- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2006



Howell seeks delay on toll road deal

House Speaker William J. Howell yesterday demanded that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine delay a deal in which the group that operates the region’s two airports will pay for Metrorail’s extension to Washington Dulles International Airport in exchange for control of the Dulles Toll Road.

Mr. Howell, Stafford Republican, said putting the plan on hold would allow the state to see whether a more lucrative deal exists.

“I can’t believe people aren’t up in arms over this,” Mr. Howell said. “I’ve never seen a situation where a public asset was dealt with in such a manner.”

On Monday, Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, agreed in principle to a deal in which the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority would pay for the $4 billion Metrorail expansion into Loudon County in exchange for the power to operate, collect and manage the tolls.

Mr. Howell’s request left Mr. Kaine’s office a bit confused and irritated.

Kevin Hall, the governor’s spokesman, said the speaker was jumping the gun because the deal still needs local, state and federal approval before it is finalized.


Teacher accused of sex with two students

A special-education teacher at Courtland High School has been charged with having sex with two teenage students.

Bonnie Sue Davis, 35, of Spotsylvania, is charged with two counts of sodomy, six counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and having sex with a child.

Miss Davis was arrested Thursday and taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail, Sheriff’s Lt. Eddie Peck said. She is accused of sexual misconduct with students ages 14 and 15.

Miss Davis, who has worked for the Spotsylvania school system for six years, was suspended from her teaching duties.

Detectives searched Miss Davis’ home Thursday night, according to court papers.



Sniper prosecutors chide public defender

Montgomery County prosecutors yesterday called the state public defender’s decision to withdraw from convicted sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad’s case “not appropriate.”

Paul B. DeWolfe of the Maryland’s Public Defender Office said Thursday his office has a policy of not acting as standby counsel, and would not be of service in the second capital murder trial for Muhammad, 45.

Muhammad was granted permission to represent himself in Montgomery County Circuit Court this week.

“It’s not really appropriate for them to completely walk away from this,” said Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Katherine Winfree.

Much of yesterday’s hearing focused on Muhammad’s ability to access records, evidence and witnesses he may want to call to the stand.

The trial is scheduled to begin May 1, with prosecutors seeking life in prison without parole in connection with the fatal shootings of six persons in Montgomery County in October 2002.

In 2003, a jury in southeastern Virginia found Muhammad guilty of shooting, with an accomplice, 13 persons during the fall of 2002, killing 10. He was sentenced to death.


FOP to monitor police message board

Montgomery County’s police union will monitor a union-sponsored online message board for offensive comments and bar those who make racist, sexist or other offensive remarks, union officials said yesterday.

The new policy by the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police comes in response to several anonymous comments posted on the message site that included derogatory remarks about Hispanics and other groups.

The union will regularly monitor the board’s content and block access to users who make inappropriate postings, union President Walter Bader said.

Comments will remain anonymous on the forum to preserve the ability of officers to air their concerns about the police department and their jobs.

County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger have called on the union to shut down the site. Last week, Mr. Duncan blocked access to the site from county computers.

Mr. Bader said the policy will be voted on by the 1,100 member union.


Lawmakers to extend Ehrlich firing probe

Democratic lawmakers yesterday voted to extend their inquiry into the Ehrlich administration’s firing policies so the special legislative committee’s legal counsel can subpoena records he has been unable to get from three state agencies.

Republican legislators complained that continuing the inquiry will waste state funds and said the investigation has not turned up any evidence that anything illegal or improper was done by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. or his administration.

The inquiry has cost more than $600,000 since it began in August, counting payments to the committee’s private counsel and the cost of the time state employees have spent providing documents to the committee, Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus, Somerset County Republican, said.

He predicted the price tag will pass the $1 million mark as a result of the decision to extend the committee’s work.

The committee was created by Democratic House and Senate leaders to investigate whether the administration acted illegally in firing workers after Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, was elected governor.

It also was tasked with looking into whether changes in the law are needed to protect the rights of workers who do not work directly for the governor and do not hold top-level, policy-making positions in state agencies.


Truck, two cars crash at Bay Bridge toll plaza

A propane truck and two passenger vehicles crashed yesterday afternoon at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll plaza.

The 80-year-old driver suffered a head injury, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County fire depart-ment said. He was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Cpl. Pamela Thorne of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police said. There were no other injuries.

The accident forced the closure of the first three lanes at the toll plaza at 4:20 p.m. Eight lanes remained open as crews burned off the propane using hoses and pipes to drain the truck. The spokesman said the burn, which looked like a torch behind the toll booths, would take five to seven hours.

Traffic backed up for miles on eastbound Route 50 well into last night.

Investigators were looking into how the crash occurred.


800-pound buffalo flees farm, is killed

An 800-pound young female buffalo was shot and killed by Charles County sheriff’s deputies yesterday along U.S. Route 301 after it fled a farm on Lomax Road north of Faulkner.

The buffalo was delivered to its owner Thursday afternoon, only to break loose a few hours later to begin its southward trek back and forth along both sides of U.S. 301, eluding capture.

The buffalo, which was to be raised for meat, was missing until yesterday at about 9 a.m. when it was spotted by a resident. Deputies caught up with the animal near Routes 234 and 301.

“The owner made the decision to take the animal down because of the liability,” said Nina Voehl, a spokeswoman for Charles County. “Also, if they had shot it with tranquilizer, it would not have been fit for human consumption.”


Man gets 30 years in Internet sex case

A Pennsylvania man who traveled 160 miles to Frederick after arranging over the Internet for an illicit sexual encounter with two young girls, was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison and will be under supervised release for the rest of his life.

According to testimony presented at his trial, Thomas Moser, 37, of Leighton, Pa., arranged with an undercover postal inspector through an Internet chat room to have sex with the inspector’s “daughters,” ages 12 and 14.

He was convicted in January.

The sentence Friday by U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett is thought to be one of the first successful prosecutions under a section of the Protect Act that enhances the penalties for certain sex crimes involving children, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.


State bans burning as driest March ends

As Maryland marks the end of the driest March on record — with forecasts of continued dry weather — state natural resources officials yesterday banned open-air burning in most of the state.

The ban applies to all counties except Garrett County, where rainfall has not dropped below normal levels.

The ban prohibits campfires, burning brush or trash and using charcoal grills, although cooking with propane grills is allowed. Smokers are asked to be particularly careful with discarded cigarette butts.

The fine for a citation is $125.


Lane closed today on Key Bridge

The Maryland Transportation Authority yesterday announced that the right lane of the Outer Loop of the Baltimore Beltway on the Francis Scott Key Bridge will be closed today because of repair work.

The lane will be closed from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Motorists are urged to use caution and anticipate delays.


Man found guilty of killing cabdriver

A Harford County jury yesterday found an 18-year-old man guilty of killing an Edgewood cabdriver.

Wayne Bond fatally shot Derald Guess, 37, during a robbery that prosecutors said was part of a gang initiation. The father of nine was gunned down in December 2004.

Bond could be sentenced to life in prison.

The state’s key witness was co-defendant Darrell Miller, 21, who pleaded guilty to a murder charge and will serve a 45-year sentence. His testimony put Bond at the crime scene.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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