- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 29, 2003


Columbine killers’ parents give depositions

DENVER — Four years after the Columbine High School slayings, Brian Rohrbough, who lost his only child in the attack, met for the first time with the parents of the student gunmen.

The parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold appeared yesterday in a federal courtroom to give sealed depositions in a lawsuit filed against them by Mr. Rohrbough and other victims’ families.

Harris and Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves April 20, 1999, at the suburban high school.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in 2000 by the families of slain students Daniel Rohrbough, Kelly Fleming, Matt Kechter, Lauren Townsend and Kyle Velasquez. The families believe the parents — Wayne and Kathy Harris, and Tom and Sue Klebold — should have known what their children were planning and prevented the attack.

The depositions will be reviewed by U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock, who will determine whether the lawsuit will proceed.


Neighbors treated for malaria

LAKE WORTH — Two neighbors with malaria have been released from the hospital, and investigators reported no other confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease, officials said Monday.

Both are recovering from relatively mild cases of malaria, said Tim O’Connor, a Palm Beach County Health Department spokesman. One man was sent home Sunday, while the other was released yesterday.

Construction worker Thomas Fogleman, 46, was admitted to a hospital last week with a severe headache and an upset stomach. Test results Friday revealed he had malaria. Jeff Smith, who lives four doors away from Mr. Fogleman, has the other case.

Health officials were trying to find the source of the infection, which is common in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent but rare in the United States. Neither man had traveled to a high-risk area, Mr. O’Connor said. Officials suspect the neighbors might have been infected by a mosquito that bit someone who contracted malaria abroad and brought it here, Mr. O’Connor said.


Judge delays trial of bombing suspect

BIRMINGHAM — A federal judge has delayed the trial of serial-bombing suspect Eric Rudolph until next year, ruling that both prosecutors and defense lawyers need more time to prepare for the case, which could bring the death penalty if he is convicted.

Mr. Rudolph’s trial had been scheduled for Aug. 4. But U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr., in a ruling made public yesterday, delayed the trial indefinitely. The judge noted that neither side could be ready before next year in a case involving more than 100,000 files about the deadly bombing of a Birmingham abortion clinic.

Mr. Rudolph has been charged in the Jan. 28, 1998, bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and critically injured a clinic nurse.

Mr. Rudolph, 36, is also charged in the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta that killed one and injured more than 100, as well as bombings the next year in Atlanta at an abortion clinic and a homosexual nightclub.


Divers discover history in shipwreck

KODIAK ISLAND — A team of divers has discovered what appears to be the oldest shipwreck ever found in Alaska waters, the remains of a three-masted Russian sailing freighter called the Kadi’ak, which sank off Kodiak Island in March 1860.

The searchers, led by Bradley Stevens, a scientist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, located a cannon, an anchor and what they believe to be copper sheeting in an underwater sand channel off Spruce Island, said Steve Lloyd, one of the divers.

The remains promise a wealth of cultural and historical artifacts dear to the hearts of archaeologists but no conventional treasure, said Mike Yarborough, an Anchorage archaeologist who did early research for the project. The Kadi’ak belonged to the Russian-American Co., active when Alaska was a Russian colony, and carried a cargo of ice bound for San Francisco when it sank.


‘Pirates of the Internet’ wins sand-castle contest

IMPERIAL BEACH — A scene of computer screens and pirates took first place at the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition.

Dan Gutowski, team captain of the winning “Pirates of the Internet,” said the $5,000 prize money will go to youth programs.

Teams competed for almost $30,000 in prizes at the 23rd annual Sandcastle Days, the nation’s largest sand-castle competition.


Samoan chief dies at 84

HONOLULU — Paramount Chief Letuli Olo Misilagi of American Samoa — a ranking traditional leader, former territorial senator, businessman, entertainer and father of the fire knife dance — died July 22. He was 84.

Most people referred to him as Olo, the high-talking chief title from Leone village he held for 37 years. In 2001 he was bestowed the Paramount Chief of Letuli title, one of the five paramount chief titles in American Samoa.

As High Talking Chief Olo of Leone, he served a four-year term as the village senator in 1977 and was re-selected to the Senate in 1993. In 1983, Olo Letuli became an associate judge on the High Court and served for 7 years.

Letuli was instrumental in organizing American Samoa’s first World Fire Knife Competition, held two months ago.


Governor approves death penalty reforms

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, Democrat, yesterday signed into law a sweeping reform of the state’s capital punishment procedures prompted by faults in the old law that led his predecessor to empty the state’s death row.

The law makes it harder for prosecutors to win a death-penalty conviction, gives defendants protections such as access to all the evidence favorable to them, and allows the state’s Supreme Court to overturn a death-penalty conviction for reasons other than procedural errors.

A former prosecutor, Mr. Blagojevich continued the state’s moratorium on executions imposed in January 2000 by his Republican predecessor, George Ryan.


Police say caller may be missing girl

THORNTOWN — A woman has contacted the family of a 6-year-old girl who vanished in 1986, saying that she may be the girl, authorities said.

Shannon Marie Sherrill was 6 when she disappeared Oct. 5, 1986, as she played outside her mother’s mobile home in Thorntown, about 30 miles northwest of Indianapolis. She would now be 22 years old.

On Sunday, state police released a statement saying that new information had surfaced in the nearly 17-year-old case, and that their investigation was at a “critical juncture.”

State police have been in contact with the woman, police 1st Sgt. David Bursten said yesterday.


Courts handle 1 million-plus cases

DES MOINES — Iowa’s court system says it handled more than 1 million cases last year, a 15 percent increase since 1992. Criminal cases are up 22 percent, while juvenile case filings are up 59 percent.

