- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

DISTRICT

Suspicious package empties courthouse

The federal courthouse was evacuated for three hours yesterday morning while authorities investigated a suspicious package that turned out to be a homeless person’s clothes, officials said.

The building was evacuated when a police dog trained to detect explosives responded to a package found near a construction trailer outside the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse.

U.S. Marshal George B. Walsh said the package contained discarded clothing thought to belong to one of the homeless people who sleep in the nearby park. Soiled clothing can give off a scent similar to some nitrogen-based explosives, authorities said.

Marshals ordered a full security sweep of the building as a precaution and shut down part of Constitution Avenue, which runs in front of the courthouse, and all side streets.

Sex offender charged in teen’s death

A convicted sex offender has been charged with murder in the death of a 15-year-old boy in Northeast, D.C. police said.

Robert Crosby, 51, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Dominick A. Dixon, police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said.

Dominick was found Monday afternoon near a Northeast construction site. Police said he was wearing only his boxer shorts and appeared to have been strangled.

Capt. C.V. Morris said police are still waiting for findings from the medical examiner. Police think Mr. Crosby and Dominick knew each other. They also said the incident might have involved a drug deal.

War protesters arrested at House office building

About 100 demonstrators protesting the war in Iraq marched past the Capitol yesterday carrying mock coffins and lying down in front of doorways at the Hart House Office Building, where 26 were arrested.

Many covered themselves with sheets designed to make them resemble dead bodies.

The protest was organized by Declaration of Peace, a coalition of about 500 groups that has organized war protests across the country during the past week. The events started Sept. 21 to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Protesters started their demonstration in a park and marched along the street in front of the Capitol carrying 20 mock coffins draped in American flags or black cloth.

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

New charges brought in sex assault case

A day after the original case against a U.S. Naval Academy football player was dropped before it went to trial, he was charged with raping two female midshipmen after drugging them in separate incidents.

Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, of Kingwood, Texas, is charged with raping one midshipman Feb. 4 in the District and another on April 21 in Annapolis, according to published reports citing charging documents. He faces a general court-martial in the cases.

A spokesman for the Naval Academy said the school will not comment beyond its statement issued Monday when the original charges were dropped.

Midshipman Morrison’s attorney complained about the way the prosecutors have handled the case. He said the new charges could mean more than 100 years in prison for his client.

GREENBELT

Letter, photo citedin gang trial of two

A letter and photograph presented in court yesterday linked one of two defendants in a federal racketeering case to a large Hispanic street gang that prosecutors say has killed, kidnapped, robbed and raped dozens in the region since 2001.

Prosecutors say Oscar “Casper” Velasquez, 21, is a member of MS-13 who was mentioned by his street name in at least one letter obtained by police during a sweep of the home of a young woman whose relationship to the case was not revealed.

He also was shown posing in a photograph with his arms folded in an “X” across his chest.

The home of the woman, Lizabeth Delcid, was filled with thousands of photographs and letters from jailed gang members, and with a “voluminous” amount of blue and white clothing marked with the number 13.

But on cross-examination by the defense, the police agent on the stand admitted that the gesture was “not a typical gang sign.”

Mr. Velasquez and Edgar “Pony” Ayala, 29, face life in prison for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise.

Mr. Ayala was not named in any of the letters or photographs.

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, resumes today at 9:30 a.m.

GREENBELT

Sentence cut in arson at Hunters Brooke

A federal judge lowered the sentence for one of five men who took part in setting fire to homes under construction at a Charles County housing development in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus shaved nine months off of Jeremy Daniel Parady’s sentence Tuesday, leaving him with a 6-year term in federal prison. Parady pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and later testified against three of the other suspects.

Defense attorney Tim Sullivan asked Judge Titus to drop the sentence to under six years, saying Parady claimed he was attacked in an Arkansas federal prison when other inmates learned he cooperated with authorities.

While Judge Titus noted Parady’s help in the cases against the other suspects, he said Parady was an active participant in the fires at the Hunters Brooke development in Indian Head.

GLEN BURNIE

Dentist found dead in his office

A dentist found dead in his office Tuesday evening, Anne Arundel County police said.

Police found the body of Dr. Albert W. Ro, 51, with trauma to his upper body and multiple injuries when they entered his office in the 1400 block of Crain Highway North. They were called shortly after 10 p.m. by the dentist’s wife, who said she had been unable to reach him by phone. Police said the dentist’s car was parked outside the office.

