Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Perry steps down from North Korea post

Former U.S. defense secretary William Perry, architect of a new approach to North Korea, is giving up his duties as coordinator of policy toward the Stalinist state, the State Department said yesterday.

State Department Counselor Wendy Sherman, already a key player in contacts between Washington and Pyongyang, will take over the part-time post while retaining her current position, spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Mr. Perry recommended in October that the United States and its Asian allies try to coexist with the Pyongyang communists rather than undermine them or promote internal reform.

Sex offender escapes from San Quentin

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. A convicted sex offender escaped from San Quentin State Prison before dawn yesterday, apparently using a blanket and gloves to scale a 14-foot fence topped with razor wire, authorities said.

Eduardo Mariscal was in his bunk at the 1 a.m. head count but was missing when guards made another count two hours later, prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon said.

Mariscal, 31, was housed in a medium-security, dormitory-style cellblock, bunking with hundreds of other inmates, when somehow he managed to walk out of the building unnoticed, Mr. Crittendon said.

Trial starts in carwash killings

DALLAS A carwash worker testified yesterday that when he arrived at work to find six of his co-workers lying in blood five of them dead or dying defendant Robert Harris was standing nearby.

“They were all lying, face down I believe, in a pool of blood,” said Jason Shields. “They were still trying to breathe.”

Mr. Shields told jurors that Mr. Harris directed him to three more bodies in the office of the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash. The defendant then reached for a knife on a bookshelf, Mr. Shields said.

“I got a vibe, ‘I’d better get out of here before something happens to me,’ ” Mr. Shields said.

The testimony came in the opening day of Mr. Harris’ capital murder trial. The defendant was fired from the car wash after he was arrested for exposing himself in a car wash restroom with the door open. The killings occurred a few days later.

Mr. Harris, who has confessed to police, his brother and at least one television reporter, pleaded not guilty yesterday.

Teen football game ends in melee

PORT ORANGE, Fla. Videotapes filmed by proud parents to capture their teen-age sons’ triumphs on the gridiron may instead have captured adults behaving badly.

Police hoped to review the videotapes yesterday and determine who started Saturday’s melee between the teams of 14- and 15-year-olds from Port Orange and Winter Garden.

A 31-year-old mother was charged with resisting arrest and a 15-year-old player was accused of battery on a law enforcement officer. Authorities say the teen threw a traffic cone at an officer and punched him.

Police Cmdr. Michael Sheridan said the brawl began shortly after the Port Orange Hawks scored a touchdown in overtime to win the game.

Ex-boyfriend convicted of double murder

SANTA ANA, Calif. A 23-year-old office assistant was found guilty yesterday of murder in the deaths of his former girlfriend and their unborn child two years ago.

Prosecutors said Richard Tovar dumped the body, which has never been found, in the Pacific Ocean because he wanted to avoid paying child support as he already had a five-year-old child by another woman.

Tovar was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and murder in the deaths of Jeanette Espeleta, 20, and her 8 and 1/2-month unborn female child, who was to have been named Alyssa.

The verdict, which the jury reached Thursday, was read in Orange County Superior Court yesterday.

He will be sentenced Oct. 27 and faces the possibility of life in prison with no chance at parole.

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