- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Two teens arrested in church arson

GLENCOE — Two teenagers were arrested in connection with a weekend church fire, but police say it doesn’t appear to be part of the string of arsons that damaged or destroyed 10 other rural Alabama churches.

The 16-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were charged with second-degree arson in the fire Sunday at Chapman’s Chapel in Glencoe, state fire marshal’s spokesman Ragan Ingram said yesterday. The suspects’ names were not released because they are juveniles.

Federal officials said it appeared someone threw a small Molotov cocktail at the church, causing minor damage to the building about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham.

Authorities are investigating a series of arsons that have hit 10 rural Baptist churches in Alabama since Feb. 3.


Injection dispute puts off execution

SAN FRANCISCO — A condemned killer’s execution was canceled yesterdayafter prison officials could not find a doctor or nurse willing to administer the lethal injection.

Prison officials notified a federal appeals court that they could not comply with a judge’s order to have a licensed medical expert give Michael Morales a fatal overdose of barbiturates in the execution chamber, a court spokeswoman said.

It was not clear when the execution would be carried out.

Morales, 46, was supposed to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. today. But the execution was put off after the anesthesiologists objected that they might have to advise the executioner if the inmate woke up or appeared to suffer pain.

Morales was condemned in 1983 for killing 17-year-old Terri Winchell, who was attacked with a hammer, stabbed and left to die half-naked in a vineyard.


Governor escapes injury in car crash

BROOKFIELD — A teenage driver hit Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s car early yesterday, but the governor was uninjured, a spokesman said.

A vehicle struck the driver’s side door of the governor’s car just after 7 a.m., Brookfield Police Chief Robin Montgomery said.

Mrs. Rell and the state trooper driving her car both escaped injury, Chief Montgomery said. The other driver, a 16-year-old girl, was also uninjured. Mrs. Rell was transferred to another car and continued on to a morning appointment, said John Wiltse, a gubernatorial spokesman.

“She put her arm around the young driver and reassured her the important thing is everyone is OK, and cars can always be repaired,” said Rell spokesman Judd Everhart. “The girl apparently told her that she had hoped to meet the governor someday, but not under those circumstances.”

The 16-year-old received a written warning for failing to drive in an established lane.


Man charged in toilet-paper killing

MIAMI — A Florida man has confessed to bludgeoning his roommate to death with a sledgehammer handle and a claw hammer after an argument that started over an empty roll of toilet paper, authorities said yesterday.

Franklin Paul Crow, 56, was arrested early Monday and later charged with murder in the beating death of 58-year-old Kenneth Matthews in the town of Moss Bluff, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Capt. Jimmy Pogue said Mr. Crow told investigators he grabbed the sledgehammer and claw hammer after Mr. Matthews, who rented the mobile home where the two lived, armed himself with a rifle during their altercation.


Pickup carrying 19 illegals crashes

ROLLA — A pickup truck carrying 19 illegal aliens from Mexico crashed on a rural highway after a rear wheel came off, killing three persons and injuring 16, authorities said.

The pickup flipped over and landed in a ditch, said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ron Knoefel.

Nine persons were riding in the truck’s extended cab — four on the front seat, four in the back seat, and one on the floor between the seats, Trooper Knoefel said. He said the 10 others were in the truck’s bed, which was covered with a camper shell.


Country club admits its first black

LOUISVILLE — An exclusive, 98-year-old country club has admitted its first black member. Louisville banker William Summers V joined the Louisville Country Club after several members asked him to apply.

The Kentucky Supreme Court had ruled that the country club must open its records to human rights investigators to determine whether it should be denied tax breaks because of discrimination.


Firefighter who spoke after coma dies

BUFFALO — A brain-injured firefighter who suddenly spoke after nearly a decade in a coma, giving hope to families of countless other patients, died yesterday. He was 44.

Donald Herbert was injured in 1995, when the roof of a burning home collapsed on him. Deprived of oxygen for several minutes, he ended up blind, was largely mute and showed little awareness of his surroundings for years.

But on April 30, 2005, he shocked his family with a 14-hour talking jag. Since then, he spoke only sporadically.

Mr. Herbert was hospitalized again on Sunday with an infection.


Rancher, state clash over used-tire fence

TOLNA — Rancher Cory Christofferson and the state Health Department are in a court battle over tires. Mr. Christofferson has created 15 miles of fence from 350,000 used tires.

He says they create grazing areas for livestock, a snow fence for a county road and a tourist attraction. The state says they’re environmental and health hazards and need to be removed.


Tulsa mayor places police chief on leave

TULSA — Mayor Bill LaFortune placed Police Chief Dave Been on paid administrative leave, saying the chief didn’t inform him of a highly critical report about the department’s SWAT team.

The report cited growing tension and disagreement within the police department. Mr. LaFortune said he didn’t know about the report until a third party told him.


Board votes to cut global curriculum

PITTSBURGH — An internationally recognized educational curriculum has been eliminated by the school board in an affluent suburb despite an outcry from parents and students.

The Upper St. Clair school board voted 5-4 Monday to cut the International Baccalaureate Program, whose curriculum some school board members have claimed is liberal and anti-American.

Others have questioned the need for the program, run by the Geneva-based International Baccalaureate Organization, saying it’s too costly.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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