- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ricin found in dorm at University of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas — A University of Texas student found a substance that has tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, in a roll of quarters she was using to do laundry in her dormitory, officials said.

The student and her roommate were being treated for potential exposure to the poison, although neither has exhibited symptoms, said Dr. Theresa Spalding of UT Student Health Services.

The student told university police she found the chunky powder Thursday as she was doing her laundry at Moore-Hill Dormitory, Dr. Spalding said. Preliminary tests for ricin came back positive Friday.

Ricin is extracted from castor beans and can be added to food or water, injected or sprayed as an aerosol. It can be in the form of a powder, mist, pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.

Escaped inmate, dog trainer captured

ATHENS, Tenn. — A Kansas prison volunteer and the convicted murderer she’s accused of helping escape in a dog crate have been captured in Tennessee after more than a week on the lam, authorities said.

U.S. marshals caught the pair Friday after a brief car chase on Interstate 75 between Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Toby Young, who ran a dog-rescue program at Lansing Correctional Facility, is charged with helping John Manard escape Feb. 12 in her van. Prison officials have said guards’ familiarity with Miss Young, 48, helped her pull off the escape.

The two had more than $10,000 in cash and two semiautomatic weapons, authorities said. They also bought hair coloring and an electric razor that may have been used to alter their appearances, officials said.

Manard, 27, was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and possession of firearms in the 1996 killing of a man during a carjacking. He now will face additional charges of aggravated escape from custody.

Hostage stand offends peacefully

PHOENIX — A man accused of holding nine persons hostage at gunpoint inside a National Labor Relations Board office was in FBI custody Friday, after a seven-hour standoff ended peacefully when he released his captives unharmed, police said.

The ordeal came to a close after police met three of the man’s demands, authorities said. Police said the suspect, George L. Curran, 42, of Chandler, Ariz., asked to see his wife, requested a civil rights attorney and wanted the FBI present.

The suspect pulled a gun during a legal proceeding and took five men and four women hostage inside a hearing room in a National Labor Relations Board office on the building’s 18th floor, police said.

Teen downloads billionth ITunes song

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Alex Ostrovsky got more than he bargained for when downloading Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” from the ITunes Music Store.

The 16-year-old’s purchase was the 1 billionth song bought from the online music service that Apple Computer Inc. kicked off three years ago, charging 99 cents for most tracks. Alex’s selection was from Coldplay’s “X&Y;” album.

The youth, who lives in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield Township, was showered with prizes: a 20-inch IMac, 10 fifth-generation IPods and a $10,000 ITunes gift card.

Apple said it would establish a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music in his name.

Teacher accused in student sex held

LAURENS, S.C. — A former fifth-grade teacher accused of having sex with her 11-year-old student was ordered held on $100,000 bond yesterday.

Prosecutors had wanted Wendie A. Schweikert, 36, jailed without bond, saying she was a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Miss Schweikert was arrested Friday on two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor after the boy’s mother accused the teacher of having sex with him at school at least twice, authorities said.

Miss Schweikert, who resigned from E.B. Morse Elementary School on Friday, did not speak during the hearing and did not have an attorney.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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