- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2006

ARIZONA

Residents leave polygamist town

COLORADO CITY — Law-enforcement authorities meeting to discuss the search for a fugitive church leader now on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list didn’t receive a warm welcome from the polygamous community.

Some residents were seen leaving town as police and prosecutors arrived Tuesday.

“People weren’t exactly waiting for us with open arms in the front yard,” Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told the Deseret Morning News of Salt Lake City.

Warren Jeffs, 50, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is accused of arranging marriages of underage girls with older men. He is wanted in Arizona on criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor. He also was charged in Utah with rape as an accomplice. He was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list Saturday with a $100,000 reward.

FLORIDA

Bush seeks firing in boot camp death

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Jeb Bush has written Bay County’s sheriff urging him to fire the former supervisor of a juvenile boot camp where guards roughed up a 14-year-old boy who later died.

Mr. Bush’s letter to Sheriff Frank McKeithen was released by the governor’s office yesterday. It was written Friday, when a medical examiner said a second autopsy on Martin Lee Anderson found that he had been suffocated.

Dr. Vernard Adams said the boy couldn’t breathe because hands were over his mouth as guards forced him to inhale ammonia fumes. The guards said in a report that they were using ammonia to revive Martin. The first autopsy found that he died naturally from complications of sickle cell trait, a usually benign blood disorder.

GEORGIA

Ex-school official admits embezzling

ATLANTA — A former Georgia state school superintendent accused of embezzling $600,000 and spending it on a facelift and an unsuccessful campaign for governor pleaded guilty yesterday and will serve eight years in prison.

Linda Schrenko, 56, struck a plea bargain in the middle of her trial. The trial continued for two suspected accomplices.

Prosecutors said Schrenko stole federal education money to underwrite her 2002 campaign for governor, cosmetic surgery and other extras, including a television, computer and a down payment on a car.

She pleaded guilty to one count each of money laundering and fraud. She was originally charged with 40 counts, including conspiracy. She and her lawyer left court without comment.

Schrenko funneled a series of $590 checks through companies held by Stephen Botes, who was seeking a $2.5 million state Education Department contract, prosecutors said. He is on trial along with his colleague Peter Steyn, who is accused of helping to steer thousands of dollars into Schrenko’s failed campaign.

INDIANA

Man with scissors corners robber

MURFREESBORO — The manager of a Christian bookstore chased a would-be robber with a pair of scissors and cornered him until authorities arrived, police said.

Tim Davis was working alone at his family owned Salt and Pepper Christian Store when a robber showed him a note demanding money and claiming he had a gun hidden under a folded newspaper, according to police reports.

Mr. Davis said Monday he did not think the robber had a gun because the newspaper was too thin.

Instead of handing over the cash, Mr. Davis grabbed a pair of scissors from under the counter. Mr. Davis said when the robber did not reveal a gun, he knew that he was unarmed.

The robber, who remains unidentified because he is a suspect in other robberies, fled the store with Mr. Davis on his heels, scissors still in hand. Mr. Davis cornered the robber behind a shopping center until police arrived.

NEW JERSEY

Police shoot wandering bear

IRVINGTON — A 300-pound black bear that had been wandering urban New Jersey for two days was shot and killed by police yesterday in a back yard on the edge of Newark after it reared up on his hind legs and appeared ready to charge, authorities said.

Seven shotgun blasts rang out, and the bear slumped to the ground in the small yard where it had been cornered.

The animal apparently had come from the countryside to the west, and its rambles had included the cities of Newark and Irvington — some of the most urban and densely populated areas of the state.

Before the bear was killed, nervous police officers chased three or four youngsters from nearby yards, and were becoming increasingly worried that more than 1,000 neighborhood children would soon be walking home from school.

Jim Osorio, an animal control officer who gave the order to shoot, said he was ready to fire a tranquilizer dart when the bear assumed the aggressive position.

NEW YORK

Crashed plane subject to maritime laws

One of the nation’s deadliest airline disasters is subject to general maritime laws, a judge has ruled, allowing potentially higher damages for dozens of people who sued.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled Tuesday that the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 nearly five years ago qualifies as a maritime disaster because a chunk of the aircraft sunk in “navigable waters,” the crash could have affected maritime commerce and the plane was on a transoceanic flight that “bears a significant relationship to traditional maritime activity.”

The defendants had contended that a plane must crash on high seas, far from land, to be subject to maritime laws.

The crash on a quiet residential block in the seaside Belle Harbor section of Queens killed 265 persons — including five on the ground — on Nov. 12, 2001.

The plane had just taken off from John F. Kennedy International Airport for a flight to the Dominican Republic when a section of its tail tore away as the plane’s pilot battled turbulence.

TEXAS

At least three killed by tornadoes

WESTMINSTER — Authorities went door to door in a search for victims yesterday after twisters ripped through rural North Texas overnight, reducing homes to concrete slabs and killing at least three persons.

At least 26 homes were destroyed. Ten persons were hospitalized and dozens of others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

An elderly couple were found dead in a destroyed mobile home in Westminster, about 45 miles northeast of Dallas, Collin County Fire Marshal Steve Deffibaugh said. He said a 14-year-old was found dead in a home in neighboring Grayson County.

Mr. Deffibaugh said the twisters took Westminster’s residents “by surprise, totally unaware.” The community of about 420 has no sirens, and the tornadoes hit too fast for the county’s emergency telephone-notification system to respond, he said.

VERMONT

Fraternity faces fine for initiation ritual

BURLINGTON — Four fraternity members accused of making pledges wear cowboy clothes and endure homophobic insults in a “Brokeback Mountain” themed initiation ritual face $1,000 fines under the state’s anti-hazing law.

University of Vermont police said the civil penalties stemmed from a March 2 party at the Phi Gamma Delta house based on the movie about homosexual cowboys.

Phi Gamma Delta’s alumni advisers have denied accounts of anti-homosexual remarks and heavy drinking at the party.

University police singled out four officers in the fraternity. Scott Curley II, 18, of Bridgewater, Mass.; Eric Freedman, 20, of West Simsbury, Conn.; Bill Holohan IV, 20, of Branford, Conn.; and Geoffrey Robinson, 20, of Middletown Springs were given tickets Friday, police said.

WYOMING

State sues agency over gun rights

CASPER — Wyoming is suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying the federal agency illegally rejected a state law allowing people who have misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence to win back their right to own guns.

John Powell, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Matt Mead in Cheyenne, said Mr. Mead’s office was still reviewing the lawsuit filed Monday.

Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of “a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from possessing a firearm. In 1986, Congress amended the law to allow states to set rules for restoring gun rights to people who have been pardoned or whose convictions have been expunged, or set aside.

In 2004, Wyoming’s legislature unanimously passed a law saying individuals would have to wait one year after completing their sentence. They would not qualify if their misdemeanor conviction involved the use or attempted use of a firearm and they could not have any other convictions that prohibit them from owning guns.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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