- - Thursday, December 9, 2010

ALABAMA

Police: Man says he’s a vampire, burns teen

GADSDEN | A 20-year-old man who thinks he is a vampire and goes by the nickname “Vamp” is accused of burning a “V” into a teenager’s forehead, police said.

Evan Francis Brown has been charged with second-degree assault, a felony. Gadsden police Detective Mike Hooks told the Gadsden Times that Mr. Brown heated a fork or a spoon on a stove and used it to brand a “V” into a 17-year-old’s forehead in October. Detective Hooks said Mr. Brown tied the teen up, tricking him into believing they were playing a game.

Police said the teenager also had cigarette burns on his face and arms and had been beaten.

FLORIDA

Board pardons Doors’ late singer

TALLAHASSEE | Forty years after Jim Morrison was convicted of exposing himself at a wild Miami concert, Florida’s Clemency Board, egged on by departing Gov. Charlie Crist, pardoned The Doors’ long-dead singer Thursday.

Some people who were at the Miami show March 1, 1969, insist even today that he exposed himself, though others in the audience and Morrison’s bandmates contend he was just teasing the crowd and only pretended to do the deed. Mr. Crist, tuned in to the controversy by a Doors fan, said there was enough doubt about what happened at the Dinner Key Auditorium to justify a pardon.

The board, which consists of Mr. Crist and a three-member Cabinet, voted unanimously to pardon Morrison on indecent exposure and profanity charges.

He said Morrison died before he was afforded the chance to present his appeal, so Mr. Crist was doing that for him. Board members pointed out several times that they couldn’t retry the case but that the pardon forgave Morrison and negated his sentence.

“In this case the guilt or innocence is in God’s hands, not ours,” Mr. Crist said.

KENTUCKY

Ford to hire 1,800 workers

LOUISVILLE | Ford is the latest U.S. automaker to announce it is hiring again.

Ford said Thursday it will add 1,800 workers at a plant in Louisville to build the Escape, the second best-selling small SUV in the U.S. after the Honda CR-V. The automaker is investing $600 million in the plant, which will be shut for a year while new equipment is installed so that Ford can build the Escape on a more fuel efficient car platform.

The plant currently employs 1,100 people on one shift and has been building the Ford Explorer midsize SUV since 1989. Production of the Explorer is being moved to a plant in Chicago.

NEW YORK

Official: Composer’s son questioned in death

NEW YORK | The son of an Academy Award-winning songwriter was being questioned by police Thursday after his girlfriend was found dead in an overflowing bathtub in his swank Manhattan hotel room, a law enforcement official said.

The partially clothed 33-year-old woman was found in a Soho House room after police received a 911 call from the hotel at about 3 a.m.

Water was discovered leaking from a ceiling and hotel staff went to the floor above to investigate. They found the woman, dressed in a sweater and underwear, submerged in the tub.

There were prescription drugs found at the scene, and the woman had some small marks on her neck, the official said.

Nicholas Brooks, the 24-year-old son of “You Light Up My Life” songwriter Joseph Brooks, was seen leaving the hotel earlier and then returned a few hours after police arrived, said the official. In an unrelated case, the father is fighting charges that accuse him of molesting would-be actresses in his Manhattan apartment.

PENNSYLVANIA

Imprisoned heir to chemical fortune dies

SOMERSET | John du Pont, the chemical fortune heir who killed an Olympic-gold-medal-winning wrestler at his palatial suburban Philadelphia estate, has died in prison. He was 72.

State prisons spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said du Pont was found unresponsive in his cell Thursday morning at the Laurel Highlands state prison near Somerset. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Somerset Community Hospital.

Du Pont fancied himself a patron to wrestlers and built a world-class training facility at his estate in Newtown Square, outside Philadelphia.

In 1996, he fatally shot wrestler David Schultz and then barricaded himself in his home for two days. He was found guilty but mentally ill and was sentenced to 13 to 30 years in jail.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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