- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2004

Husband charged in wife’s death

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A man was arrested on murder charges after the charred body of his pregnant wife was found in a burned-out van.

Ralph Armstrong, 34, was charged Friday in the death of his wife, Dashunda, and the fetus she was carrying. He was being held without bail. Dashunda was last seen Feb. 13 by her sister at a hair salon, relatives said.

The van containing her body was found on a highway the next day in Wrightsville, a suburb of Little Rock. Genetic tests were needed to identify the remains. At the time of her death, the couple was getting a divorce, and Mr. Armstrong was behind in child-support payments, according to family members and court records.

Drugs missing from sheriff’s office

DELAND, Fla. — State police will inspect a sheriff’s office evidence compound after drugs worth $1 million were reported missing. A six-person team from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will inspect the evidence room at the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson said yesterday.

Last month, Sheriff Ben Johnson announced that 370 pounds of marijuana and 1.89 pounds of cocaine worth $456,000 were missing from the office’s evidence room. Timothy W. Wallace, 47, the former evidence manager, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and marijuana. He was released on $300,000 bail and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Another 600 pounds of marijuana was missing yesterday. The marijuana was housed in the same place as the other missing drugs and likely disappeared the same way, Mr. Davidson said. He would not say whether there were any suspects.

Teen kills himself after slaying deputy

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — A teenager who killed a sheriff’s deputy and barricaded himself in his home was found dead inside yesterday with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head, officials said.

Michael Harvey, 16, was found in an upstairs bedroom of his lakeside home, said Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider. He said the teenager had been dead for up to 20 hours. Michael fired on SWAT team officers Friday afternoon from the home where he had semiautomatic weapons with several 30-round magazines.

The confrontation started Friday morning when officers went to investigate a domestic violence complaint from the boy’s mother, who had fled to a neighbor’s house. She said Michael attacked her with a pipe when she refused to let him drive to school after he was drinking the night before.

2 firefighters killed, 29 hurt in church fire

PITTSBURGH — Two firefighters were killed and 29 were injured yesterday when a church on fire collapsed as they tried to put out the flames, officials said. Five of the firefighters suffered serious or critical injuries when the roof of the Ebenezer Baptist Church collapsed, said city official Bob Kennedy.

Emergency crews located the body of one firefighter yesterday afternoon but were still looking for another in the rubble of the destroyed building, Mr. Kennedy said. The cause of the blaze in the city’s Hill District was not immediately known.

The senior pastor of the church, the Rev. J. Van Alfred Winsett, told Pittsburgh television stations that the congregation was preparing for a breakfast when the fire started.

Woman, 96, charged with crack possession

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — A 96-year-old woman said she does not know how the crack cocaine deputies found on her got into her wheelchair. Julia Roberts was charged with possession of crack with intent to sell and deliver and with possessing a crack pipe, sheriff’s officials said. She was freed pending a hearing March 30.

“I’ve never seen [the drugs] in my life,” she told the Charlotte Observer. “I don’t know how they could get there.”

A search warrant for the arrest said it’s the third time Cleveland County deputies have seized crack at the mobile home Roberts shared with her son.

Harold Roberts, 61, was charged with possession of stolen goods. Harold Roberts’ brother, James Roberts, 58, who lived nearby, was charged with possession of moonshine. A neighbor, Donald Eugene Bridges, 56, was charged with possession of stolen property.

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Bobby Steen said Julia Roberts and the three men traded crack for stolen property, mostly jewelry and guns. The affidavit said an informant told deputies that Julia Roberts hid crack in her prosthetic leg during a previous search.

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