- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Mother beheaded in murder-suicide

LA HABRA — A man cut off his mother’s head with a circular saw and then died trying to decapitate himself, authorities said.

Police answered a 911 report of a family dispute at a home just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, entered a locked bedroom and found the body of Guadalupe Ruiz, 60, on a bed, La Habra police spokeswoman Cindy Knapp said.

Arthur Ruiz Jr., 32, was on another bed with the saw nearby. He had died of neck injuries, police said.

It was not clear why Mr. Ruiz attacked his mother, police said.

A child and three other adults were in the three-bedroom home when police arrived. Several families rented rooms in the home, Miss Knapp said.

GEORGIA

Vegan parents sentenced in death

ATLANTA — A vegan couple were sentenced yesterday to life in prison for the death of their malnourished 6-week-old baby boy, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.

Superior Court Judge L.A. McConnell imposed the mandatory sentences on Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31. Their son, Crown Shakur, weighed just 31/2 pounds when he died of starvation on April 25, 2004.

The couple were found guilty May 2 of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. A jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

Defense attorneys said the first-time parents did the best they could while adhering to the lifestyle of vegans, who typically use no animal products. They said Sanders and Thomas did not realize the baby, who was born at home, was in danger until minutes before he died.

Prosecutors said the couple intentionally neglected their child and refused to take him to the doctor, even as the baby’s body wasted away.

KENTUCKY

Owner asks Simpson to leave steakhouse

LOUISVILLE — The owner of an upscale steakhouse in Louisville said he asked O.J. Simpson to leave his restaurant the night before the Kentucky Derby because he is sickened by the attention Simpson still attracts.

“I didn’t want to serve him because of my convictions of what he’s done to those families,” Jeff Ruby of Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse said.

Simpson, an NFL Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner, was found not guilty in 1995 of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. However, he was found liable in a civil trial that followed.

Mr. Ruby said Simpson arrived with a group of about 12 Friday night and was seated at a table in the back. He said he went to Simpson’s table and said, “I’m not serving you.”

Mr. Ruby said Simpson soon approached him and indicated he understood and would gather the rest of his party to leave. Simpson attorney Yale Galanter said the incident was motivated by racism, and he intends to pursue the matter and possibly go after the restaurant’s liquor license.

MONTANA

Earthquake causes damage to buildings

HELENA — An earthquake damaged an apartment building and knocked bricks off the facades of Main Street buildings in southwestern Montana on Tuesday, authorities said.

The 4.6-magnitude quake, reported at 9:46 a.m., was centered about nine miles northeast of Sheridan. It was felt in Helena and as far away as Idaho, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site.

Students at Sheridan Elementary School were under their desks Tuesday morning, in some cases before teachers realized an earthquake was shaking the area, the school secretary said.

“It was a hard jar, and really loud,” said secretary Jenny Burke. “It was like somebody just shook … us for two seconds.”

The school was not damaged.

NORTH CAROLINA

Tammy Faye stops cancer treatment

CHARLOTTE — Former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner said doctors have stopped treating her cancer and that her weight has dropped to 65 pounds.

In a letter posted Tuesday on her Web site, Mrs. Messner thanked her “faithful friends” for sending her flowers, cards and gifts as she battles cancer for a third time. She was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996, and she announced in 2004 that the disease had spread to her lungs.

“The doctors have stopped trying to treat the cancer and so now it’s up to God and my faith. And that’s enough!” wrote Mrs. Messner, 65.

Mrs. Messner said her daughter and her daughter’s friends were taking care of her while her husband, Roe Messner, builds churches. Mrs. Messner has frequently spoken about her medical problems, saying she hoped to inspire others. Letters, including updates on her health, have been posted every few months on her Web site.

“I am down weight-wise to 65 pounds, and look like a scarecrow. I need God’s miracle to swallow,” she said in her latest posting.

OREGON

Governor signs domestic-partner bill

SALEM — Oregon yesterday joined a growing list of states prepared to offer homosexual couples at least some of the benefits of marriage.

Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski, a Democrat, signed legislation creating “domestic partnerships” for homosexuals in the state starting Jan. 1. He also signed a bill that outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, effective the same date.

Mr. Kulongoski, a strong backer of both measures, said they would “transform our state from one of exclusion to one of complete inclusion.”

The domestic partnership law will enable same-sex couples to enter into contractual relationships that carry many of the benefits offered to married couples. The other law will ban discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people in employment, housing and access to public accommodations.

WEST VIRGINIA

Lightning deemed cause of Sago blast

BUCKHANNON — Two simultaneous lightning bolts likely caused an electrical current in a cable left deep inside the Sago Mine and touched off the methane blast blamed for the deaths of 12 coal miners last year, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said yesterday.

Lightning is one of three “root causes” the agency cites in its long-awaited investigation into the Jan. 2, 2006, explosion.

Lightning had been suspected, but the report for the first time describes its likely path, saying an electrical current traveled through the earth to the buried cable.

Contributing to the blast, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Associated Press, methane levels inside the sealed section of the mine were not monitored, and seals used to close off that inactive section from the mine’s working area were not strong enough to withstand the blast.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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