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American Scene

- - Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obama would back bin Laden execution

Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, said in interview excerpts released Friday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden should be executed, if he is ever captured alive.

The Illinois Senator told CNN that the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks should face the full weight of U.S. and global justice.

"I am not a cheerleader for the death penalty," Mr. Obama said. "I think it has to be reserved for only the most heinous crimes, but I certainly think plotting and engineering the death of 3,000 Americans justifies such an approach."

"I think this is a big hypothetical, though — let's catch him first," he said.

Soldiers' families told bodies found

DETROIT — For more than a year, Gordon Dibler held out hope that his stepson, Army Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, would return home from Iraq. Then military officials delivered the grim news that the bodies of Pvt. Fouty and another soldier captured in an ambush south of Baghdad had been found.

"Every day that he's been missing has been a day of 'what could have been' ... but after hearing the news … I'm still in shock," Mr. Dibler said Thursday after military officials came to his Oxford home.

Pvt. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, and Army Sgt. Alex Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., were kidnapped May 12, 2007, in the volatile area south of Baghdad known as the "triangle of death."

Sgt. Jimenez's father, Ramon "Andy" Jimenez, said he also received a visit Thursday from military officials, who told him that his son's body had been found.

Confirming the families' accounts, the Defense Department said Friday that the remains were discovered Wednesday in the Iraqi village of Jurf as Sakhr and identified a day later. The Pentagon generally waits 24 hours after notifying the next of kin before publicly releasing the names of dead service members.

The bodies were found with help from special operations forces, who on July 1, captured someone suspected of knowing where the soldiers were buried, military officials said Friday in a statement.

Felony counts filed in sex kidnappings

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. — A central Wisconsin man accused of abducting and sexually assaulting two men has been charged with 12 felonies.

The Wood County District Attorney's office filed the charges Friday against 46-year-old Edward Lanphear and a judge has found probable cause for a preliminary hearing.

Police said Mr. Lanphear held two men in his house, stripped them, beat them and assaulted them several times. Police say one of the men managed to escape and the other was found in Mr. Lanphear's basement this week.

Mr. Lanphear faces felony counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, substantial battery, and misdemeanor impersonating a peace officer. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.

From wire dispatches and staff reports