- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2001

Court affirms parole eligibility

TRENTON, N.J. — A divided state Supreme Court yesterday let stand a lower court ruling that allows a teen-ager convicted of raping and murdering an 11-year-old boy to become eligible for parole in 26 years.

The ruling yesterday means Sam Manzie, now 19, will become eligible for a chance at parole in 2027 at age 45.

DEA nomination sent to Senate

The White House yesterday sent to the Senate for confirmation its nomination of Rep. Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Republican, as administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Mr. Hutchinson, 50, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and its subcommittee on crime and is a member of the House Speaker´s Task Force for a Drug-Free America, a congressional group charged with finding ways to fight drug use among young people.

Bill allows display of Ten Commandments

RALEIGH, N.C. — Legislators pushing for better discipline in North Carolina´s public schools through character education programs and tougher dress codes now also want schools to display the Ten Commandments to help give students additional moral guidance, the News & Observer of Raleigh reports.

Under a bill the House approved Tuesday, schools would be allowed to post the Ten Commandments "along with other documents of historical significance that have formed and influenced the United States legal or governmental system."

Court says man to be tried as adult

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An appeals court yesterday ruled that a man charged with beating a pregnant woman and killing her unborn child should be tried as an adult even though he was 17 at the time of the attack.

Under state law, when a defendant is 17 prosecutors have the option of trying a case in circuit court, rather than juvenile court, depending on the seriousness of the crime. The Court of Appeals rejected Derrick Lamont Witherspoon´s claim that the state failed to show that the beating death was a "serious and violent" crime.

Mr. Witherspoon and three others, including his two brothers, were charged in the Aug. 26, 1999, beating of Shiwona Pace and the death of her unborn child. Erik Bullock, the woman´s boyfriend, was convicted of capital murder in February and sentenced to life in prison.

Florida bans execution for the retarded

MIAMI — Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday signed into law a bill banning the execution of mentally retarded people, his office said in a statement yesterday.

The bill signed in Florida´s capital, Tallahassee, was described in the statement as providing "a clearer definition of mental retardation, and contains procedural safeguards that in the future will protect the mentally retarded from receiving a death sentence."

With the measure, Florida becomes the 15th of 38 states that currently use the death penalty to opt for a ban on execution for the mentally retarded.

Motorist sentenced for seven deaths

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — A woman who prosecutors say was bent on suicide when she drove the wrong way on a highway was sentenced to spend the rest of her life behind bars yesterday for a head-on collision that killed seven persons, including three of her children.

Judge Jane Spencer Craney gave Judy Kirby, 32, a total of 215 years in prison for driving her car into a minivan at an estimated 100 mph last year.

Her nephew and three of her children — the oldest was 12 — were killed, along with a father and his two teen-age children in the minivan.

Prosecutors said she was suicidal over her breakup with a boyfriend and afraid of being arrested on drug charges.

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