- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

CALIFORNIA

Carjacker puts robbery in reverse

LOS ANGELES — A hapless armed robber abandoned plans to steal a vehicle from its owners after discovering that the car in question had a manual transmission instead of automatic, police in San Diego said yesterday.

Police Sgt. Bob Dare said the thief approached a couple after they parked their car in San Diego on Monday night and demanded that they hand over their keys, a purse and a cell phone.

But on discovering that the car had a stick shift, the robber told the couple: “Sorry, have a nice day” and made a swift getaway, Sgt. Dare said.

The robber pocketed the other valuables, police said.

FLORIDA

NASA clears shuttle for liftoff tomorrow

CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA managers yesterday cleared Space Shuttle Atlantis for liftoff tomorrow on a mission to deliver Europe’s first permanent space laboratory to the International Space Station.

Launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

Meteorologists are predicting that a cold front will be moving through the area, possibly causing rain and clouds that would prohibit the launch. The chance that conditions would be suitable for liftoff was 40 percent, Air Force meteorologists said yesterday.

ILLINOIS

Stopping Plavix linked to heart risk

CHICAGO — Patients given the blood-clot preventer Plavix after a heart attack or after receiving a stent have a far higher risk of heart attack or death in the three months after they stop taking the drug, researchers said yesterday.

They found a cluster of heart problems within 90 days of stopping the drug in people whose heart disease was treated either with drugs or a stent to prop open their arteries.

“It was almost a twofold increased risk in that initial period compared to later follow-up periods,” said Dr. P. Michael Ho of the Denver VA Medical Center, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

IOWA

2 children dead in house fire

OTTUMWA — An early morning house fire killed two children yesterday, fire officials said.

The two-story house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just after 6:30 a.m., said Fire Chief Steve O’Connor.

Two adults jumped out of a second-story window and were taken to a hospital, where they were being treated, Chief O’Connor said. He did not know the extent of their injuries.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

KANSAS

Court halts access to abortion records

TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court yesterday issued an order blocking a grand jury’s access to medical and employee records from an abortion clinic that performs late-term abortions.

The grand jury is investigating whether Wichita-based Women’s Health Care Services Inc. and Dr. George Tiller violated state abortion laws and has subpoenaed certain clinic records. Patients’ records were to be submitted without names and other identifying information.

Last week, the judge overseeing the grand jury ordered the clinic to start producing the estimated 2,000 records, but clinic attorneys filed papers asking the high court to intervene.

In her order, Chief Justice Kay McFarland stayed enforcement of the subpoenas “until further order of the court,” noting “significant issues” regarding “a grand jury’s authority to issue subpoenas” and “privacy protections” for patients’ records.

The two judges overseeing the Sedgwick County grand jury have until Monday to file a response.

NEW YORK

Husband charged in machete death

RIVERHEAD — A man accused of hacking his wife to death with a machete and leaving her body in her bed was arraigned yesterday on a second-degree murder charge.

Thomas Delenzik was ordered held without bail during a hearing before state Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle.

He was arrested Jan. 24 after his wife, Myong-Ok Delenzik, 46, was found dead by her daughter.

Police initially said that Mr. Delenzik, 42, and his wife were arguing over his refusal to take a medication, but Assistant District Attorney Nancy Clifford said yesterday that the argument centered on her anger over his unemployment and her threats to leave him after 19 years of marriage.

OHIO

Friend testifies against ex-officer

CANTON — A key prosecution witness testified yesterday that a longtime friend picked her up one morning last summer and told her that the body of his son’s pregnant mother was in the back of the truck in which they were riding.

Myisha Ferrell testified that former police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. looked nervous that day, like she had never seen him before.

“He said something was wrong. Something bad,” Miss Ferrell said at Mr. Cutts’ capital murder trial.

“He just said he kind of used his arm,” said Miss Ferrell, then held up her right arm at the level of her neck, re-enacting what she said Mr. Cutts demonstrated for her.

Mr. Cutts is accused of strangling Jessie Marie Davis, who was pregnant with his child. Prosecutors say Mr. Cutts disposed of her body with Miss Ferrell.

OREGON

Gays register as domestic partners

PORTLAND — Same-sex couples in the state lined up to register as domestic partners on Monday after an injunction that temporarily blocked the process was lifted Friday.

The state partnership law had been on hold because opponents, who say the law disregards a state constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage” passed in 2004, wanted to refer the law to voters. Opponents fell short in their petition drive.

RHODE ISLAND

‘Gap kids’ won’t be tried as adults

PROVIDENCE — Seventeen-year-olds who were charged with felonies as adults under a short-lived state law will either have their cases dismissed or be transferred back to juvenile court under a judge’s ruling released yesterday.

The decision affects about 100 teens known as “gap kids” who were charged from July to November after Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, a Republican, and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly agreed to send the teens to adult courts and prisons as a cost-saving measure.

“It is apparent that defendants’ rights were violated by their direct placement in the adult criminal system,” Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini said in his ruling.

The ruling means that 17-year-olds charged as adults but not indicted will have their cases dismissed. Cases of those who have been indicted will be returned to Family Court, which then will decide whether to send a case back up to adult court.

TEXAS

Suit targets rules to keep out illegals

FARMERS BRANCH — A lawsuit was filed yesterday over this Dallas suburb’s latest effort to keep out illegal aliens by barring home rentals to people who can’t prove they are in the country legally.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of real estate broker Guillermo Ramos, said the Farmers Branch City Council violated the Texas Open Meetings Act when it drafted and approved the rule late last month.

The law requires prospective tenants to obtain a city license to rent houses and apartments.

Farmers Branch’s efforts to pass immigration-related laws began nearly two years ago.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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