- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2009

ARIZONA

Boy pleads guilty in shooting deaths

ST. JOHNS | A 9-year-old boy accused of methodically fatally shooting his father and his father’s roommate last fall pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of negligent homicide, settling the case that shocked and mystified the nation.

Under a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty in the death of the roommate and charges of premeditated murder for both deaths were dropped. Police said the boy used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot the men as they returned home from work Nov. 5.

The boy’s plea spares the rural community of about 4,000 from what would have been an emotional trial and prevents the boy from serving time in the state juvenile corrections system or being tried as an adult.

He was polite in court and was never asked to explain any motive for the killings.

The boy has not yet been sentenced. He could be sent to the county juvenile system, which would keep him close to his relatives. Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting wants the boy to undergo extensive mental evaluations and treatment, an option allowed by the plea agreement.

CONNECTICUT

Woman says chimp bit her in 1996

STAMFORD | A woman said Thursday that she was bitten more than a decade ago by the chimp who severely mauled his owner’s friend this week, and that both the owner and police should have done more in response.

Leslie Mostel Paul told the Associated Press she tried to shake Travis the chimp’s hand after his owner, Sandra Herold, gave her permission. Ms. Paul said the animal, who was sitting in Mrs. Herold’s car in a Stamford office parking lot, grabbed her hand and bit it hard enough to draw blood.

Ms. Paul described Mrs. Herold as being more aggravated than upset about the incident, and said she had to get rabies shots because Mrs. Herold was slow in producing Travis’ medical records.

Ms. Paul said she reported the incident to police but received no follow-up calls.

FLORIDA

Jury convicts man in boat slayings

MIAMI | A one-time security guard was convicted Thursday of murder, kidnapping and other charges for his role in the 2007 hijacking of the “Joe Cool” charter boat at sea and of killing four people whose bodies were never found.

Guillermo Zarabozo, 21, sat stonefaced as he was found guilty of 16 charges that will likely keep him in prison for the rest of his life.

Zarabozo was convicted of plotting the “Joe Cool” takeover with Kirby Archer, 37, an Arkansas fugitive who previously pleaded guilty. Authorities said they paid $4,000 for what was supposed to be a short trip to Bimini, Bahamas, then fatally shot the boat’s captain, his wife and two crew members and changed course for Cuba.

NEW YORK

Release of Spitzer wiretaps ordered

NEW YORK | The government must release sealed documents that could reveal new details about the origins and scope of the prostitution investigation that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a judge ordered Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in federal court in Manhattan that the documents, which were FBI applications for wiretaps, should be unsealed “given the strong and obvious public interest in disclosure.” He ordered them released by Tuesday.

Prosecutors, who can appeal the decision, had no comment.

PENNSYLVANIA

Paper: Judge fixed defamation award

ALLENTOWN | A newspaper said Thursday that a $3.5 million defamation award against it was fixed by a corrupt judge with connections to a reputed mobster at the heart of the case.

The extraordinary claim was made by the parent company of the Citizens’ Voice in court papers asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the 2006 award by Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, who recently was convicted in a kickbacks scheme.

The Supreme Court should “vacate a judgment that very likely was a product of a corrupt judicial system,” the paper said in a legal filing that signaled the widening fallout from one of the worst judicial corruption scandals in recent U.S. history.

Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges last week after prosecutors said they took $2.6 million in kickbacks to send juveniles to privately owned youth lockups, possibly tainting thousands of convictions. The judges each face more than seven years in prison.

TENNESSEE

Woman arrested in cancer charade

CHATTANOOGA | A woman who collected donations of sick leave and money from co-workers while lying for five years about having breast cancer was arrested Thursday on theft and forgery charges.

Keele Maynor, 38, also received support from local cancer groups, who were surprised to learn she wasn’t receiving treatment.

Miss Maynor was arrested in Union City, Ga., said Bill Cox, the district attorney for Hamilton County, Tenn., where a grand jury indicted her this week. She had been staying just outside Atlanta since leaving Chattanooga after her ruse came to light.

Miss Maynor resigned in a Dec. 12 e-mail to her supervisor at the Chattanooga city land development department, saying she didn’t know why she made up the cancer tale and kept telling it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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