- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Judge pleads guilty to drunken driving

SANTA FE ” A judge who wrecked a state-owned van last week pleaded guilty to drunken driving and said he would enter a treatment program.

State District Judge Thomas Fitch admitted to aggravated DWI and other charges in court Tuesday. He was sentenced to the maximum 90 days, with 88 days suspended, and will serve the two days in jail after his treatment.

Fitch, 62, was driving to a legislative committee meeting Friday when the van overturned. Police said they found a nearly empty bottle of vodka, and Fitch’s blood alcohol concentration was tested at more than twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Fitch is chief judge in the sprawling 7th Judicial District based in Socorro.


Smart kidnap suspect removed from hearing

SALT LAKE CITY ” The drifter and self-proclaimed prophet accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart was removed from his competency hearing twice yesterday for singing a religious song ” the third time he has done that in court in recent months.

Brian David Mitchell, 51, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 59, are charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and burglary in the 2002 abduction of the teenager.

Mr. Mitchell was removed from the courtroom when he sang “Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show.” When Judge Judith Atherton later allowed him to return, he sang “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven’s at hand,” and was removed again.

Associated Press

Brian David Mitchell (left), accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, yesterday sang a hymn in court during his competency hearing in Salt Lake City.


Mexico prison plan wins first vote

PHOENIX ” A bill that would have Arizona solicit proposals to build a private prison in Mexico to house illegal immigrants cleared its first legislative hurdle yesterday.

Supporters say the bill, approved on a 4-2 vote by a House committee, could help reduce Arizona’s heavy cost of imprisoning 3,600 to 4,000 illegal immigrants in state prisons. Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano recently billed the federal government nearly $118 million in unreimbursed costs for imprisoning illegal immigrants.

“This is a creative idea and worthy of exploration,” said Rep. Bill Konopnicki, a Republican who voted for the bill. Opponents questioned whether the state has the legal authority to move prisoners to Mexico.


Woman arrested for near-beheading

AURORA ” Deputy U.S. marshals, posing as immigration officers, arrested a South Korean woman this week in the near-beheading of the wife of the woman’s ex-lover, the U.S. Marshals Service said yesterday.

Yong Yi, who was declared a fugitive after returning in February 2004 to her home country, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon by deputies on a federal homicide warrant. After learning the woman was in Colorado, deputy marshals posing as immigration officers scheduled a meeting with her so she could obtain travel documents she had requested.

Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Ken Deal said Miss Yi attended the meeting and was arrested. She is being held in the Clear Creek County Jail.

Mr. Deal said Miss Yi resided in the United States after her marriage to an American in 1989, but returned to Korea to visit her mother and had an affair with a local man. Several months later, after the man left South Korea for the United States, Mr. Deal said, Miss Yi followed him and sought to rekindle the love affair.

Rejected, he said, she took out her anger on her ex-lover’s wife by stabbing her in the neck and killing her.


Woman, 79, charged in attack on police

SOUTH BEND ” A 79-year-old woman has been charged with using her wooden cane to strike police officers who arrived at her home to check on her well-being.

St. Joseph County prosecutors said the officers came to investigate a suspected domestic abuse charge against Betty Chambers’ live-in caretaker, Thomas Holleman, 57.

As the officers tried to handcuff Mr. Holleman, Miss Chambers reportedly struck Officer Lonny Foresman over the head with her cane, prosecutors said.

Officer Foresman suffered a mild concussion while Sgt. John Pavlekovich suffered a separated shoulder and hand injury, said Jaimee Thirion, a spokeswoman for St. Joseph County police.

Prosecutors charged Miss Chambers and Mr. Holleman on Tuesday with battery and resisting law enforcement.


Governor breaks ribs after slipping on ice

AUGUSTA ” Gov. John Baldacci broke three ribs when he slipped on ice outside his home yesterday, a year after breaking a rib in a car accident, a spokesman said.

Mr. Baldacci was walking down the back steps at the governor’s mansion to pick up the morning newspapers when he fell, spokesman Lynn Kippax said.

He was taken to Maine General Medical Center in Augusta, where X-rays confirmed his injuries, the spokesman said. He later returned to Blaine House, where maintenance workers were busy removing the ice. He canceled the day’s appointments and was resting.


Lawmaker backs Boone highway

PIKEVILLE ” A congressman whose name took the place of Daniel Boone’s on a prominent mountain highway is endorsing a proposal to rename another highway after the famous frontiersman.

Rep. Harold Rogers, Kentucky Republican, said he wants U.S. 25E to be renamed the Daniel Boone Wilderness Road, a move that would appease Mr. Boone’s descendants, who were offended when state officials renamed the Daniel Boone Parkway for Mr. Rogers.

“That was done without my knowledge,” Mr. Rogers said. “It was a surprise to me. But they have named various parkways throughout the state for people in public life … and I was honored.”


Airport workers charged in smuggling

NEWARK ” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested three Continental Airlines employees and a former private security guard at Newark Liberty International Airport this week on charges of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Kemuel “Kenny” Hernandez, 26, of New York City, Jose Minaya, 39, of Clark, N.J., and Justriminio “David” Abreu, 40, of New York City, all baggage handlers, and Jose Lopez, 23, of Newark, the private security guard, were taken into custody by agents on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into airline security. A fifth man, identified as baggage handler Jimmy Macias, is a fugitive. His age and hometown were not released.

The suspects were jailed without bail after an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Hedges.

ICE officials said the four were charged with using their positions at secure areas of the airport to act as “lookouts” while others diverted cocaine-laden luggage from international to domestic baggage carousels. Through those means and by retagging suitcases containing cocaine, the officials said, the conspirators sought to ensure that uniformed law-enforcement personnel did not inspect the luggage.


Hospital wins bid to pull life support

HOUSTON ” An infant with an often-lethal skeletal disorder can be removed from life support by the hospital against his mother’s wishes, a judge ruled yesterday.

Probate Court Judge William C. McCulloch’s decision lifted a restraining order that kept Wanda Hudson’s 4-month-old son, Sun, on life support.

Texas Children’s Hospital officials have said no treatment can save the infant, and they wanted to remove him from life support. The mother thinks her son will recover and had fought to keep him on the ventilator he has used since birth.

Sun has thanatophoric dysplasia, a genetic condition characterized by extremely short limbs, a narrow chest, small ribs and underdeveloped lungs. Infants usually are stillborn or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure. There have been documented cases of survivors, however.


STD treatment backed for partners

SEATTLE ” People with chlamydia or gonorrhea are supposed to tell past sexual partners about their diagnosis and urge them to get treatment. A study says giving the patients medicine to pass on to their possibly infected sexual partners works even better.

“It decreases those patients’ risk of being reinfected, and increases their partners’ chance of being treated,” said lead study author Dr. Matthew Golden, acting director of the STD Control Program for Seattle and King County Public Health.

The study, published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, tracked 1,860 patients with gonorrhea or chlamydia in the Seattle area.• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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