- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2006

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Civil rights groups sue city over arrests

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are suing the city of Baltimore, saying police officers are arresting people illegally.

A lawsuit filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court said the arrests of “tens of thousands” of people each year are illegal because they are held for hours at the state-run Central Booking and Intake Center in cases that do not ever get prosecuted.

The NAACP said nearly a third of the 76,000 people arrested last year in the city were released without being charged. The groups call that a “gross violation” of defendants’ rights.

The lawsuit also named the state as a defendant, because it says people who are arrested are mistreated at Central Booking. The lawsuit says that strip searches and body-cavity searches are routinely conduct-ed and that people are held in filthy, overcrowded conditions.

BALTIMORE

Man pleads guilty to firebombing

A man pleaded guilty yesterday in last year’s firebombing at the home of woman leading a fight against drug dealing in her community.

Sedrick Bowman, 26, of Baltimore, was charged with conspiracy to commit witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony.

Federal agents said Bowman met in January 2005 with six other persons to plot the firebombing of the home of Edna McAbier, president of the Harwood Community Association. Authorities said the attack was retaliation for her reports to police about drug activity.

Molotov cocktails were used to set the home on fire, and one suspect reported a fictitious crime to the 911 center to divert police attention from the area.

Bowman is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 31.

SILVER SPRING

Man knew sex talk could cause arrest

A former Department of Homeland Security press aide discussed the illegal thrills of underage sex, called President Bush “a liar” and chatted about shoulder-fired missiles in Internet and phone chats with undercover detectives posing as a 14-year-old girl, court records show.

Brian Doyle, 56, of Silver Spring, acknowledged that his chat room pal — “Ashlynne” — could be a police officer “trapping” him, according to about 400 pages of records released this week. The documents include transcripts of online chats and phone calls Mr. Doyle had with undercover Polk County, Fla., sheriff’s detectives.

Mr. Doyle resigned from his job shortly after his April 4 arrest on charges of trying to solicit sex with an underage child. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $230,000 bond. If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

The transcripts say Mr. Doyle wrote to the fictitious girl: “hey it is illegal … and it would be exciting and forbidden … you are young — illegal — and gor-geous. and it would be great. fun. food, laughter, talk and yes sex.”

After his arrest, Doyle told detectives that he wasn’t attracted to children but had explicit conversations as a “kind of a power trip,” documents show. He said he never intended to meet with the girl.

VIRGINIA

BURKE

Stabbing at school followed confrontation

Fairfax County police have learned more about what led to Wednesday’s stabbings outside Lake Braddock Secondary School.

Investigators said yesterday that the stabbings occurred about 3 p.m. when three students were confronted in a parking lot by several teenagers who did not attend the school.

Police said a fight broke out and one of the students was assaulted. That is when another student, 17, stabbed two of the teens, agest 16 and 17. Neither wound was serious.

The group broke up when a police officer arrived, and the school was placed on lockdown. Students in the school were escorted to their buses by police.

The student who stabbed the teens was found inside the school and detained after the incident. Police continue to investigate.

RICHMOND

Shooting survivor graduates high school

The only survivor of a multiple shooting in Roanoke three years ago graduated from high school yesterday.

Kierra Arrington, 17, walked down the aisle at Patrick Henry High School’s commencement ceremony and received her diploma.

Kierra was shot in the head and left for dead in April 2003 by Clinton Brathwaite, the boyfriend of her mother. Brathwaite killed Kierra’s mother, Angela Arrington, and three siblings — LaVoe, 13, DeVonte, 10, and Kadesha, 8. Brathwaite is serving life in prison.

Kierra was left blind in one eye and has suffered headaches.

Her father, Deon Hilton, said she “defied all odds” and called her “an inspiration to others.”

Kierra will begin classes in the fall at Virginia Western Community College. She said her dream is to become a lawyer and help women and children in need.

ROANOKE

Jury awards $2 million in child’s mower death

Jurors who awarded $2 million to a couple whose son was run over and killed by a riding lawn mower said they wanted to send a message to the industry.

Justin Simmons, 4, was killed in April 2004 in Daleville, north of Roanoke, when a mower operated at his day care center rolled backward while going up a slope and ran over the child.

The Roanoke Circuit Court jury returned its verdict Wednesday after 10 hours of deliberations, naming the mower’s manufacturer, MTD Products Corp., liable for the death. An attorney for MTD Products said the Ohio company will appeal.

The jury held MTD responsible for not designing a mower that automatically stops its blades when it rolls backward. No such mower exists or has ever been tested, said John Fitzpatrick, the company’s attorney.

Jurors awarded $500,000 each to Ron and Kristie Simmons, Justin’s parents, and $1 million to his 3-year-old brother, Josh.

Day care provider Roberta Reedy, who had been watching Justin, his brother and two other children, had gone inside to change a diaper when she heard her husband, Orvil, scream. Mr. Reedy did not see at first that he had hit the boy and tried to restart the mower, then saw Justin’s feet sticking out from under the triple-blade deck.

The company argued that Mr. Reedy ignored safety warnings.

RICHMOND

Work at Capitol shown in show on Jefferson

The first extensive televised glimpse of the massive state Capitol renovation project is set for a national audience tomorrow on the History Channel.

A camera crew spent two days in February filming at the 200-year-old Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, which is shrouded in scaffolding, heavy equipment and construction fencing during a $99 million renovation.

The project includes a 27,000-square-foot underground extension beneath the South Portico and South Lawn of Capitol Square. Completion is due this fall.

The documentary, “Jefferson’s Other Revolution,” contrasts the private and public Jefferson as revealed through his architecture.

Besides the Capitol, Jefferson’s first public building designed in 1785 while he was in Paris, the program features his Bedford County retreat, Poplar Forest, and his last major architectural feat, the University of Virginia, which he designed in 1817.

The program will be shown at 8 p.m. tomorrow, and again at midnight and at 9 a.m. Sunday.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Plane crash kills two from New England

Two men killed in a single-engine plane crash near Charlottesville on Wednesday were New Englanders and officials of a land preservation and development company.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane crashed shortly before 11:30 a.m. in Albemarle County near North Garden, while trying to land in a field about a mile from a private airport.

An officer with Qroe Farm, based in Derry, N.H., identified the victims as Robert Baldwin, the company’s president and chief executive officer; and David Brown of West Hartford, Conn., the company’s regional director.

The plane took off from Nashua, N.H., bound for the private airport next to Bundoran Farm, a 2,300-acre preservation development the company is overseeing along Route 29 near Charlottesville.

REGION

MetroAccess adopts more flexible schedule

Riders on Metro’s curb-to-curb service for the disabled will have more flexibility in making reservations and canceling trips under plans approved yesterday by the transit system’s board of directors.

The board adopted six recommendations for MetroAccess from a committee that included transit officials, riders and advocates for the disabled.

MetroAccess customers will be allowed to cancel trips up to two hours before a scheduled pickup and make reservations seven days in advance, instead of the 14 days currently required. Users who fail to show up for a trip will be given a courtesy notice for the first offense.

The contractor that provides the service, MV Transportation, will offer sensitivity training to its drivers and dispatchers.

Metro also will pay $50,000 to a paratransit consultant to help determine the costs of expanding MetroAccess and offering a premium taxicab service, which would offer reservations on shorter notice.

“While we have made significant progress in improving MetroAccess since January, we still have more work to do,” said Dan Tangherlini, Metro’s interim general manager.

MetroAccess provides about 4,500 rides on an average weekday, or nearly 1.5 million trips a year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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