- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2006



DNA said to link relatives to killings

Prosecutors in the retrial of two illegal aliens accused of killing three young relatives yesterday introduced DNA evidence to link the defendants to the crime.

Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 24, and Adan Canela, 19, are accused of nearly beheading Ricardo Solis Quezada Jr., 9; his sister Lucero Solis Quezada, 8; and their cousin Alexis Espejo Quezada, 10.

The judge dismissed one of the jurors yesterday, prompting relatives and defense attorneys to call for a new jury, WJZ-TV (Channel 13) reported last night.

The man was arrested over the weekend on domestic violence charges and failed to show up Monday or Tuesday. He returned to court yesterday not knowing that he had been dismissed and spoke with other jurors about his arrest.

The judge has not yet ruled on the issue.

The men’s first trial ended in a hung jury after five weeks of court testimony and about 10 days of jury deliberations.

Mr. Perez is the children’s uncle, and Mr. Canela is their cousin. Both are illegal aliens from Mexico.

A Baltimore Police Department crime lab employee testified that hair and blood possibly belonging to the defendants was found on bed sheets taken from the rooms in which the children were killed.

Defense attorneys say the same physical evidence was introduced in the defendants’ trial last year and did not match either of the defendants. That trial ended in a hung jury.

However, police officials say they now have new and improved testing, which also has detected potential new evidence on child-sized shorts, jeans and a tank top taken from the crime scene.

The department’s crime lab sent the items to a forensic lab, but the results were not available yesterday. Testimony will continue today.


Boy, 7, drowns during swim lesson

A 7-year-old boy drowned yesterday during a swim lesson at a community pool, police said.

Lifeguards at the Jewish Community Center saw the boy at the bottom of the pool in 4 feet of water at about 11 a.m., pulled him out and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, said Lucille Baur, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman.

He died at a hospital. His name was withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The boy was one of five youngsters taking part in a regularly scheduled swim lesson as part of the center’s day camp, police said. There were at least 15 other children in the pool at the time and two lifeguards were on duty.

Police said they were investigating the death as an accident.


Police guard chief after death threat

The Prince George’s County Police Department has assigned officers to patrol Chief Melvin C. High’s house following a death threat.

The man who made the threat is described by police as having “a history of mental instability and an extensive criminal record.”

Chief High was out of town attending a conference yesterday and was not available for comment.

Acting Police Chief Roberto Hylton said officers are working to locate the man for questioning.

“Any time there’s a threat, we take it seriously,” said Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a department spokesman. “With what we do, we have to take it seriously.”


One killed, three hurt in five-vehicle crash

A Baltimore man was killed and three persons hospitalized in a five-vehicle crash on the Outer Loop of the Baltimore Beltway yesterday morning, state police said.

The accident happened near the Wilkens Avenue exit, closing all lanes of the Outer Loop for about five hours.

At about 9:30 a.m. a tanker truck apparently hit one of several vehicles that had stopped while a State Highway Administration (SHA) worker cleared a large piece of tire tread from one of the lanes, police said. The tanker came to rest on top of a trailer being towed by a SHA dump truck.

The other vehicles involved were a car that was totaled, a Jeep that overturned and a box truck with less serious damage.

The driver of the car, John Salkauskas, 86, was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where he later died.

The tanker truck was carrying carbon dioxide, but there was no leak. There reportedly was a small fuel leak from one of the vehicles.


$18,000 seized during speeding stop

Maryland Transportation Authority Police seized nearly $18,000 in cash in a speed violation traffic stop yesterday afternoon on southbound Interstate 95.

The officer saw a 2000 Mitsubishi traveling 75 mph in a 55 mph zone about 1 p.m.

The officer smelled burning marijuana from inside of the vehicle, police said. A search of the vehicle turned up one marijuana cigarette in the ashtray, and the cash.

Some cash was in the front seat next to the driver, but the majority was under the back seat in a black bag.

Samuel Lopez, 19, of Apopka, Fla., was charged with possession of marijuana.


Buried bone fragments at least 20 years old

Bone fragments found last month near the Susquehanna River View housing development belong to a man, woman and animal, according to Cecil County sheriff’s office detectives.

