- The Washington Times - Friday, May 24, 2002

Airport shooting suspect living on Social Security

GRETNA, La. A man accused of wounding two persons with a shotgun at the New Orleans airport said during a court appearance yesterday that he has been living on disability payments and is under a doctor's care.

Patrick Gott, of Pensacola, Fla., identified himself as a practicing Muslim and said he fired the gun Wednesday because he was angry that people had ridiculed his turban at the airport, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee said. Mr. Gott was arrested on two charges of attempted first-degree murder and a misdemeanor weapons charge.

Mr. Gott, 43, did not state in court the nature of his disability and has been on Social Security since 1996.

FBI warning halts Brooklyn Bridge party

NEW YORK A planned celebration of the 119th anniversary of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was called off yesterday after a recent FBI terror warning named the span as a potential target, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz announced.

"Given the current circumstances, it would be logistically impossible to pull off the major celebration we were putting together," Mr. Markowitz said.

Security has been beefed up at area bridges, tunnels and waterways after the FBI this week warned city officials of a threat against New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Accused child killer gets 130 years

GREAT FALLS, Mont. A man accused of butchering a 10-year-old boy and feeding his remains to unsuspecting neighbors was sentenced yesterday to 130 years in prison without parole for assaults on two other children.

State District Judge Kenneth Neill, citing Nathaniel Bar-Jonah's extensive record of crimes against children, turned down a request from defense attorneys that Bar-Jonah be sent to the state psychiatric hospital instead of prison.

Bar-Jonah showed no emotion as the sentence was read: 100 years for sexual assault, 10 years for aggravated kidnapping and 20 years for assault.

Former baby sitter defends Skakel

NORWALK, Conn. A former Kennedy family baby sitter testified yesterday that she had no recollection of a party at which Michael Skakel supposedly made a joking reference to killing 15-year-old Martha Moxley.

A prosecution witness testified earlier that Marisa Verrochi was among the friends at his home in 1997 when Mr. Skakel referred humorously to the 1975 beating death.

But Miss Verrochi, 24, said she did not recall the party. Defense attorney Michael Sherman repeatedly asked whether Mr. Skakel had ever confessed to her, but prosecutors objected and she did not answer.

Panel orders vote on valley's secession

LOS ANGELES A panel voted 8-1 Wednesday to allow Los Angeles voters to decide whether the sprawling San Fernando Valley, home to 1.3 million people, should be allowed to leave the nation's second-largest city.

The decision puts the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot but is likely to be challenged in court. The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) heard testimony from residents, lawyers and elected officials during a seven-hour meeting before voting.

Mayor James Hahn, who had lobbied the commission to delay a vote, said the city needed more time to examine the latest revisions contained in a commission report on the financial implications of secession.

Study says chimps learn to use rocks as tools

Chimpanzees, the closest animal relative to man, are smart enough to use crude stone hammers to smash open nuts and to teach this skill to their young, according to a study that finds the apes have used stone tools for many generations.

Using carefully selected stones weighing up to 33 pounds, some West African chimps have been pounding the nut of panda trees for generations, passing down the learned behavior and some of the hammer stones to their young, researchers report in the journal Science.

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