- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 17, 2005


Mechanic convicted in girl’s death

SARASOTA — A mechanic with a long criminal record was convicted yesterday of kidnapping, raping and strangling an 11-year-old girl, whose abduction was captured by a car-wash security camera.

Joseph Smith, 39, could get the death penalty.

The jury took about five hours to find him guilty in the slaying of Carlie Brucia, whose half-naked body was found outside a church more than four days after the sixth-grader disappeared in February 2004 while walking home from a friend’s house.

The jury will return for the sentencing phase on Nov. 28.


Group wants road renamed for Rosa Parks

JONESBORO — A group of residents asked to rename a street for the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks that is called Tara Boulevard, after the plantation in “Gone With the Wind.”

The group’s leader, Bob Hartley, noted that Clayton County has changed from a mostly white area to a predominantly black Atlanta suburb. Letters requesting the change were sent to the county’s legislative delegation and the county commission.

Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said Mrs. Parks’ memory should be honored, but with something bigger than a road.

Mrs. Parks, credited with sparking the modern civil rights movement, died Oct. 24.


Lottery winners go back to work

ANAHEIM — A secretary and six laboratory workers at Kaiser Permanente held the winning ticket for the $315 million Mega Millions jackpot, but they still came into work, a company spokeswoman said.

The jackpot was the second-richest prize won with a single ticket in the history of lotteries in the United States.

The winners, who had chipped in $3 apiece and bought 21 tickets, came into work Wednesday at the medical center in Garden Grove anyway, Kaiser spokeswoman Barbara Shipnuck said.


New law to limitmeth ingredients

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat, signed legislation making it tougher for drug dealers to buy ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine.

The bill takes effect Jan. 15 and requires stores to keep popular cold medications such as Sudafed behind counters. Buyers must be 18 and sign a log with name, address, time and type of purchase.


Escapee captured; another still at large

FORT MADISON — A convicted murderer who escaped from an Iowa prison this week by using a homemade grappling hook to scale a 30-foot limestone wall was captured yesterday in Illinois. A second inmate remained at large.

Martin Moon, 34, was caught after he was found sleeping in a stolen car in the town of Chester, near an Illinois prison. He told investigators he was on his way to Tennessee but gave no reason, authorities said.

Moon and Robert Joseph Legendre, 27, broke out of the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison on Monday night.

Moon agreed to be returned to Iowa, police said.


Soldier admits lying about Iraqi’s killer

FORT RILEY — A soldier convicted of murdering unarmed Iraqis testified yesterday that he falsely implicated his platoon leader in one of the slayings so he could receive a lighter prison sentence.

The testimony came at a military hearing to determine whether 2nd Lt. Erick J. Anderson should be court-martialed on murder charges.

Pvt. Michael Williams said, contrary to his earlier statements, that the Iraqi victim was already dead when Lt. Anderson arrived, and that Lt. Anderson never gave any order to kill him.

“I just felt that pressure of getting a life sentence instead of 25 years,” Williams said. “It’s just a lot of my fear.”


Prisoner art profits anger lawmakers

BOSTON — An online auction of artwork by a serial killer outraged lawmakers, who proposed to block criminals from profiting on what they called “murderabilia,” setting off a debate on free-speech rights of prisoners.

A colored pencil sketch of Jesus Christ kneeling in a desert by Alfred Gaynor, a serial killer serving four life sentences for sodomizing and choking to death four women, went on sale Tuesday on a Web site operated by a prisoner advocacy group.

It was one of nearly 300 artworks offered for auction through Dec. 18 on the Fortune Society’s Web site (www.fortunesociety.org). Nearly all proceeds from sale of the work, “A Righteous Man’s Reward,” would go to Gaynor, the group said.

Protests from the families of Gaynor’s victims about the prospect of a convicted murderer profiting from his criminal celebrity prompted state Rep. Peter Koutoujian, a Democrat, to submit a new variation of a “Son of Sam” law in the state legislature.

The legislative proposal triggered its own debate over the prisoners’ constitutional right of free speech.


Priest gets 20 years for abusing boy

ST. LOUIS — A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for sodomizing a boy in the church rectory during the 1970s.

The Rev. Thomas Graham, 72, was convicted in August.

Defense attorney Christian Goeke said he would challenge the constitutionality of the 1969 Missouri law used to prosecute Father Graham, who was not indicted until 2002.

Father Graham’s attorneys contended that the statute of limitations had expired on the purported crimes, but prosecutors cited a 36-year-old law that has no statute of limitations for “abominable and detestable crimes against nature.”


Warming threatens shore properties

PRINCETON — Inland homes might hold more value than property along the Jersey Shore by the turn of the century because of global warming.

Princeton University researchers said rising seas would submerge sections of the state’s highly developed coastline by as much as 4 feet. In a worst-case scenario, the coastline would move 480 feet inland.


Principal resigns after shaming girl

ELIZABETH — An elementary school principal resigned after parents denounced her for parading an 8-year-old girl from class to class after a classmate falsely accused her of stealing $5.

Marlene Whitby, principal at William Penn Elementary School in the Pittsburgh suburb of Elizabeth, submitted her resignation Wednesday, and the district’s school board accepted it unanimously.

Miss Whitby and the school’s administration came under fire this month when the parents of third-grader Katie White protested that Miss Whitby had not been punished for the September incident.

After the classmate accused the girl of stealing the $5, Miss Whitby took her from room to room, calling her a liar and thief. The other child later recanted the story.

Miss Whitby has declined to comment.


Gynecologist convicted of abusing patients

SEATTLE — A jury Wednesday convicted a gynecologist of raping and fondling women who came to his clinics for treatment.

Charles Momah pleaded not guilty last year to two counts of rape and two counts of indecent liberties with patients. The verdict, guilty on all charges, was issued after four days of deliberations.

He faces up to 16 years in prison.

Clinics that Momah operated in Federal Way, Burien and Issaquah are now closed. The state suspended his medical license in 2003.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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