- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006


Ten Commandments sculpture can stay

The D.C. government has reversed its order to remove a sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the front of a ministry house across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Faith and Action, an evangelical group run by Rob Schenck, displayed the 850-pound granite sculpture early this month in the front yard of a home in the 100 block of Second Street Northeast.

City officials said the group needed a permit because yards in Capitol Hill and other historic districts are considered public land. Failure to comply subjected the group to $300-a-day fines and possible forced sale of the property.

The Ten Commandments display faces the private entrance to the Supreme Court, where the justices arrive and leave each day. Many senators and their staff also pass by the 3-foot-by-3-foot display on their way to and from nearby Senate office buildings.

“The District’s written admission vindicates Faith and Action’s position throughout this dispute: there is no legal support for the District’s prior attempt to regulate the Ten Commandments garden display,” said Phillip L. Jauregui of the Judicial Action Group, a member of Faith and Action’s legal team.

Man guilty of killing anti-crime activist

An Arlington County man was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder and other charges in the 1999 killing of a D.C. community activist.

Prosecutors used DNA evidence to identify Raymond Jenkins, 45, as a suspect in the stabbing of Dennis Dolinger, an outspoken anti-crime organizer who lived on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Dolinger, 51, had just retired as a budget analyst for Metro when he was killed.

The verdict by a D.C. Superior Court jury came after numerous twists. A jury deadlocked on the charges against Jenkins in April, and a mistrial was declared. This time, he was convicted on all charges and faces at least 30 years in prison.

Another man, who was caught after using Mr. Dolinger’s credit cards, was charged in the killing. But authorities later acknowledged they had made a mistake.

The case was the first in the District to rely on a “cold hit” in a DNA database.



Missing teen’s body found in New Jersey

The body of a teenager who went missing earlier this month after celebrating his graduation from high school was found Tuesday in Cape May Harbor Inlet in New Jersey, police said yesterday.

Nicholas Gochnour, 18, of Elkton, was last seen June 14, when he was in Ocean City for senior week. He left his personal belongings behind, including his cell phone charger, Ocean City police spokesman Barry Neeb said, and there was no activity on his cell phone since then.

On Tuesday morning, a fisherman on the southern tip of New Jersey saw a body floating in the water. An autopsy was performed yesterday at the Cape May County medical examiner’s office.

Mr. Gochnour was identified by fingerprints, police said. There were no signs of trauma to the body, and the cause of death has not been determined.

The Coast Guard will conduct an analysis to determine if it is possible the body could have floated from the Maryland coast.


Jury still not picked in beheading case

Attorneys in the retrial of two Baltimore men accused in the slashing deaths of three young relatives expect to conclude jury selection tomorrow and begin opening arguments.

Adan Canela, 19, and Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 24, are charged in the May 2004 beatings and near-beheadings of Ricardo Espinoza Jr., 9; his sister, Lucero Espinoza, 8; and their cousin, Alexis Espejo Quezada, 10.

Canela and Perez — both illegal aliens from Mexico — are the children’s cousin and uncle, respectively.

The first trial ended in August in a hung jury. Attorneys will choose 12 jurors and six alternates for their retrial.

Attorneys say jury selection started last Thursday with the screening of about 140 jurors per day, and has moved slowly because of publicity on the high-profile case.


Lawyer pleads guilty to role in drug probe

An Eastern Shore lawyer accused of covering for his drug dealer pleaded guilty yesterday to obstructing a federal drug investigation by concealing and arranging the removal of drugs.

According to a statement of facts, Christopher Llinas, 40, of Berlin, arranged to remove cocaine and marijuana from a Salisbury bar raided by federal agents last July during an investigation of its owner, Paul Apostolopoulos, who frequently sold drugs to Llinas. The drugs had not been found by agents during their initial search.

Llinas then split the cocaine between himself and another member of Mr. Apostolopoulos’ drug organization who had not yet been arrested.

Llinas also removed between 20 and 30 prescription pills from the home of another member of the drug gang that had been missed by agents during their initial search. He later took the pills himself, prosecutors said.

Mr. Apostolopoulos, his wife, a brother and another man have been indicted on drug dealing and money laundering charges.

Llinas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing was set for Sept. 22.


Hotel remains closed after two deaths

A hotel where two vacationers died of carbon- monoxide poisoning remained partially closed yesterday.

One building at the Days Inn Oceanfront on 23rd Street remained closed while investigators worked on the source of the carbon monoxide that killed a father and daughter Tuesday. The victims were Patrick Boughter, 40, and Kelly Boughter, 10, Ocean City police spokesman Barry Neeb said.

Mr. Boughter’s wife and their 7-year-old daughter were treated at a hospital in Berlin for carbon monoxide exposure and released. Authorities did not release their names.

The family was vacationing from Lebanon, Pa.

Mr. Neeb said the mother used her cell phone Tuesday afternoon to call 911. When authorities arrived at their the room, Mr. Boughter and Kelly were dead.


Thousands of chicks killed in farm fire

Thousands of young chickens were killed in a fire yesterday morning that destroyed a chicken house at a farm.

The building was engulfed in flames by the time first units arrived about 5 a.m. at the Ayde-lotte farm on Sheephouse Road.

The house contained chickens less than two weeks old. All were lost.



County prosecutor won’t oversee probe

The Wise County commonwealth’s attorney won’t take charge of an investigation into possible illegal gambling in the town of Appalachia.

Chad Dotson said the Virginia State Bar and the state attorney general’s office advised him that there would be a perception of a conflict of interest if he took over the investigation and prosecution.

As county prosecutor, Mr. Dotson has worked closely with former town manager Ben Cooper. Mr. Cooper resigned recently after being accused of rigging and corruption.

For now, the investigation into illegal gambling operations in the town remains under the control of special prosecutor Tim McAfee. Authorities seized more than $400,000 in cash and three town buildings in the gambling probe, which grew out of Mr. McAfee’s investigation into charges of election fraud.

Mr. Dotson said he has asked a judge to appoint a prosecutor to handle the gambling cases.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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