- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Authorities capture escaped suspects

PHENIX CITY — Two escaped murder suspects from Alabama were apprehended in Georgia yesterday, three days after they escaped from jail, authorities said.

Ashley Mangum, a case worker with the Russell County Sheriff’s Department, said Johnny Earl Jones and Lamar Elan Benton were arrested, but she had no other details. Television station WTVM in Columbus, Ga., reported the two were apprehended at a Columbus motel without incident.

Mr. Jones, 17, was charged in the slaying of a child whom he was baby-sitting, and Mr. Benton, 19, was charged in the slaying and rape of a woman. They fled from the Russell County Jail in Phenix City early Saturday.


Couple convicted of abusing dogs

MOUNTAIN HOME — A couple who ran an animal shelter were convicted Monday on 20 counts of cruelty to animals, including abusing dogs sent from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Police found one dog dead, another with a broken leg, and many others sickly at Tammy and William Hanson’s shelter, Every Dog Needs a Home. Twenty animals were found suffering from maggot infestations to severe skin conditions.

The couple will be sentenced Feb. 23. Judge Van Gearhart also barred the two from owning or possessing any animals anywhere in world.


Couple surrenders; hostage unharmed

STATESBORO — A couple surrendered peacefully yesterday after holding a lawyer hostage in his office for more than 24 hours and telling authorities they were armed with an explosive device, police said.

The suspects came out of the downtown building where they were holding lawyer Michael Hostilo around 9:30 a.m., said Larry Schnall, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol. Mr. Hostilo was found unharmed, Mr. Schnall said.

The suspects, Robert Eugene Brower, 43, a former client of the lawyer, and Connie Brower, have been charged with kidnapping, police said, adding that more charges could be filed later.

Police Chief Stan York said police found an explosive device of a “pyrotechnic type.” He did not elaborate.


Men may put off hernia-repair surgery

CHICAGO — Men with hernias but little or no pain can safely go without surgery unless things really start to hurt, a study found.

“Not every hernia needs to be fixed,” said Dr. Olga Jonasson of the University of Illinois at Chicago, co-author of the study in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

U.S. surgeons fix more than 600,000 hernias a year, making it one of the most common procedures. The study offers guidance to doctors on whether it is OK to leave a pain-free hernia untreated.

Groin hernias look like a lump under the skin and are caused when part of the intestine bulges through a weak part of the muscle wall of the abdomen.


Owl collection is world’s record

LEEDS — With more than 18,000 collectible owl memorabilia, Pam Barker half-kidded that she had a world’s record. It turns out that she’s right.

Miss Barker, 47, sent her count, a video and photographs to Guinness World Records last spring. A couple of weeks ago, she got a certificate verifying her claim.

“I did it as an investment, then out of curiosity,” she said.

Her collection has ceramic, macrame and plush owls, owls on beer steins and on towels, owl necklaces, owl statues, owl wind chimes, owl greeting cards. Even a blue toilet seat with a green owl painted under the lid.


Toddler receives jury summons

NEW BEDFORD — Kaylee Reynolds had a huge problem when she received a recent summons to serve jury duty. She wasn’t old enough to read it.

The 2-year-old girl has quite a few years to go before she reaches the minimum age of 18 to serve on a state jury. Luckily for Kaylee, Massachusetts Jury Commissioner Pamela J. Wood seemed willing to let it slide for a while.

She guessed the mix-up could be traced to a local census form.

Besides her questionable understanding of the concepts of guilt or innocence, there are other reasons why it’s best to wait for Kaylee to serve. Her mother, Patricia, says Kaylee gets really cranky if she doesn’t get her noontime nap.


DEA seizes drugs worth $5 million

NEW YORK — U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents yesterday arrested four members of a suspected cross-country drug-trafficking operation, confiscating $5 million worth of cocaine and seizing more than 30 weapons.

David Gonzalez, Fernando Pulida-Avila, Jose Hernandez and Roberto Diaz were taken into custody by DEA agents in the transfer of cocaine from California in a tractor-trailer to a public storage unit in Effort, Pa.

DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney said the trailer was then driven to New York City, where agents seized more than 200 kilograms — about 440 lbs. — of cocaine.

Mr. Courtney said that while searching Mr. Gonzalez’s residence after his arrest, agents found an arsenal of weapons, including a .223-caliber Colt rifle with a grenade launcher; an Uzi .465-caliber handgun; two AK-47 rifles; a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle; and two 12-gauge Mossberg shotguns. He said 33 firearms were seized.

If convicted of the charges, each man faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.


Pet parrot helps police catch suspect

WILLIAMSPORT — Polly want a burglar?

A pet parrot attacked a man who broke into its owner’s apartment, and the bite and blood marks helped police identify a suspect.

The blue-and-gold macaw hybrid named Sunshine attacked Michael L. Deeter, 44, after he broke into the apartment, police said. Sunshine had blood on its beak and Deeter had marks on his hand consistent with those made by a parrot.

Mr. Deeter told police the bird bit him very hard after he entered James Erb’s apartment, and he still had the marks to prove it when he was arrested, authorities said. He reportedly got away with about $100 and a camcorder.


Mine survivor continues improving

MORGANTOWN — The sole survivor of the Sago mine disaster was moved out of the intensive-care unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital yesterday as his condition continued to improve.

Randal McCloy Jr., 26, was transferred to a step-down unit with less-intensive monitoring because his condition, while still serious, has become more stable, said Dr. Larry Roberts.

But Mr. McCloy, the only miner on a crew of 13 to survive the Jan. 2 explosion and its aftermath, has not yet regained consciousness. Dr. Roberts said Mr. McCloy’s heart and liver functions were recovering slowly, but he remains on dialysis because of kidney damage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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