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Around the Nation

- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2007

Marine gets 15 years in Iraqi's death

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A jury sentenced a Marine sergeant yesterday to 15 years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi civilian during a fruitless search for an insurgent.

Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III was also dishonorably discharged, reduced in rank to private and given a written reprimand.

The Iraqi civilian was pulled from his Hamdania home in April 2006 and shot. An AK-47 and a shovel were placed nearby to make him look like an insurgent planting a bomb, according to the prosecution.

Armless driver gets prison time

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — A man with no arms and one leg who wouldn't stop driving despite a long list of traffic violations was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday on felony driving and drug charges.

Michael Francis Wiley, 40, also was sentenced to 15 years of drug offender probation. He pleaded no contest in June to the charges.

Wiley taught himself to drive after losing both arms and a leg in an electrical accident when he was 13. He has already spent more than three years in prison for habitually driving without a license, kicking a state trooper and other charges.

School officials charged in death

TRENTON, N.J. — Two Rider University officials, including the dean of students, and three students were indicted yesterday in the death of a freshman after a drinking binge at a campus fraternity house.

The school dissolved the Phi Kappa Tau chapter yesterday, and authorities said the aggravated hazing charges should send a message to students and administrators.

Gary DeVercelly Jr., of Long Beach, Calif., had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.426, more than five times New Jersey's legal limit for driving, when he was pronounced dead March 30 at a Trenton hospital, authorities said. He died the day after drinking at the Phi Kappa Tau house on the private school's campus in central New Jersey.

If convicted, the officials and fraternity members face a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Couple welcomes 17th child

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's a girl — again — for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the proud parents of 17 children.

And after Jennifer Danielle was born Thursday morning, her parents were already talking about having more children.

"We'd love to have more," said Mrs. Duggar, 40.

"We are just so grateful to God for another gift from him," said Mr. Duggar, 42, a former state representative who sells real estate. "We are just so thankful to him that everything went just very well."

The Duggars have been featured on several programs on cable's Discovery Health Network.

Among the "fun facts" listed on Discovery Health's Web page devoted to the Duggars: A baby has been born in every month except June; the family has gone through about 90,000 diapers, and Mrs. Duggar has been pregnant for 126 months — or 10½ years — of her life.

War replica causes scare

NEW YORK — An artist manning a replica Revolutionary War submersible caused a scare yesterday after police found the strange-looking vessel foundering in a security zone near the docked Queen Mary 2, authorities said.

The handmade wood and fiberglass vessel, at the end of a tow rope tied to an inflatable boat, was spotted by police near the luxury ocean liner docked at the cruise ship terminal in the Buttermilk Channel, part of New York Harbor.

"It was a strange sight," Coast Guard Petty Officer Angelia Rorison said.

Police held the artist, Philip "Duke" Riley, and two other men, both from Rhode Island, for questioning. But there was no indication the trio meant any harm.

The makeshift sub "is the creative craft of three adventuresome individuals," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. "It does not pose any terrorist threat. ... We can best summarize today's incident as marine mischief."

Mars lander to carry recordings

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — When NASA's newest Mars lander departs Earth this weekend, it will be carrying the words and art of visionaries from Voltaire to Carl Sagan.

The "Visions of Mars" mini-disk secured to the lander will be the first library on Mars — a gift from past and present dreamers to possible future settlers.

"I'm glad you're there and I wish I was with you," Mr. Sagan said in a recording made for the mission before his 1996 death. An excerpt from his book "Cosmos" is also on board.

Other musings, in written and audio format, come from Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Percival Lowell and Kim Stanley Robinson.

The Phoenix Mars Lander was scheduled to blast off before sunrise today aboard an unmanned rocket. Its journey to Mars will take nearly 10 months and cover 422 million miles.

Armored car spills 32,000 quarters

MADISON, Wis. — Imagine the ringing noise of 32,000 quarters hitting the pavement.

An armored car company reported losing $8,000 in quarters along highways in two Wisconsin counties last month. About half has been returned.

Loomis Fargo officials told authorities that a truck headed for Madison carrying boxes of quarters broke down in the Pewaukee area, so they sent another one. The load was transferred, but someone forgot to secure the door.

The driver was issued a citation for failure to prevent a leaking load.

A Loomis official declined to comment.

From staff reports and wire dispatches