- - Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is asking for an independent probe into a state drug lab at the center of a testing scandal.

Annie Dookhan, a former chemist, is accused of skirting protocols and faking drug-test results. She has pleaded not guilty to obstructing justice. Officials say she tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving the criminal cases of about 34,000 individuals over a nine-year period.

Firm tied to meningitis outbreak recalls entire product line

BOSTON — A company with the same founders as the specialty pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak says it’s recalling all its products.

In a statement Wednesday, Ameridose said the voluntary recall comes after FDA officials told the company it must improve its sterility testing. The Westborough, Mass., company says it has no reports of problems with its products, or any impurities, but issued the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”


Widow: Man who beat, killed pastor mentally ill

FOREST HILL — The man who rammed his car into a Fort Worth-area church then beat the pastor to death with a guitar apparently suffered from a mental illness.

Speaking after a prayer vigil for the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. Tuesday night, Shanellia Harris Birdow said she does not know why Derrick Anthony Birdow attacked the minister the previous day.

“He was sick, really sick … mentally ill. … Even these last couple of days (before the attack) he was trying to get help, but he didn’t get it,” she said.

Forest Hill police say Derrick Birdow, 33, attacked the pastor in the church parking lot, chased him inside and fatally beat him. Police used a stun gun on Birdow, who was later found unresponsive in a patrol car and pronounced dead at a hospital.

DA: Grand jury to consider charges in helicopter shooting

McALLEN — A grand jury will consider the case of two Guatemalan immigrants killed when a state trooper in a helicopter opened fire to stop a tarp-covered truck that authorities thought was ferrying drugs, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra said after meeting with investigators that the case “will be taken to a grand jury, there’s no doubt about that.” He added that he asked the Texas Rangers to tell the state Department of Public Safety that policies allowing shooting from helicopters need to be reviewed.

On Oct. 25, a DPS helicopter joined state game wardens near La Joya in pursuit of what they thought was a drug-laden truck barreling down a rural gravel road. Instead, the tarp concealed six passengers including the two Guatemalans who died.

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