- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Defense cross-examines Amber Frey

REDWOOD CITY — Scott Peterson’s former mistress acknowledged at his murder trial yesterday that Mr. Peterson never tried to stop her from going to police about their affair.

In his cross-examination of Amber Frey, defense attorney Mark Geragos also noted that Mr. Peterson never said anything incriminating in his wiretapped phone conversations.

In the phone calls, Mr. Peterson romanced Miss Frey while denying his involvement in the disappearance of his pregnant wife, Laci, and proclaiming his love for the missing woman. She recorded their calls for months before police told her that she could stop.

FLORIDA

Kerry signs stolen in Pensacola

PENSACOLA — Hundreds of yard signs supporting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry have been stolen and vandalized in this heavily Republican region known as “Bush Country,” prompting some Kerry supporters to hang signs from trees to deter burglars.

About 350 signs have been stolen, say Panhandle for Kerry organizers, who met with Pensacola police on Monday. The group has distributed nearly 3,400 signs.

Police said they would increase patrols, and Kerry supporters planned to conduct watches, said the group’s chairman, Jerry Holt.

ARKANSAS

Court upholds staff prayer ban

LITTLE ROCK — A school district may not offer prayers at mandatory staff meetings, regardless of whether the teacher who complained about them is present, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. District Court in Little Rock was right to issue an injunction against prayers during staff meetings at the DeValls Bluff School District, but did so for the wrong reasons.

Steve Warnock, an art teacher and school bus driver, sued the district in 1999, saying it openly promoted Christianity and that district officials harassed him.

COLORADO

Ex-aide indicted in recruiting probe

DENVER — A former University of Colorado recruiting aide was indicted yesterday on counts of soliciting a prostitute and misusing a school cell phone, the only charges to come out of a grand jury’s investigation into whether alcohol and sex were used to entice football recruits.

The grand jury accused only Nathan Maxcey in its indictment, making no mention of university officials, students or recruits. It decided against returning an indictment on a charge of “pimping,” which had accused Mr. Maxcey of setting up prostitutes for unspecified others at a dorm room and Boulder-area hotels used by the Colorado football program.

ILLINOIS

Judge moves trials in drownings

CLINTON — A woman and her former boyfriend will be tried separately in the deaths of her three children who drowned in a submerged car, and the trials will be moved to another county, a judge ruled yesterday.

DeWitt County Circuit Judge Stephen H. Peters denied a prosecution motion to join the cases for trial after attorneys for Amanda Hamm and Maurice LaGrone Jr. said their clients could implicate each other.

Prosecutors have not said what they think the motive was for the Sept. 2 drownings.

INDIANA

U.S. revokes visa for Muslim scholar

SOUTH BEND — The U.S. work visa of a Muslim scholar who was to teach at the University of Notre Dame has been revoked, a State Department spokeswoman said yesterday, apparently under terms of the USA Patriot Act.

The visa for Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who has been criticized for remarks branded as anti-Semitic, was revoked at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, spokeswoman Kelly Shannon said.

She cited the Immigration and Nationality Act, part of which deals with aliens who have used a “position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.” Another section denies entry to aliens whose entry may have “potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.”

Notre Dame named Mr. Ramadan earlier this year to be its Henry B. Luce professor of religion, conflict and peace building at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

LOUISIANA

Court allows marriage vote

NEW ORLEANS — A second appellate court in Louisiana ruled yesterday that a vote can be held Sept. 18 on a constitutional amendment that reserves marriage for heterosexual couples.

Yesterday’s ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans was similar to one handed down late Monday by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge, which addressed the question of whether a constitutional ballot question can appear on a primary day election ballot.

However, the 4th Circuit Court has yet to rule on a lower court decision on Friday that permanently blocked a Sept. 18 vote on the amendment.

MISSOURI

Storms cause flash flooding

KANSAS CITY — Thunderstorms raked parts of the Midwest early yesterday, a day after flash flooding swamped basements, stranded motorists and left some cars floating in water.

