- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2004

TEXAS

Woman convicted for stabbing husband

HOUSTON — A jury yesterday convicted a woman of murder for stabbing her husband 193 times, rejecting her claim that she acted in self-defense after years of abuse.

Prosecutors said Susan Wright, 27, killed Jeffrey Wright last year to collect on his $200,000 life-insurance policy.

Mr. Wright, 34, was found buried in the couple’s back yard after Susan Wright’s attorney reported the body to authorities.

Susan Wright, a former topless dancer, testified that her husband beat her repeatedly and that right before he was killed, he raped her and threatened her with a knife.

UTAH

Elizabeth ‘normal,’ Smarts say

SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart’s parents call their daughter a normal, independent 16-year-old — complete with boyfriends, a curfew and a messy room.

“It’s like she just dropped back in and proceeded from where she left off,” said her father, Ed, speaking to the Associated Press at the family’s Salt Lake City home.

March 12 is the one-year anniversary of Elizabeth’s return home after a nine-month abduction. Ed and Lois Smart spoke to promote an upcoming initiative aimed at educating children about safety and self-defense.

Elizabeth was taken at knife-point from her bedroom June 5, 2002. Prosecutors say Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, held Elizabeth against her will and took her as Mr. Mitchell’s second wife.

ALABAMA

Sarin nerve agent leaks from bunker

ANNISTON — A trace amount of sarin nerve agent leaked from a weapons storage bunker at Anniston Army Depot, but no one was stricken.

Workers were conducting routine checks for leaks Tuesday when a monitor detected the agent outside the airtight bunker where the weapons are stored.

Sarin did not escape the area, and the concentration was not enough to hurt anyone, said Cathy Coleman, a spokeswoman at Anniston Chemical Activity, which oversees the stockpile.

ARKANSAS

Mouthwash chemical approved for poultry

LITTLE ROCK — The same chemical used in most mouthwashes for more than half a century has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use on poultry as a way to reduce food-borne illness.

Researcher Cesar Compadre and colleagues at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences spent 10 years and nearly $1 million attempting to prove what later became obvious: The chemical compound CPC provides effective protection against salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other germs.

Safe Foods Inc. of North Little Rock, which developed CPC into a spray that it will market under the brand name Cecure, announced yesterday that the FDA told the company it can begin marketing the product as soon as it is published in the Federal Register.

IDAHO

Governor waffles on re-election bid

BOISE — After previously saying he wouldn’t seek a third term, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne didn’t sound quite so adamant when asked directly whether he was considering an re-election bid in 2006.

“Today I don’t have plans to seek a third term,” the Republican said before adding, “Ask me next year.”

During his re-election campaign in June 2002, Mr. Kempthorne said unequivocally he would not run again if re-elected.

ILLINOIS

Tribune fires reporter for making up source

CHICAGO — The Chicago Tribune said yesterday it fired a free-lance writer and former longtime foreign correspondent after he admitted fabricating the name of a source he quoted making disparaging remarks about Aborigines in a recent story from Australia.

The Tribune apologized to its readers for “this breach of trust” in a brief story under its “Corrections and Clarifications” fixture on the second page of yesterday’s editions.

It said Uli Schmetzer, who worked for the paper as a foreign correspondent for 16 years before retiring two years ago and becoming a free-lancer, “has been terminated as a contract writer with the newspaper.”

INDIANA

Pet wild cats must be moved, judge rules

FORT WAYNE — A man who keeps a cougar and three African wild cats as pets must find somewhere else for the animals until his neighbors’ lawsuit is settled, a judge ruled.

Gary L. Dutcher must remove the animals, saying their continued presence would pose “an unacceptable risk” to the neighborhood, Allen Superior Judge Stanley Levine said Tuesday in his ruling. A neighborhood association filed a lawsuit last week

In January, Mr. Dutcher crashed his car while taking home his 150-pound cougar Samson from a veterinary clinic. The cat escaped from the car, and police fatally shot it when it lunged at an emergency worker.

Mr. Dutcher said during the hearing that he already removed the cats from his home northeast of Fort Wayne. It was not immediately clear where they were taken.

KENTUCKY

Elk killing enrages outdoor enthusiasts

PIKEVILLE — Outdoor enthusiasts who have supported efforts to reintroduce elk to Appalachia are furious with the decision of wildlife officials last week to kill two massive elk bulls that were believed to have damaged pastureland.

“In my opinion, somebody ought to be horsewhipped,” said outdoorsman Ferris Sexton, who questioned how much damage elk could cause to a pasture. He said outdoorsmen primarily were upset that the big elk were killed rather than tranquilized and moved.

The bulls, which weighed more than 700 pounds, were the leaders of an elk herd that had been grazing on pastureland in Knott County intermittently over the past two years, said Jon Gassett, wildlife director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He said wildlife officials consider shooting nuisance animals only as a last resort.

MAINE

Librarian discovers rare silver dollar

PORTLAND — America’s rarest silver dollar — and possibly its most famous stolen coin — was discovered in a box filled with miscellaneous coins by a Maine librarian who wasn’t even a collector.

The coin, thought to be one of only two 1866 silver dollars minted without the inscription “In God We Trust,” is estimated to be worth at least $1 million.

The “No Motto Dollar” was among thousands of coins taken during an armed robbery at a home in Coconut Grove, Fla., in 1967.

The coin surfaced after American Numismatic Rarities, a coin auction company, received a call from a Maine man who said he thought he had it. John Kraljevich, the company’s director of numismatic research who took the call, said the man identified only as a librarian told him that an eccentric friend in California gave him the box of coins as collateral for a loan.

