- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 8, 2005

Rehnquist won’t return next week

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist will not preside on Monday when the Supreme Court returns from the holidays, a court spokeswoman said yesterday.

Chief Justice Rehnquist, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in October, has worked from home for two months after being hospitalized and undergoing a tracheotomy to help him breathe.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said he would not be able to return to the bench “because of continuing secretions caused by his tracheotomy and radiation therapy.”

Chief Justice Rehnquist is still expected to administer the oath of office to President Bush on Jan. 20, if his health permits it.

Chlorine threat lingers after crash

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. — Townspeople and night-shift workers at a textile mill heard the scrape of metal and a house-shaking boom. Then, in rolled a greenish-yellow fog that smelled powerfully like bleach.

“I took a breath. That stuff grabbed me,” said Charles Reyes Littleeagle, a volunteer firefighter who ran to the scene.

At least eight persons died and more than 250 were sickened after a freight train carrying toxic chlorine gas crashed early Thursday. Authorities yesterday said all of the deaths appeared to have been caused by the cloud of gas that settled over its victims in their homes, their cars and in the textile mill.

The crash happened about 2:40 a.m. when a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying 42 cars struck a parked train at a crossing next to the textile plant, where 400 workers were on the night shift making denim and other fabrics.

Retiree gets probation in accidental shooting

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — A retiree who accidentally shot a friend to death during an initiation ceremony at a Masonic lodge pleaded guilty yesterday to criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Albert Eid, 77, past master of the Long Island lodge, appeared tearful as he told a judge he was sorry for shooting William James.

“William was my friend, and it’s terrible,” he said.

Mr. James, 47, was shot in the face last March. During the initiation, he was seated in a chair, and a small platform with cans was placed near his head. Eid was supposed to fire blanks from about 20 feet away, and another Mason was supposed to knock the cans down with a stick to make Mr. James think actual bullets had been fired.

Police said Eid, a retired plumber and a decorated Navy veteran of World War II, mistakenly pulled a loaded .32-caliber handgun from his left pants pocket instead of a .22-caliber pistol with blanks that was in his right pocket.

Spector changes story about actress’ death

LOS ANGELES — Legendary pop music producer Phil Spector first told police he killed actress Lana Clarkson accidentally but later changed his story and said she committed suicide, according to Los Angeles County grand jury testimony.

According to transcripts cited in the Los Angeles Times, Alhambra police Officer Beatrice Rodriguez testified that when police arrived at Mr. Spector’s home after the shooting, he said, “What’s wrong with you guys? What are you doing? I didn’t mean to shoot her. It was an accident.”

Mr. Spector, 64, is accused of killing the 40-year-old actress in 2003.

Crematory operator gets 12 years

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A former crematory operator who admitted dumping 334 bodies and passing off cement dust as their ashes pleaded guilty yesterday and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Ray Brent Marsh, 31, apologized after listening to a series of statements from Tennessee relatives of those whose bodies were mishandled at his Tri-State Crematory in Georgia.

The sentencing was part of an agreement between officials in Tennessee and Georgia, where Marsh pleaded guilty in November to 787 counts of theft, abuse of a corpse, burial service fraud and making false statements.

Prostitute turns in client for child porn

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A prostitute turned in a customer after seeing child pornography on his home computer, police said.

The woman said it was a disturbing video that showed the rape of a young child, perhaps no older than 2, that caused her to call police, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Detective Carlos Negron said Federico Eduardo Amezaga, 29, let investigators search his apartment, where they found photos and videos of children performing sex acts.

Officers arrested Mr. Amezaga on 15 charges of possessing child pornography and took him to the Broward County Jail, where he was being held yesterday in lieu of $150,000 bond.

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