- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

Hostage released from prison tower

BUCKEYE, Ariz.— One of two correctional officers held hostage by two inmates for nearly a week climbed down from a prison guard tower to safety yesterday.

The guard, a man who was not immediately identified, was taken to a Phoenix hospital after his release. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Cam Hunter said she had no immediate details on his condition.

He was released after negotiators delivered an item demanded by the inmates, Miss Hunter said. A second item was delivered as part of the exchange agreement after the hostage was let go.

Authorities have not discussed the inmates’ possible motive and have not released any details on their identities or previous crimes or told how the inmates got into the tower.

Crime boss convicted of racketeering

NEW YORK — An acting boss of the Luchese crime family was convicted of loan sharking and racketeering charges that included the murders of two men — one of whom was found with a canary in his mouth as a warning to would-be informants.

Louis Daidone, 56, also known as Louis Bagels, faces a mandatory life sentence for Friday’s conviction. The federal charges included allegations Daidone participated in two murders while with the crime family from the early 1980s through at least January 2000.

Prosecutors produced evidence showing that Daidone and two associates stalked Thomas Gilmore in 1989 until they found him alone outside his home and shot him. A year later, Daidone lured Bruno Facciolo to an ambush where Daidone and two others stabbed and shot him to death, then placed a canary in his mouth as a warning, prosecutors said.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 28.

Security guard shot at chemical plant

FREEPORT, Texas — Police on the Texas Gulf Coast searched yesterday for a man who shot and wounded a security guard at a chemical plant, CNN reported. The guard was shot in the shoulder by a man he encountered late Friday on a routine patrol of the huge manufacturing complex in Freeport, owned by Germany’s BASF.

The guard approached the man in a pickup truck parked in a sensitive area. The man rolled down his window and told the guard he was taking pictures of the lights around Freeport’s port area and the BASF plant, police said.

When the guard reached to open his microphone to report to his dispatcher, the driver of the truck pulled a gun and fired, hitting him in the right shoulder. The suspect was described as a male with dark hair and a dark mustache. He spoke in accented English.

Dead astronaut’s diary returned

HOUSTON — Sections of a diary belonging to one of the seven astronauts killed last year when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart over Texas were found a few months ago and returned to his family, according to a published report.

The Jerusalem Post reported that sections of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon’s diary were found in a Texas field with other debris. The diary was submitted to the Israeli police for help in deciphering what was written because the pages were written in Hebrew and some of the pages were full of holes, the newspaper reported.

Johnson Space Center spokesman James Hartsfield confirmed Friday that any personal items found among the debris were returned to the astronauts’ families.

Energy Department to redo impact report

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — The National Nuclear Security Administration is redoing its environmental-impact statement for a new biological-research facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is the subject of a lawsuit by local antinuclear activists.

The facility, built for research into anthrax and other pathogens that could be used as biological weapons, is scheduled to begin operations this summer. The agency withdrew its 2002 environmental assessment Friday, which said the facility posed no significant impact, and said it would conduct a second analysis.

The new analysis is needed because the laboratory was built differently than originally planned, said Ralph Erickson, manager of NNSA’s Los Alamos field office. The agency is a semiautonomous arm of the Energy Department that oversees nuclear-weapons programs.

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