A construction worker found the bone fragments after heavy rains, Detective Shawn Mahan said. A forensic investigator collected about 30 pieces of bone.

“There were no signs of trauma,” Detective Mahan said.

Sgt. Dennis Campbell said the bones could have been buried 20 to 200 years ago. They were found in a family burial plot.


Three men arrested in hotel robbery

Howard County police have arrested three men in the robbery of a Holiday Inn on Tuesday night.

Police charged Terrance Eugene Davis, 20, Joe Vincent Smith, 21, and Jonathan James Loston, 31, with armed robbery, robbery, theft and reckless endangerment.

Mr. Davis also was charged with second-degree assault and possession of an unregistered rifle.

Police said Mr. Davis and Mr. Smith have been linked to a July 4 robbery and attempted armed robbery at a hotel in Laurel.


Drunk driver caused fatal crash, police say

A Bethesda man was driving drunk on a suspended license when his pickup truck skidded off an exit ramp along Interstate 70 on Tuesday night and struck a minivan, killing the driver, police said.

David Helms, 40, is charged with manslaughter, vehicular homicide and other offenses.

Killed in the crash at the Route 355 interchange was Leonard Cave, 52, of Jefferson.

Mr. Cave’s passenger — Carolyn Gipe, 45, of Germantown — was in serious condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.


Inmate escapes from SHA yard

A state prison inmate from Baltimore escaped from custody yesterday at a State Highway Administration yard in Howard County.

An officer brought inmates to the yard from the Brockbridge Correctional Facility in Jessup. The officer noticed that Antawan Jones, 26, was missing and authorities searched the area without success.

Jones was serving a sentence of six years and seven months for burglary and was scheduled for release in March 2008.

Jones can now be charged with escape, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years, authorities said.


Teen pleads guilty to shooting stepdad

A Walkersville teenager pleaded guilty Tuesday to an assault charge for shooting off his stepfather’s right leg.

Bradley S. Goff, 18, entered the guilty plea to second-degree assault in Frederick County Circuit Court as jury selection for his trial was about to start. Prosecutors dropped charges of first-degree assault and reckless endangerment in return for his plea.

Goff faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at his sentencing Aug. 30.

Goff was 16 when he shot Jeffrey E. Kefauver with a 12-gauge shotgun during a dispute in the Frederick area on May 31, 2005, according to court records. Mr. Kefauver, then 32, lost his leg after being hit at close range near the hip, according to testimony at the hearing.

Goff’s mother and sister suffered minor injuries in the shooting, according to court records.



Deputy indicted for dealing drugs

A Greensville County deputy sheriff has been indicted on charges of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana, the federal prosecutor’s office said yesterday.

Timothy W. Williams, 35, of Emporia, faces 10 years to life in prison if convicted. He was being held without bail.

“Mr. Williams strenuously maintains his innocence and looks forward to being exonerated of these charges,” his attorney said.

The indictment says Deputy Williams conspired to distribute more than 50 grams of crack, as well as powder cocaine, between 2004 and June 2006. He also is charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana on June 5.

Court papers also say that he used his position to seize narcotics from drug dealers and hand them over to his co-conspirators for street-level distribution, and that he extorted money from dealers by threatening to have them arrested.

Greensville County Sheriff Wyatt Lee said Deputy Williams, a deputy for about six years, has been suspended without pay. He declined further comment.


Old IRS building picked for relief supply center

The American Red Cross has chosen a Henrico County site for one of eight major disaster-relief supply centers in the country.

The 220,000-square-foot warehouse near Richmond International Raceway will be capable of serving up to 500,000 people for three days.

Rick Russell, vice president of program operations for the local chapter, said volunteers have been unloading truckloads of supplies for three weeks.

“We learned after [Hurricane] Katrina that we need to be more forward-leaning in our approach,” Mr. Russell said. “This facility will put supplies in place for much of the East Coast before something happens.”

Larger than six football fields, the former Internal Revenue Service document center has quick interstate highway access and could be serviced by rail. It will house everything from flashlights, tents and tarps to nonperishable meals.

The building also will serve as a command center and staging area for incoming supplies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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