- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2001

Man accused of serving another's prison time

ATLANTA Pierre Carlton easily fooled federal authorities, who, after all, aren't used to people trying to sneak into prison.

Promised cash and free crack, Mr. Carlton agreed to serve another man's 20-month prison sentence. He spent 15 months posing as Dexter Mathis, and proved to be a model prisoner who earned a high school equivalency degree, kicked a drug habit and spent most of his time reading.

He was 47 days from being released early for good behavior when he got sick of pretending and didn't show up at a halfway house. Authorities have found the real Mathis, who is back in jail.

Mathis' attorney, Steven Berne, said his client was only trying to help Mr. Carlton by sending him to a minimum-security prison where he could get away from drugs.

"Mr. Carlton had a drug addiction, and Mr. Mathis educated him on the benefits of drug treatment in prison," Mr. Berne said yesterday.

Green arsonists hit Phoenix homes

PHOENIX Eleven Phoenix-area luxury homes under construction at the edge of the wilderness have been burned down, reportedly by eco-terrorists, since 1998, and locals are saying the media are fanning the flames.

When a local alternative newspaper interviewed a man who claimed to be the arsonist and protected his identity some accused the paper of crossing the line between reporting on the arsons and encouraging them.

The man told the Phoenix New Times that he set a fire the night before the interview "to establish our credibility." He used the interview to promote his desire to curb growth and urban sprawl.

The Phoenix Fire Department has connected four of the blazes to the same arsonist or group of arsonists. The fires, set on once-virgin desert land that has become prime real estate, caused more than $5 million in damage.

McKinney gets White House apology

The White House apologized yesterday for failing to invite a black Georgia congresswoman to join President Bush on his visit this week to one of the state's military bases.

Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, a Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee, was left out through an oversight by the White House's legislative affairs office, said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. He denied any deliberate snub.

Mr. Bush visited Fort Stewart, Ga., on Monday with Reps. Jack Kingston and Saxby Chambliss, both Georgia Republicans, and Georgia's two Democratic senators, Max Cleland and Zell Miller, the former governor.

On the first day of the 1991 Gulf war, Miss McKinney sparked a walkout of the Georgia General Assembly with a speech in which she called the move "naked aggression." A state representative at that time, when Mr. Bush's father was president, she said in the speech, "George Bush ought to be ashamed of himself."

Lott considers monument to blacks

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott told minority entrepreneurs yesterday that he may propose a monument to honor black contributions to the country.

The Senate's top Republican said the idea came up at a discussion earlier this week. While riding his bike, Mr. Lott said, he watched people visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and had an emotional healing, the senator told about 30 business leaders, most of whom were black.

The Mississippian told reporters that he intends to talk with his colleagues more about the issue.

Driver: Puff Daddy was carrying a gun

NEW YORK Minutes before he entered a Manhattan hip-hop club, Sean "Puffy" Combs stuffed a black handgun into the waistband of his pants, his driver testified yesterday.

Wardell Fenderson, 42, said Mr. Combs adjusted his shirt and pants after positioning the gun, and then "continued to prepare for his night."

Mr. Fenderson was working as a driver for Mr. Combs in the early morning of Dec. 27, 1999.

Rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of three persons at the club. Mr. Combs and his bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones, 34, are charged with gun possession.

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