- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 4, 2003


42 Hells Angels indicted

LAS VEGAS — Federal prosecutors yesterday unsealed the indictments of 42 Hells Angels members in a deadly 2002 brawl between the motorcycle gang and rival bikers at a Laughlin casino.

Thirty-three of the men have been arrested on racketeering and firearms charges and the others are being sought, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said yesterday.

A federal grand jury indicted them on Tuesday; the document was sealed to allow authorities to make arrests.

About 55 gang members and associates were arrested across the West on Wednesday, some on charges not related to the casino brawl.


Kidnap suspect to stay in jail

GRAND FORKS — The man charged in the kidnapping of a North Dakota college student was ordered held on $5 million bail yesterday after his attorney said he wanted to stay behind bars for his own safety.

As Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, appeared in court, law officers in two states continued the search for Dru Sjodin, 22, missing since she left work at Victoria’s Secret at a Grand Forks mall on Nov. 22.

Mr. Rodriguez spoke briefly to acknowledge that he understood the charges against him, but was not asked to enter a plea.


U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden announced the federal grand jury indictment of 42 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club.


Polk County, Minn., Deputy Sheriff Mike Murray organized searchers looking for missing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin Wednesday morning.


Moore to appeal ouster as chief justice

MONTGOMERY — Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Judicial Building rotunda, announced yesterday that he will ask for help from that same panel to get his job back.

Mr. Moore issued a statement that he will file an appeal of his removal from office with the high court by Dec. 10.

Mr. Moore did not indicate what arguments he would use in the appeal.


Thief hit by car as he runs away

TUCSON — Call it bad karma. Or poetic justice.

A man who stole a Salvation Army donation pot outside a drug store on Tuesday was hit by a car as he tried to run away, police said.

Edward Sanders, 40, had grabbed the pot and pulled it away after a brief struggle with volunteer Patricia Parra, 60, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said South Tucson police Sgt. Dan Snyder.

As Mr. Sanders started to run away, he was struck by a Honda sedan, and police captured him. The red pot and the $53.97 in donations were returned to the Salvation Army, Sgt. Snyder said.

“I think God has a poetic sense of justice,” he said.


Whitewater figure dies in plane crash

HARRISON — A lawyer who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge filed by Whitewater prosecutors died yesterday when the small plane he was piloting crashed about 300 yards south of the Boone County Airport in northwestern Arkansas while trying to land.

John Haley, 72, who was once the lawyer of former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, and passenger Farish Kincaid, 70, died in the crash. Authorities said the men, both from the Little Rock area, apparently were expected at a business meeting in Harrison. The National Transportation Safety Board planned an investigation.

Mr. Haley and Mr. Tucker were accused in 1995 of setting up a sham bankruptcy to hide profits from a business deal. Mr. Haley pleaded guilty and was fined and ordered to pay restitution.


4th Republican wants to challenge Boxer

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Secretary of State Bill Jones will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer next year, aides said yesterday.

His entry would set up a four-person campaign for the Republican nomination along with Mr. Jones, former Los Altos Hills Mayor Toni Casey, Ventura County Assemblyman Tony Strickland and former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin.

Many Republicans have said privately that Mr. Jones would probably pose the strongest challenge to Mrs. Boxer because he has relatively high name recognition.

Mr. Jones, who served two terms as secretary of state and finished third in the race for the Republican nomination for governor in 2002, will file nominating papers in his hometown of Fresno today — the deadline for candidates to get on the ballot for the March 2 primary.


State removes antipsychiatry exhibit

CHICAGO — The state of Illinois ordered a group that’s an offshoot of the Church of Scientology to remove from a state office building a display condemning psychiatry.

The exhibit at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago by the Citizens Commission of Human Rights said psychiatry was a profession that “spawned the ideology which fired Hitler’s mania … and created the Holocaust.” It also accused psychiatrists of “hooking our children on drugs.”

The group erected the display Monday with state permission, but was asked to dismantle it Tuesday after people complained that it spread misinformation and constituted a government establishment of religion, officials said.

“It appears they did not adequately represent themselves,” said Michael Rumman, the state official who manages the building. “The Illinois administrative code says that exhibits may not promote religious philosophies, and this clearly does.”


School to march with Confederate flag

ALBANY — A historically black university has put aside its objections and will march in Albany’s Christmas parade, even though it will feature a Civil War re-enactment group carrying a Confederate flag.

Mayor Tommy Coleman announced yesterday that the Albany State University band had agreed to participate after about a week of negotiations. Band director Michael Decuir had said his musicians would not march because he had a “philosophical problem” with the flag.

The fuss had surfaced when the parade organizer became aware of the university’s concerns and told the re-enactors that they could not participate because they lacked a Christmas theme.

Now that the issue has been resolved, Mr. Coleman said he was relying on the “good wishes of the people” to make the parade tomorrow night a success.


Blanco chooses chief budget officer

BATON ROUGE — State Rep. Jerry Luke LeBlanc, chairman of the House budget committee for the past eight years, will become Gov.-elect Kathleen Blanco’s chief budget officer when she takes office next year.

Mr. LeBlanc, 47, will be in charge of drawing up the $17 billion 2004-05 budget proposal. Mrs. Blanco has called him “one of the most respected and talented members of the Legislature.”


