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City State: Morning Roundup

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Huguely trial turns to Love autopsy report; Effort to recall Gray, Brown moves to signature gathering; Virginia House moves to define life as beginning at conception; Jury selection begins in Capitol Street mass shooting; Conservatives move in with Occupier at Freedon Plaza; Miller: Ethics panel reaches conclusion on Currie; D.C. school enrollment falls, charter rolls increase; O'Malley to testify on offshore wind measure.

Prosecutors in the murder trial of George W. Huguely V presented crime-scene evidence and medical-examiner reports Monday, including gruesome and graphic descriptions of the victim's head and neck injuries, to build their case against the former University of Virginia lacrosse player, The Washington Times' Meredith Somers reports from Charlottesville, Va.

A D.C. resident now has petitions in hand to begin an uphill mission of recalling Mayor Vincent C. Gray and council Chairman Kwame R. Brown. Frederick Butler, a 28-year-old Ward 2 resident, has 180 days to fill the petition pages with about 45,000 signatures from registered city voters to even get a recall question on the ballot. Nobody has come close to successfully recalling a D.C. mayor. Yet Mr. Butler remains confident, citing a scandal-plagued year at city hall and federal investigations into issues related to the 2008 and 2010 campaigns of Mr. Brown and Mr. Gray, respectively, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

The Virginia House gave preliminary approval Monday to a measure that defines life as beginning at conception, perhaps the most far-reaching measure on abortion introduced thus far during the state's 2012 General Assembly session, reports David Sherfinski of The Times.

Jury selection continues Tuesday in the murder trial of five D.C. men charged in a series of 2010 shootings that left five dead. More than 70 prospective jurors were interviewed Monday, and another 140 are scheduled to be interviewed Tuesday through Thursday as lawyers and a D.C. Superior Court judge try to pick 12 jurors and five alternates. The trial could last up to three months Opening arguments are scheduled for Feb. 21. On March 30, prosecutors say defendants killed a teen while trying to steal a gun, then opened fire in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street with an AK-47-style assault weapon and a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, killing three people, according to the Washington Post.

Two dozen conservatives showed up Monday to claim space in Freedom Plaza next to the Occupy D.C. camp. Group leaders say their objective is to get out the message that Occupiers who have staked out in public parks for four months to protest corporate greed were doing it wrong. "Big government and crony capitalism is the problem, not capitalism," said one group leader, Tom Borelli, director of the Free Enterprise Project. The National Park Service has granted the group permission to spend five weeks next to Occupy, according to the Washington Examiner.

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Monday night that an ethics committee has reached a conclusion on what it will recommend to the Senate to address a senator's failure to disclose work he did for a grocery store chain. Mr. Miller, Prince George's Democrat, thinks the recommendation will be brought to the Senate this week for consideration in the case of Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George's Democrat. Mr. Miller says he has not read the recommendations. Mr. Currie was acquitted in a federal bribery case last year relating to more than $245,000 in payments he received from Shoppers Food Warehouse, the Associated Press reports.

An audit shows enrollment in the D.C.'s traditional public schools decreased slightly from 2010 to 2011, despite significant population growth in the city. There was a 1 percent decrease in enrollment at D.C. Public Schools — or 439 fewer students — even while the city added 16,000 residents from April 2010 to July 2011, according to the audit released Monday by D.C's Office of State Superintendent for Education. By contrast, enrollment in public charter schools increased by 8 percent, The Times reports.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will testify this afternoon before the General Assembly in support of his bill to develop offshore wind energy. Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, will testify before the Senate Finance Committee. The initiative failed in the 2011 Assembly over concerns that requiring utilities to enter long-term wind power contracts would increase consumer costs. The initiative now only offers incentive for utility companies, The Times reports.

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