- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003


Blake pleads not guilty in death of wife

LOS ANGELES Actor Robert Blake pleaded not guilty yesterday to murder and conspiracy charges in the 2001 death of his wife, 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley.

During an arraignment hearing, Mr. Blake and co-defendant Earle Caldwell agreed to waive their rights to a speedy trial on charges including murder and solicitation to murder.

The case is likely to go to trial in October. Mr. Blake was released on bail for the first time after his preliminary hearing earlier this month.


Jury orders Bailey to pay government

ORLANDO A federal jury found yesterday that disbarred lawyer F. Lee Bailey took $2 million in fees that should have gone to the U.S. government because it came from a fraudulent business.

Mr. Bailey was ordered to return it and pay another $3 million in damages. The celebrity lawyer said he was "quite disappointed" by the verdict and planned to challenge it.

Prosecutors sued Mr. Bailey in civil court after he and other lawyers took the fee after unsuccessfully representing TV infomercial salesman William McCorkle and his wife on fraud charges in 1998.


Ex-convict arrested in funeral-home killings

SUMITON An ex-convict walked into a funeral home and killed two employees and a casket-company driver, apparently to rob them and steal a truck, authorities said yesterday.

Christopher Shane Hyde, who recently served time in Florida for attempted murder, was arrested in Atlanta several hours after the attacks Wednesday afternoon at the Bell Funeral Home.

Funeral home manager June Williams, 61, and Rick Peterson, 50, pastor of Faith Worship Center in Sumiton, had been preparing a body for burial when they were both fatally shot. Randle Lane, 66, a casket-company manager making a delivery, also was killed.


Driver wanted attention, but surprised by cop

FORREST CITY Donald Steven Atwood dangled a small bag filled with a green, leafy substance out the window of his car to get another driver's attention, but never guessed he was attracting unwanted scrutiny.

Mr. Atwood, 20, of Riverside, Calif., apparently couldn't see well behind the tinted windows of the other car. Its driver turned out to be Forrest City police Officer Ricky Baxter, dressed in his uniform on his way to work.

Officer Baxter pulled over Mr. Atwood Sunday and summoned state police, who arrested Mr. Atwood on charges of driving while intoxicated, and related drug charges.


Nuremberg defense rejected in vandalism

DENVER A judge ruled that three nuns accused of vandalizing a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo can't use a Nuremberg defense at trial.

The three cut down fences at the silo, defaced it with their blood and pounded it with hammers. The defense claimed the missile is a first-strike weapon prohibited by international law and the nuns tried to prevent crimes against humanity.


Neighborhood woman takes on speeders

CEDAR RAPIDS A woman fed up with drivers speeding through her neighborhood took matters into her own hands: She posted speed-limit signs in her yard.

Conni Morrell, a stay-at-home mother of three, bought the large "25 mph" signs on the Internet. She also put up the white signs in a neighbor's yard.

She started lobbying City Hall to do something about speeders after her family moved to the upscale neighborhood three years ago. Neighbors lobbied for a stop sign at a nearby intersection, but the city decided against it.

Mrs. Morrell took down her signs last week when she learned that the city was measuring traffic volume and speed.


Convicted murderer to be extradited

EL DORADO A man sentenced to death for killing two women in Kansas agreed yesterday to be extradited to Missouri to face charges of murdering three women in that state.

John E. Robinson Sr. signed the extradition documents at a hearing inside the El Dorado Correctional Facility, spokesman Mike Myers said.

Robinson is charged in Missouri with murdering Sheila Faith, her teenage daughter, Debbie, and Beverly Bonner. Their bodies were found in barrels, inside a storage locker that Robinson rented in Raymore, Mo.


Parade organizer sues over protest group

BOSTON Organizers of Boston's main St. Patrick's Day parade sued the city and police yesterday for allowing anti-war veterans to walk behind the procession.

John J. Hurley and the South Boston Allied War Veteran's Council said police violated their right to organize their own event.

The veterans walked behind the parade itself March 16, but in front of a police escort and street sweepers that mark the parade's end. During the march, protesters met with both jeers and cheers as they walked with anti-war signs through the neighborhood.


Boy, 10, charged in killing of 3-year-old

WOODBRIDGE A 10-year-old boy was charged with murder yesterday, accused of luring a 3-year-old boy out of a library, beating him with a baseball bat and sexually assaulting him and dumping the body into a ditch.

