- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 14, 2006

MARYLAND

FORT MEADE

Hearing set Monday in Abu Ghraib case

A hearing is scheduled for Monday for the former head of the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, who is charged with mistreating detainees and interfering with an investigation into abuses at the notorious prison.

Col. Steven Jordan was charged in April with 12 counts of violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for seven separate offenses.

He is the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib to face criminal charges for the abuses in 2003 at Abu Ghraib, which included sexual humiliation and physical abuse of Iraqi detainees.

The Military District of Washington announced yesterday that Col. Jordan will have his Article 32 hearing, often referred to as the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation, on Monday at Fort Meade.

Nearly a dozen soldiers have been convicted in connection with Abu Ghraib, many of them contending that they were following orders to prepare prisoners for interrogation.

STEVENSVILLE

Panels reduce crashes on Bay Bridge

Operators of the Bay Bridge said there has been a 30 percent reduction in collisions since May, when they installed bright pink panels on the eastbound span to discourage tailgating.

The Maryland Transportation Authority said the statistics show the panels are working.

The panels were installed under an initiative called “Pace Your Space,” which asks drivers to use the panels to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them.

Officials said the panels also might be installed on the westbound span in the future.

BALTIMORE

Teen shot outside school

Police are investigating a shooting outside a West Baltimore high school yesterday afternoon.

It happened just after 5 p.m. outside Frederick Douglass High School.

Officer Troy Harris said police received a call about a gunshot at the school. He said officers chased a possible suspect to Mondawmin Mall nearby but lost him.

Officer Harris said about 15 minutes later, officers were called to the 1900 block of Payson Street, which is less than a mile from the school, for a 14-year-old boy who was shot twice in the back. He said the boy was at the school at the time of the shooting.

The boy was taken to a hospital, but Officer Harris did not have details on his condition.

LEONARDTOWN

Helicopter crashes on fairgrounds

A small Navy helicopter crashed yesterday in St. Mary’s County, damaging the craft but causing only minor injuries of the two persons on board.

A pilot and co-pilot from the test pilot school at nearby Naval Air Station Patuxent River were returning to the base in the midafternoon when they were forced to make an emergency landing at the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds, said John Romer, a spokesman for the base.

The TH-6 Cayuse training helicopter made a “hard landing,” Mr. Romer said, but he did not know what caused it.

The pilot and co-pilot suffered minor injuries.

BALTIMORE

Director of sanctuary faces finance charges

The director of Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary Inc. has been charged with fraudulent misappropriation and grossly negligent failure to maintain records of charitable contributions, state officials said yesterday.

Dianne D. Pearce of Silver Spring was charged in Worcester County Circuit Court, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office announced.

From Jan. 15, 1999, to April 15, according to the documents, Miss Pearce unlawfully appropriated money and other things of value that she held in a fiduciary capacity for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

She also is accused of failing to keep accurate financial records for Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary Inc. of Silver Spring, a charitable organization.

If convicted of all counts, Miss Pearce faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, $3,000 in fines and liability for restitution.

VIRGINIA

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Former candidate acquitted of charge

An Albemarle County judge has acquitted a former House of Delegates candidate on a trespassing charge.

Richard Collins was charged with trespassing at a Charlottesville-area shopping center while handing out political leaflets. He was convicted in General District Court and fined $50.

He appealed his case to Albemarle Circuit Court with help from the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union.

Mr. Collins argued that he thought the Virginia Constitution gave him the free-speech right to distribute political leaflets because shopping centers have become public squares.

Albemarle Circuit Judge Paul Peatross Jr. said in his ruling that Mr. Collins actually was not protected by the U.S. Constitution. But he said that Mr. Collins thought that in good faith that his actions were legal, so he was not guilty of criminal conduct.

Mr. Collins was asked by the shopping center’s management and by county police to leave in May 2005 and was arrested when he refused.

RICHMOND

National Guard to deploy to Mideast

About 30 members of a Virginia Air National Guard engineering unit based in Virginia Beach will leave Monday for the Middle East.

The 203d Red Horse Squadron will begin deploying unit members to air bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar. The 30 unit members just finished a month of combat-skills training at Fort McCoy, Wis.

Also on Monday, the main body of the group — about 100 — will depart for 30 days of combat-skills training at Fort McCoy before heading to the Middle East.

Both groups of airmen are scheduled to return from overseas in May.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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