The National Weather Service reported some Kansas roadways under 6 inches of water on Monday, when several motorists had to be rescued from their cars.

“It was a very dangerous flash-flood situation,” meteorologist Curt Holderbach said.

Thunderstorms in North Dakota downed trees, flooded streets and knocked out power to several thousand people Monday. Golf-ball-sized hail was reported in Bismarck, and winds of 70 mph were reported in Riverdale when the storm hit Monday night.

MONTANA

Mudslides close popular park road

WEST GLACIER — A 6-mile stretch of the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park remained closed after a series of weekend mud and rock slides, park officials said.

The road from the Loop to Logan Pass on the west side is expected to remain closed until crews remove an estimated 200 truckloads of debris.

NEVADA

Cabdriver dies after being set afire

LAS VEGAS — A cabdriver set on fire during a robbery attempt died yesterday, after being burned over more than 70 percent of his body.

Pairoj Chitprasart, 51, had been in critical condition and on life support since the attack Friday.

James Scholl, 33, will be charged with murder, police said. He was arrested Saturday on suspicion of attempted murder after he was overheard bragging about the attack, police said.

Police said Mr. Chitprasart, who drove a cab to supplement his income from a Thai newspaper he ran, picked up Mr. Scholl outside a strip club. Mr. Scholl demanded his cash, and when the driver refused, Mr. Scholl doused him with a flammable liquid and struck a match, police said.

NORTH DAKOTA

Alzheimer’s patient, wife are missing

BISMARCK — Investigators are struggling for leads in the search for an Alzheimer’s-stricken man and his wife, who disappeared after leaving behind cash, credit cards and thawing meat on the counter.

Norman Olson, 73, and his wife, Yvonne, 69, have been missing since Aug. 14. Foul play has not been ruled out, but “at this time we don’t see it,” Sheriff Eugene Molbert said yesterday.

“The hardest thing is, when we do go to the house, there’s nothing to indicate there’s anything wrong except they’re not there,” Mr. Olson’s son, Mark, said at a press conference in which family members at times broke down in tears as they pleaded for help from the public.

OHIO

Group challenges marriage petitions

COLUMBUS — An Ohio group has challenged the validity of some of the petitions that were collected this summer to put a constitutional marriage amendment on the ballot.

Protests were filed in five counties over incomplete or inaccurate petitions, said Donald McTigue, a Columbus lawyer who represents Ohioans Protecting the Constitution. Protests in more counties will be filed this week, he said, adding that the goal is to keep the amendment off the November ballot.

Supporters of the amendment, which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, turned in 391,000 signatures this month, 68,000 more than needed. Signatures still are being collected, said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values.

PENNSYLVANIA

Gun dealer to pay in boy’s death

PHILADELPHIA — A gun dealer agreed to pay $850,000 to a woman whose 7-year-old son was killed with a revolver the dealer sold to a middleman who illegally resold the gun on the street.

The settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit, approved by a judge Friday, has implications nationwide for gun shop owners who sell to “straw” buyers, or front men who buy arms for gun traffickers, analysts said.

“There is a risk of liability that is now real” for gun dealers, said Dennis Henigan, legal director for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Perry J. Bruce repeatedly bought small handguns from Jon K. Sauers, the owner of Sauers Trading, and resold them illegally.

On April 19, 1999, children found one of the guns that Bruce bought under a parked car. A child pointed the revolver at Nafis Jefferson, 7, and pulled the trigger, killing him. Police think a drug dealer had hidden the gun under the car.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Web site links to Canadian drugs

COLUMBIA — Columbia Mayor Bob Coble added a link to his personal Web site to direct people to low-cost prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.

The move by Mr. Coble follows those of other cities and states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Boston and Washington, D.C., which provide Web links to selected Canadian pharmacies.

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration say that when cities direct people to Canadian pharmacies, they expose consumers to unregulated and potentially unsafe drugs. However, the FDA has taken no action against state and local governments providing Internet access to Canadian pharmacies.

“My goal is not to defy the federal government,” Mr. Coble said. “I strongly believe it is an option our citizens ought to have.”


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