- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

IDAHO

Gunman’s wife killed before his rampage

MOSCOW — The wife of a gunman who killed two persons and himself at a courthouse and a church was found dead inside her home, police said yesterday.

Crystal Hamilton, 30, a courthouse maintenance worker, died of a single gunshot to the head, Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch said. Authorities think she was killed before her husband, Jason Hamilton, went on his spree late Saturday and early Sunday, Sheriff Rausch said.

Police said Hamilton sprayed dozens of bullets into a courthouse, killing a police officer and wounding a sheriff’s deputy and a civilian, then went to a nearby church where he apparently killed a church sexton and himself.

Police found 125 bullet casings from two assault rifles, Assistant Police Chief David Duke said. Officers did not return fire, he said.

Hamilton, 36, of Moscow, had a history of violence, Chief Duke said.

KANSAS

Town’s residents asked to evacuate

GREENSBURG — Residents and workers cleaning up since this town was nearly flattened by a tornado this month were asked to evacuate yesterday as severe wind, rain and hail were forecast to move into the area.

Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the adjutant general, said the lack of shelter and the piles of debris left after the May 4 tornado have officials concerned about what would happen if severe weather were to strike again. Residents were asked to seek shelter outside of Greensburg, and out-of-town volunteers will not be allowed in today .

The May 4 tornado killed 12 persons in south-central Kansas and destroyed more than 90 percent of the buildings in Greensburg, a town of 1,400 residents.

KENTUCKY

Mine blast survivor, families sue company

PIKEVILLE — A Kentucky mine supervisor and a coal company put production over safety before an underground explosion last year that killed five miners, relatives and the sole survivor asserted in a lawsuit yesterday.

The lawsuit, filed in Harlan County, cited numerous safety violations cited by regulators against Kentucky Darby LLC, coal boss Ralph Napier and Jericol Mining, which provided management, mine planning, engineering, safety training and other services to Darby Mine No. 1.

It seeks unspecified damages for expenses incurred by four of the five widows upon the loss of their husbands, and damages for the physical pain, mental suffering and emotional distress experienced by the miners, including survivor Paul Ledford.

The complaint also seeks damages against the manufacturer of the emergency air packs used by the victims.

The lawsuit was filed a year and a day after the May 20, 2006, blast, ignited by two of the miners, Jimmy Lee and shift foreman Amon “Cotton” Brock, using an open torch near a methane leak.

MASSACHUSETTS

Father charged in plot to kill family

BOSTON — A man tried to hire a hit man to kill his family, including his 7-year-old daughter, even requesting that she be shot in the chest and not the head so there could be an open casket at her funeral, authorities say.

John Orlowski, 49, made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court yesterday on the murder-for-hire charge and was ordered held without bail pending a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Mr. Orlowski’s lawyer, James Roche, said his client intends to plead not guilty.

Mr. Orlowski, who was going through a divorce, met the man whom he wanted to kill his wife, daughter and mother-in-law in county jail earlier this year after he had been arrested a second time for violating a restraining order his wife had taken out against him, according to court documents.

The would-be hit man was troubled by the plot, especially the prospect of killing a child, authorities said, so he told his mother and she called the FBI. The man was not identified, but court documents referred to him as a self-professed member of the Crips gang with a lengthy criminal record.

NEW YORK

Man accused of starving his dog

SHIRLEY — A man was accused of starving his 3-year-old cocker spaniel nearly to death and then taking the dog to an animal shelter and saying it wasn’t his.

William Winters, 31, of Mastic, was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, punishable by up to four years in prison. He was released without bail after a court appearance yesterday.

He had brought the emaciated dog, Bailey, to the Brookhaven Animal Shelter in March and said the dog was a stray, but shelter workers were suspicious because of his condition, according to Suffolk County police. After an investigation, shelter director Charlie McGinley said, Mr. Winters admitted he owned the dog.

Bailey “couldn’t walk, couldn’t lift its head, couldn’t do anything,” Mr. McGinley said yesterday.

Bailey was rushed to an animal hospital and is now back at the shelter continuing his recovery. He should be available for adoption soon.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-museum head charged with fraud

PHILADELPHIA — The former president of a struggling museum was charged yesterday with mail fraud and tax evasion for reportedly skimming more than $1.5 million for home improvements, artwork and other lavish trappings.

John S. Carter, 57, of Osterville, Mass., submitted false invoices to get the Independence Seaport Museum to pay for that and more, including jewelry, electronics, clothing and an $1,800 espresso machine, U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said.

Mr. Carter, who was fired last year after 17 years on the job, kept the proceeds from the sale of a rare boat that had been donated to the museum, authorities said.

“The defendant used the museum’s funds as his personal piggy bank,” Mr. Meehan said.

TEXAS

Judge halts illegals rent ban

FARMERS BRANCH — A federal judge yesterday blocked enforcement of a voter-endorsed ordinance preventing apartment rentals to most illegal aliens in this Dallas suburb.

The ordinance was to take effect today , more than a week after voters approved it. Opponents had filed three requests in federal court for an injunction to stop its enforcement.

The ordinance requires managers to verify that renters are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants before leasing to them, with some exceptions. Violators face fines of up to $500, and each day would be considered a separate violation.

Only the federal government can determine whether a person is in the United States legally, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay wrote.

A call for comment from Farmers Branch Council member Tim O’Hare, the ordinance’s lead proponent, wasn’t immediately returned.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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