- - Sunday, May 22, 2011

COLORADO

Taliban-killing soldier to accept plea deal

DENVER — A mentally ill U.S. soldier accused of killing an Afghan detainee will plead guilty to premeditated murder in exchange for a substantially reduced prison term, his attorney said Sunday.

Pfc. David Lawrence of Lawrenceburg, Ind., is expected to enter the plea at a military court hearing at Fort Carson, Colo., on Wednesday, lawyer James Culp said, though he declined to say how long a prison term his client would receive. Pfc. Lawrence, 20, could have been imprisoned for life or executed.

Pfc. Lawrence is accused of fatally shooting a man suspected of being a Taliban guerrilla while he was asleep in a jail cell at a U.S. outpost in Afghanistan on Oct. 17. Pfc. Lawrence, assigned to Fort Carson’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was taking antidepressants at the time after seeking help from an Army combat stress center in Afghanistan.

KANSAS

Tornado kills man when mobile home flips

READING — A tornado swept through a small eastern Kansas town, killing one person and destroying at least 20 homes, as severe thunderstorms pelted the region with hail that some residents described as the size of baseballs, authorities said Sunday.

Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson identified the victim as Don Chesmore, 53, of Reading. He was in a mobile home that flipped over Saturday night. He was taken to a hospital in Emporia, where he was pronounced dead.

Five others were injured, but none of those injuries were considered life-threatening, Ms. Watson said. About 200 homes were damaged in and around the town of about 250 people, she said.

It was classified Sunday as an EF3, with winds ranging up to 165 mph, said National Weather Service meteorologist George Phillips.

NEW YORK

‘You Light Up My Life’ writer commits suicide

NEW YORK — Joseph Brooks, the Oscar-winning composer of the hit “You Light Up My Life” and who was awaiting trial on rape charges, was found dead in his New York apartment Sunday, having apparently killed himself, police said.

His body was discovered at his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side about 12.30 p.m. by a friend with whom he had planned to have lunch, police said. Mr. Brooks, 73, had a plastic bag wrapped around his head. A helium tank with a hose attachment also was found at the scene, police said.

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