- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

NEW YORK

Helicopter crashes in East River

NEW YORK — A helicopter carrying tourists on a sightseeing trip above Manhattan crashed yesterday into the East River minutes after takeoff. None of the seven persons aboard was seriously hurt.

Police units that patrol the harbor were in the area conducting a drill and quickly rescued the pilot and his passengers, who were standing on the helicopter’s pontoons, awaiting help, when the boats arrived, Inspector Michael Coan said.

It was not known what caused the crash.

NORTH CAROLINA

Army deserter home after 40 years

WELDON — A former U.S. Army sergeant who deserted his squad and defected to North Korea 40 years ago returned yesterday to the quiet sycamore-lined streets of his native North Carolina.

Now 65 and stooped, Charles Robert Jenkins flew from Japan with his wife and daughters to visit his ailing 91-year-old mother.

Wearing a gray suit and a broad smile, Mr. Jenkins said it felt “very good” to be back in North Carolina.

Mr. Jenkins was a 24-year-old sergeant leading a patrol through the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea when he abandoned his comrades in 1965 and fled to the communist North.

He later told a court-martial he defected because he was scared he would have to go to Vietnam. He was convicted and spent 25 days in a U.S. military jail in Japan last year.

ARKANSAS

Attorney general to run for governor

SEARCY — Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe formally announced his candidacy for governor yesterday, promising to make “the best in Arkansas available to everyone.”

The announcement had long been considered a given for the Democrat, a former state Senate leader who spent 20 years in the legislature.

Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, cannot seek a third term because of term limits.

Two Republicans, billionaire Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller and former congressman and Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, have said they will run for governor but have not made formal announcements.

CONNECTICUT

Killer taunted doctor before execution

HARTFORD — A psychiatrist who advised against executing Michael Ross received a posthumous letter from the serial killer that said: “Check, and mate. You never had a chance!”

Stuart Grassian said he initially was horrified when he read the note from Ross, who died by lethal injection May 13. The letter was dated May 10.

“My next reaction was to laugh,” Dr. Grassian said. “He wanted so much to win and he took such joy in winning, it was sort of funny. Look at the real result.”

Ross, 45, fought off attempts by public defenders, death penalty foes and his own family to spare his life. He was sentenced to death for the murders of four young women and girls in Connecticut in the 1980s, and confessed to four more such slayings in Connecticut and New York. He also raped most of the women.

FLORIDA

Schiavo report set for release

TAMPA — The medical examiner’s office plans to release its autopsy report today on Terri Schiavo — findings her family hopes will shed light on the cause of the collapse that left her severely brain-damaged 15 years ago.

Mrs. Schiavo, 41, died March 31, nearly two weeks after the feeding tube that had kept her alive was removed under a court order obtained by her husband, Michael Schiavo.

Her death ended a bitter legal battle between Mr. Schiavo, who said his wife did not want to be kept alive artificially, and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who disputed doctors’ findings that she was in a vegetative state and insisted she could improve with therapy.

IDAHO

FBI agent sentenced for child porn

BOISE — A longtime FBI agent who helped arrest infamous outlaw Claude Dallas has been sentenced to a year in prison for possessing child pornography.

William Buie, 64, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in March. Buie told authorities that he learned to access child pornography Web sites while attending a seminar on preventing child exploitation in 2000 or 2001.

A former FBI sniper who worked for about 30 years for the agency in Seattle, Salt Lake City and Butte, Mont., Buie helped arrest Dallas in 1982 after the self-proclaimed mountain man spent a year on the run after killing two Idaho Fish and Game agents.

ILLINOIS

Judge apologizes for jailing juror

CHICAGO — A pregnant woman who spent three days in jail after skipping out of jury duty has received an apology from the judge who had her arrested.

Cook County Circuit Judge Preston Bowie said Monday he made a mistake when he issued an arrest warrant for Monique Mitchell, 21, of South Holland, Ill.

“This was a mistake on my part, and I apologize for it,” Judge Bowie said.

Mrs. Mitchell was picked to serve on a jury early last month. She telephoned the court the next day and said she wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be back. When she didn’t return phone calls from a sheriff’s deputy, the judge issued an arrest warrant.

On Monday, Judge Bowie dismissed a contempt of court citation against the woman.

KANSAS

Vomiting on teacher gets student charged

OLATHE — A high school student who vomited on his Spanish teacher has been charged with battery against a school official.

The misdemeanor charge was filed Monday against the Olathe Northwest High School student. The 17-year-old was charged as a juvenile and his name was not released.

Prosecutors said the vomiting was intentional, and the teacher, David Young, called the act “outrageous.”

“I think a message is being sent by both the school district and the district attorney that this behavior will not be tolerated,” Mr. Young said.

The student’s father said his son told him he did not mean to throw up on the teacher but had been made uncontrollably ill by the stress of final exams.

NEW JERSEY

Court upholds marriage law

NEWARK — A state appeals court yesterday ruled that New Jersey’s marriage laws are constitutional and same-sex “marriage” cannot be allowed without a change in the law.

The 2-1 decision, written by Appellate Judge Stephen Skillman, affirms a lower court ruling that also found no constitutional basis for same-sex “marriage.”

Appellate Judge Donald G. Collester Jr. dissented, which virtually assures the case filed by seven homosexual couples seeking to “marry” will be heard by the state Supreme Court.

OHIO

Somali wants statements dismissed

COLUMBUS — A Somali immigrant accused of conspiring to help terrorists blow up a shopping mall is asking that his statements to investigators — including what he knew about a member of al Qaeda — be barred from his trial.

Attorney Mahir T. Sherif said Nuradin Abdi was arrested without grounds and pressured to answer investigators’ questions. On June 1, he asked a federal judge to bar the statements, which are sealed.

Mr. Abdi said he thought if he cooperated with agents and gave them information about Iyman Faris, he would be allowed to go home. Faris has pleaded guilty to helping terrorists.

PENNSYLVANIA

City corruption probe nets mosque leader

PHILADELPHIA — A local Muslim leader was convicted yesterday on 22 federal counts involving the use of political connections to obtain illegal loans, donations and municipal contracts.

The verdict marks the latest in a string of victories for prosecutors who have attacked the “pay to play” culture of Philadelphia’s Democrat-dominated city government.

Shamsud-din Ali, the 67-year-old head of a West Philadelphia mosque, generated tens of thousands of dollars through extortion, bribery and political connections. His victims included the city, a community college, a bank, a car dealership and two waste-hauling companies that were seeking city contracts.

Ali used the Muslim school he ran with his wife as a private piggy bank, soliciting donations and public-education funds for adult-education classes that were never held. He had at least five family members on the payroll, including two adult children.

Ali will face at least four years in prison when he is sentenced , prosecutors said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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