The charges were filed a day after Amir Beeks was attacked and hours after he died. The 10-year-old, who was not identified by authorities, was charged with murder, felony murder, kidnapping, illegal weapons possession and aggravated sexual assault.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said the 10-year-old cannot be tried as an adult.


Bank robbery suspect spotted by dye

COLUMBUS A bank robbery suspect learned a painful lesson: Never shove stolen money containing an explosive dye pack down your pants.

Shortly after the National City Bank downtown was robbed yesterday, police spotted John Gladney, 40, about a block away, walking strangely, in obvious pain.

Officers stopped Mr. Gladney and discovered he had been injured when the dye pack exploded near his groin, said Sgt. Brent Mull, police spokesman.

Mr. Gladney was charged with aggravated robbery.


Senate favors election on lottery to aid schools

OKLAHOMA CITY The state Senate approved legislation to call an election for creating a statewide lottery to raise money for education.

The measure goes back to the House, where it passed earlier, for approval of Senate amendments. A vote could occur late this summer, officials say.


Bridge honor proposed for 'Mister Rogers'

PITTSBURGH A lawmaker wants to rename a bridge for Fred Rogers, host of the TV show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

Mr. Rogers died of stomach cancer at his Pittsburgh home Feb. 27. He was 74. Mr. Rogers produced the children's television show from 1968 to 2000.

Republican state Rep. Jeff Habay has proposed renaming the Highland Park Bridge as the Fred Rogers Memorial Bridge. The span crosses the Allegheny River.

"Fred Rogers touched the lives of generations of children both in our community and around the world," Mr. Habay said.


Private investigators visit site of nightclub fire

WEST WARWICK More than three dozen lawyers and their investigators took photographs and video footage of the remains of the Station nightclub Wednesday to prepare for lawsuits stemming from the fire that killed 99 persons and injured nearly 190.

Superior Court Judge Alice Gibney allowed 37 attorneys and 27 fire experts to comb the site for about three hours. They were allowed to take photographs and video footage, but were not allowed to remove anything.

Several lawsuits have been filed over the Feb. 20 fire, which began when a band's pyrotechnics display ignited the club's soundproofing insulation.


Benefit canceled for state museum

NASHVILLE Already facing budget cuts, the state museum may lose more money after a major fund-raiser was canceled.

Gov. Phil Bredesen, Democrat, canceled the Tennessee Waltz benefit because he said having music, dancing and wine drinking in the Capitol during wartime would be inappropriate.


Justice granted deferred DUI prosecution

SEATTLE A State Supreme Court judge accused of drunken driving avoided jail time Wednesday after agreeing to undergo alcohol treatment.

A hit-and-run charge against Justice Bobbe Bridge, 58, was dismissed.

Municipal Judge Michael Hurtado deferred prosecution on condition that Justice Bridge attend a treatment program and abstain from alcohol or drugs. For one year, her car also must be fitted with a device that requires a breath test before it can be started.

Justice Bridge was arrested Feb. 28 after a driver reported a Mercedes had struck a parked vehicle. A test showed her blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the state threshold of 0.08 percent.


MIA helps inspire rally for troops

CLARKSBURG A soldier missing in action in Iraq helped inspire one of two Clarksburg-area rallies planned for tomorrow to show support for U.S. troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Wirt County native Pfc. Jessica Lynch has been listed as missing in action since her unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed near the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah. Concern for the 19-year-old motivated the rally in Fairmont, rally organizer Dean Ambrozak said.

"I want everyone to put away the politics and support the troops," said Mr. Ambrozak, a Navy veteran.

The two-hour rally beginning at 11 a.m. in Fairmont will include a march from Palatine Park to the Veterans Memorial Plaza, the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram reported. A 9 a.m. church sponsored rally is planned at the Veterans Memorial in Shinnston.


Teen sentenced in mob beating

MILWAUKEE A 17-year-old boy was sentenced to 3½ years in prison followed by 4½ years of probation for his role in a fatal mob beating of a man last fall.

Prosecutors say Jemeral Andrews, who was 16 at the time of the beating Sept. 29, kicked victim Charlie Young Jr. in the ribs but left before others in the mob delivered the most devastating blows.

Mr. Young, 36, died in a hospital Oct. 1. He had been chased onto a porch and beaten with makeshift weapons after he had a confrontation with one of the youths.

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