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Hairless mutt named ugliest dog

PETALUMA, Calif. — Elwood, a 2-year-old Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix, was crowned the world’s ugliest dog Friday, a distinction that delighted the New Jersey mutt’s owners.

Elwood, dark-colored and hairless — save for a mohawklike puff of white fur on his head — often is called “Yoda,” or “E.T.”

“I think he’s the cutest thing that ever lived,” said Elwood’s owner, Karen Quigley, of Sewell, N.J.

Elwood was competing for the second year at the annual ugly dog contest at the Marin-Sonoma County Fair. He placed second last year.

Beyond the regal title of ugliest dog, Elwood also earned a $1,000 reward for his owner.

Woman branded during attack

PHOENIX — A woman had the word “snitch” burned into her face with a branding iron in apparent retaliation for helping police in a domestic violence case, authorities said.

The brand singed into her flesh during a June 13 attack is 4 to 6 inches long and stretches across her left cheek from lip to earlobe, Mesa police Sgt. Chuck Trapani said Friday.

He declined to identify the 38-year-old woman.

Two suspects in the attack — James H. Standridge, 34, and, Jackie L. Getz, 26 — were arrested in a domestic violence case in February 2006 after the woman answered officers’ questions about them. The investigation later led to the removal of a child from the home because of drug paraphernalia.

Dislodged hydrant kills pedestrian

OAKLAND, Calif. — A sport utility vehicle crashed into a fire hydrant, which shot like a “bullet,” striking and killing a man walking nearby, police said.

Humberto Hernandez, 24, was walking with his wife Thursday evening when a 2007 Ford Escape blew a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the hydrant, police said.

Water pressure and the impact of the crash sent the hydrant flying like a “bullet,” said Phil Abrams, an Alameda County deputy sheriff.

Mr. Hernandez was hit in the back of the head and pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was not hurt.

Man charged in deaths of wife, children

JOLIET, Ill. — A suburban Chicago man found shot near the bodies of his wife and their three children in a sport utility vehicle earlier this month was charged yesterday in their shooting deaths.

Christopher Vaughn, 32, was charged with first-degree murder, prosecutor James Glasgow said.

Missouri authorities arrested Mr. Vaughn yesterday at a funeral home near St. Louis just before the scheduled start of services for Kimberly Vaughn, 34, and the couple’s children — Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8, Mr. Glasgow said.

Their bodies were found June 14 in a 2004 Ford Expedition parked on a service road near Interstate 55 in Channahon, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. Mr. Vaughn had been shot in the thigh and was released from a hospital later that day. Police initially said he was not a suspect.

Mr. Glasgow said he hoped Mr. Vaughn would be extradited soon from Missouri to Illinois. He said Mr. Vaughn indicated that he intended to fight extradition.

Woman marries death row inmate

RALEIGH, N.C. — It began with an inmate pen-pal program. It blossomed into poetry. It led to a marriage.

James Lewis Morgan and the former Tracy Cope are husband and wife. She, formerly of Nottinghamshire, England. He, of death row at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The bride began courting Morgan, a convicted killer, 4½ years ago, visiting him in prison from England five times before moving to Raleigh with her 15-year-old son.

Morgan, 52, was convicted of the November 1997 fatal stabbing of Patrina Lynette King, 34, of Asheville. His new wife said they talked about the crime and it was no longer a concern to her “once I found out all the details.”

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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