- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2003

Jurors plead to end cop misconduct trial

OAKLAND, Calif. — After nearly four months of deliberations, exhausted jurors said they remained hopelessly deadlocked in the trial of three former Oakland police officers charged with beating suspects and lying on police reports.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Leo Dorado disagreed — and ordered them to get back to work Monday.

Attorneys for the accused former officers, Clarence “Chuck” Mabanag, Jude Siapno and Matthew Hornung, pleaded for an end to what they called the longest criminal trial deliberations in California history.

Man charged in rape, kidnap of jogger

DENVER — A construction worker kidnapped a jogger and raped her five times over a span of 24 hours in his pornography-littered trailer, videotaping one of the assaults and happily watching it before letting her go, authorities said.

Police say the 45-year-old woman was set free after she agreed to let the suspect make the video, pretend she was cooperating and kiss him.

The victim had memorized the man’s name and address from a magazine label in the trailer, helping authorities track him down Thursday.

Michael Jesso, 29, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault and false imprisonment. Police said they are investigating whether he was involved in other attacks around Denver.

Accused priest slayer pleads innocent

WORCESTER, Mass. — An inmate accused of slaying former priest John J. Geoghan in prison pleaded innocent to murder yesterday, then exited his arraignment screaming “Let’s keep the kids safe,” and “Hold pedophiles accountable for their actions.”

Joseph L. Druce is accused of beating and strangling Geoghan, who was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy and was accused of molesting nearly 150 boys over three decades, in the defrocked priest’s cell at Souza-Baronowski Correctional Institute in Shirley on Aug. 23.

In letters to newspapers, Druce has identified himself as Geoghan’s “exterminator” and said pedophiles should be castrated. He also boasted that he killed Geoghan to “avenge the children.”

Environmental group suspected in fire

SAN DIEGO — A fire that destroyed three homes under construction early yesterday was the work of a radical environmentalist group, officials said. Investigators are also looking into a second fire at another construction site.

The California Highway Patrol said the first blaze was an Earth Liberation Front fire. The environmentalist group has previously taken responsibility for dozens of acts of arson and vandalism, including an August fire at a San Diego apartment complex under construction that caused $50 million in damage.

The fire started at 2 a.m. in the north-central part of the city, said Susan Smith, a fire department dispatcher. About two hours later, another home under construction caught fire three miles away, officials said.

No injuries were reported and no damage estimates were immediately available.

Irish tunes honor late governor

INDIANAPOLIS — In a memorial service yesterday on the steps of the statehouse where he was first inaugurated seven years ago, Gov. Frank O’Bannon was honored with Irish tunes and military salutes and remembered as a man who was “proof that nice guys do finish first.”

Thousands gathered to bid farewell to O’Bannon, who died after suffering a stroke earlier this month. The Democrat was 73.

“This spirit of being connected to something larger than ourselves was a hallmark of the way Frank O’Bannon approached life, and his death makes us feel the rightness of it ever more strongly,” Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard said.

Two drug jurors enter bribery plea

MIAMI — Two former jurors pleaded guilty to taking bribes to acquit two drug kingpins from the city’s “Miami Vice” years.

Gloria Alba pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, and Maria Penalver pleaded to conspiracy for helping corrupt the 1996 trial of Sal Magluta and Willy Falcon.

Alba and her husband admitted getting less than $300,000 of a promised $1 million. Prosecutors said Penalver took about $20,000.

The 1980s drug smugglers were convicted afterward in the bribery scheme. Magluta is serving a life sentence; Falcon is in prison for 20 years.

The jury foreman, Miguel Moya, is serving a 17-year sentence for taking a $500,000 bribe.

Prosecutors said Magluta and Falcon made a $2 billion profit on 78 tons of smuggled cocaine while turning Miami into the drug capital of the world in the 1980s.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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