- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2001

Hostage helps broker an end to standof

ROLLINS, Mont. A man accused of abducting a 17-year-old girl from a Nebraska mall last week surrendered at a lakeside cabin yesterday after the teen-ager calmly helped police end a 10-hour standoff.
Anne Sluti, an honor student from Kearney, Neb., had a black eye but appeared otherwise unharmed.
The U.S. attorney's office in Omaha, Neb., filed kidnapping charges against Anthony Zappa late yesterday.
Deputy Sheriff Mike Sargent, one of the negotiators, said Miss Sluti did a remarkable job of helping convince Mr. Zappa that the 50 or so officers surrounding the cabin would not harm him if he came out.
"From our very first conversation, she expressed that Tony wanted to end this, and when it did end, he wanted it peacefully," the undersheriff said. "He needed reassurance that we wanted to end this peacefully."
"There's no doubt in my mind the role she played in ending this," said Deputy Sheriff Sargent.

Judge: Elections office must pay lawsuit costs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. A Democratic voter who sued Seminole County over absentee ballots in last fall's presidential election does not have to pay the county's $220,000 legal costs, a judge has ruled.
The ruling by Circuit Judge Nikki Clark came in a suit filed in November by Harry Jacobs, accusing Republicans of altering more than 2,200 ballot applications after Elections Supervisor Sandy Goard let Republican workers add missing voter identification numbers or fix wrong numbers.
The suit sought to invalidate all 15,000 absentee ballots cast in Seminole County. Mr. Jacobs lost his bid to have them thrown out.
Terry C. Young, attorney for Ms. Goard, had asked Judge Clark to force Mr. Jacobs to pay the county's legal fees in the case, which he said was frivolous.
The judge ruled Monday that in addition to paying its own costs, the county must pay Mr. Jacobs' attorney several thousand dollars in compensation for prolonging the dispute.

Ex-Cancer Society CFO gets 13 and 1/2 years

COLUMBUS, Ohio A former American Cancer Society executive was sentenced to 13 and 1/2 years in prison yesterday for stealing nearly $8 million from the charity's Ohio chapter.
"I had six years of exemplary service with the American Cancer Society, all of which has been thrown away by the bad decisions I have made," Daniel Wiant said in federal court. "Because of what I did, I threw my life away."
Wiant, 36, pleaded guilty in August to bank fraud, money laundering, mail fraud and illegal use of a credit card in thefts that began in 1997.
U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. said Wiant abused a position of trust as chief financial officer of the Cancer Society's Ohio chapter.
"In the very real sense, he stole the hopes of the donors," the judge said. "Fortunately, the American Cancer Society is stronger than any one person and the research will go on."

Police arrest student in school-bomb plot

POOLER, Ga. Police searched a middle school for bombs yesterday after arresting a 14-year-old student and seizing shotguns, Nazi posters and bomb recipes from his home. No bombs were found.
Investigators said they believed the boy and possibly others were plotting to bomb the school. The homes of 10 other students also were searched Wednesday, but only the 14-year-old was arrested. No weapons were found in the homes of the 10 other students.
Classes began as scheduled yesterday at 940-student West Chatham Middle School in Pooler, about 10 miles west of Savannah. However, many parents kept their children home or pulled them out of school.
"It's common knowledge in the community they were going to blow up the school," Chatham County Police Chief Tom Sprague told the Savannah Morning News. "In light of information we received, there was no way to do anything but to act and act fast."
Pooler Police Chief Butch Chan said he got reports of a bomb plot Monday from a girl who attends the school.

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