You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

American Scene

- - Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hand found in park where human head was discovered

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles investigators found a human hand Wednesday in the Hollywood wilderness park where a severed head in a plastic bag was discovered by dog walkers, and the search continued for other body parts.

The hand was discovered in Bronson Canyon as dozens of police officers, including homicide investigators, combed the brush along a winding trail a few miles below the Hollywood sign.

A coroner's cadaver dog found the hand about 50 yards from where the head was discovered on Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The remains are thought to come from the same man. Wild animals in the park may have some other body parts, police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

The head of a man in his 40s, 50s or 60s was found about a half-mile inside the gated canyon road, which is part of the vast Griffith Park.

"One of the dogs ran into the brush and came out carrying a plastic grocery bag. As the dogs shook the plastic grocery bag, the severed human head fell out of the bag and onto the ground," Cmdr. Smith told KCBS-TV.

The man may have been killed elsewhere in recent days and his body dumped in the park, he said.

The man wasn't identified. Police were checking reports of missing persons, and coroner's investigators will check dental records.


Man gets 200 years in deadly violence spree

NEW YORK — A 24-year-old man who pleaded guilty to murder and other crimes in a violent stabbing rampage in New York City last winter was sentenced Wednesday to 200 years in prison during a hearing in which he hurled epithets at one of his victims and was told by the judge that he was a "sociopath."

Maksim Gelman, born in Ukraine, pleaded guilty in November in Brooklyn to murder and other charges in the spree in February 2011, which included fatally stabbing his stepfather and two others, fatally running down a pedestrian, stealing a car and attacking a subway passenger.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to the maximum sentence for each of 13 counts; some of the sentences will run consecutively, resulting in the 200-year term.

Gelman's deadly spree on Feb. 11 started with a family argument over whether he could use his mother's car.


Woman arrested with gun on plane

FORT WORTH — Authorities say that a woman was taken into custody Wednesday after carrying a gun on to an American Airlines plane at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

An airline spokesman said Wednesday that the plane was headed for the runway when it returned to the gate and was met by airport police.

Security screeners detected a handgun in the woman's carry-on bag, but she "picked up the bag and left the checkpoint before the screening process was over," said Greg Soule, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which operates the checkpoints.

Mr. Soule said he didn't know if the gun was loaded. He said that when TSA screeners spot a gun in a bag, they are supposed to seize the bag and notify police.

It was not clear how authorities tracked down the woman's flight. It was about an hour and 40 minutes later that she was taken into custody by DFW Airport police, Mr. Soule said.

Airport officials did not respond to messages for comment.

People who bring a gun to an airport checkpoint are subject to civil penalties. It's up to local law enforcement agencies to decide whether to lodge criminal charges, Mr. Soule said.


Teacher resigns over slavery math lesson

LAWRENCEVILLE — A spokeswoman says a suburban Atlanta teacher has resigned after an investigation about third-grade students being assigned math homework with word problems about slavery.

One of the problems read: "Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

Another was: "If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

Gwinnett County schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said Wednesday an investigation has concluded into four teachers at Beaver Ridge Elementary. She says the school system accepted the resignation of one teacher, but declined to elaborate on the personnel matter.

Parents expressed concerns about the math problems, and the NAACP had called for teachers to be fired.


Iranian women's activist fatally shot, found in car

HOUSTON — An Iranian student activist has been fatally shot in Houston.

Police say Gelareh Bagherzadeh's body was discovered early Monday inside her car. The vehicle had crashed into a luxury townhouse development and its engine was still running when police officers arrived. Miss Bagherzadeh's purse and cellphone were inside the vehicle.

Police are reviewing surveillance video from the area Wednesday.

Police spokesman Victor Senties says Miss Bagherzadeh, 30, was a molecular genetic technology student at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and that she was active in promoting Iranian women's rights. Investigators are not sure if the shooting was related to those activities.

Crime Stoppers has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and charges in the woman's death.


Paralyzed man reaches South Pole

RENO — A Nevada man paralyzed in a 2010 snowmobiling accident has reached the South Pole, traveling about 75 miles in subzero temperatures over two weeks to complete the trip on the 100th anniversary of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott's trek there with the Terra Nova Expedition.

Grant Korgan, 33, of Incline Village, used a device called a sit-ski to reach the pole 100 years to the day after the British explorer completed the journey on Jan. 17, 1912.

"Although my body has been broken, my spirit never will be. I am unbreakable!" he said in a statement posted on the crew's website.

Mr. Korgan's expedition party included paralympian John Davis, two guides and cinematographers who are shooting for a documentary called "The Push: A South Pole Adventure." The film is expected to be released later this year.

The team trained for a year with various missions in Alaska, Norway, Lake Tahoe and South America. Mr. Korgan estimated he'd have to push the sit-ski approximately 250,000 times over the course of the trip.

From wire dispatches and staff reports