- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2006

Suspect in killing of family in custody

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Authorities investigating the slaying of a family of four alongside a Florida highway said yesterday that the father probably was involved in drug trafficking and that the suspected killer was in custody.

The suspect was among three men and a woman who were arrested Wednesday on drug charges and are “persons of interest” in the killings, Sheriff Ken Mascara said. None had been charged with the slayings, he said. Another man is being sought, he said.

The couple and their two young sons were found fatally shot Oct. 13 off a stretch of Florida’s Turnpike near Port St. Lucie, about 50 miles north of their home in the Palm Beach County city of Greenacres.

Police searching the home after the killings found evidence that the father, Jose Luis Escobedo, was involved in drug trafficking, Drug Enforcement Administration agent David Weeks said in court papers filed yesterday.

Soldier arraigned on murder charges

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The Army arraigned a 101st Airborne Division soldier yesterday who was charged with raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing three others in her family.

Pfc. Bryan L. Howard is accused of plotting in March to rape and kill the teenager in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Three other soldiers and a former Army private from the division’s 502nd Infantry Regiment also face charges related to the attack.

Pfc. Howard deferred entering a plea during the proceedings at Fort Campbell. Both his attorney, Capt. Ryan Rosauer, and his father, Lynn Howard, declined to speak to reporters.

Two other soldiers accused of rape and murder in the incident — Sgt. Paul E. Cortez and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman — could get the death sentence if they are convicted, a military judge ruled earlier this month. Both will be arraigned soon, the military said.

Former Army Pvt. Steve Green also faces rape and murder charges but is being tried in federal court.

Clinton office searched for powdery substance

NEW YORK — Police and Secret Service agents determined yesterday that a suspicious substance found at former President Bill Clinton’s office in Manhattan was not toxic.

Mr. Clinton was not at the office at the time, officials said. A woman opened an envelope that contained a white powdery substance and called authorities.

Police and emergency crews were called to the Harlem office building about 3:45 p.m. Yellow police tape blocked off the sidewalk in front of the building, but traffic was not disrupted.

Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said the building was not evacuated. He had no other details.

Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said a field test on the substance found it to be inert.

Killer confessed to more murders

SHREVEPORT, La. — Shortly before he was executed in Florida this week, serial killer Danny Rolling handed his spiritual adviser a handwritten confession to a grisly triple murder 17 years ago in his hometown of Shreveport, police said yesterday.

“I, and I alone am guilty,” the one-page note said. “It was my hand that took those precious lights out of this ole dark world. With all my heart & soul would I could bring them back.”

Rolling, the son of a Shreveport police officer, was executed Wednesday for killing five college students in Gainesville, Fla., in a string of slayings in 1990.

Police have long suspected that Rolling also stabbed William T. Grissom, 55, his daughter, Julie, 24, and grandson Sean, 8, as they got ready for dinner on Nov. 4, 1989, in Mr. Grissom’s home.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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