- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006


City expands probe in journalist’s killing

Prosecutors said yesterday that they are looking at additional cases that might involve two men accused of killing a veteran New York Times reporter.

Michael Hamlin, 23, and Percey Jordan Jr., 42, briefly appeared in D.C. Superior Court, where Judge Erik P. Christian set another court date for June 16 while a grand jury investigation continues.

Prosecutors initially sought to delay the case until late summer. But the judge resisted, asking, “Why is it going to take until August?”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines said authorities were investigating whether three other victims were linked to the two cousins. She did not elaborate.

“If you wish to join the other cases, you can do so at a later time,” the judge said.

Hamlin and Jordan are accused of robbing and fatally beating David E. Rosenbaum, 63, as he walked through his normally quiet Northwest neighborhood just after 9 p.m. on Jan. 6.

Mr. Rosenbaum, who grew up in Tampa, Fla., began his career as an intern at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. He spent more than three decades at the New York Times, working mostly in the newspaper’s Washington bureau.

Off-duty officer killed in crash

An off-duty D.C. police officer was killed yesterday in a car crash in Northwest.

The name of the officer, a 16-year-veteran, wasn’t released.

Police said the officer lost control of his sport utility vehicle on 11th Street Northwest at Harvard Street. It crossed the center line, hit a parked car, then spun around and hit a moving car. The driver of that car walked away from the accident.

Police think the officer had some kind of medical emergency, but they won’t know until an autopsy is completed.

Zoo asks for help with monkeys, birds

The National Zoo is looking for bird and monkey lovers to help monitor the park’s golden lion tamarins and to serve as interpreters at the Bird House.

The zoo’s nonprofit booster organization Friends of the National Zoo is looking for volunteers to undergo training in May or June.

Monitors for the tamarins help record information about the monkeys’ movements and behavior when they roam freely over the summer in the zoo’s Beaver Valley.

Bird House interpreters answer visitors’ questions and supervise the handling of animal artifacts.



Two inmates stabbed in separate fights

Two inmates were stabbed in separate fights Tuesday night at Maryland Correctional Training Center, correction officials said.

The stabbings happened about 10 or 15 minutes apart after 9 p.m. Both weapons were recovered.

Neither inmate suffered life-threatening injuries.

In a separate incident at the prison the next morning, an inmate in handcuffs assaulted an officer. During an ensuing scuffle, three officers were injured.

It happened about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when an inmate in segregation used his handcuffs to strike an officer in the head.

Three other officers suffered minor abrasions when they stepped in to help.


One dies, one hurt during argument

Two persons were stabbed early yesterday, and one of them later died, Montgomery County police said.

An argument in the 8100 block of Morning View Drive eventually turned into a physical altercation, police said.

Two persons were stabbed, and one of the people drove the other two a fire station for help.

One person died at the fire station, and the other was taken to a hospital. That person is expected to survive.

Their identities were not released.


Scientists study painless vaccines

People who dread painful injections may one day reap the benefits of a novel vaccine delivery device under study at Fort Detrick.

A lab at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases is studying the effectiveness of pain-free vaccines administered to the skin for anthrax and staphylococcal enterotoxin B, or SEB.

The lab helped develop a microneedle with a plastic barrier on the end that prevents the needle from penetrating the skin far enough to cause pain.

The team is studying intradermal vaccine delivery devices to allow trained personnel to quickly give vaccines in clinics.



Officer not charged in fatal shooting

A Fairfax County SWAT officer will not be charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man during a gambling investigation, Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. announced yesterday.

Salvatore Culosi, an optometrist with offices in Manassas and Warrenton, was shot Jan. 24 outside his Fair Lakes-area town house as he stood next to the car of an undercover officer investigating him for bookmaking. Police said the SWAT officer’s gun accidentally fired as he and others were swarming in to arrest Mr. Culosi.

The officer is on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Mr. Horan said it is not a crime when a person fires a gun without malice and unintentionally kills someone. He said he did not pursue charges because there was not enough evidence to persuade a jury to convict the officer.

Mr. Horan said the officer may have been exhausted because he had worked from 5 a.m. to noon, then returned to work at 8 p.m.

“I feel for the family of the victim in this case,” Mr. Horan said. “You have to. But I also feel for the police officer. This is a good police officer. Fine record, almost 17 years. He’s as shattered by this as any good police officer should be.”

Mr. Culosi’s attorney, Ben Dimuro, called the shooting an obvious case of excessive force and called for full disclosure of the internal investigation.


Cash, drug evidence missing from police

A prosecutor is trying to determine how many pending cases could be affected by the disappearance of evidence, including drugs and about $10,000 in cash, from the Hopewell Police Department.

“I’m surprised and deeply disturbed,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Sylvester said after learning about the problem during a court hearing Wednesday. He said the missing evidence “is going to raise a lot of issues we don’t usually deal with.”

Police Chief Rex Marks did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

Problems with the evidence room are not related to the two-month-old investigation by the Virginia State Police and the FBI into personnel matters at the police department, Mr. Sylvester said. Several officers have been placed on administrative leave during that investigation.

The missing evidence came to light after defense attorney Mary Martin filed a motion to force Chief Marks to answer questions about mismanagement in the evidence room.

Miss Martin is defending Rontal Taylor, 19, who faces drug possession and weapons charges. The evidence in his case is not missing, the prosecutor said.

Rather than take the stand, Chief Marks provided answers to about a dozen written questions. Those answers point to the missing evidence in drug cases dating to 1997. Money is missing from cases that date to 1989, Mr. Sylvester said.

Mr. Sylvester said it’s possible that the missing drugs were destroyed but that files were not properly documented, but he said cash is rarely destroyed.


Violations cited in fatal trench collapse

The city violated state worker-safety rules in an incident in which two workers died after they were buried in a trench while installing a sewer line, an investigation concluded.

Jennifer Wester, director of cooperative programs for the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, said yesterday that Buena Vista received one serious and three willful citations after the September incident in which Roger Coleman and David Carter died.

The city has 15 days to appeal. Municipalities cannot be fined, but Buena Vista was ordered to correct the violations.

Miss Wester said the serious citation was for the city’s failure to instruct employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.

The others say the city did not provide a safe exit from the trench, failed to make daily inspections and failed to provide an adequate protective system.

A trench box, which is used to brace the walls, was at the work site but not in the trench, she said. And it was not the proper size for the job.

Mr. Carter, 55, and Mr. Coleman, 62, were veterans with the Department of Public Works.


Man on bike struck, dragged by van

A man riding his bicycle was struck by a van and dragged 214 feet, police said. He was taken to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

City police spokeswoman Kirsten Nelson said a van struck the man just after 5 p.m. as he rode eastbound on the Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge in the eastern part of the city.

The van pinned the man to a road barrier and dragged him 214 feet.

Police did released the name of the driver, who was being interviewed last night.


Wolf Trap announces summer schedule

Wolf Trap announced its 35th anniversary lineup yesterday, including B.B. King making a stop in his final world tour.

The National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va., has plenty planned for the summer season, including return appearances by the Beach Boys, Trisha Yearwood and Chicago.

Wolf Trap’s season is also highlighted by the world premiere of “Face of America: Hawaii,” which combines live performances with spectacular, larger-than-life high-definition video projections of Hawaiian national parks.

” ‘Face of America: Hawaii’ takes its audience on a very different journey to a unique destination, using the performing arts to celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the people, histories, and land-scapes that exist throughout the islands of Hawaii,” said Terrence D. Jones, the president and chief executive of Wolf Trap.

The 2006 summer season begins May 26. Tickets for the nearly 100 performances go on sale tomorrow.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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