entered. Additional hearings were set for next month.

Mr. Crespi, a senior vice president in the audit division of Charlotte-based Wachovia Corp., was alone with the children in the family home in an upscale neighborhood when they were killed Friday afternoon. He called 911, then surrendered at the scene without resistance, police spokesman Keith Bridges said.

No motive was given. Mr. Crespi’s father, who lives in California, has said his son had suffered depression and was taking medication for insomnia.

OHIO

Chemistry lab fire injures 8 at school

HUDSON — A fire in a private high school’s chemistry lab injured eight persons.

Three students, the teacher and the teacher’s son were taken to Akron Children’s Hospital, which has a burn unit, officials said.

Three other students were treated at Western Reserve Academy’s health center after the Monday accident.

Students “were instrumental in helping each other douse the flames,” said John Haile, dean of academics. “They also stopped, dropped and rolled.”

Calais Weber, 15, who suffered burns on about half her body, including her face and hands, said a janitor also helped put out the fire. Gary Fitts “just happened to be walking by and grabbed the fire extinguisher,” Calais said.

OKLAHOMA

Registry proposed for meth offenders

OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill introduced in the House would establish an online registry for anyone convicted in Oklahoma of making or distributing methamphetamines.

The registry would be similar to one in place for sex offenders. House Speaker Todd Hiett says Oklahomans deserve to know whether a lab could be in their community.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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