- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Lightning sparks multiple wildfires

REDDING | Dozens of residents remained evacuated Monday after a weekend lightning storm sparked multiple wildfires in Northern California.

More than 600 firefighters were trying to protect 100 structures from the blazes in northeastern Shasta County. No injuries had been reported there.

Crews also were fighting blazes in Lassen, Monterey and Tuolumne counties.

The largest fire was a 4,600-acre blaze burning in Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County, where three people were reported injured. More than 1,300 firefighters were battling that blaze, which was 40 percent contained, according to CalFire.

Lightning sparked dozens of wildfires Saturday night and early Sunday, according to Tammy Hay, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman.

In Shasta County, 160 miles north of Sacramento, fires burned more than 1,000 acres and were about 10 percent contained.

CONNECTICUT

Police: Melee erupts at ransom exchange

GREENWICH | A family asked to pay a ransom to free three immigrant relatives showed up with baseball bats instead, sparking a melee involving 19 people, police said.

The brawl happened in a shopping center parking lot Sunday morning in Greenwich.

The family members, who live about 90 miles away in Willimantic, told investigators their relatives had been kidnapped in Texas, police said. They had agreed to meet the captors with ransom money, but showed up armed with baseball bats and rescued the three, police said.

Greenwich police said they arrived to find a large group of men fleeing in four vehicles. The vehicles were later found, and police declined further comment.

The kidnapping suspect and the three victims were being held for questioning on immigration-violation charges, police said.

The brawl followed an alert by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to area police describing a human-smuggling investigation. Citing the ongoing investigation, ICE declined to comment Monday, except to say that four people had been detained for immigration violations.

FLORIDA

Victim identified decades after killing

FORT LAUDERDALE | A woman found slain a quarter-century ago in Florida has been identified after relatives read about her case on a sheriff’s Web site for unidentified victims.

Officials in the Broward Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the brother and sisters of Mary Ann Lambert led them to a positive identification of the woman’s remains through the “Found and Forgotten” program. Miss Lambert’s body was found in a field in Pompano Beach in September 1983. She was 21, and police won’t say how she died.

Authorities say a key clue was a front tooth that Miss Lambert chipped as a child growing up in the Brooklyn, N.Y. Partial fingerprints that were resubmitted to a state lab in 2008 were also important. Detectives hope the break could help them solve the killing.

KENTUCKY

Man to face slaying charges

LOUISVILLE | A Kentucky man has agreed to return to Wisconsin to face charges he killed a couple nearly 30 years ago and dumped their bodies in the countryside.

Edward W. Edwards said “I’ll go,” when Jefferson County District Judge David Armstrong Jr. asked Monday whether he wanted to fight extradition.

The 76-year-old Mr. Edwards appeared in court in a wheelchair with a cast on his left arm. He’s accused of killing 19-year-old high school sweethearts Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, who disappeared from a wedding reception Aug. 9, 1980.

Two months later, searchers found their bodies a few miles from the reception hall. Investigators haven’t said what the motive was.

Wisconsin investigators arrested Mr. Edwards in Louisville on Thursday. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

NEVADA

Supreme Court mulls releasing Simpson

LAS VEGAS | A trio of Nevada Supreme Court justices is considering whether to let O.J. Simpson and a former golfing buddy out of prison while the full court reviews their convictions for a gunpoint hotel room heist.

Justice Michael Cherry didn’t say at the end of a hearing Monday how long it will take for the three-member panel to rule on whether the former football star and convicted co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart should be allowed to post bond.

Simpson and Stewart weren’t in the courtroom, but their lawyers say they deserve to go free while they work to prove that they were denied a fair trial.

Clark County District Attorney David Roger argued that a jury had spoken, and the two men should continue to serve their sentences for kidnapping and armed robbery.

NEW YORK

Arrest made in death of Holocaust survivor

NEW YORK | A woman was charged with murder in the strangling of an 89-year-old man who once ran a disco-era nightclub, and police said they were searching for a man seen with her in the victim’s car.

The victim, Guido Felix Brinkmann, regularly brought young women back to his apartment for sex, authorities said, but it wasn’t clear how the woman knew the victim.

Angela Murray, 30, was being held without bail on second-degree murder and robbery charges. Her attorney did not immediately return a message left by the Associated Press on Monday.

Mr. Brinkmann was found Thursday in his bed with his hands bound, a sheet draped over his body. He had been beaten and was asphyxiated.

His apartment was messy, but there was no sign of forced entry.

Police say a woman and a man in their 30s were seen going into his apartment the night before, and later left through the basement garage in Mr. Brinkmann’s car. Investigators are still searching for the man.

The car was found Friday in the Bronx. Police said Mr. Brinkmann’s safe, ID and some tax records were found in Ms. Murray’s Bronx apartment, and phone records show she called Mr. Brinkmann sometime before midnight Thursday, according to a criminal complaint.

TENNESSEE

Gunman, daughter among three dead

DYERSBURG | Police say a northwest Tennessee man accused of abusing his teenager daughter fatally shot her and killed her foster father before he committed suicide.

Authorities identified the gunman Monday as 34-year-old Christopher Milburn of Dyersburg.

A police news release says the attack happened about 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the home where Milburn’s 15-year-old daughter had been placed by the state Department of Children’s Services while the abuse claim was investigated.

Police found the girl and 46-year-old Todd Randolph dead inside the home. Mr. Randolph’s wife, Susan, also was shot but survived. The 45-year-old woman was released Monday from a Memphis, Tenn., hospital.

Police found Milburn’s body about a block away. He apparently died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

WISCONSIN

Same-sex couples sign up as partners

MADISON | Same-sex couples in Wisconsin have started signing up for the state’s new domestic partnership registry.

Monday was their first chance to sign up and obtain dozens of the same legal protections as spouses.

Janice Czyscon, 56, and her partner of 29 years, 57-year-old Crystal Hyslop, arrived at the Dane County offices in Madison at 5:12 a.m. and waited in the rain until the doors opened.

Wisconsin is the first Midwestern state to enact protections for same-sex couples through legislation. Gov. James E. Doyle proposed the plan, and the Democrat-controlled Legislature approved it in the state budget.

Some who want the law invalidated say it conflicts with the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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