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MANISTIQUE — A man convicted of killing his wife by pushing her off a 140-foot cliff at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

A Schoolcraft County jury found Thomas Richardson, 46, of McBain, guilty in April of first-degree murder in the June 2006 death of his wife, Juanita, 43. Richardson’s lawyers had argued the death was an accident.


Chemical leak injures seven

ST. PAUL — Three buildings at the University of Minnesota have reopened after a chemical leak sent seven people to the hospital.

Campus police say 5 gallons of potassium hydroxide leaked from a large tank late Monday at a veterinary diagnostic lab on the St. Paul campus. The cause of the leak was under investigation.

The lab and two other veterinary buildings were closed by the spill. St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said only the room containing the leak remained closed yesterday.

The seven injured people were treated for eye irritation.


Adoptive mom guilty of fraud

NEW YORK — A woman pleaded guilty to fraud yesterday for using fake names to adopt 11 disabled children and rake in nearly $2 million in subsidies while she restrained the children and failed to send them to school.

Judith Leekin, 63, admitted she used plastic ties to restrain the children and prevent them from getting out of bed, and that she sent officials phony school report cards to qualify for the adoption subsidies. She agreed to forfeit the $1.68 million in subsidies she collected over nearly two decades.

Leekin adopted the children in New York City between 1988 and 1996, then moved to Florida in 1998. She faces abuse charges there saying she kept the children like prisoners in her home.

Leekin’s attorney, Mark Harllee, said he was in plea negotiations with Florida authorities in that case.


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