The coin will go to the American Numismatic Association museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., after it is authenticated, said Harold Gray, an attorney for Willis du Pont, the coin’s original owner.

MINNESOTA

Bus drivers to strike today

ST. PAUL — Bus drivers in the Twin Cities planned to walk off the job early today after contract talks broke down between union leaders and the transit authority.

An estimated 75,000 daily passengers in and around St. Paul and Minneapolis rely on Metro Transit.

Union President Ron Lloyd said there wasn’t a particular sticking point that caused talks to break down. But Peter Bell, chairman of the Metropolitan Council, which runs the regional bus system, said the central issue is health care.

No new talks were scheduled.

MISSOURI

Teacher quits after duct-taping student

ORAN — A teacher resigned last month after duct-taping a misbehaving seventh-grader to his desk and covering his mouth with tape, the school superintendent said yesterday.

The parents of 14-year-old Tommy Brindley said the boy nearly suffocated before freeing himself about 15 minutes later. It happened Feb. 19 at the elementary-middle school in Oran.

“He has attention deficit disorder, and he was misbehaving,” his father, Larry Brindley, said.

Superintendent Tom Anderson said the teacher, whose name was not released, directed two other students to help her tape Tommy to his desk.

MONTANA

Eleven-year-olds die after drinking binge

HELENA — Two 11-year-old boys whose bodies were found in a snowy field on an American Indian reservation died after consuming massive amounts of liquor, the sheriff investigating the case said Tuesday. One boy had a blood-alcohol level more than six times the legal threshold for drunken driving.

Frankie Sonneah Nicolai and Justin Benoist were discovered Monday by one of their friends in a field a half-mile outside their hometown of Ronan. Lake County Sheriff Bill Barron said it appeared both died late Friday or early Saturday, but had not been reported missing all weekend.

NORTH CAROLINA

Voters approve beer, wine sales

BARBECUE TOWNSHIP — Beer and wine with your barbecue?

Barbecue Township voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve beer and wine sales, a move backers hope will attract more restaurants and businesses to this community of 9,000 north of Fayetteville.

The vote in Barbecue followed a change in state law last year allowing townships to vote on alcohol sales.

NEW YORK

Woman stabbed fatally after breakup

NEW YORK — A New York woman who spurned a St. Valentine’s Day marriage proposal was killed by her jilted boyfriend, who cut into her heart with a knife in a violent rage, authorities said yesterday.

Police officers and an emergency medical team were called to a Bronx apartment Tuesday afternoon and found the body of Betzaida Madera, 20, on the dining room floor, her throat slashed and a gaping hole in her chest. Two knives were found in the bathroom.

Relatives of the woman told police she split up recently with Wilfredo Lopez, 25, her longtime boyfriend and the father of their 18-month-old son. They said she rejected his Feb. 14 proposal and his repeated pleas to reconcile.

Police arrested Mr. Lopez in a nearby park about an hour after Miss Madera’s death. They said he had blood on his hands.

OHIO

Attorney-client privilege rejected

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday rejected a lawyer’s right to invoke attorney-client privilege in refusing to say if a now-dead client knew anything about the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl.

The court ruled 7-0 that the spouse of the deceased client has the right to waive confidentiality.

Two lower courts had ordered Beth Lewis to disclose whether her client, Jan Franks, who died of a drug overdose in 2001, had information about Erica Baker, who vanished in 1999 while walking her dog. Her husband, Shane Franks, granted Miss Lewis permission to testify, but Miss Lewis argued that state law gave her the choice to refuse if it is in her client’s interest.

According to an appeals court, police received information that Jan Franks and other people may have been in a van that struck and killed the girl.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Insurance company stops writing policies

CHARLESTON — The third-largest homeowner insurer in South Carolina has decided to stop writing policies along most of the state’s 187-mile coastline.

Nationwide Insurance Co. said it wants to limit its exposure to claim payouts from wind and storm damage. It will continue to cover existing policyholders.

WASHINGTON

July Fourth event canceled over costs

EVERETT — The Navy canceled the July Fourth Freedom Festival at the Everett Naval Station amid concerns over security costs and the public’s reluctance to be subjected to strict security checks.

Attendance for last year’s event dropped from about 10,000 to 5,000. People were reluctant to submit to metal detectors and bag checks, said base spokeswoman Jeanie Kitchens.

WEST VIRGINIA

Professor sets up language bank

HUNTINGTON — To most West Virginians, a language barrier is nothing more serious than trying to decide whether someone’s “y’all” was meant to be singular or plural.

But even in West Virginia, with a population that is 94.6 percent native-born white residents, the need for translators and interpreters is critical, according to Dr. Omayma Touma, director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

“We need to be prepared to be able to communicate with all our citizens in the event that there is a public health emergency or a disaster of a large magnitude,” said Dr. Touma, who is creating a “language bank” with Cark Egnor, executive director of Marshall University Center for International Programs.

The bank will make volunteer interpreters available free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to government agencies and other not-for-profit organizations that have need of the service. The language bank is not officially open for business until next month, but already it has collected the names and language skills of nearly 40 volunteers.

WISCONSIN

Official to pay $3,250 for drunken driving

MADISON — Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager has agreed to pay the state $3,250 — the equivalent of 10 days’ pay — as a penalty for being arrested last week on drunken-driving charges after driving her state-owned car into a ditch.

The penalty is similar to a 10-day suspension, although Lautenschlager, the state’s top law-enforcement official, will continue to work as attorney general during the period for which she will receive no pay, the state Department of Justice said in a statement Tuesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide