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Around the Nation

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Teen confesses in journalist's slaying

OAKLAND — A teenage handyman for a Black Muslim splinter group has confessed and will be charged with murder in the shooting death of an Oakland journalist who was investigating the group's finances, the assistant police chief said yesterday.

Devaughndre Broussard, 19, was one of seven persons arrested in Friday's raids on Your Black Muslim Bakery and nearby houses. He is expected to be charged this week in the death of Chauncey Bailey, an Oakland Post editor, Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said.

The raids on the bakery organization, founded nearly 40 years ago with a mission to empower Oakland's poor, capped a yearlong investigation into a series of violent crimes that police said were connected to the group.

The group's 21-year-old chief executive officer, Yusuf Bey IV, son of the bakery's founder, also was arrested and held on a 2006 assault warrant accusing him of striking a bouncer with his BMW after being thrown out of a San Francisco strip club.

FLORIDA

Sheriff's deputy shot during traffic stop

HOLLYWOOD — A motorcyclist shot a plainclothes Broward County sheriff's deputy who had pulled him over yesterday, authorities said. The officer was in critical condition.

The deputy, who was not identified, stopped the motorcyclist about 11:50 a.m., but the suspect fled on foot, then turned around and shot the deputy, authorities said.

The suspect was arrested moments later at a condominium, officials said. His name was not released.

Police would not give the reason for the traffic stop.

Nearly a dozen officers and rescue workers helped load the deputy onto a stretcher to be brought to Memorial Regional Hospital. He was wearing shorts and shoes, without a shirt.

Sheriff Ken Jenne was at the hospital with the deputy.

GEORGIA

Parole board puts death case on hold

ATLANTA — The state parole board yesterday said it will suspend any consideration of the death sentence of convicted cop killer Troy Davis until the Georgia Supreme Court has finished studying the case.

The high court granted an appeal by Davis' attorneys last week after a lower court denied him a new trial.

Davis' attorneys say several witnesses who initially testified against their client have since recanted or contradicted their testimony.

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles had been scheduled to hear from witnesses in the case on Thursday concerning Davis' request for clemency. But the board put consideration of Davis' request on hold until the Supreme Court has acted.

"The board's policy has always been not to look at death cases for clemency as long as there's some viable court case going on," said Tracy Masters, an attorney for the board. "We thought this one was at the end and it now appears it may not be."

IDAHO

Grateful couple give city $250,000

KETCHUM — A couple who turned to a police officer to help find their misplaced car containing their dogs last summer is giving $250,000 to the city out of gratitude. Police Chief Cory Lyman said the couple have ties to Ketchum but wish to remain anonymous.

Chief Lyman said the dogs were found in good condition. City officials say they are not sure how the money will be used.

ILLINOIS

Mother's obesity linked to birth defects

CHICAGO — Women who are obese before pregnancy face a higher risk of having babies with birth defects than women with a healthy weight, a study suggests.

The results involving nearly 15,000 women from eight states found abnormalities of the spine, heart, arms, legs and abdomen, building on research that showed heart and spine defects. The greatest risk was for spina bifida.

"Obese women should not be overly alarmed by these findings because their absolute risk of having a child with a birth defect is low, and the cause of the majority of birth defects is unknown," said University of Texas researcher Kim Waller, the study's lead author.

Still, the results underline another reason for women to maintain a healthy weight, Miss Waller said.

The findings, released yesterday in the August edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, suggest that about 4 percent of women who are obese before pregnancy will have babies with major birth defects, versus 3 percent for healthy-weight women, Miss Waller said. Obese women faced double the risk of having babies with spina bifida than women of healthy weight.

IOWA

Treatment calls spike after casino opens

WATERLOO — A gambling treatment program here says it had a jump in calls from people seeking help since the Isle of Capri casino opened June 30.

Allen Hospital's Gambling Treatment Program received 18 crisis calls last month, up from five in June. The program also reported the number of people seeking treatment for the first time increased from four in June to 11 last month.

LOUISIANA

State official injured in traffic accident

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne was hospitalized yesterday after an interstate traffic accident.

Mr. Dardenne was being treated at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center for rib fractures, chest bruises and pelvic and spinal injuries. The secretary of state didn't suffer any neurological damage from the accident, said his press secretary, Jacques Berry.

Mr. Dardenne will undergo surgery for his injuries next week, the press secretary said.

The accident on Interstate 12 occurred as Mr. Dardenne was headed to his Baton Rouge office yesterday morning. Driving in the center lane, Mr. Dardenne moved to the right lane and struck another car, said Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly. The collision between the two cars wasn't severe, but Mr. Dardenne tried to overcorrect, lost control of his car and careened into a ditch, Sgt. Kelly said.

The driver of the car Mr. Dardenne hit, 19-year-old Mikki Leland, of Bueche, was not injured and had relatively minor damage to her car, Sgt. Kelly said. The cause of the crash was under investigation, and no citations had been issued, Sgt. Kelly said.

MAINE

1 dead, 12 hurt after van overturns

ARGYLE TOWNSHIP — A summer camp's van pulling a trailer loaded with canoes overturned on a highway yesterday, killing a 16-year-old boy and injuring 12 other persons, authorities said. Two persons were in critical condition.

