- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 16, 2005


Ex-trooper accused in wife’s shooting

MIDDLETOWN — A former state trooper killed his ex-wife, wounded her divorce attorney and then shot himself yesterday outside the courthouse where they were to appear for a hearing, law-enforcement officials said.

Hartford Hospital listed retired Trooper Michael Bochicchio Jr. in critical condition. A woman identified by police as Bochicchio’s ex-wife, Donna, was pronounced dead on the top deck of a parking garage behind Middletown Superior Court.

Lawyer Julie Porzio, who represented Mrs. Bochicchio, was listed in stable condition.

The Bochicchios’ divorce case had been under way since 2003, court officials said. The status of the case was not clear.


NASA moves shuttle back to launchpad

CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA returned the Space Shuttle Discovery to the launchpad yesterday for the first mission since the Columbia disaster, after replacing the external fuel tank with a new model designed to prevent dangerous ice buildup.

Shuttle managers are aiming for a liftoff as early as July 13.

Discovery’s four-mile trek from the assembly building to the launchpad aboard the giant shuttle transporter took more than 10 hours. The trip was halted several times because of overheated bearings in the 40-year-old transporter, and the speed fell below the usual mile per hour.


Principal asks to pass failing pupils

SANTA ANA — A high school principal asked teachers to reconsider the grades of failing seniors to help the school meet federal requirements under No Child Left Behind.

Saddleback High School Principal Esther Jones sent teachers a memo last week asking them to reconsider the grades of 98 students, saying, “Please review your records for these students and determine if they would merit a grade of ‘D’ instead of a failure.”

School Board President Audrey Yamagata-Noji said she needed to find out more about Miss Jones, the incident and her leadership of the school before determining whether discipline was necessary. Miss Jones did not return calls for comment.


Autopsy reveals no trauma to boy

LAKE BUENA VISTA — An autopsy on a 4-year-old boy who died after passing out on a Walt Disney World spaceship ride found no trauma, and more tests will be conducted to determine a cause of death, officials said yesterday.

Daudi Bamuwamye of Sellersville, Pa., passed out Monday on the “Mission: Space” ride, which simulates a rocket launch and trip to Mars. The attraction is so intense that it has motion-sickness bags and several riders have been treated for chest pain.

A cause of death may not be known for several weeks, said Sheri Blanton, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner in Orlando.


Beauty school gives robber the iron

SHREVEPORT — It turned pretty ugly for an armed robber who tried to rip off a group of beauty school students.

The man entered Blalock’s Beauty College on Tuesday, brandished a gun and told the women there to lie on the floor, said manager Dianne Mitchell.

After collecting money, the robber ran toward the front door, and Miss Mitchell tripped him. As he fell, the would-be robber dropped his gun. Abram Bishop, the lone male employee in the college, jumped onto his back and pinned him to the floor.

Seizing the opportunity, Miss Mitchell rallied her students, who descended on the suspect after arming themselves with curling irons, chairs and a wooden table leg.

Jared Gipson, 24, of Shreveport, was charged with armed robbery, police said. He will be booked into the city jail once he is released from a hospital. The gun, police learned later, was not loaded, but that didn’t matter to the students.

“He got what he deserved,” said student Renae Collier, 26.


Trial begins in 1964 slayings

PHILADELPHIA — A reputed Ku Klux Klansman went on trial yesterday in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, with prosecutors telling the jury that he organized carloads of Klansmen who chased down the victims, killed them and buried their bodies.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s opening statement came shortly after 17 jurors — 13 white and four black — were seated for the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, 80. Five of the jurors will serve as alternates, but the judge did not immediately announce which ones, leaving open the prospect that the jury of 12 could lack any black members.

Mr. Killen, a part-time preacher, could get life in prison if convicted. He has been free on bail and uses a wheelchair because of arthritis that was aggravated after his legs were broken in a tree-cutting accident in March.


City has its cake and pays for it, too

LAS VEGAS — It turns out that Las Vegas will have to eat the bill for its massive birthday party cake.

Officials from the Las Vegas Centennial Celebration Committee found out that they must fork over $95,000 for the basketball-court-sized dessert that they had thought was a donation by Sara Lee.

Sara Lee spokeswoman Dawn Mann Charles said the company never agreed to donate the cake, but to deliver it at a discount. The cake, assembled by 600 volunteers, weighed 131,000 pounds and measured 102 feet long, 52 feet wide and 20 inches high. It celebrated Sin City’s 100th birthday.

“We were under the impression there was a contract that covered this, but there wasn’t,” said Stacy Allsbrook, executive director of the centennial celebration committee.

The cake had a retail value of about $250,000.


Nichols refuses to testify before jury

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols was called before a federal grand jury in Denver last week but declined to testify, his ex-wife and sister said.

Nichols is serving a life sentence without parole for his role in the 1995 bombing that killed 168 persons, but a new investigation is ongoing after FBI agents discovered explosives underneath his former house in Herington, Kan.

It was not clear why grand jurors were meeting or what they wanted to learn from Nichols during the appearance last Thursday.

“It was very hush-hush,” Nichols’ ex-wife, Lana Padilla of Las Vegas, told the Oklahoman in a story published yesterday.


Missing toddler found dead in lake

CLOVER — Divers yesterday found the body of a 2-year-old girl who had been the subject of an Amber Alert after she disappeared from the dock at her family’s lakeside home.

The sheriff’s department said it appeared that Trinity Nicole Casey had drowned.

Her body was found about eight feet from the dock on Lake Wylie, where she was last seen the evening before during a family barbecue.

Police issued an Amber Alert early yesterday after the girl’s aunt said she had seen a man driving in the neighborhood about the time Trinity disappeared.


Teen golfer makes hole-in-one, twice

WYLIE — Chase Williams was awfully happy to make a hole-in-one during a recent round of golf. Moments later, he did it again.

Chase, 16, got the first one Tuesday on his third hole of the day, the par-3 17th, as he played in a Westcott Junior Tour event at Hawks Creek Golf Club in Fort Worth. His second came on the par-3 10th.

The odds of making two aces in the same round are 67 million to 1, according to the National Golf Foundation.

“I hit it well, it faded a little right, bounced, then rolled and hit the pin. We all heard it, but I was not sure if it went in until I got to the green,” Chase said of the first hole-in-one. He used a pitching wedge from 120 yards.

Chase got the aces with the same ball. He said he didn’t think about putting it away after the first. After almost losing it a couple of times, he had it in his pocket.

“I don’t think I’ll use it again,” he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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