- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2006



Hornsby ex-girlfriend pleads guilty to fraud

The one-time girlfriend of former Prince George’s County schools chief Andre Hornsby pleaded guilty yesterday to federal tax charges, agreeing to help investigators in their fraud case against Mr. Hornsby.

Sienna Owens, 28, of Miami Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty to a felony charge for not reporting on her tax forms a $20,000 commission she received from a contract she brokered with the county schools on behalf of a California educational technology company.

According to a plea agreement formalized during a hearing in U.S. District Court, Owens gave $10,000 of that commission to Mr. Hornsby in return for his steering a contract worth nearly $1 million to her employer, LeapFrog School House.

Owens was living with Mr. Hornsby at the time in Mitchellville.

The plea deal states that Owens will help federal authorities with their investigation, including testifying in court.

Owens could face a maximum of three years in prison for her guilty plea, but the agreement suggests prosecutors will seek a lesser penalty.

Mr. Hornsby is accused of directing school contracts to associates in return for kickbacks of cash and property worth more than $100,000. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.


New conditions sought for Hinckley’s visits

Federal prosecutors yesterday asked for tighter restrictions on presidential assailant John Hinckley’s visits to his parents, citing problems in the family’s relationship.

Hinckley, who said he shot President Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster, has been allowed to make periodic visits from St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast to his parents’ home in Williamsburg.

Hinckley wants to keep those visits going until this spring, when a judge considers expanding his privileges.

A hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday to consider whether those visits should continue but prosecutors said Friday that the hearing was unnecessary.

They proposed that if U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman chooses to allow continued visits, one of Hinckley’s siblings should be required to attend and report back to the hospital.

Citing a psychiatrist’s report, prosecutors said they are concerned about whether Hinckley’s mother is accurately revealing to authorities “psychodynamic issues … concerning the relationships between mother, father and son.”

When off hospital grounds, Hinckley is under his parents’ supervision, must continue taking psychotropic medication and is required to meet with a psychiatrist. Because his father is ill, his mother has largely been responsible for Hinckley’s supervision, prosecutors wrote.

Hinckley shot Mr. Reagan, press secretary James S. Brady, a Secret Service agent and a D.C. police officer in March 1981 as the president emerged from a D.C. hotel.

Tree-lighting tickets to be given out today

Tickets will be distributed today for next month’s National Christmas Tree ceremony.

Beginning at 8 a.m., the National Park Service will hand out tickets at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, at 15th and E streets Northwest.

The Park Service has 2,800 free tickets to hand out. Those in line for tickets will be allowed four each on a first-come, first-served basis.

The tree lighting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Dec. 7.



Capital murder charge certified in shooting

A Montgomery County judge yesterday certified a capital murder charge to a grand jury against suspect William Morva.

The capital murder charge is for the shooting death of Montgomery Regional Hospital guard Derrick McFarland. The judge also certified other charges, including of felony escape.

Witnesses testified yesterday that Morva escaped jail custody on Aug. 20 when he attacked a sheriff’s deputy at the hospital and took his gun, which he used to kill Mr. McFarland.

Police have said Morva used the same gun to kill Montgomery County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eric Sutphin the next day as police combed Blacksburg, Va., looking for the escapee.

He is charged with two other capital murder counts in that shooting.


Indicted sheriff says he won’t step down

The indicted sheriff of Henry County said he is going to remain on the job.

Sheriff Harold Franklin Cassell is facing federal charges related to a scheme to sell drugs seized from criminals.

He was indicted last week, and Thursday night, several hours after the indictment was unsealed, county supervisors asked for his resignation, saying the charges could interfere with his ability to run the department.

Sheriff Cassell said that he respects the concerns raised by the supervisors.

But his attorneys said their client should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Seven current and five former officers have been charged. Another seven who did not work for the sheriff’s department also were charged.

Prosecutors said that since 1998, cocaine, steroids, marijuana and other drugs that had been seized by the sheriff’s department were resold to the public.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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