- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

NEW YORK

Ex-FBI agent indicted on murder charges

NEW YORK — A retired FBI agent was indicted on murder charges yesterday, accused of taking bribes from a mobster to provide inside information that led to the underworld slayings of four persons in Brooklyn.

R. Lindley DeVecchio, 65, was arrested in a case of “confidential leaks, payoffs and death” dating back two decades, District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

Mr. DeVecchio and two suspected triggermen awaited arraignment as other retired FBI agents came to his defense.

“We all know Lin, and we all know he’s not capable of doing these kinds of things,” James Kossler, a former supervisor with the FBI’s New York office, said Wednesday. “It’s so sad it could happen to a guy like this.”

OHIO

Judge rules man not competent

HAMILTON — A mentally incompetent man accused of strangling his autistic roommate at a group home last month will not face prison time because a judge ruled yesterday that he is incompetent to stand trial on a murder charge.

Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Spaeth said the case has been tragic for both families. He said Edward Shuman, 20, had a troubled childhood of emotional problems, physical abuse and illness.

Probate court will determine a plan for Mr. Shuman’s long-term care in a state facility for the mentally incompetent, prosecutor Craig Hedric said.

Mr. Shuman, who waved and smiled at his adoptive parents while in court, is being held at Columbus Developmental Center. Two competency evaluations found that he was unable to assist in his defense. Authorities said Mr. Shuman has an IQ of 42.

CALIFORNIA

San Francisco leaders assail youth rally

SAN FRANCISCO — A Christian youth rally that drew more than 25,000 people to AT&T; Park last weekend met resistance from city leaders and some residents over its conservative agenda in a largely liberal, homosexual-friendly metropolis.

The two-day “Battle Cry for a Generation” was aimed at luring youths away from a popular culture that organizers said glamorizes drugs, violence and sex.

Similar rallies are set for April 7-8 at Detroit’s Ford Field and May 12-13 at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Spectrum.

Ron Luce, whose Texas-based Teen Mania sponsors the events, urges a “reverse rebellion” against corrupting influences such as MTV and the online meeting hub, MySpace.com.

Last week, the city’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the “act of provocation” by an “anti-gay, anti-choice” organization that aimed to “negatively influence the politics of America’s most tolerant and progressive city.”

FLORIDA

Police: Mom let son be sexually abused

NEW PORT RICHEY — A woman confronted a neighbor accused of sexually assaulting her 7-year-old son and threatened to call police, but then accepted $600 in hush money and let the man molest the boy again, authorities said.

The 30-year-old woman was charged Tuesday with capital sexual battery and child abuse. The neighbor, Nicholas Quiles, 48, has been charged with capital sexual battery. Both are being held without bail.

The suspected sexual assaults happened the first two weeks of February, Lt. Jeffrey Harrington said.

The boy told his 11-year-old sister that Mr. Quiles did “bad things to him,” the girl told detectives. An anonymous tip led investigators to the neighbor and mother.

IDAHO

Girl, 9, honors slain brother

COEUR D’ALENE — The young girl whose family was killed at their home last year returned there to release balloons in memory of her brother on what would have been his 14th birthday.

“Slade’s my brother, and I want to do this for him,” Shasta Groene, now 9, told KREM-TV of Spokane, Wash., on Wednesday in her first public comments since last May’s carnage. She was joined by relatives at the modest home along Interstate 90 outside Coeur d’Alene.

With her father, Steve Groene, at her side, Shasta said Slade “was a very nice boy, and we don’t want to forget about him.”

Joseph Edward Duncan III, 42, has been charged with bludgeoning Slade Groene; their 40-year-old mother, Brenda; and Brenda’s 37-year-old boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, at the house so he could kidnap Shasta and her 10-year-old brother, Dylan, for sex.

Dylan was later killed. Shasta, the sole survivor, was rescued at a Denny’s restaurant in Coeur d’Alene on July 2, after seven weeks of captivity.

MICHIGAN

Archdiocese to shrink number of parishes

DETROIT — The Archdiocese of Detroit announced plans Wednesday to close or merge 16 parishes, most of them in or near the city, under a five-year reorganization plan.

Other small Roman Catholic congregations in Detroit and elsewhere will share pastors under the reorganization plan, which was brought on by decades of population shifts to outer suburbs and a nationwide shortage of priests.

Cardinal Adam Maida, leader of the nearly 1.3 million Catholics in the diocese’s six-county area, said the decisions were part of a strategic planning process.

The changes will reduce the number of parishes from the current 306 to 290.

OKLAHOMA

Firm claims to make prize-horse clones

PURCELL — A company that offers horse owners exact duplicates of their animals says it has successfully cloned two top-earning horses.

ViaGen Inc. announced Thursday that two mares had delivered clones of top cutting horses, which are trained to help separate individual animals from cattle herds. The foals, born at a ranch near Purcell, were doing well, according to the Austin, Texas-based company.

The first cloned horse was born in 2003 in Italy. In 2005, Texas A&M; University created the first cloned horse in the United States.

Elaine Hall of Weatherford, Texas, owns one of the horses that was cloned and said the foal is the image of its mother.

“I can already see so many similarities from the original horse — a certain look about the eyes,” she said.

NEVADA

Guinness verifies world’s largest buffet

LAS VEGAS — The maker of the Alka-Seltzer antacid tablet has set a record for creating the world’s largest buffet.

About 850 hungry customers helped Bayer HealthCare LLC, a subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical and chemical firm Bayer AG, celebrate the 75th anniversary of its heartburn relief product.

In all, 510 dishes were set in front of the crowd Tuesday. Each one had to be certified distinct by a Guinness World Record adjudicator.

TENNESSEE

Shooting suspect facing adult charges

JACKSBORO — A grand jury will decide whether to charge a 14-year-old boy with murder for a school shooting last fall that killed an assistant principal and wounded two other school administrators.

The case was moved out of juvenile court with the agreement of prosecutors and Kenneth Bartley’s defense attorney.

The teen’s attorney, Mike Hatmaker, told the judge he thought the state could meet the burden of proof to have the boy tried as an adult, and he didn’t want to put the victims and their families through the strain of an extra hearing.

District Attorney Paul Phillips said the case will be presented in June to a grand jury, which will have to decide what, if any, charges to file against Kenneth.

TEXAS

Wildfires burn homes in Amarillo

AMARILLO — Two wildfires erupted yesterday in this dry and windy city, destroying three homes and threatening about 40 others, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries.

About 400 acres were burning. Exact estimates were difficult because wind gusts of nearly 40 mph grounded Forest Service aircraft, agency spokeswoman Traci Weaver said.

Several cars were burning in a junkyard. Authorities were trying to evacuate homes in the area, but most efforts were focused on protecting homes in the fire’s path, said Amarillo Fire Capt. Bob Johnson.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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