Restricted airspace map gets simplified
The restricted airspace over the Washington region will be modified next month to make it easier to enforce, the Federal Aviation Administration announced yesterday.
The zone is currently made up of three 60-mile-wide overlapping rings that resemble Mickey Mouse ears on a map. The irregular airspace will be replaced by a 30-nautical-mile-radius restricted area. Pilots flying in the area will be able to use a single navigational aid instead of the four in use today.
The change, which takes effect Aug. 30, also reduces restrictions on general aviation, freeing 33 airports and helipads from the current restrictions in about 1,800 square miles of airspace.
The new measures will make it easier to track authorized flights and identify any aircraft not complying with the rules, FAA officials said. They also are expected to reduce the number of unintentional violations on the outer edges of the zone.
The FAA coordinated the changes with the Homeland Security and Defense departments, which enforce the restrictions.
"Our aim is to balance vigilance with new measures that make it easier to track who belongs in this airspace and who does not," FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey said.
Powdery substance causes evacuation
A building housing the Washington bureau of ABC News was briefly evacuated yesterday because of a suspicious envelope.
Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter said a small packet was found with a white powdery substance. The substance turned out to be aspirin.
Mr. Etter said people had to leave the downtown Washington building for about 45 minutes.
Sex offender accused of rape
A former middle-school teacher from Blacksburg is back in Virginia to face charges of having sex with a 12-year-old girl more than 30 years ago.
A Montgomery County judge appointed an attorney Wednesday for Jonathan Utin, 65, to defend him on 10 statutory rape charges dating back to 1970 and 1971.
Utin was a Blacksburg middle-school science teacher from 1968 to 2003 and had been a gymnastics coach, Sunday school teacher and swim club manager in the area.
Utin was arrested in Blacksburg last year and questioned by police from Ohio who said he confessed to molesting children over three decades. He pleaded guilty in April in Butler County, Ohio, to eight counts of rape and eight counts of gross sexual imposition of another girl younger than 10.
He will continue serving a 15-year prison sentence in Ohio while he is in the Montgomery County Jail.
Man gets life term for butchering sister
A Henry County man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for strangling and dismembering his sister.
James Alton Motes pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in May. After strangling Nancy Wingfield, 55, with a cord, Motes hacked her body into 19 pieces, sealed them in plastic bags and buried them in five locations near her house.
As Circuit Court Judge David Williams announced the sentence, Miss Wingfield's daughters Tina Lawson, 35, and Jeannine Lawson, 27, hugged and wept.
Miss Wingfield's sister, Teresa Gregory, testified that the slaying was prompted by Miss Wingfield's rift with the family. Miss Gregory portrayed her sister as hateful and difficult.
"Though I was not surprised she lost her life, I was surprised that James was the one that took it," she said. "I cannot comprehend the mental anguish that must have been inflicted on him to do this."
Motes, 55, testified that Miss Wingfield had threatened to shoot or beat up their mother and that he would lie awake at night worrying that she might carry through on the threat.
Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Cliff Hapgood, special prosecutor in the case, expressed skepticism that Motes' actions could be explained by a family feud. He called the January 2006 murder cold and calculating.
Man charged in copper-wire theft
Anne Arundel County police charged a man in several thefts of copper wire.
Police said John Millard, 39, was acting suspiciously during a traffic stop Tuesday. He was charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, and police then searched his home.
In his home, police said they found several spools of copper wire, some of it stolen recently from Constellation Energy.
After the search, police also charged Mr. Millard with possession of burglary tools, fourth-degree burglary, theft over $500 and destruction of property.
Man pays victim, avoids jail time
A Reisterstown man who stabbed a man at a Linthicum crab restaurant opted to pay his victim $25,000 instead of going to prison.
Keith Rantin, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree assault charges. He said he stabbed a man in 2006 during an argument about who was next in line at the restaurant.
But the judge suspended his 10-year-sentence after Rantin agreed to pay the victim. He will have to serve five years of probation.
Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Kristin Riggin said the judge is not setting good precedent. She said financial compensation is not justice and noted that sentencing guidelines required Rantin to serve prison time.
Rantin is charged with attempted first-degree murder in a separate incident in Baltimore.
Defendant's hospital gown delays drug trial
A Severn man's drug-dealing trial has been postponed for the sixth time after he wore a hospital gown and slippers to court.
Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Kristin Riggin said Eugene Cartwright is charged with two counts of distributing cocaine. When he showed up to court Tuesday, he had already received five postponements.
But, with his head bandaged and a claim that he had been assaulted and was on prescription painkillers, Miss Riggin said the judge and state did not have much choice. If they had not granted the delay, she said an appellate judge could have found Mr. Cartwright was not competent to stand trial.
Authorities said they do not know when Mr. Cartwright was released from the hospital. His next trial date has not been scheduled.
Thieves hit gift shop on scenic railroad cars
Thieves broke into two Western Maryland Scenic Railroad cars, cleaned out the on-board gift shop and escaped with merchandise and 50 cases of soda in a stolen pickup truck, a railroad official said.
The tourist railroad is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the break-in, which occurred Tuesday night at the railroad's shop in nearby Ridgeley, W.Va.
Losses and damage to the cars totaled about $10,000, General Superintendent Frank Fowler said.
Inmate escapes from work detail
A medium-security state prison inmate who drove away from a work detail in a stolen pickup truck remains at large, state police said yesterday.
Raymous Little, 43, disappeared Monday afternoon from a crew of inmates cleaning the Washington County Roads Department shop near Hagerstown, police said.
The missing Chevrolet S-10 truck belonged to a department worker who left the keys on the floor of the vehicle, department director Ed Plank said.
Little was serving an 18-month sentence at the Maryland Correctional Training Center for theft, according to the state Division of Correction.
Police think Little is in the Baltimore area, where he has family, state police Sgt. Dave Bowers said.
Man's body found; kin assaults police
Foul play is not suspected in the death of a man whose body was found in a roadside ditch in Elkton.
A Cecil County road crew found the body of Enrique Acosta, 25, Wednesday about a half-mile from his home.
Police said they are not sure how he died. He was found fully clothed, and investigators found cash and several prescription drug bottles in his pockets.
When members of Mr. Acosta's family arrived at the scene, police said two cousins became unruly. Police said Chad Hart, 22, pushed a sheriff's deputy in the chest. As the deputy attempted to place Mr. Hart under arrest, Brandon Kirby, 28, punched the deputy in the head, police said.
Mr. Hart and Mr. Kirby were each charged with assault, obstruction and resisting arrest.
Teen rejects deal in shooting
A Hagerstown man accused of shooting a high-school basketball player has rejected a plea deal and will go to trial Aug. 30.
Raymond Campbell, 19, is charged with attempted second-degree murder in the shooting, which occurred March 25 in the 900 block of Lanvale Street. He refused to end the case Wednesday with a guilty plea to a less serious assault charge.
Mr. Campbell is accused of shooting Greencastle-Antrim High School basketball player Gregg Hamms. Mr. Hamms was wounded in the legs.
Also Wednesday, a judge denied a defense motion challenging the photograph arrays shown to witnesses. From wire dispatches and staff reports