- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2006


Officials: Shaken baby recovering well

A 6-month-old boy whose foster mother is accused of shaking, slapping and dropping him on his head in September is recovering better than expected, officials with the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) say.

Rafael was about 1 month old when his foster mother, Tonya Jenkins, 37, of Southeast, confessed to abusing him, authorities said.

Doctors had said that the infant is blind and would have to be fed intravenously for the rest of his life.

But CFSA spokeswoman Mindy Good said Rafael has recovered beyond what doctors anticipated.

“He was unable to swallow, but now he is able to swallow,” Miss Good said. “So, instead of being fed intravenously, he is able to take a bottle.”

Miss Good says the infant is living in a long-term care facility. Extended-family members visit him frequently.

“He is going to require long-term care for as long as he lives,” Miss Good said. “He is living, and he is, for the best of their knowledge, not in any pain — but he is living. And we didn’t even think he’d be that in the beginning.”

Miss Jenkins is scheduled to appear April 25 in D.C. Superior Court. She is charged with a felony count of first-degree cruelty to children and is being held without bond. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

Man pleads guilty to slashing tourists

A homeless man who slashed at tourists near the White House in November pleaded guilty to assault charges, prosecutors said yesterday.

On Nov. 1, Stanley Battle attacked four persons in Lafayette Square. Authorities said Battle was screaming, “You, you, you,” as he made slashing motions. At least two persons had to be treated at a hospital, though none of the injuries was life-threatening.

A uniformed Secret Service officer who heard the victims screaming was able to arrest Battle, who authorities said tossed the knife to the ground.

Battle, who entered his plea a week ago, faces up to 21 years in prison when he is sentenced May 4 in D.C. Superior Court.

Three arrested after fatal shooting, chase

Three persons were arrested and charged with first-degree murder after a shooting in Southeast and a high-speed police chase in the District and Prince George’s County.

A gunman using an auto-matic weapon opened fire from a sport utility vehicle on a group of people outside Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in the 3000 block of Q Street Southeast just before noon yesterday, police and witnesses said. Michael Beckham, 31, of Capitol Heights, was killed and another man was wounded as he tried to drive away.

Police said the shooting might be retaliation for the fatal shoot-ings last week of two friends.

Police said the suspects drove into Prince George’s County and back into the District twice, throwing weapons — including a semiautomatic assault weapon — out the windows as they sped through the streets for about 40 minutes. Police cars and aircraft from both jurisdictions were involved.

The chase ended when the suspects tried to bail out in the 3400 block of Nash Place Southeast and were taken into custody. Their names were not released.

D.C. police said the chase was justified because the suspects were violent and dangerous. No one was hurt during the chase and no property was damaged, they said.

Council approves ‘living wage’ bill

The D.C. Council yesterday passed a “living wage” bill that will guarantee a minimum wage of $11.75 per hour to D.C. government workers and residents who work at businesses that receive city subsidies or tax abatements.

The bill also strengthens requirements for city contract-ors to give hiring preferences to D.C. residents and establishes a job-training and employment center for city residents.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams hailed the council’s move, saying that it will help chron-ically unemployed city residents get jobs and keep them.



Police impersonator pulled over wrong car

Anne Arundel County police charged a 34-year-old Crofton man with impersonating an officer after a two-week investigation that began after the man tried to pull over an unmarked police car with two bona fide officers inside.

The officers — the real ones — were on patrol last month in an unmarked car when a Ford Crown Victoria similar to that used by many police departments pulled up behind them flashing red and blue emergency lights. The officers pulled over, but the driver of the car behind them turned off its lights and passed by. The officers then flashed their emergency lights and pulled over the car.

The driver was identified as Karl Salenieks, police said. The car was registered to Fallsway Security, a private security company.

The officers decided not to charge Salenieks at the scene, although police spokesman Lt. David Waltemeyer said using emergency lights was a violation.

But Lt. Waltemeyer said police later discovered that although Salenieks was a convicted felon and not allowed to carry a gun, he worked as an armed security guard at a grocery store.

He was arrested Monday and charged with several handgun violations, impersonating an officer and making a false statement to police.

Police searched Salenieks’ home and seized two handguns, a shotgun, a taser, police badges, police-car lights and handcuffs, Lt. Waltemeyer said.


Senate panel approves prison-guard raises

A Senate budget committee approved pay raises for correct-ional officers in Maryland prisons yesterday, but rejected a plan by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to make the raises retro-active to the first of the year.

The result of the vote by the Budget and Taxation Committee is that pay raises will take effect July 1, when the budget for the state’s fiscal year 2007 begins.

There was broad agreement that correctional officers are working in increasingly dangerous conditions and deserve a substantial boost in pay, but some committee members said the state never has given retroactive pay raises.

Supporters said immediate pay increases are needed to help recruit and retain prison employees.

When added to the cost-of-living increase that Mr. Ehrlich proposed for all state employees, the raises just for correctional officers will average out to about 8 percent for everyone from new officers to wardens. For new officers in entry-level positions, the salary will increase from about $28,000 to about $33,000.



Man charged with setting wildfire

A Bedford County man has been charged with setting a wildfire that has consumed hundreds of acres and closed an eight-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Dennis Ham of Blue Ridge was served with a summons Monday night charging him with carelessly, negligently or inten-tionally setting a woodland fire capable of spreading, Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Adams said.

If convicted, he could be liable for all expenses incurred in fighting the blaze, which has been burning since Saturday.

Embers from a wood stove started the fire, said Denny McCarthy, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Forestry, which brought the charges against Mr. Ham.

While the total cost is unknown, a federal crew trained to handle wildfires has spent $295,288 in the effort, Mr. McCarthy said. More than 120 people directed by the crew battled the blaze yesterday.

Officials originally said about 2,000 acres had burned. Yester-day, they lowered the estimate to 875 acres. Once backburns are completed to stop the blaze, the total amount of acreage consumed will be about 1,150.


Boy hit by SUV dies of injuries

A 6-year-old boy was struck and killed in the parking lot of a shopping center on Wilson Boulevard last evening.

The boy sustained serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital, police said.

Preliminary reports indicate that the boy was walking through the parking lot at the Eden Center with his grandfather when he was hit by the Nissan Pathfinder about 5 p.m., police said.


Propane tanks catch fire in truck

A truck carrying propane tanks caught fire yesterday afternoon at the busy inter-section of Lee Highway and Gallows Road, creating both a danger and a traffic hassle.

A hazardous-materials team was on the scene, which is near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station and the main Northern Virginia post office.

A nearby construction site was evacuated.


Ex-coach sentenced for sex offense

A judge sentenced a former preparatory-school coach to 10 years in prison for attempting to meet a minor for sex.

“I think the community should be terrified of what you might do,” Circuit Court Judge Patricia L. West told Kenneth W. Crowder, 54, at his sentencing Monday.

Crowder pleaded guilty last year to attempted indecent liberties and using a communication device to procure minors after being caught in a police Internet sting in December 2004.

Police searched his truck and found a condom, a package of Viagra tablets and driving directions.

He already is serving a one-year sentence for possession of child pornography.

In court Monday, he admitted that he had a problem and asked Judge West to let him be treated outside jail.

“I just think the risk is too great,” she said.

Crowder had coached foot-ball, basketball and baseball at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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