- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 9, 2004


Priest fined for role in Frankel swindle

NEW HAVEN — A federal judge fined a Vatican official $15,000 yesterday but spared him prison time for his role in the insurance scam of disgraced financier Martin Frankel.

Monsignor Emilio Colagiovanni, 84, must pay the fine within 30 days and cannot leave the United States until he does, U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns ruled. Monsignor Colagiovanni pleaded guilty two years ago to charges that he falsely vouched for a bogus charity Frankel set up to hide his theft of $200 million from insurance companies in five states.

The priest, who publishes a periodical of canon law for the Roman Catholic Church, said he was “very sorry if anybody has been hurt of my doing.” His guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money-laundering could have meant a five-year prison sentence, but the judge ruled that prison time was not appropriate because of Monsignor Colagiovanni’s age and declining health.


Acupuncture relieves camel’s arthritis

BROOKFIELD — Keepers at the Brookfield Zoo tried everything they could think of to help relieve arthritis in the front legs of Jewel, an aging Bactrian camel. But in 2003, a former colleague suggested another, less traditional approach: acupuncture. The staff saw an improvement a few days after the first treatment.

“I hadn’t seen this camel run for more than two years, she’d gotten so lame,” said Mary Schollhamer, Jewel’s chief keeper. “But when she saw me that morning, she ran all the way to the fence to greet me. I was so moved, I started to cry.”

Although keepers reward Jewel with a treat every time a needle goes in, she is not always happy about the treatment, she said. “Camels can kick in any direction when they’re upset,” Miss Schollhamer said.


Dog ‘shoots,’ wounds owner

PENSACOLA — A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver’s trigger.

Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist.

Mr. Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn’t find them a home.

On Monday, Mr. Bradford was holding two puppies — one in his arms and another in his left hand — when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff’s report said.

Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Mr. Bradford’s home, said sheriff’s Sgt. Ted Roy.

The four others appeared to be in good health.


Inmate plotted to kill young witness

NEW ORLEANS — Guards foiled a jailhouse homicide plot against an 11-year-old boy who witnessed his uncle’s killing and planned to testify against the suspect, authorities said yesterday.

The plot is the latest in a series of crimes stemming from the 2003 shooting death of 16-year-old James Robinson, who was killed as he sat in a car with the boy’s mother and the 11-year-old.

The boy’s mother was shot to death two months later — the same day she testified before a grand jury in the case of James’ killing.

The suspect, Bryan Mathieu, reportedly conspired from the city jail to kill the boy, presumably to prevent him from testifying.


Church to help pay motorists’ gas tabs

SPRINGFIELD — Park Crest Assembly of God wants to do a good deed by paying part of motorists’ gas tabs next month.

The price of any octane at a south Springfield station will be reduced by 40 cents a gallon on Oct. 1. Motorists will be limited to 15 gallons. The church will pay the discount on 2,500 gallons.


Possible explosive in letter causes scare

HELENA — The governor’s office and a portion of the state Capitol were evacuated yesterday after the discovery of what authorities described as a potential explosive device in a letter.

Barbara Ranf, chief of staff for Gov. Judy Martz, said a staff member was opening a letter that apparently contained a match, which ignited and began burning paper.

The letter also contained a fuse and small plastic bag, but Miss Ranf said it appeared the fuse did not ignite. There was no explosion and no one was injured. It was not immediately clear what, if anything, was in the plastic bag.

The governor was not in the Capitol at the time, Miss Ranf said.

Sheryl Olson, deputy administrator of the General Services Division, said the evacuation of the second and third floors of the Capitol’s East Wing was ordered because police considered the incident a “credible threat.”


Vegas monorail closes again

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas monorail was closed one day after it reopened when a piece of a train’s undercarriage fell off Wednesday and landed in a busy street.

No one was injured when a slip disk — similar to a large washer — came loose and fell about 25 feet to the pavement, monorail spokesman Todd Walker said. The 6-inch disk, weighing one to two pounds, first struck a power rail, causing electrical arcing but no serious damage to the track.

The monorail had reopened Tuesday after being closed for six days after a Sept. 1 incident in which a 60-pound wheel fell off one of the trains. Nobody was hurt. The wheel apparently was installed improperly at an assembly plant.

Mr. Walker said the fully automated monorail, which travels along a 3.9-mile route, will reopen when Clark County inspectors and system officials say it’s safe.


Driver pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

CAMDEN — A man who crashed his car through a McDonald’s restaurant at about 100 mph, killing three workers, pleaded guilty yesterday to vehicular homicide and agreed to serve 10 years in prison.

Frank R. Nastasi Sr. described the 2002 crash in court, saying he was trying to drive to his father’s house after dreaming that his father was ill. As he raced to the home, he missed a turn and lost control of the car.

It slammed into the restaurant at a speed authorities said might have exceeded 100 mph. Killed in the crash were McDonald’s employees Joann Bowen, Cynthia Molino and Nancy King.


High-speed ferry ends Lake Ontario run

ROCHESTER — After 11 weeks and scores of trips across Lake Ontario, the “Spirit of Ontario” has cut its engines.

The high-speed ferry carried 140,000 passengers between Rochester and Toronto before its parent company halted service. The company blames government hurdles on both sides of the border for its debts of more than $1.7 million.


State charges use of drugs killed fetus

OKLAHOMA CITY — A 27-year-old Oklahoma woman has been charged with first-degree murder after doctors said the woman’s illegal-drug use caused her baby to be stillborn, prosecutors said yesterday.

It is the first time the state has charged a woman with first-degree murder for using illegal drugs that are suspected of killing the fetus she carried, Oklahoma County prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they filed first-degree murder charges against Theresa Hernandez late Wednesday. Police arrested her after she gave birth to a dead boy at an Oklahoma City hospital in April.From wire dispatches and staff reports

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