The boy died at the scene, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The van from Camp Serene Springs in Bethel, N.Y., was carrying 11 campers and two counselors for a trip to Maine so campers could canoe the Penobscot River and hike Mount Katahdin. The campers were all boys ages 14 to 18.

The van overturned at least once on Interstate 95 and came to a rest upright about 7 a.m., Mr. McCausland said.

State troopers were investigating the crash.

MASSACHUSETTS

Ex-professor of MIT on trial in shooting

CAMBRIDGE — A former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went on trial yesterday in a case that hinges on whether he shot himself and attempted to frame his son in a long-running family feud.

The case of John J. Donovan, who taught business at MIT for three decades until leaving in 1997 to found a consulting firm, has attracted attention because of his connection to the prestigious science university and his prominence as an authority on business and technology.

Mr. Donovan was sitting in his car outside his consulting firm in December 2005 when he called police to say someone had shot him. He had one bullet wound in his abdomen, which hit no organs and which doctors described as "superficial," prosecutors said.

Mr. Donovan, now 65, said his assailants were two masked men. But Massachusetts authorities say the business consultant shot himself with a plan to pin the crime on his son, with whom he had been locked in a long-running dispute over real estate.

Mr. Donovan was charged with filing a false police report. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $500.

MONTANA

Fire evacuees get brief visits to homes

HELENA — Residents evacuated from the vicinity of a large southwestern Montana wildfire were briefly allowed to return yesterday to check on their homes and gather belongings, as firefighters braced for worsening weather.

The blaze near Seeley Lake, northeast of Missoula, destroyed one house, and damaged another house, a commercial building and seven outbuildings. It blackened more than 18,000 acres, or 28 square miles.

About 200 homes were under an evacuation order. Residents allowed to make brief return trips yesterday morning were required to be out again by midday, when fire activity typically heightens.

Missoula County Undersheriff Mike Dominick said a few people remained despite the order. Montanans tend to think of themselves as self-sufficient and some "believe that their residence won't be affected or that they can fight the fire," he said.

Humidity was expected to drop today, creating hot and dry conditions after a period of damp, cloudy weather during the weekend.

NEVADA

Pet owners warned about urban coyotes

RENO — Wildlife officials issued a warning to local pet owners, saying urban coyotes are hunting for dogs, cats and other pets.

The federal Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services said coyote activity is high now because the animals are feeding growing pups. It also said coyotes move into cities across the West because they are lured by water and food available year-round.

NEW JERSEY

3 friends killed behind school

NEWARK — Three friends were forced to kneel against a wall behind an elementary school and were fatally shot at close range, and a fourth was found about 30 feet away with gunshot and knife wounds to her head, police said.

All of the victims in the shootings late Saturday were from Newark and planned to attend Delaware State University this fall.

No arrests had been made by yesterday and authorities had not identified suspects, said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Essex County prosecutor's office.

The four had been listening to music in a parking lot behind Mount Vernon School when they were gradually joined by a group of men, authorities said. Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy said the four exchanged text messages saying they should leave but were attacked before they could do so.

Natasha Aerial, 19, was listed in fair condition at Newark's University Hospital, authorities said. Police identified her companions as her brother, Terrance Aerial, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20.

NEW MEXICO

Medical plane crash kills all 5 on board

ALBUQUERQUE — A medical plane crashed overnight, killing all five on board, including a girl en route to a hospital, authorities said. A search helicopter found the wreckage early yesterday.

Tracy Smith and her daughter, 15-month-old Lilly Smith, were among those killed, said Peter Olson, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

Police have not released the identities of the 56-year-old pilot, a 44-year-old male nurse and a 40-year-old female paramedic, pending notification of next of kin, Mr. Olson said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

NEW YORK

Bloomberg reports for jury duty

NEW YORK — Just like any other New Yorker, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent a day on jury duty yesterday. But unlike the other members of the pool, the billionaire mayor was greeted personally by the judge and attorneys, was asked for his autograph and was sketched by courtroom artists.

Mr. Bloomberg, accompanied by his security entourage and press aides, was among a pool of about 125 people summoned to civil court jury duty in State Supreme Court, New York state's trial-level court.

At midmorning, Mr. Bloomberg and about 40 others were called into a courtroom where attorneys waited to pick a jury for a lawsuit filed by a woman whose husband died after years of operating a printing press that attorneys said contained asbestos.

The mayor was not selected for the asbestos jury. Court officials told him to return to the jury room today to continue serving.

If picked today, Mr. Bloomberg would be the second sitting mayor in a row to be part of a jury. His predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, was the foreman on a jury in a landlord-tenant dispute during his second term in 1999.

OKLAHOMA

Officer aims for snake, apparently hits boy

NOBLE — A police officer shooting at a snake apparently killed a 5-year-old boy who was fishing at a nearby pond, officials said.

Austin Haley was fishing with his grandfather, Jack Tracy, when Mr. Tracy heard a shot and saw something hit the water just a few feet in front of the boat dock where he was standing.

Moments later, a second shot hit Austin in the head.

A Noble police officer who had responded to a report of a snake in a tree apparently fired the deadly shot while trying to kill the snake on Friday, City Manager Bob Wade said.

Mr. Wade refused to identify the officer but said the person had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports