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Metro Briefs

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

VIRGINIA

SUFFOLK

Firefighter sentenced for shooting cat

A volunteer firefighter who leads weekly religious services at a homeless shelter received a suspended sentence for shooting the head off a neighbor's cat.

A judge suspended the two-year sentence Monday for Jonathan Hubert Powell, 39, for firing the shotgun blast last year that decapitated a cat named Garcia.

Powell was convicted of felony animal cruelty. He is a lieutenant with the Whaleyville Volunteer Fire Department and pastor of the Next Level Church and Christian Outreach. One of his seven character witnesses testified that he has led weekly services at the homeless shelter for two years.

According to testimony from his trial in March, Powell told two police officers that he shot the cat because it was scratching his car. But he said Monday that he shot at what he thought was a raccoon or possum outside his house.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Choir director pleads guilty to sex crimes

The former choir director at Charlottesville High School pleaded guilty yesterday to taking indecent sexual liberties with students.

Jonathan Keith Spivey, 47, admitted in Charlottesville Circuit Court to improper contact with one of four male students and acknowledged there is enough evidence to convict him of the charges related to the three other teenagers.

Most of the incidents occurred in Spivey's office and in a choir robe chamber next to his office, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Killeen. One incident took place in Myrtle Beach, S.C., she said.

The convictions carry a combined maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Spivey is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

NORFOLK

New panda escapes, stays in nearby tree

Staff members at the Virginia Zoo are working to correct problems with an enclosure that allowed the zoo's new red panda to escape from her enclosure and spend the night in a nearby tree.

The panda climbed a dirt pile on one side of the open-air exhibit Thursday night and went over the fence.

The 1-year-old panda climbed a large tree near her exhibit and spent the night there, under the watchful eye of zoo staff members. She was retrieved Friday morning.

The panda is being kept in a separate area now while modifications are made to the enclosure to prevent further escapes. She is expected to be back on display later this week.

LORTON

Body found near former D.C. prison

Fairfax County police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found on the grounds of the former Lorton prison on Monday afternoon.

A security guard making a routine check of the former D.C. corrections facility discovered the body behind the house that once served as the warden's residence.

Police said the man, who appears to be either Asian or Hispanic, was in his late teens or early 20s. Investigators said the body had gunshot wounds in the upper torso.

MARYLAND

EASTON

Teen accused of trying to smother grandmom

An Easton teen is accused of trying to smother his grandmother with a pillow.

Easton police charged Kevron Chase, 18, on Monday with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in the June 14 incident.

Mr. Chase is free on his signature pending trial.

BALTIMORE

Woman attacked by two pit bulls

A 53-year-old woman was bitten over 90 percent of her body by two pit bulls Monday, Baltimore police said.

Ruby Pulley was mauled as she walked in the 1500 block of Ward Court near her home about 3:30 p.m. One of the dogs was fatally shot by an officer who witnessed the attack.

The second dog and two others were taken from the dogs' owner, a teenage boy, and quarantined at the city's animal shelter. Police said charges are pending against the owner.

BALTIMORE

$20,000 in heroin sold before arrests

Federal prosecutors said a Southwest Baltimore drug gang known as "Smackdown" sold $20,000 in heroin a day before eight persons suspected of being involved in the gang were arrested last week.

An indictment unsealed Monday charges the eight — including three brothers and their two cousins — with conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Seven of the suspects were ordered held Monday and one was released on home electronic monitoring.

If convicted of conspiring to distribute a kilogram of heroin or more during the past two years, each suspect faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

FINKSBURG

Man hit by Jeep while fleeing police

A 19-year-old was hit by a Jeep yesterday morning after he fled from troopers who stopped him in Carroll County, state police said.

About 2 a.m., troopers spotted the man riding a skateboard the wrong way on Route 140. After they stopped him, they learned there were two open warrants for his arrest.

The man fled into the path of a Jeep, police said. After he was hit, he got up and kept running.

Officers eventually caught the suspect. He was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was listed in stable condition.

BALTIMORE

Cardinal released after brain surgery

Cardinal William Keeler has been released from Johns Hopkins Hospital after spending about a week recovering from brain surgery, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore said.

The 78-year-old cardinal returned home to continue his recuperation and therapy after surgeons inserted a shunt in his brain to allow excess cerebrospinal fluid to drain away, spokesman Sean Caine said.

Cardinal Keeler suffered a head injury in a car accident in Italy last year and had been having trouble walking, a symptom of fluid on the brain.

Since the surgery, Mr. Caine said the cardinal has resumed some of his activities as Baltimore's archbishop and is able to walk.

BALTIMORE

Editor cleared of assault charges

A Baltimore judge yesterday cleared the editor of the Baltimore Examiner of assault charges after city prosecutors declined to pursue the case.

Frank J. Keegan, 58, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault and three counts of assault with intent to injure, all misdemeanors.

According to court documents, Mr. Keegan's neighbor, David P. Ayers, said he pounded on Mr. Keegan's door May 24 after his 3-year-old daughter had trouble breathing — the result, Mr. Ayers said, of cigarette smoke seeping from Mr. Keegan's home into his own.

Mr. Ayers said he saw Mr. Keegan holding what looked like a shotgun. He said Mr. Keegan pointed the gun at him, his wife and daughter.

Police seized the shotgun, which did not have a round in the chamber, and a handgun from Mr. Keegan's home.

GLEN BURNIE

Man with gun subdued with Taser

Anne Arundel County police said they used a Taser shock device yesterday to subdue an armed Severn man.

Sylvester George, 25, was carrying a .38-caliber pistol in his pocket after he ran from police about 1 a.m., police said. He is charged with consuming alcoholic beverages in a public place, possession of a concealed deadly weapon and resisting arrest.

Mr. George and a group of other men were approached by officers in a apartment complex when police said he ran.

Police said they chased him, and he reached into his pants pocket. When he refused to put his hands up after police ordered him to, an officer used his Taser.

This was the department's second use of a Taser since officers began carrying them June 1 and police said they have also been used on three other occasions to take a suspect into custody.

BOWIE

5 persons injured in head-on crash

Five persons were injured yesterday afternoon in a crash on Route 214 near the Prince George's-Anne Arundel County line.

A sedan and a minivan collided head on at about 3 p.m., Prince George's County fire department spokesman Capt. Chauncey Bowers said.

Two young girls and two adults were flown to trauma centers, where they were listed in critical condition.

A third adult also was hospitalized, but that person's injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

State police were investigating the cause of the crash.

From wire dispatches and staff reports