- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 26, 2004

NORTH CAROLINA

Judge blocks Iraq call-up

CHARLOTTE — A federal judge agreed yesterday to delay a former Army reservist’s deadline to report tomorrow for deployment to Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan granted Todd Parrish’s request for a temporary restraining order, pending a full hearing next week on whether the Army can force him to return to uniform.

In a federal lawsuit, Mr. Parrish contends that his commitment to the Army expired Dec. 19, after four years of active duty and another four years in the reserves. But the Army says Mr. Parrish never formally resigned his commission as a lieutenant, making him eligible for recall to duty. In May, he was ordered to report to Fort Sill, Okla., for deployment to Iraq.

CALIFORNIA

Peterson’s calls questioned

REDWOOD CITY — Scott Peterson made a telephone call from home on Christmas Eve 2002 more than 35 minutes after he said he left to go fishing that day, a detective testified yesterday.

Testifying at Mr. Peterson’s murder trial, investigator Steven Jacobson of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office described numerous calls placed by Mr. Peterson from his cell phone on Dec. 24, 2002.

Mr. Jacobson said Mr. Peterson placed a call to check his voice mail at 10:08 a.m. That call bounced off a cell tower in the Modesto area, indicating that he made the call from home, Mr. Jacobson said. Mr. Peterson says he left his Modesto home that morning about 9:30 a.m. for a solo fishing trip on San Francisco Bay, where the bodies of his wife and her unborn child were found weeks later.

ARKANSAS

Man confesses to killing daughter

JONESBORO — Joshua Pfeifer, accused of beating his 11-week-old son, told authorities that he killed his 5-week-old daughter in Ohio in 1998, officials said.

Mr. Pfeifer, 28, is being held in lieu of a $750,000 bond. He was arrested after hospital officials alerted police.

COLORADO

Parents of killer selling house

DENVER — The parents of Columbine High School gunman Eric Harris are selling the house where the teen and his friend stored guns and bombs and videotaped themselves hatching plans for their deadly rampage.

Two real estate agents whose families were affected by the 1999 school shooting will not be allowed to show the property. Both men have criticized Wayne and Kathy Harris for not doing more to stop their son’s deadly plan.

One of the banned agents, Rich Petrone, said he would like to see the house, referring to it as the “scene of a crime.”

Mr. Petrone’s stepson, Danny Rohrbough, was one of the 12 students fatally shot by Harris and Dylan Klebold, who also killed a teacher before taking their own lives.

The other banned agent is Randy Brown, who told police a year before the massacre that Harris had been threatening his son, Brooks. The sheriff’s office did not follow through on his tip.

DELAWARE

Ship captain admits bomb-scare guilt

WILMINGTON — A Turkish ship captain who spent the past month behind bars after joking to the Coast Guard that there was a bomb aboard his vessel pleaded guilty yesterday to making a false statement and was ordered to leave the country immediately.

“I apologize to the whole American public,” Yildirim Beyozit Tumer said through an interpreter.

Tumer, 48, could have received five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Joseph Farnan sentenced him to time served and ordered that he be taken to the Philadelphia airport for an evening flight home.

The judge said the seaman made a “foolish mistake.”

Turner’s merchant ship was carrying a load of steel to Philadelphia on July 22 when it underwent a Coast Guard inspection. Prosecutors said that after the inspection, the captain told a Coast Guardsman: “There’s a bomb on board and it will go off in Philadelphia.” He then said he was only joking. The ship was turned around and held at a safe anchorage in the Delaware Bay.

FLORIDA

Crate carries Cuban to Miami

MIAMI — A Cuban woman tucked herself inside a wooden crate the size of a small filing cabinet and had herself shipped from the Bahamas to Miami aboard a cargo plane.

The woman, whose name was not released, will be allowed to stay in the United States. A cargo crew found her curled up inside the crate after unloading it late Tuesday at the Miami airport.

“Certainly she’s lucky to be alive,” said Zach Mann, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection.

Under the so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, Cubans who reach U.S. soil usually are allowed to stay, but those who are picked up at sea are sent home. Federal officials released no information on how the woman got from Cuba to the Bahamas.

The flight lasted an hour, so the woman, described as being in her early 20s, would have been exposed to the cold for only a short period, Mr. Mann said.

LOUISIANA

Worker charged with impersonating agent

NEW ORLEANS — An extermination company employee was charged with impersonating a Secret Service agent to get out of work.

Prosecutors say Mark Taylor told his employers during an absence that he was a federal agent on an official assignment, reportedly collecting $1,800 in salary while he was away. Mr. Taylor faces up to three years in prison.

KENTUCKY

Businessman blamed in vote fraud trial

LONDON — A federal prosecutor painted an eastern Kentucky businessman as the kingpin in a scheme to buy votes from impoverished mountain residents during his opening statements yesterday in the trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Taylor said Ross Harris funneled money into John Doug Hays’ campaign for Pike County district judge, corrupting the 2002 election. Mr. Hays lost the election.

“When money gets into elections, it can corrupt and give one man many, many votes,” Mr. Taylor said.

Defense attorney Larry Mackey said Mr. Harris did nothing wrong. Mr. Mackey said that Mr. Harris’ only financial contribution to Mr. Hays’ campaign was a legal donation of $1,000.

Prosecutors are trying to convict Mr. Harris on charges that he helped buy votes through a scheme disguised as a “get out the vote” effort.

MAINE

Ski resort bans tobacco use

RUMFORD — A Maine ski resort banned smoking and other tobacco use beginning this winter, and other ski areas owned by the same nonprofit will look into such bans.

The policy forbids use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco on the slopes, lifts, buildings and parking lots at Black Mountain of Maine Ski Resort. Visitors who violate the policy would be asked to leave. For workers, being tobacco-free on the job is a condition of employment.

“What we’re trying to focus on is creating healthier communities in the state,” said Andy Shepard, president of the Maine Winter Sports Center, which bought the resort last year.

The Partnership for a Tobacco-free Maine office said Black Mountain was the first ski area in the nation to completely ban the use of tobacco products. The resort had 17,000 visitors last season and hosted the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

MONTANA

Steer gets rancher a free beverage

BOZEMAN — Rancher Skip Hougland figured it was an offer he couldn’t refuse: Bring in a cow, get a free frozen blended coffee beverage.

So he took Bonnie Prince Charles Edward Stuart, a Scottish Highland steer who generally goes by “Charlie,” to a local Dairy Queen on Tuesday and got a free Moolatte as part of a corporate promotion.

Mr. Hougland brought Charlie to town from his Willow Creek ranch after reading that people who brought a living cow to any participating business would be rewarded with a free coffee-flavored Dairy Queen version of a latte.

Store manager Minde Erickson said she was surprised Mr. Hougland showed up with Charlie. “It seems like a lot of work,” she said.

After numerous children finished marveling at Charlie, who has short legs, shaggy red hair and long horns, Mr. Hougland put the steer back into the trailer and collected his reward.

OHIO

Gunman kills store employee, self

CINCINNATI — A man opened fire at a department store Tuesday evening, killing an employee and injuring a customer before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.

The shootings began after an altercation broke out in a Kmart in suburban Cincinnati. The gunman shot the employee twice and fled.

Several people chased the gunman, and he fired at them, hitting a customer, Hamilton County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Barnett said.

The employee, a 22-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities did not immediately know the extent of the customer’s injuries.

According to press reports, police chased the gunman and stopped his car using devices to puncture tires. When officers reached the car, they found him dead of a gunshot wound, Mr. Barnett said.

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