- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Fire kills mother, three children

BRIDGEPORT — Fire broke out in a three-family home yesterday, killing a mother and three children and critically injuring the father.

The blaze started shortly before dawn in the frame building on the city’s west side, and the house was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, Assistant Fire Chief Fred Haschak said.

The flames took two hours to control and gutted the second and third floors, fire officials said. The cause has not yet been determined.

The woman and a 15-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the scene. A 12-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the Bridgeport hospital, and a 3-year-old died at another Bridgeport medical center, officials said.

Their father was in critical condition in the Bridgeport hospital’s burn unit, hospital spokesman John Cappiello said. The victims’ names were not immediately released.


Jury selection starts in reputed Klansman’s case

PHILADELPHIA — Reputed Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen watched from a wheelchair yesterday as jury selection began in his murder trial in one of most shocking crimes of the civil rights era — the 1964 slayings of three voter-registration volunteers.

The slayings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner — three young men who were helping register blacks during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964 — galvanized the civil rights movement and helped win passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Security was tight as about 110 potential jurors were brought to the county courthouse on buses and ushered in through a side door


Diabetic man wins chance for new trial

DENVER — A diabetic man convicted of trying to kill his wife won a chance for a new trial yesterday when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that low blood sugar can cause involuntary intoxication and leave someone incapable of following the law.

Steve David Garcia Jr., an insulin-dependent diabetic, was convicted of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in a 1999 attack on his wife.

The Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge was wrong when he limited Mr. Garcia’s ability to use involuntary intoxication from hypoglycemia as a defense.

The justices left it up to the lower court judge to determine whether Mr. Garcia should receive a new trial.


Man charged in student’s death

NEWARK — A man was charged yesterday with killing a University of Delaware student found raped and strangled in the bathtub of her burned apartment.

Authorities said they had physical evidence linking James E. Cooke Jr., 34, to the crime, but they would not elaborate.

Mr. Cooke was charged with murder, arson, rape and burglary.

Lindsey Bonistall, 20, a sophomore from White Plains, N.Y., who was majoring in English and journalism, was found dead May 1. Mr. Cooke was charged last week in a robbery at another student’s apartment that occurred the day before the slaying.


Cargo plane crashes in neighborhood

FORT LAUDERDALE — A DC-3 cargo plane en route to the Bahamas with three crew members on board crashed and burned yesterday in the middle of the street in a residential neighborhood, authorities said.

There was no immediate word on any deaths or injuries, said Greg Martin, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The flight went down during takeoff three miles east of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Witnesses said the plane appeared to have difficulty gaining altitude and clipped treetops after taking off.


Officials bow out of conference

HONOLULU — County officials in some states are backing out of a five-day national conference next month in Hawaii, saying they would feel guilty spending taxpayers’ money on expensive airfares and beachside hotels during tight budget times.

“It’s an outrageous extravagance by elected officials who have no concern for the taxpayers,” Commissioner Steve Arnold of Guilford County, N.C., told the News and Record of Greensboro, N.C.

So far, officials in Alabama, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin also have abandoned the trip, citing similar concerns.

The National Association of Counties’ convention here is set for July 15 to 19; about 4,000 people are scheduled to attend.

Airfares from the East Coast to Hawaii cost $600 to $1,600. Room rates at the five Waikiki hotels listed for convention attendees range from $179 to $295 per night.


Budget woes won’t snuff fireworks

DETROIT — A fireworks show that has been one of Detroit’s premier summer events for decades will not be canceled after all, despite a budget tussle over police protection, the mayor says.

“I have concluded that the fireworks … will go on here in the city of Detroit,” Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said yesterday. “They will be staffed at an optimum public safety level.”

Mr. Kilpatrick had threatened to cancel the June 29 show, saying he could not guarantee spectators’ safety with a police force set to be reduced by about one-quarter under the budget approved by the City Council.


Two teens charged with shooting tourist

NEW YORK — Two teenagers were charged in the shooting of a tourist during a botched robbery in midtown Manhattan, police said.

Christian Campbell, 16, was thought to be the gunman and was charged with reckless endangerment and weapons possession. Devon Carter, also 16, was charged with robbery. The teens, arrested shortly after the shooting Saturday, are neighbors from Brooklyn.

Sheria Guster, 25, of Baltimore, was shot with a stray bullet while in New York for a one-day bus tour. She was treated for a chest wound at St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan and released Sunday.


Rest home resident charged with murder

BURLINGTON — A mentally ill resident of a rest home who had been accused of attacks at other facilities was charged with murder in the death of an 88-year-old woman, authorities said.

Anthony Michael Zichi, 25, was charged in the death of Ruth Terrell, who was choked and stabbed in the chest May 26 and died Saturday, authorities said.

He had been charged initially with assault with intent to kill. He was being held without bail yesterday.

Because of his mental problems, Mr. Zichi had moved into the private Evans Forever Young Family Care Home in March.

Mr. Zichi previously had been charged with a shooting and an assault at other nursing homes, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said.


Cockfight raid nets 144 arrests

NEWPORT — Law-enforcement agents raided an illegal cockfight and arrested 144 persons attending what one official said may have been one of the nation’s largest such gatherings.

Several SWAT teams, helicopters and dozens of state troopers participated in the raid Saturday on the sprawling Del Rio Cockfight Pit. They seized about $40,000 in cash and killed more than 300 roosters.

“Reputedly, this was the largest cockfight in the United States,” said District Attorney Al Schmutzer Jr. “It was becoming open and notorious, and you just can’t stand back and let something operate like that in the community.”

The 144 were each charged with being a spectator to cockfighting, a misdemeanor in Tennessee. If convicted, they face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.


Cuban exile seeks Florida proceedings

EL PASO — The attorney for a Cuban exile accused of planning the deadly bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 argued yesterday that his client never gave up his U.S. residency and asked that court proceedings on immigration charges be moved to Florida.

Luis Posada Carriles, 77, is charged with entering the country illegally this year. Several Latin American and Caribbean governments are demanding his deportation and retrial as a terrorist in Venezuela.

Mr. Posada is not charged with a crime in the United States. He was acquitted twice in Venezuela of charges related to the bombing that killed 73 persons when the Cuban airliner crashed off the coast of Barbados. He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 as a prosecutor’s appeal was pending. He was arrested in Miami last month and has been held in a federal detention center in El Paso since then.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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