- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2003

Marines probed in POW handling

LOS ANGELES — Eight Marine reservists face charges ranging from negligent homicide to making false statements in connection with the mistreatment of prisoners of war in Iraq, military officials said yesterday.

Two of the men were charged with negligent homicide in connection with the June death of an Iraqi who was held at a detention facility, said Marine Staff Sgt. Bill Lisbon, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton.

Bombing lawyer seeks ‘friendly fire’ data

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — The attorney for a pilot charged with dereliction for accidentally bombing Canadian troops in Afghanistan last year said yesterday he filed a request to force the Air Force to hand over documents related to 17 other “friendly fire” incidents.

The attorney, Charles W. Gittins, has said communications problems and poor command decisions are a cause of many of the Air Force’s friendly fire accidents, including that of his client, Maj. Harry Schmidt.

Details of the 17 other incidents were not immediately released, but Mr. Gittins said one of them, involving an F-15E, was similar to Maj. Schmidt’s.

Damaged ferry sent to shipyard

NEW YORK — A mangled Staten Island ferry, its flags at half-mast, was moved yesterday from the terminal where it rammed a concrete pier earlier in the week in a crash that killed 10 persons and set up the city for an anticipated stream of lawsuits.

The first notice of claim against the city was filed Friday on behalf of a ferry passenger and her 7-year-old son, seeking $10 million, said Staten Island lawyer Anthony Bisignano. Dinah Washington, 28, and her son, Jalil, claimed they suffered injuries from head to toe in the crash.

Attorney Wayne Cohen, representing the wife of Louis Robinson, a passenger who died in the crash, said yesterday his notice of claim on a $500 million suit was in the works.

Cadmium suspected in 10 deaths

PITTSBURGH — A coroner has found elevated levels of cadmium in 10 persons who have recently died in a rural Pennsylvania county, adding to the mystery about the presence of the toxic metal.

Ever since 61-year-old Russell Repine was found to have mysteriously died in March 2002 of cadmium poisoning, Coroner Thomas Streams has tested for toxic levels of the metal in all autopsies in Indiana County, in western Pennsylvania.

Convicted molester is granted parole

BOSTON — A man convicted of raping eight youngsters in one of the nation’s most lurid — and bitterly disputed — child-molestation cases has been granted parole and could go free next spring after 17 years in prison.

Gerald “Tooky” Amirault was found guilty in 1986 of abusing children at his family’s suburban day care center and was sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison. His mother and sister were convicted in a separate trial.

The Amiraults argued that they were victims of sex-abuse hysteria that swept the country in the 1980s.

In a decision announced Friday, the parole board said Amirault, 49, already has served a long prison term, has strong support from his family and the community, and had a minimal prior criminal history.

Grocery clerks strike enters second week

LOS ANGELES — The strike by 70,000 Southern California grocery clerks entered its second week yesterday, with no new negotiations in sight and both sides blaming the other for the impasse.

Talks broke off Oct. 11 and no negotiating sessions were scheduled, said Terry O’Neil, a spokesman for the Ralphs supermarket chain.

Ellen Anreder, a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said the supermarkets must first make a new contract offer.

Mother arrested in bathtub deaths

LAMAR, Colo. — A woman who apparently attempted suicide after her two children were found dead in a bathtub was arrested yesterday on murder charges.

Rebekah Amaya, 32, was being returned from a hospital in Colorado Springs to face the charges, said Police Capt. Rick Copess. She had been hospitalized after slashing her wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.

Officer faces firing for tracking celebrities

LOS ANGELES — A disciplinary panel is recommending that an officer be fired for using police databases to review the personal files of celebrities such as Halle Berry, Kobe Bryant, Sean Penn and Sharon Stone.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Board of Rights on Friday found that Kelly Chrisman had misused department computers.

Authorities launched an internal investigation after Officer Chrisman’s former girlfriend filed a domestic violence complaint in March 2000.

Officer Chrisman, 35, testified that he used the databases for a mapping project that was supposed to help police handle problems such as celebrity stalkers. Officials said there was no such project.

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