- - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CALIFORNIA

Police: Woman cut off husband’s penis

GARDEN GROVE — A Southern California woman drugged her estranged husband, tied him to a bed, cut off his penis with a knife and threw it down a garbage disposal, police say.

Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale told City News Service that the attack occurred Monday night. He said Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, was booked at the Orange County Jail for investigation of aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony, poisoning and spousal abuse.

The 51-year-old victim’s name was not released but Lt. Nightengale said he was in serious condition after surgery at a hospital.

FLORIDA

Casey Anthony’s mother could face perjury charges

ORLANDO — A sheriff says Casey Anthony’s mother could face perjury charges for her testimony during her daughter’s murder trial.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said Tuesday that there have been discussions with prosecutors about filing perjury charges against Cindy Anthony and that a decision could come soon.

The sheriff spoke to reporters along with other officials who investigated the disappearance and death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony in 2008.

A jury last week found Miss Anthony, 25, not guilty of murder in her daughter’s death. She was found guilty on four charges of lying to law enforcement officers and is to be released from the Orange County Jail on Sunday.

KANSAS

Abortion-rights activist plans to open clinic

WICHITA — A woman who once ran the political action committee for slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller is raising funds to open a clinic in Wichita, where he was murdered.

Julie Burkhart said the lobbying group she now leads, Trust Women, hopes to open a clinic offering first-trimester abortions and other women’s health services in the city in about a year. The group is trying to recruit a qualified doctor.

Abortions have not been openly performed in Wichita since Tiller was slain in May 2009. Miss Burkhart said Trust Women has raised about 25 percent of the money it needs for the clinic in pledges and commitments.

Kansas has drawn national attention over new health department regulations for abortion providers. A judge has blocked the rules until a lawsuit by providers is resolved.

MISSISSIPPI

Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of priest

WAVEBAND — Authorities say a Catholic priest has been shot to death in a beachfront home in Mississippi and a suspect has been arrested in Florida.

The Rev. Edward E. Everitt was found Monday by a caretaker at a house being use as a weekend retreat in Waveland, about 40 miles east of New Orleans. Father Everitt, 70, was a priest at Holy Ghost and Our Lady of Pompeii churches in Hammond, La.

The church is a member of the Dominican Order and operates a school in the Hammond community about 50 miles northwest of New Orleans.

Police arrested a suspect about 6 a.m. Tuesday in Polk County, Fla. Authorities are not sure what the motive for the shooting was, but did say the priest’s vehicle was missing.

MISSOURI

Biker gang members face murder, drug charges

ST. LOUIS — Eighteen members of a motorcycle gang known as Wheels of Soul face a federal indictment on charges ranging from racketeering to kidnapping to murder, including fatal shootings in three states.

The indictment handed up June 9 was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

The defendants are from seven states: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin and Kentucky.

The indictment says that Wheels of Soul is governed by the “Mother Chapter” in Philadelphia, with regional chapters across the country. Federal agents raided two Wheels of Soul clubhouses in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The indictment says that a select few gang members achieved “1%er,” or “Diamond” status for particularly violent activity. It accuses gang members of planning extortion against smaller gangs; distributing drugs, especially crack cocaine; and plotting and carrying out several acts of violence including kidnapping, robbery and murder.

MONTANA

State questions estimate by Exxon on oil spill

BILLINGS — Montana environmental regulators have asked Exxon Mobil to justify its estimate for how much oil spilled into the Yellowstone River, citing the company’s changing timeline on how long it took to stop a leaking pipeline.

The Texas-based company estimates between 31,500 and 42,000 gallons of crude flowed into the Yellowstone near Laurel on July 1, fouling the shoreline and backwaters along dozens of miles of the scenic river.

Exxon Mobil Pipeline President Gary Pruessing initially said it took six minutes to shut down the pumps, but information submitted by the company to federal pipeline safety regulators later revealed it took almost an hour to fully stop the flow.

In a letter to Exxon Mobil executives, Montana Department of Environmental Quality Director Richard Opper asked for an explanation of why the spill volume was not changed given the longer timeline.

Exxon Mobil representatives said last week that the spill estimate was based on the correct timeline. Spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman said Tuesday the company thinks its prior estimate was correct.

NEW MEXICO

Town cuts police department after smuggling probe

DEMING — A New Mexico border town has abolished its police department in the wake of a gun-smuggling case that involves the former mayor and police chief.

The village of Columbus will rely on the Luna County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement. Sheriff Raymond Cobos told the Deming Headlight that his deputies always have patrolled the area anyway, and he’ll shift resources to cover the village.

The village board of trustees voted to abolish the department July 7.

The next day, jailed former trustee Blas Guitierrez submitted his letter of resignation.

He is one of 12 people arrested in March with involvement in a gun- smuggling ring. Former Mayor Eddie Espinoza and former police chief Angelo Vega are among those charged.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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