- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 22, 2006

Marine to plead guilty in Iraq man’s slaying

SAN DIEGO — A Camp Pendleton Marine will plead guilty this week for his role in the killing of an Iraqi man in Hamdania last April, his father said Friday.

Pfc. John J. Jodka, 20, of Encinitas, Calif., would be the first Marine to plead guilty in the case, in which six other Marines and one Navy corpsman also were charged with murder.

Pfc. Jodka will plead guilty to assault and obstruction of justice, his father, John Jodka, told the Associated Press. Mr. Jodka said murder, kidnapping and other charges would be dropped in exchange for the plea, but later said it was premature to discuss details of the arrangement.

Attorney Joseph Casas, who represents Pfc. Jodka, said he could not disclose details of the negotiations but said the deal was “in the best interests of my client and the best interests of justice and the best interests of the Marine Corps.”

Mr. Casas said Pfc. Jodka would testify at his court-martial and that sentencing was not expected until Nov. 15.

Eight hospitalized after riverboat cruise

HENDERSON, Ky. — Eight passengers on a riverboat cruise of the Ohio River remained hospitalized in western Kentucky yesterday after developing flu-like symptoms while aboard the boat.

The Mississippi Queen passengers were part of a group taken to Methodist Hospital on Friday evening. More than 30 had reported that they were ill, including 22 who suffered from nausea and vomiting, hospital officials said.

Hospital spokeswoman Shelia Patterson said 17 passengers were treated. Nine were released late Friday, while eight others were kept overnight for observation.

None of the illnesses appeared to be life-threatening. The cause of the outbreak was under investigation.

Officers honor fallen comrade

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Hundreds of police officers on bicycles, motorcycles, horses and on foot marched more than three miles yesterday to honor a colleague gunned down while on bike patrol.

Along with a riderless horse, the traditional symbol of a fallen officer, the procession included Officer Michael Briggs’ bicycle, which was mounted on a Manchester cruiser.

Officer Briggs, 35, was shot in the head in a dark alley Monday as he responded to a domestic violence call. He died the next day.

Michael Addison, 26, was charged with capital murder in Officer Briggs’ shooting. He was arrested Monday in Boston and remains jailed on $2 million bail while he fights his return to New Hampshire, where prosecutors have vowed to seek the death penalty.

Immigrant brings gun to courthouse

NEW YORK — A South Korean immigrant who arrived at a federal courthouse to become a U.S. citizen apparently took her new right to bear arms a little too seriously.

Mal Soon Jin, 49, was arrested Wednesday after an X-ray machine at the courthouse revealed she was carrying an unloaded .22-caliber pistol in her handbag, authorities said.

The arrest forced her to miss a swearing-in ceremony in favor of an arraignment on a charge of knowingly possessing a firearm in a federal facility. She was released on $100,000 bond.

Her brother-in-law, Francis Jin, said the family was mystified by the incident.

The defendant, who has been in the country for 20 years, “doesn’t even know how to shoot a gun,” he said. “She’s scared about those things.”

She could face up to 16 months in prison if convicted. It was unknown whether the arrest or a possible conviction would affect her citizenship application.

Canary diamond found in state park

MURFREESBORO, Ark. — A Wisconsin man visiting a state park took home the ultimate souvenir: a 5.47-carat canary diamond.

Bob Wehle of Ripon, Wis., found the diamond on Oct. 14 at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. The park is the world’s only publicly operated diamond site where visitors are allowed to search and keep any gems they find.

Mr. Wehle’s 5.47-carat diamond is bright yellow and has no visible flaws, said Tom Stolarz, park superintendent.

Bill Henderson, assistant park superintendent, said park officials don’t estimate values of the stones found by visitors. But he said Mr. Wehle’s gem was identical in quality to — but larger than — a 4.21-carat flawless canary diamond found in the park in March that was valued by a New York diamond specialist at $15,000 to $60,000.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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