Santa is make-believe, teacher tells class

MIRAMAR — Sandra Jolly thinks her son’s teacher is a Grinch.

Mrs. Jolly said her 6-year-old son’s Christmas was spoiled when his teacher told the first-grade class on Monday that “Santa Claus is make-believe.”

“He had this sad, lost puppy dog look on his face. This unhappy, empty look,” Mrs. Jolly said.

The teacher, Geneta Codner, was reading a story about the Tooth Fairy when the class started discussing what was real and what was not, said school district spokesman Joe Donzelli.

When the subject of Santa came up, the teacher started questioning parts of his story — How could a fat man fit down a chimney? How could reindeer fly around the world in one night? She told the children that these things weren’t possible.

The incident has “all been blown out of proportion,” Miss Codner said. “I’m sorry [parents] think I meant it that way. We were just having a discussion.”

Mr. Donzelli said the school’s principal “had a real stern conversation” with the teacher. But there will be no written reprimand because she did not violate any school district policy.


More women apply to medical schools

BOSTON — For the first time in the country, women outnumbered men among applicants to medical schools in the fall — a milestone in the slow but steady increase in the number of aspiring female doctors.

Nearly 35,000 men and women applied for the 2003-04 school year, a 3.4 percent increase over last year and the first increase since 1996. More than 17,600 of the applicants — or 50.8 percent — were women, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Women have yet to surpass the number of men entering medical school. Nationwide this fall, women were closer than ever to making up the majority of new students, constituting 49.7 percent of the entering class of more than 16,500.


8-year-old boy guilty of fondling classmates

MOUNT CLEMENS — An 8-year-old boy accused of fondling four female classmates will be the youngest participant in Wayne County’s sex offender rehabilitation program, prosecutors said.

The boy, who was not identified because of his age, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and no contest to a felony assault charge. He was sentenced Wednesday.

If he completes the program, the felony charge will be dropped. The boy will receive individual counseling because the group sessions for teenagers are not age-appropriate, prosecutors said. The judge also sentenced him to two years of probation.

Authorities said the boy had fondled a 7-year-old girl and touched three other 7-year-old girls inappropriately outside their clothing while the children watched “Mary Poppins” at a Mount Clemens school in May.

Defense attorney Richard Marcil said he was satisfied with the outcome of the case.


No bison hunt likely this year

BOZEMAN — State wildlife officials and an outside consultant are proceeding with several alternatives for resuming bison hunting in Montana, an agency spokesman says. But Ron Aasheim says no hunt is likely this year.

Every winter, bison wander across the Yellowstone National Park border to forage in Montana, where ranchers fear the animals could spread disease to cattle.


Judge sentences 2nd terror cell member

BUFFALO — A second member of the so-called Lackawanna Six terrorist cell was sentenced to prison yesterday, receiving eight years for supporting terrorism.

Yasein Taher, 25, admitted he had trained with terror network al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the months before the September 11 attacks.

“I’d just like to apologize to the court, my family, the community, and most importantly my country,” Taher said. “I know I’ve let a lot of people down.”

He was the second member of the Lackawanna Six — all young Yemeni-American men recruited to Osama bin Laden’s al-Farooq camp in spring 2001 — to be sentenced. Mukhtar al-Bakri received 10 years in prison Wednesday. Al-Bakri completed the training; Taher did not.


Deputies recruit jurors at store

GOLDSBORO — The Wayne County sheriff has apologized for misinterpreting a judge’s order that he had said forced him to send deputies to Wal-Mart to find potential jurors.

The order simply required Sheriff Carey Winders to send deputies to a public place. Their search at the discount store on Nov. 26 — the day before Thanksgiving — resulted in confrontations with people shopping for Christmas gifts.

“I will accept the responsibility for them going there,” Sheriff Winder said Tuesday. “But we would’ve had to go to Target, the mall or a public place, like the library, to get them. The bottom line is that he didn’t say for us to go to Wal-Mart but to a public place.”

“I apologize to the judge,” the sheriff said.

Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand had issued the order when not enough potential jurors could be found for a murder trial. Deputies found 50 candidates at Wal-Mart, and at least one of them was seated for the trial, which began on Tuesday.


Abortion foe guilty in anthrax hoax

PHILADELPHIA — A self-described terrorist who told jurors that abortionists should be shot was convicted of mailing fake anthrax to abortion clinics to try to shut them down.

The federal jury found Clayton Waagner guilty on 51 of 53 counts, including the most serious charge — threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Waagner, who was once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, faces decades in prison when he is sentenced. He is serving a 49-year term for car theft and weapons violations. No new sentencing date was set.

After the verdict, reached Wednesday, Waagner shook hands with prosecutors and told U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, “It was fun.” He also said he intends to appeal.


Army suspends training after death

FORT JACKSON — The Army has suspended night training exercises that use live ammunition after a soldier was fatally shot this week.

Pvt. Joseph E. Jurewic, 18, of Altamonte Springs, Fla., is the first soldier to die during Night Infiltration Course training since it was opened at Fort Jackson 20 years ago, the Army said.

The night training exercise has recruits crawling 100 meters on their bellies while bullets are fired above their heads and explosions occur nearby.

M-60 machine guns fire tracer rounds that are visible at night and are supposed to be fixed into position so that the bullets fire at least 8 feet above a standing soldier, said Col. Steve Fondacaro, the fort’s deputy commander.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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