- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2006


Eagle dad tends Beltway nest alone

Within earshot of traffic roaring along the Capital Beltway, a suddenly single dad is waging a quiet struggle to save his offspring — a nest of bald eagle eggs on the verge of hatching.

The eagle, nicknamed George by workers building the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge, lost his mate, Martha, when she was attacked by another female eagle Wednesday.

After watching Martha fall in a dramatic midair battle, construction workers sought help from Stephanie R. Spears, an environmental specialist working with the bridge project.

Miss Spears rushed the bleeding mother eagle to a veterinary hospital in Newark, Del., where she was being treated for puncture wounds and a damaged beak that may need weeks of rehabilitation.

George was left alone to guard the nest and at least two eggs — difficult because he needs to hunt for food twice a day, and the attacking female remains a threat.

Miss Spears said she and federal wildlife officials were considering whether to move the eggs, or chicks, into a surrogate nest where they might have a better chance at survival.

Flow into Bay hits record low

The flow of freshwater into the Chesapeake Bay set a record low for March, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Water flow averaged 51,500 cubic feet per second — or about 33.3 billion gallons per day, hydrologists said. That is 65 percent below average for the month and 10,000 cubic feet per second below the previous March low in 1981.

River water levels in the Mid-Atlantic region remain near record lows for this time of year, hydrologists said. Spring is usually the wettest time of the year in the area, and the dry spell could strain regional water sources in the summer.

“Levels this low don’t usually occur until July or August,” said Dan Soeder, a hydrologist at the Geological Survey’s Water Science Center in Baltimore.

Low water flow means fewer nutrients and sediments are reaching the Bay, which could mean improved water quality for fish and crabs this summer.

But the lack of freshwater also could make oysters more susceptible to disease, hurt underwater grasses and result in greater numbers of jellyfish.



Officers convicted of drug dealing

A federal jury convicted two Baltimore police officers yesterday for robbing drug dealers and selling the drugs themselves.

Antonio Murray, 35, and William King, 35, were convicted on 32 of 33 counts, including commerce by robbery, conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin, marijuana and cocaine.

Murray and King were mentioned in “Stop Snitching,” a DVD that circulated on Baltimore’s streets warning people not to talk to police about drug activity. In the video, they were said to be part of the “game of narcotics.”

Murray, of Abingdon, and King, of Baltimore, were plainclothes officers who detained drug dealers in their vehicles or on the street. The officers, who joined the force in 1992, worked in the department’s housing authority unit. They were accused of taking whatever drugs and cash drug dealers carried before letting them go without filing any charges.

Prosecutors said that the men robbed drug dealers from August 2004 to May 2005.

The police department’s internal affairs division started investigating the two officers after receiving tips from people on the street. Their investigation was aided by the circulation of the “Stop Snitching” DVD, police spokesman Detective Donny Moses said.

Jury deliberations spanned four days. The men could go to prison for the rest of their lives. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz set sentencing for May 31.


Funeral held for officer killed in Iraq

A funeral was held yesterday for a Prince George’s County police officer killed last week in Iraq.

Soldiers and police officers saluted as the flag-draped coffin carrying the body of Cpl. Robert Hernandez was carried into St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Children standing across the street stood quietly with hands on their hearts.

Cpl. Hernandez, a 10-year veteran of the county police department, had been stationed in Iraq since summer as an Army reservist.

He was praised by fellow officers for his work as a field training officer, in which he helped new officers graduating from the police academy.

Cpl. Hernandez is survived by his fiancee and three children.


Second person held in shooting at mall

Baltimore County police reduced charges against a 16-year-old girl already in custody and arrested a Woodlawn man after a broadcast interview with a shooting victim put Baltimore County police on the path of the new suspect.

Police think Nathaniel Whitlow, 26, fired the shots that wounded Lensey Hamilton, 26, during an attempted robbery near Security Square Mall last week.

Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. Michael Hill said they had charged the teen with the shooting, but she is now charged as a juvenile with being an accessory.

Mr. Whitlow was charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault and felony use of a handgun.


Insanity plea filed in prison bus slaying

A two-time convicted killer accused of strangling a fellow inmate on a prison bus has entered an insanity plea.

Attorneys for Kevin Johns filed the papers this week, saying Johns is not criminally responsible for the death last year of inmate Philip Parker.

Johns is charged with first-degree murder and is eligible for the death penalty. The case was moved from Baltimore County to Worcester County when the defense was granted a change of venue.

Parker was killed in February 2005 as the bus was returning to Baltimore from Hagerstown, where Johns had been sentenced a day earlier for killing a cellmate.



Police seize pit bulls, paraphernalia

Police confiscated 17 pit bulls while looking for dogfighting paraphernalia at a home.

Animal control officer Brian Burda wrote on a search warrant filed in Circuit Court that two of the dogs had scars consistent with patterns for dogfighting. He also found a scale that appeared to be used to weigh dogs before dogfighting matches.

In addition to the dogs, officers confiscated the scales, medical supplies and equipment they described as being used to condition dogs for fighting. A source named in the warrant told police that the dogs were taken to North Carolina to fight and were shot if they didn’t perform well.

So far, no one has been charged.


Driver indicted in trooper’s death

A West Virginia man has been indicted on a felony murder charge in the death of a Virginia state trooper.

Trooper Kevin Manion, 27, was shot by a rifle that discharged in the back seat of the suspect’s pickup truck.

A Clarke County grand jury this week indicted David Ferre-bee, 58, of Charles Town, W.Va. He was charged with burglary, grand larceny, drunken driving and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Police said Mr. Ferrebee broke into his boss’s home and stole a hunting rifle, got drunk and smoked marijuana, then decided to return the gun.

Investigators said Mr. Ferre-bee then wrecked his pickup truck. Trooper Manion respond-ed to the accident and was shot when the stolen rifle went off as the truck was being moved.


Man gets 42 years in girlfriend’s killing

The boyfriend of a woman who disappeared more than two years ago has been sentenced to 42 years for her murder.

A D.C. Superior Court jury convicted Harold Austin, 33, in February of second-degree murder and other charges in the 2003 death of Marion Fye, even though Miss Fye’s body was never found. It was the first such murder trial in the city since the 1980s.

During the trial, the victim’s children testified that they heard an argument and a gunshot in the home, and that they never saw their mother again. Blood that could have been Miss Fye’s was found splattered on the underside of a mattress.

Austin, who served several years in prison for robbery, had moved in with Miss Fye and her family at their home in Northeast a few months before her disappearance.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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