- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Marine charged in Fallujah case

RIVERSIDE — A former Marine sergeant has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the killings of two captured Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004.

Wearing a black suit with an American flag pin on the lapel, Jose Nazario, 27, answered procedural questions before U.S. Magistrate Judge Oswald Parada. Bail was set at $50,000.

“I would just like to say, I’m a United States Marine who fought honorably for this country, and I’m innocent of these charges,” Mr. Nazario said outside court.

Defense attorney Emery Ledger said before the hearing that Mr. Nazario was charged last week and will enter a not guilty plea.

Mr. Nazario faces 10 years in prison if convicted of voluntary manslaughter, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Behnke. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 5.

INDIANA

Assemblies of God elects new leader

INDIANAPOLIS — The Assemblies of God, one of the nation’s largest Pentecostal denominations, has elected a seasoned church leader as its new chief executive.

George O. Wood, who has served as general secretary since 1993, was elected to the top post of general superintendent at the denomination’s 52nd General Council meeting here.

Thomas Trask, who was elected to the top spot in 1993, is stepping down two years before his term expires. Mr. Wood will fill the remainder of that term.

The denomination also elected a black person to its executive leadership team for the first time. Zollie L. Smith Jr., president of the National Black Fellowship of the Assemblies of God, was elected executive director of U.S. missions.

LOUISIANA

Blame deflected in Katrina deaths

ST. FRANCISVILLE — It was bad judgment by the owners in not evacuating a nursing home that flooded after Hurricane Katrina that cost 35 lives, not faulty storm planning by the government, a prosecutor told a jury yesterday.

Paul Knight, in his opening statement in the trial of Salvador and Mabel Mangano, tried to head off the couple’s contention that mistakes by state and federal agencies led to the deaths at St. Rita’s nursing home. Prosecutors do not think the Manganos killed the patients intentionally — he called the couple “good people” — but they were the cause nonetheless, Mr. Knight said.

Defense attorney John Reed countered that the Manganos are scapegoats for a government that failed on many levels, including a failure to warn the nursing home owners that they should evacuate their patients. Prosecuting the Manganos only makes matters worse, he said.

The trial opened nearly two years after Katrina swamped the Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana coasts. The Aug. 29, 2005, storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. More than 1,400 deaths were blamed on the storm.

The Manganos are charged with 35 counts of negligent homicide and 24 counts of cruelty to the elderly or infirm.

MASSACHUSETTS

Man in glass-eating scheme guilty

BOSTON — A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to his role in a multistate scheme in which prosecutors say he and his wife intentionally ate glass at restaurants and collected more than $200,000 in compensation.

Ronald Evano, 49, pleaded guilty to 20 federal counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and identity theft. Prosecutors dropped four counts of identity fraud and health care fraud in the plea agreement.

Prosecutors say Evano and his wife, Mary, filed fraudulent insurance claims worth more than $200,000, collected more than $200,000 and left a trail of unpaid medical bills totaling more than $100,000 in several states between 1997 and 2005.

An arrest warrant was issued last year for Mrs. Evano on the same charges as her husband. She is still being sought.

MISSOURI

Man accused of killing ill wife

KANSAS CITY — A man threw his seriously ill wife four stories to her death because he could no longer afford to pay for her medical care, prosecutors said in charging him with second-degree murder.

According to court documents filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, Stanley Reimer walked his wife to the balcony of their apartment and kissed her before throwing her over.

The body of Criste Reimer, 47, was found Tuesday night outside the apartment building, near the upscale Country Club Plaza shopping district.

In the probable cause statement filed with the charges, police said Stanley Reimer, 51, who was charged Wednesday, was desperate because he could not pay the bills for his wife’s treatment for neurological problems and uterine cancer.

RHODE ISLAND

Cianci to return to talk radio

PROVIDENCE — Former Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, who was released from federal custody last month after serving more than four years for corruption, will return to the radio next month as a talk-show host.

Mr. Cianci, the city’s longest-serving mayor, called in yesterday morning to WPRO-AM, where he hosted a show for several months in 2002, to announce that he would rejoin the station’s lineup. He will debut on Sept. 20, the station said.

“What I’d like to do is join in the public conversation, join in the public discourse about issues that face the city and state,” said Mr. Cianci, who had also hosted a show on rival WHJJ-AM in the 1980s.

TEXAS

Erin’s remnants flood roads, kill 1

HOUSTON — Tropical Storm Erin’s remnants soaked a rain-weary state yesterday, inundating intersections and shutting down freeway ramps ahead of rush hour as well as killing at least one person as the thunderstorms moved into soggy central Texas.

One person died and another was injured when the waterlogged roof of a storage unit outside a Houston grocery store collapsed, Fire Chief Omero Longoria said. Dozens of people were rescued from stranded cars. Six inches of rain fell in Houston by 3 p.m. EDT, meteorologists said.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Dean strengthened to a Category 2 storm as it moved closer to islands in the eastern Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said. Hurricane warnings were issued for some islands, and a tropical storm watch was issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the Atlantic season’s first hurricane had top sustained winds of 100 mph, up from 90 mph earlier in the day. Dean’s center should be near the Lesser Antilles early today, forecasters said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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