Drugs and alcohol play a large role in clogging the courts. Drunken driving cases represented 23 percent of criminal cases in 2002.


Hackers break into state computers

FRANKFORT — French hackers have used the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s computers to store pirated movies and video games, investigators from the state auditor’s office have found.

The auditors’ report said the hackers had used the system since early April to store and distribute movies, music recordings, computer games and television shows.

Copyrighted medical textbooks were also posted and distributed, and the system was serving as host to an Internet chat room.


Bobblehead doll to honor literary icon

LOWELL — A homegrown literary icon will be remembered next month with an honor usually reserved for sports figures: a bobblehead doll.

The first 1,000 fans at the Aug. 21 game between the Lowell Spinners and Williamsport Crosscutters of the Class A New York-Penn League will receive bobbing likenesses of Jack Kerouac.

The giveaway, in partnership with the English department at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, is part of “Jack Kerouac Night” at LeLacheur Park.

The 8-inch doll features Mr. Kerouac holding a pen and notebook, and standing on a copy of “On the Road,” his best-known work.


Crews start backfire to protect villages

WEST GLACIER — Firefighters set trees on fire yesterday in efforts to prevent a major blaze from reaching the largely evacuated West Glacier and a nearby village in Glacier National Park.

The work was aimed at creating a backfire that would remove 2,000 acres of fuel from the path of the approaching forest fire.


Doctor disciplined for hepatitis outbreak

LINCOLN — The state began disciplinary action yesterday against a cancer doctor who is linked to a widespread hepatitis C outbreak, citing poor infection control at his clinic.

One patient among at least 99 infected with the liver disease died while awaiting a liver transplant, according to the petition by the state Health and Human Services System against Dr. Tahir Javed.

The petition also said that Dr. Javed had a sexual relationship with a patient and falsely diagnosed a fatal disease. After the sexual relationship ended, the petition said, Dr. Javed impersonated two doctors and tried to cancel lab tests that had been ordered for the patient by a nurse practitioner. He also discouraged the patient from seeking treatment from another doctor, the petition said.


Authorities receive tips about missing children

CONCORD — Authorities say tips are pouring in for two missing children believed to have been slain and buried in the Midwest.

Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin said the tips include physical evidence people think they’ve found and someone they think they’ve seen. Authorities say they believe the children’s bodies were buried somewhere near Interstate 80 between Ohio and Illinois.

Manuel Gehring, the children’s father, is charged with fatally shooting them.


Cooperative suspends operations at pasta plant

CROSBY — Bushel 42 Pasta Co. has suspended operations and laid off most of its 50 employees a little more than a year after it opened, company officials said.

Les Knudson, chairman of the cooperative’s board of directors, said Bushel 42 will seek to sell or lease the Crosby plant. The cooperative of 227 farmers opened the plant in May 2002 to process wheat.


Men sentenced in kidnapping

PHILADELPHIA — Two men were handed prison sentences ranging up to 49 years yesterday in the kidnapping of a 7-year-old girl who chewed through duct tape to escape a squalid basement last summer.

Edward Johnson, 24, who snatched Erica Pratt from the sidewalk outside her grandmother’s Philadelphia home, was sentenced to 10 to 37 years behind bars, while getaway driver James Burns, 30, got 14 to 49 years.

Erica was hailed as a spunky survivor last July when she chewed through the duct tape binding her wrists, slipped out of the basement of the row house where she had been held for nearly 24 hours, and shouted for help. Two neighborhood children heard her cries, pulled out a window screen and lifted her to safety.

Johnson pleaded guilty in May to abducting Erica as part of a plot to collect a $150,000 ransom from the girl’s grandmother.


Professor claims beliefs cost him job

GREENVILLE — A former North Greenville College art professor has sued the school, saying he was fired because he belongs to an organization that seeks the independence of Southern people.

Joseph Scott Goldsmith, a member of the League of the South, says in his lawsuit that he was fired after a discussion of the Civil War movie “Gods and Generals” when he made comments to faculty he felt were bashing the South.

Mr. Goldsmith says art department chairman Jim Craft told him June 20 that he could no longer work at the college because he was a member of the League of the South.


Fortuneteller sues city, says rights were violated

DICKSON — A legal squabble was in the cards for fortuneteller Beth Daly.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit last week against the city of Dickson on behalf of Miss Daly, arguing that city officials violated her free speech rights by barring her from selling her fortunetelling services.

A city ordinance modified in 1980 makes it illegal for “any person to conduct the business of, solicit for, or ply the trade of fortuneteller, clairvoyant, hypnotist, spiritualist, palmist, phrenologist or other mystic endowed with supernatural powers.”

The lawsuit asks for the ordinance to be declared unconstitutional and for Dickson to be prohibited from enforcing the ban.

Dickson Councilwoman Linda Chambers says Miss Daly is free to continue her tarot readings, as long as the service is free.


Memorial dedicated to Korean War soldiers

SALT LAKE CITY — A monument listing 142 Utah soldiers killed in the Korean War was dedicated at Memory Grove, where other monuments honor those who fought in other American wars.

Salt Lake City gave land for the memorial. Veterans organizations, veterans and their families raised nearly $100,000.


Lawyer suspended for sexual misconduct

SEATTLE — A lawyer who admitted having sexual contact with her murder-defendant client in a jailhouse conference room has agreed to a one-year suspension, the Washington State Bar Association said Monday.

The state Supreme Court must approve the agreement, which includes an additional year of probation, said Judy Berrett, spokeswoman for the association.

A jail officer said he saw public defender Theresa Olson, 43, having sexual relations last August with Sebastian Burns, 26, who is charged with three counts of aggravated first-degree murder.

Miss Olson agreed to undergo psychological evaluation during her suspension and probation. She was fined $1,000.

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