- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Skakel to appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

STAMFORD — An attorney for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel said yesterday that she would appeal his murder conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Connecticut Supreme Court refused to reconsider the case.

Skakel, 45, is serving a sentence of 20 years to life for his 2002 conviction in the 1975 beating death of his Greenwich neighbor, Martha Moxley, when the two were teenagers.

Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, appealed his conviction to the Connecticut Supreme Court last year, arguing among other things that the statute of limitations had expired when he was charged in 2000. The court unanimously rejected the appeal in January. The motion for reconsideration had asked the court to review its decision. The court denied the motion last week.

Attorney Hope Seeley said yesterday that she would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Dam assessments allay concerns

HONOLULU — A visual inspection of about half the dams on the island of Kauai found that they are not in danger of failing, a government spokeswoman said Monday.

A 116-year-old earthen dam on the island unexpectedly burst last week, killing up to seven persons. The break raised concerns about the reliability of the other dams.

The dams appear to be holding up after continued heavy rains, said Mary Daubert, a spokeswoman for the Kauai government.

Engineers are expected to finish assessing 51 of the dams by Friday. Two others are being monitored by police and the Hawaii National Guard, including the one that burst.

Four persons remained missing after the March 14 break at Kaloko Reservoir. Three bodies have been found.


Volunteer finds cash hidden in wall

NEW ORLEANS — Trista Wright was spending her spring break cleaning out hurricane-damaged homes when she discovered some unusual papers among the moldy plaster board and debris.

“I started raking it out of the air conditioner vent. I thought it was garbage, and I was going to shovel it up, but I bent down to pick it up, and it was a stack of $100 bills, and then more and more kept coming,” the 19-year-old said yesterday on CNN. By an unofficial count, it was more than $30,000.

The woman who owned the house, who has asked that she not be identified, was as shocked as Miss Wright.

The homeowner said she suspects the money belonged to her father, who was wary of banks. The home had been in the family for generations, she said.


Scientists fight plan to delist grizzlies

BILLINGS — More than 250 scientists and researchers have signed a letter protesting a federal proposal to no longer protect grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area under the Endangered Species Act.

The letter dated Monday was addressed to Chris Servheen, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s grizzly bear recovery coordinator. Mr. Servheen has said he expects a final decision on the proposal by the end of the year or early next year.

Among those signing the letter were primatologist Jane Goodall and bear researchers Chuck Jonkel and John Craighead Sr.

The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed in November “delisting” bears in the Yellowstone area, declaring them recovered. The bears currently are classified as threatened.


Trooper charged in crash that killed 4

LAS VEGAS — A state trooper was charged Monday with nine felony counts of reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter in a crash that killed four persons.

Trooper Joshua Corcran was driving 113 mph on Interstate 15 when his cruiser slammed into a car on Feb. 19 as he rushed home for dinner, police said. The posted speed limit was 65 mph.

According to a police report, the trooper said he had just responded to an accident. But neither his emergency lights nor siren were activated, and he did not contact his dispatcher to say he was involved in a high-speed chase or was responding to an emergency call, the report said.


Pizza restaurant eyes Guinness record

PITTSBURGH — Mama Lena’s Pizza House is vying for a spot in the Guinness World Records as the planet’s largest commercially available pizza.

The Big One, a 3-foot-by-4-foot pie, takes about 15 minutes to assemble and 20 to 25 minutes to bake, said Rob Carrabbia, whose wife, Wendy, owns the pizzeria. The pie is made of 20 pounds of dough, a gallon of sauce and 15 pounds of cheese.

About 10 of the $99, 150-slice pizzas have been sold, including one to a school for its basketball team.

A Guinness representative visited the pizza house Monday night to assess Mama Lena’s bid.

The current record holder is a 4-foot-diameter pizza offered by Paul Revere’s Pizza in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Dubbed the Ultimate Party Pizza, it uses more than 10 pounds of dough, 48 ounces of sauce and about five pounds of cheese.


Judge throws out suit challenging lottery

RALEIGH — A judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new North Carolina lottery, clearing the way for ticket sales to begin as scheduled next week.

State Superior Court Judge Henry Hight rejected arguments that the General Assembly illegally ignored procedures for establishing a tax when it pushed through the law creating the North Carolina Education Lottery last year.

The plaintiffs complained that the House and Senate each failed to hold two roll-call votes on separate days for the bill, as required for approving tax measures.

“A tax is a forced contribution to government which has no necessary immediate relationship to a benefit conferred,” Judge Hight wrote in his ruling. No one is forced to play the lottery, he wrote.


Man confesses to killing teen on lawn

BATAVIA — A man who neighbors say was devoted to his meticulously kept lawn was charged with murder in the shooting of a 15-year-old boy who apparently walked across his yard.

Charles Martin called 911 on Sunday afternoon and reportedly said calmly: “I just killed a kid.”

Police, who released the call’s contents, said Mr. Martin also told the dispatcher: “I’ve been harassed by him and his parents for five years. Today just blew it up.”

Larry Mugrage, whose family lived next door, was shot in the chest with a shotgun. The high school freshman was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Man dies in mudhole during police chase

DALLAS — A man fleeing sheriff’s deputies early yesterday sank waist-deep into a mudhole and died as authorities tried to pull him out, officials said.

The man’s identity and cause of death were not available, said Sgt. Don Peritz, a spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

The chase began just after 1 a.m. when deputies stopped a vehicle on a county road for having an outdated registration sticker. When deputies discovered the driver had given them false information, the driver ran into the field, which had been saturated by heavy rains, Sgt. Peritz said. Deputies searched for about an hour before finding the man.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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