- The Washington Times - Friday, December 30, 2005

Abramoff near deal with prosecutors

Federal prosecutors and attorneys for Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff consulted briefly yesterday with a federal judge in Miami as they put the finishing touches on a plea deal that could be announced as early as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The plea agreement would secure the lobbyist’s testimony against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients.

Mr. Abramoff and a former partner were indicted in Miami in August on charges of conspiracy and fraud for purportedly lying about their assets to help secure financing to purchase a fleet of gambling boats.

Soldier charged in shooting death

NEW YORK — A U.S. soldier was charged with manslaughter yesterday after purportedly firing into the air and accidentally killing a mother of two while he was on leave in New York City.

Army Pvt. Danny Carpio, 23, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon. Bail was set at $300,000. Each count carries a possible 15-year prison sentence.

Police said Pvt. Carpio fired the gun into the air several times when he ran into some friends in the street after a night of partying.

One of the shots pierced the window of a nearby fifth-floor apartment, striking Selina Akthel, 28, in the head and killing her instantly.

Record-tying storm forms in Atlantic

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the open ocean yesterday, tying a record for the latest-developing named storm.

Although the National Hurricane Center said Zeta wasn’t forecast to become a hurricane or threaten land, its development was significant because it came a month after the official Nov. 30 end to the unprecedented season.

The season brought a record 14 hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi in August, killing more than 1,300 people in the most costly disaster in U.S. history. Forecasters exhausted their list of 21 proper names and began using the Greek alphabet to name storms for the first time.

Katrina refugees die in murder-suicide

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A family of three Hurricane Katrina refugees facing eviction were found dead yesterday in their Texas apartment in what appears to be a double murder-suicide, authorities said.

Police were called by the apartment complex to assist in the eviction and discovered the bodies, said police Sgt. Todd Dearing in Grapevine, near Dallas.

Found with gunshot wounds were a 40-year-old man, a 37-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy, all from Louisiana. Police found a shotgun thought to be the weapon, Sgt. Dearing said.

Police were searching for a 16-year-old daughter they think was living elsewhere, he said. Names were being withheld until relatives could be notified.

Girl, 4, makes life-saving 911 call

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A 4-year old girl called 911 and got help for her mother after she fell while taking down Christmas decorations.

Jessica Holden called about 11:40 a.m. Thursday and told the dispatcher that her mother had fallen off the roof and was hurt, said Unified Fire Authority firefighter-paramedic Joe Wilcken.

The dispatcher talked to the girl for about 15 minutes. Jessica told him that her mother was hurt, that she was possibly bleeding from her head, that she was “asleep” and that she may have fallen off the roof.

Jessica’s mother, Erica Holden, was not conscious when crews arrived, but regained consciousness shortly thereafter. She was flown to a hospital in serious condition.

Officer attacked by Chihuahua pack

FREMONT, Calif. — A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home after a traffic stop, authorities said.

The officer suffered minor injuries, including bites to his ankle, Detective Bill Veteran said.

The five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy’s home and rushed the officer in the doorway Thursday, authorities said. The teenager had been detained after the traffic incident.

The officer was treated at a hospital and returned to work less than two hours later.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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