- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2006

MICHIGAN

Man sentenced in 30-year-old abduction

PONTIAC — A man who abducted his 2-year-old daughter three decades ago and led her to believe that her mother had died in a car crash was sentenced yesterday to seven months in jail.

Eric Douglas Nielsen, 54, pleaded no contest earlier this month to a parental kidnapping charge.

Sheriff’s deputies say Nielsen picked up Genevieve Rachel Nielsen at his estranged wife’s Oakland County home on May 8, 1976. It was to be an overnight visit, but they never returned.

His daughter, who was raised under another name, was found in May by Michigan authorities. Laura Gooder, Genevieve’s mother, learned that month that her daughter was alive and living in the Phoenix area.

NEW YORK

Agents break up smuggling ring

NEW YORK — Federal agents say they have broken up a smuggling ring responsible for most of the U.S. distribution of a leafy stimulant called khat, which is illegal here but commonly used in East Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Prosecutors announced the indictment of 44 persons in New York on Wednesday on charges that they helped bring 25 tons of the plant into the U.S. in recent years.

All but 14 of the suspects were under arrest after a series of sweeps in several states. About 5 tons of the drug, worth $2 million, have been seized by agents in the 18-month-old investigation, authorities said.

CALIFORNIA

Bodies pile up as heat wave persists

FRESNO — Corpses piled up at the morgue yesterday, and aid workers went door to door to check on elderly people in hopes of keeping the death toll from California’s unprecedented 12-day heat wave from rising.

In Fresno County’s morgue, the walk-in freezer was stuffed with bodies, some piled on top of others, Coroner Loralee Cervantes said. With limited air conditioning, employees worked in sweltering heat as they investigated at least 22 suspected heat-related deaths.

California coroner’s offices said the number of deaths suspected to be connected to the heat wave rose to 90.

COLORADO

Killer confesses to taking 48 victims

COLORADO SPRINGS — A man serving a life sentence in Colorado for murdering a teenage girl has claimed responsibility for as many as 48 slayings across the country dating back more than three decades, authorities said yesterday.

Robert Charles Browne, 53, told authorities the slayings occurred from 1970 until his arrest in 1995. He was in court yesterday to plead guilty to one of those killings — the death of another girl in Colorado in 1987.

Authorities so far have been able to corroborate his detailed claims in six slayings — three in Louisiana, two in Texas and one in Arkansas, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

GEORGIA

Student denies aiding terrorists

ATLANTA — A college student accused of discussing terror targets with Islamic extremists and training for “violent jihad” pleaded not guilty yesterday in a case his attorney said amounts to nothing more than “imprudent talk.”

Syed Ahmed, a 21-year-old Georgia Tech student, and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, were charged with providing material support to terrorists. Among other things, they were accused of undergoing training at an undisclosed location in northwest Georgia to carry out a “violent jihad” against civilian and government targets, including an air base in suburban Atlanta.

Mr. Ahmed’s attorney, Jack Martin, said after the arraignment that the case amounted to “imprudent talk.” U.S. Attorney David Nahmias declined to answer questions.

Mr. Sadequee is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 18.

IDAHO

Condor chicks die of West Nile virus

BOISE — Efforts to save the critically endangered California condor suffered a minor setback last week when four 3-month-old chicks died of the West Nile virus, biologists said.

Their deaths leave just eight condor hatchlings at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, where biologists have been breeding the federally protected scavengers since 1994.

These are the first condors to die from the mosquito-borne virus at the center.

California condors number just 299, with 159 in captivity and 140 in the wild in Arizona, California and Mexico, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said.

ILLINOIS

Cardinal undergoes cancer surgery

MAYWOOD — Cardinal Francis George, spiritual leader to 2.4 million Roman Catholics as head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, had his cancerous bladder removed yesterday and came through the surgery “very well,” doctors said.

“Things went very, very smoothly,” Dr. Robert Flanigan said after the five-hour operation at Loyola University Medical Center.

Doctors said tests would be conducted to determine how far advanced the cancer was.

Cardinal George, 69, probably will remain in the hospital for about seven days, Dr. Flanigan said.

IOWA

Girl, 11, hurt on roller coaster

ALTOONA — A board used by an amusement park’s maintenance inspectors fell onto a roller-coaster car, sending an 11-year-old girl to a hospital, officials said.

No medical information about the girl was released after Monday’s accident on the Tornado ride at the Adventureland amusement park in suburban Des Moines, park spokeswoman Molly Vincent said. Two other persons suffered minor injuries, officials said.

No structural problems were found on the ride, and the state will not take any action against Adventureland or its inspectors, said Kerry Koonce, a spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development, which oversees amusement-park rides.

KANSAS

Father admits setting deadly fire

WICHITA — A man accused of setting fire to a camper as his two young sons slept inside pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced murder charges, sparing him the death penalty.

One day into his retrial, Robert Fox admitted he caused the deaths of Chance Fox, 6, and Rowdy Fox, 4. The boys lived with their mother in Hooker, Okla., and were visiting their father in southwest Kansas when they died March 27, 2004.

Initially charged with capital murder and first-degree murder, Fox pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless second-degree murder. He faces nine to 41 years in prison on each count.

Fox’s first trial ended in a mistrial in February after prosecutors realized they did not have a report from a fire detective.

KENTUCKY

Cargo plane travels off runway

LOUISVILLE — A FedEx Corp. plane went off the runway at Louisville International Airport yesterday after the pilot aborted the takeoff, airport officials said.

“There’s no apparent aircraft damage, no injuries,” airport spokeswoman Trish Burke said.

The 727 cargo plane with a crew of three was scheduled to fly to Memphis, Tenn., where the company is based. FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey said the reason for the aborted takeoff was under investigation. He said he didn’t know how far the plane got off the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration also was investigating.

TEXAS

Yates committed to mental hospital

HOUSTON — A Texas judge committed Andrea Yates to a state mental hospital yesterday, one day after she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2001 murders of her five children.

Mrs. Yates, 42, showed no emotion during the brief hearing in which Judge Belinda Hill issued the order sending her to the state hospital in Vernon, Texas, 186 miles northwest of Dallas, for a 30-day evaluation of her mental state.

Defense attorney George Parnham said he expects that after the evaluation, Mrs. Yates will go to a state hospital nearer to Houston where she was treated before her retrial in the murders.

“She’s going to be in a mental health facility for a very long period of time,” Mr. Parnham said.

UTAH

Neighbor charged in girl’s death

SALT LAKE CITY — Prosecutors yesterday charged a man with kidnapping and aggravated murder in the death of a 5-year-old girl, saying he confessed to smothering the girl, then sexually assaulting her — a crime that could bring the death penalty.

Destiny Norton had been missing for eight days when police found her body Monday night stuffed in a plastic storage box in a cellar at the man’s house two doors away, prosecutor Bob Stott said at a press conference to announce the charges.

The neighbor, Craig Roger Gregerson, 20, will be appointed a defense attorney at a court appearance scheduled for today, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide