- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

DISTRICT

New Wilson Bridge makes smooth debut

The first of two new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge spans opened over the weekend without the massive traffic tie-ups transportation officials feared.

One Outer Loop lane opened Saturday night, followed by the other two at 7:45 a.m. Sunday, hours ahead of schedule. There were no major problems during yesterday’s commute.

At their worst, weekend backups were only about one mile — far short of the 14 miles predicted if many drivers did not find an alternate route.

“Folks heard the message and heeded it,” project spokesman John Undeland said.

The first six motorists to cross the span linking Maryland and Virginia over the Potomac River received commemorative coins.

There will be another series of lane closures and detours the weekend of July 14 on the Inner Loop of Interstate 95 leading to the bridge.

Three lanes of southbound traffic will then share the bridge’s northbound span until a second span is completed in about two years.

MARYLAND

GREENBELT

Man remains jailed in abortion-clinic plot

A man suspected of plotting to attack an abortion clinic with a pipe bomb and handgun will remain in jail as he awaits trial on weapons and explosives charges.

Robert F. Weiler Jr., 25, of Forestville, waived his right to challenge his detention in U.S. District Court yesterday during a brief hearing. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day set a preliminary hearing for June 22.

Mr. Weiler wore a green T-shirt with the phrase “Help Cure Abortion” on the front and “Abortion: The leading cause of death in America” on the back. He spoke only to give his name and answer yes or no to questions about his rights. His parents would not comment after the hearing.

Mr. Weiler faces charges of possessing an illegal explosive device, making an illegal explosive device, illegally possessing a firearm and possessing a stolen firearm. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for a conviction.

According to court documents, Mr. Weiler called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last week from a Western Maryland highway rest stop to confess to the plan. Authorities said he told them he had built a pipe bomb, stolen a handgun from a friend and planned to attack a clinic in Greenbelt that performs abortions.

Early Thursday morning, the pipe bomb exploded in the Riverdale house of Mr. Weiler’s friend as a bomb technician tried to defuse it. No one was hurt, but the bomb set fire to the house.

ANNAPOLIS

State’s high court mulls hearings on TV

The Maryland Court of Appeals is looking at a proposal to televise its hearings on cable or the Internet.

The idea is to make the hearings more accessible. Some supporters go further — they say televised hearings would be educational for students and people at home.

Opponents of the idea think cameras could alter the proceedings. For example, attorneys might tailor their arguments for the viewers instead of the bench.

Appeals courts in 21 states offer some recorded coverage.

ELLICOTT CITY

NAACP, police join forces on hate crimes

Community leaders will meet this month to address a recent string of hate crimes in Howard County.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the county Office of Human Rights and police officers will address a recent string of hate crimes in Howard County.

Fifteen of the 22 racially motivated crimes this year tracked by the county branch of the NAACP occurred in Ellicott City. Leaders of the civil rights group said the first incidents have escalated into a series of ugly acts of vandalism.

Police have discovered eight incidents of white supremacist graffiti chemically burned into the lawns of Ellicott City homes within the past week.

Other incidents this year include hate mail sent to black leaders, a cross burned on a lawn and racial messages posted on school doors.

The meeting is set for June 26 at the United Methodist Church conference center in Columbia.

HAMPSTEAD

Buddy the kangaroo returned after escape

An escaped kangaroo named Buddy was returned to his cage in Carroll County after a weekend escape that led to a five-hour dragnet.

Buddy lives at a small petting zoo at Cascade Lake and got loose after stormy weather blew open his gate.

A motorist spotted him a quarter-mile away Saturday morning fleeing into a cow pasture.

The kangaroo was easy to spot, standing 6 feet tall and weighing about 150 pounds.

Two animal-control officers and police officers were called to assist the search. Buddy was caught with a net about 3 p.m.

BALTIMORE

Man gets life sentence for killing over a laugh

A Baltimore man was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for fatally shooting another man after he laughed at him.

Martinez Brown, 26, was sentenced in Baltimore City Circuit Court for the first-degree murder of Kelvin Knight. Brown was convicted in November.

The State’s Attorney’s Office said Mr. Knight was ordering takeout from an East Baltimore restaurant early one morning in December 2003. At the same time, Brown was arguing with a woman nearby, prompting Mr. Knight to laugh.

Brown saw Mr. Knight laughing and pulled out a handgun and shot him four times.

VIRGINIA

FREDERICKSBURG

Two men who drowned in Lake Anna identified

Officials identified two men who drowned at Lake Anna State Park after their canoe capsized while they were fishing.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries identified the men yesterday as Schwartzneggar Pena Cruz and Omar Vera Caballero.

Another man, Rueben Caballero, was rescued. All three are from Mannasas.

Officials said that there was no evidence of alcohol and that none of the men was wearing a life jacket.

Spotsylvania County Sheriff Howard Smith said his office was alerted that people were in the water about 7 p.m. Sunday. Divers recovered the bodies about three hours later.

It was the first drowning of the season at Lake Anna, where two persons drowned last summer.

MANASSAS

1929-era airplane arrives at airport

The Experimental Aircraft Association is bringing its 1929-era Ford Tri-Motor airplane, nicknamed the “Tin Goose,” to Manassas this week to begin its first tour of the East Coast.

The plane, weighing nearly 14,000 pounds, will arrive at Manassas Regional Airport today.

Adam Smith, the director of the association’s AirVenture Museum in Washington state, said it will be a rare glimpse at a flying machine that changed the way people travel.

The Tri-Motor plane can carry up to nine passengers. The group will be offering rides tomorrow and Thursday aboard the restored aircraft.

ABINGDON

N.C. doctor gets life for killing father

A North Carolina doctor who strangled and mutilated his father will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A judge in Abingdon sentenced Vince Gilmer, 43, of Fletcher, N.C., yesterday.

A Washington County jury recommended the maximum sentence of life in prison for Gilmer when he was convicted of first-degree murder in August.

The body of Dalton Donald Gilmer, 60, was found along the side of a road near South Holston Lake in 2004. His fingers and thumbs had been severed.

Gilmer said during his trial that his father had sexually abused him and that withdrawal from an anti-depressant medication left him unable to resist the impulse to kill the man.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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