- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2006

FLORIDA

Submarine back to duty after makeover

MAYPORT NAVAL STATION — Sailors in their dress whites ran onto the deck of the USS Florida yesterday in a ceremony returning the submarine to duty after a $1 billion makeover that changed its mission from a Cold War nuclear deterrent to a stealth weapon in the war on terrorism.

Gov. Jeb Bush, Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton and a host of U.S. Navy dignitaries attended the ceremony for the boat, which underwent a three-year overhaul in Virginia that included replacing its Trident nuclear missiles with conventional Tomahawk missiles and adding the ability to deploy special forces. The submarine’s home port will be Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in southern Georgia.

NEW JERSEY

Suspect shoots family, self, police say

MILLVILLE — A man standing trial on sexual assault charges apparently killed his wife, their two children and himself hours before he was to testify yesterday, authorities said.

The bodies of Scott McCarter, 40, his wife, Wendy, 35, and their 12-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter were discovered by a friend who went to check on Mr. McCarter when he didn’t appear in court yesterday.

They were shot with a long-barreled rifle or shotgun, police Chief R.J. Harvey said.

Chief Harvey said that although the shootings appeared to be a murder-suicide, an investigation was under way to determine how the four died.

Mr. McCarter was accused of molesting two teenage girls sometime between 2001 and 2004.

ARIZONA

Indian grads wear eagle feathers in caps

PHOENIX — Mesa Public Schools on Wednesday reversed a decision and allowed American Indian high school students to wear eagle feathers attached to their caps at graduation.

Students and elders from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community protested after Mesa school administrators told Westwood High seniors last week that they would be allowed to wear only a cap, gown and honor cord designating academic achievement at the ceremony yesterday.

After meeting with tribal council members who explained that eagle feathers mark a significant rite of passage, school officials agreed to lift the ban.

Eighteen American Indian students were among Westwood’s graduates.

CALIFORNIA

Women arrested in baby’s abduction

LOS ANGELES — A 6-week-old California boy is safe after two women accused of snatching him from his teenage mother when she refused to sell him to them were arrested near Dallas, the FBI said.

Annette Bryant and Sylvia Nunn were arrested late Wednesday in Midlothian, a Dallas suburb, by FBI agents who had obtained warrants for their arrests and located them, said Los Angeles FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

The women had brought Devon Calloway to an attorney they retained after learning they were wanted by authorities, the FBI said. The attorney turned over the boy to an FBI agent.

Los Angeles police Capt. Bill Murphy said it was unlikely the boy would be returned immediately to his mother. While investigating the boy’s disappearance, social workers determined that her home was in such poor condition that they placed her other child, a 2-year-old, into protective custody.

COLORADO

Professor denies academic misconduct

DENVER — University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill has denied charges of academic misconduct, insisting that a faculty committee report finding him guilty of plagiarism and fabrication was submitted in retaliation for his controversial political stances.

In a six-page letter to the committee, Mr. Churchill called the report “the latest step in CU’s ongoing attempt to fire me for political speech and, more fundamentally, for scholarship which challenges the orthodox ‘canon’ of historical truth.”

“Do not challenge orthodoxy,” Mr. Churchill said in the letter, which was released late Wednesday. “If you do, expect to be targeted for elimination and understand that the university will not be constrained by its own rules — or the Constitution — in its attempts to silence you.”

Last week, a five-member faculty committee charged Mr. Churchill with plagiarizing, fabricating research and misrepresenting the work of other academics in his scholarly writings. One committee member recommended revoking his tenure and firing him, while the other four supported suspension without pay.

University of Colorado administrators are expected to announce a decision on Mr. Churchill’s future with the Boulder-based university next month.

GEORGIA

Driver charged after toddler dies

COVINGTON — A man accused of driving a car that intentionally struck two sisters and their three small children in a McDonald’s parking lot was charged with murder after the youngest victim died, authorities said.

Avery Nicole King, 2, died Wednesday, a day after she was struck while leaving the restaurant along with her mother, aunt and cousins, ages 3 and 4.

Lanny Barnes, 46, appeared Wednesday before Chief Magistrate Judge Henry Baker and was ordered held without bail pending a mental health evaluation.

Police Chief Stacey Cotton said the motive was unknown and the attack was apparently random. He declined to comment on witness reports that Mr. Barnes was smiling during the attack.

MICHIGAN

Workers dig ground at Hoffa search site

MILFORD TOWNSHIP — After tearing apart a barn, FBI agents began digging up the ground where it stood yesterday, taking photos and video and sifting through dirt by hand as they searched for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains at a suburban Detroit farm.

After a backhoe dug a hole at the site, FBI agents and crime-scene investigators jumped in to take pictures and comb through the soil. At one point, two dogs were sent into the hole.

The 100-by-30-foot barn was torn down Wednesday as the FBI scoured Hidden Dreams Farm, which once was owned by a Hoffa associate and is located not far from where the former Teamsters chief vanished in 1975.

The search of the Milford Township farm, 30 miles northwest of Detroit, began May 17. Officials have said the search would last several weeks and involve cadaver dogs, demolition specialists, archaeologists and anthropologists.

FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney said Wednesday night that the search had turned up nothing significant.

NEBRASKA

Short sex offender given probation

SIDNEY — A judge said a 5-foot-1-inch man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.

His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

Thompson will be electronically monitored the first four months of his probation, and he was told to never be alone with someone younger than 18 or date or live with a woman whose children are younger than 18. Judge Cecava also ordered Thompson to get rid of his pornography.

He faces 30 days of jail each year of his probation unless he follows its conditions closely.

WYOMING

Agents break up meth-trafficking ring

RIVERTON — Federal agents arrested 43 persons here yesterday after a two-year investigation targeting members of the methamphetamine-trafficking ring known as the Claudia Hermosillo gang, which operated on the Wind River Indian Reservation and throughout Wyoming.

U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) agents seized more than 20 pounds of high-purity methamphetamine, $100,000 in cash and 20 firearms, including one machine gun. The investigation also revealed that a member of the trafficking group traded methamphetamine for sex with two 14-year-old American Indian girls.

“The arrests of the Claudia Hermosillo drug trafficking organization will considerably [affect] the distribution market on the Wind River Indian Reservation,” said Jeffrey D. Sweetin, DEA special agent in charge.

The probe began in 2004 after drug agents learned that the Hermosillo organization was distributing more than 7 pounds of methamphetamines a month, including drugs sold on the reservation. Agents said the drug was being sold for anywhere from $10,000 to $18,000 a pound.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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