- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Commander promoted to anti-terror post

A D.C. police commander has been chosen to take over a new post focusing on counterterrorism and homeland security issues.

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey has named Cmdr. Cathy Lanier to the post. Cmdr. Lanier, a 16-year member of the department, was in charge of the Special Operations Division.

Cmdr. Lanier will be based in the chief’s office and will focus on how the 3,800-member force handles anti-terrorism issues.

Second District Police Cmdr. Robert Contee will replace Cmdr. Lanier in the Special Operations Division.



More than 3 dozen ousted in building fire

A three-alarm fire raced through an apartment building in the Wheaton area early yesterday, displacing more than three dozen residents.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said there were no serious injuries, but one woman was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Mr. Piringer said the blaze began about 10 a.m. in a vacant, second-floor unit of the Oakfield Apartments on the 2200 block of Georgian Way.

Damage is estimated at more than $1.5 million.


Passenger killed south of tunnel

A passenger of a box truck that collided with a tractor-trailer just south of the Fort McHenry Tunnel early yesterday has died.

The 10 a.m. accident caused major tie-ups on the busy Interstate 95 corridor.

Hospital officials were evaluating the condition of two persons.

The accident involved an empty tractor-trailer and a box truck carrying furniture, police said. The tractor-trailer was struck from behind by the other truck after its driver had pulled over to check a possible flat tire.


15 treated over fears of chemical exposure

Fifteen persons at an Army research laboratory were taken to an on-site clinic for monitoring yesterday after a brief power outage put them at risk of exposure to small amounts of VX and mustard agent, Aberdeen Proving Ground officials said.

None of the workers — all employees of the Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense — showed any symptoms after the 11:20 a.m. incident, Aberdeen Proving Ground spokesman George Mercer said. If anyone developed symptoms, they would be taken to a hospital, Mr. Mercer said.

The power outage lasted less than a minute, briefly shutting down the hoods that filter the air as researchers work with dangerous chemicals. Researchers were working with VX, a nerve agent, and mustard, a blister agent, in different parts of the lab, Mr. Mercer said.

After the blackout, the researchers took steps to decontaminate themselves and ensure none of the chemicals escaped. Mr. Mercer said there was no danger to the public, other employees or APG residents.


Mayor presents $68 million budget

Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer presented a budget proposal that includes an 8 percent spending increase but holds the line on property tax rates.

The spending plan introduced to the City Council on Monday night totals more than $68 million.

Although tax rates won’t change, many homeowners will pay more this year because of higher assessments.


Three get prison terms for counterfeit items

A federal judge has sentenced three Howard County men to three years and four months behind bars for smuggling counterfeit novelty items.

Muhammed Aslam and his sons Farhan and Zeeshawn were sentenced Monday in Baltimore. They pleaded guilty in November.

Authorities said the men were caught last year with thousands of dollars worth of switchblade knives and knife sets with bogus NASCAR and Lord of the Rings trademarks.

The three men also were ordered to pay more than $750,000. Prosecutors said the family smuggled switchblades with counterfeit NASCAR trademarks as well as knives and swords violating United Cutlery and “Lord of the Rings” copyrights.


Woman killed in crash with pickups

A Frederick woman was killed in a three-vehicle crash on Route 40 near Frederick Monday, state police said.

The accident occurred about 1 p.m. near Brethren Church Road. Troopers said Caitlin Rohrer, 22, drove her car across the center line and hit two pickup trucks.

She died at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

An elderly couple in one of the pickups escaped injury. The other driver had minor injuries.


Lost folder won’t stop trial, judge rules

The felon once called Baltimore’s most wanted fugitive could be back in court this month.

A judge has refused to dismiss a murder charge against 21-year-old Tyrone Beane, clearing the way for a trial that has been postponed repeatedly since his arrest four years ago.

Beane is accused of fatally shooting 25-year-old Taharka McCoy in January 2002. Beane has since been convicted in a separate attempted murder case and is serving a 75-year sentence. The trial in the McCoy slaying has been delayed in the past by missing witnesses and a lack of courtrooms.

The latest problem involved a missing folder that contained the original grand jury indictment, prompting the defense request for a dismissal.

The judge ruled last week the case will go forward without it.


Cause of death awaits toxicology results

Authorities are waiting for the results of toxicology tests to find out what caused the death of an inmate at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover.

Curtis Melvin, 28, of the Salisbury area died Friday at Peninsula Regional Medical Center. He was found unresponsive in his cell on April 4.

Corrections Department spokesman Mark Vernarelli said there is no evidence of foul play and Melvin showed no sign of injury. Investigators haven’t ruled out the possibility of an overdose. Melvin was serving a robbery sentence.



City may derail VRE funding

A disagreement between Virginia Railway Express and the city of Manassas Park might disrupt plans to buy 50 new rail cars to replace aging equipment.

All seven jurisdictions served by VRE must kick in money for the commuter railway to secure $35 million in state funding for the project. But Manassas Park is holding out on its share of $25,000.

Kevin Brendel, the city’s vice mayor, told the Potomac News they want an additional stretch of canopy to cover the platform at the Manassas Park VRE station.

VRE spokesman Mark Roeber said the canopy provision was added to a contract after an agreement between the railway and Manassas Park had been signed.

He said the provision apparently was overlooked by VRE officials because they never agreed to build a canopy any larger than the standard at other rail stations.


Former cop charged with stealing evidence

A former Portsmouth police officer has been charged with grand larceny after being accused of stealing money that was evidence in a death investigation.

Antonio Jackson turned himself in Monday.

Mr. Jackson was working as an evidence technician when more than $2,000 in evidence money went missing.


Rumsfeld to speak at VMI graduation

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is scheduled to speak to graduating cadets at Virginia Military Institute.

VMI expects to issue 245 diplomas at the May 16 commencement. More than 100 of the graduates are to be commissioned into the U.S. armed forces, according to officials at the state-supported military school.

Mr. Rumsfeld was one of the chief orchestrators of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Critics have blamed Mr. Rumsfeld and others in the Bush administration for failing to properly anticipate the insurgency that followed Saddam’s ouster. Mr. Rumsfeld also has come under fire for the Pentagon’s failure to provide adequate armor to American forces patrolling the country.

A former Navy pilot and Illinois congressman, Mr. Rumsfeld first served as defense secretary under President Ford from 1975 to 1977.


Ex-school driver pleads in sex-crime case

A former Gloucester County school bus driver charged with 67 sex crimes pleaded no contest to two of the charges rather than face trial.

James Lester Richardson pleaded no contest to having sex with a dog and soliciting a child for sex crimes in return for having the other charges not prosecuted.

Circuit Judge William Shaw III accepted the plea after Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Monique Watson said the other charges would be handled in federal court.

A federal grand jury indicted Richardson last month on various child pornography charges, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

Richardson drove a school bus for six years.


Teen pleads guilty to killing schoolmate

A teen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for shooting a fellow student following a fight on a school bus.

Neal Williams was 17 when he shot James Parnell in Norfolk last March.

The argument started when Williams tried to get off the bus. Mr. Parnell had his legs in the aisle and refused to move them. Someone pushed Williams as he got off the bus, and the fight escalated from there.

Williams’ brother, Wentford Williams, had also been accused of murder, but prosecutors withdrew the charges after witnesses didn’t show up.

Circuit Court Judge John Morrison has scheduled Williams’ sentencing for August.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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