ANNAPOLIS

City, academy urge end to candy tossing

Naval Academy officials, Annapolis leaders and residents want fans to stop throwing candy before football games.

The decades-old tradition of throwing candy as midshipmen march to Navy-Marine Corps Stadium leaves streets trashed, they said.

Residents living near the stadium told the Annapolis Capital that the streets are littered with candy wrappers and covered with a slimy, squishy and nasty mess after games.

“People throw, literally, thousands of [pieces],” said Lisa O’Leary, who lives nearby. “It would be all well and good, if we didn’t have this litter.”

Miss O’Leary suggested a round of applause might be a better way to support the academy.

“I just don’t understand why we are throwing candy at adults,” she said.

An academy spokeswoman said they appreciate the communities’ support, but officials are concerned about injuries and litter.

City Administrator Bob Agee said the cleanup costs money and requires crews with brooms and a street cleaner.

DENTON

Emu slain on golf course

Animal-control agents fatally shot an emu outside the Caroline Country Club after several unsuccessful attempts to capture it.

The bird, seen Tuesday near the golf course’s fifth hole, died after being struck several times by a stun gun. Officers hoped to subdue the emu, but the emu got up and charged officers who were attempting to bag the bird. It was shot three times and died.

“We did everything we could, but it didn’t work,” said Hattie Gasser of the Caroline County Humane Society.

The emu incident did not interrupt play on the course, the Easton Star Democrat reported.

EASTON

Kitten thrown from car awaits adoption

A kitten found earlier this month on the Route 50 bridge over the Choptank River had been thrown from a vehicle, the Talbot County Humane Society said.

The 4-month-old calico has recovered from her injuries and is awaiting adoption.

She was spotted by fishermen Sept. 16 on a ledge below the bridge. Rescuing her involved dangling a trap containing food from a rope above.

The Humane Society said the kitten’s injuries included scrapes and a torn lip, indicating she had been thrown from a moving vehicle — apparently by someone who intended to drown her in the river.

VIRGINIA

BEDFORD

Man sentenced in speedboat killing

A Bedford County judge sentenced a Moneta man to 15 years in prison Tuesday for plowing his speedboat into the back of another boat on Smith Mountain Lake, killing a couple.

Mark de Tournillon Sr. pleaded guilty in June to two counts of involuntary manslaughter by intoxication. He admitted he was drunk when his boat hit the back of a cabin cruiser at 65 mph on Aug. 20, 2005, killing Lawrence and Judith Lewis as they made their way home from having dinner with friends.

Earlier this month, de Tournillon agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against him by the Lewises’ estates for $2.75 million. Most of that amount will be paid by insurance companies, but de Tournillon intends to pay $250,000 out of the proceeds from the sale of his business, Shoreline Marina.

RICHMOND

Two killers plead guilty to assault

Two men who confessed to the killings of two Richmond families during a bloody crime spree have pleaded guilty to the New Year’s Eve slashing assault and robbery of an Arlington man.

Ricky Jovan Gray, 29, and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, 29, entered their pleas in Arlington Circuit Court on Tuesday to aggravated malicious wounding and robbery.

They were sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Ryan Carey, 26, was hospitalized for two months after the assault. He lost all use of his right arm.

Gray was convicted last month of capital murder in the New Year’s Day slayings of Bryan Harvey, his wife Kathryn and their young daughters, Stella and Ruby.

Dandridge was convicted last week of capital murder in the Jan. 6 killings of Percyell Tucker, his wife, Mary Baskerville-Tucker, and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville.

Gray and Dandridge remain suspects in a handful of other crimes.

NEWPORT NEWS

Woman, 84, injured in pit bull attack

A James City County man’s pet pit bull attacked an 84-year-old woman and her miniature pinscher, police said.

The woman, who has not been identified, and her dog suffered minor injuries.

Christopher Redd could face up to a year in jail and as much as $2,500 in fines following the incident Sunday.

James City County police spokesman Mike Spearman said the woman was walking her dog when Mr. Redd’s pit bull ran up and tackled her. Mr. Spearman said the dog scratched her before pouncing on her 12-year-old miniature pinscher.

James City County Animal Control is holding the dog. Mr. Redd will appear in court on Oct. 13.

RICHMOND

Six public schools denied accreditation

Persistent achievement deficiencies in several subjects are costing six of Virginia’s public schools their accreditation.

It is the first time state officials have denied accreditation since the state started rating schools based on standardized test scores in 1998.

Four of the schools that lost accreditation are in Petersburg — A.P. Hill and J.E.B. Stuart elementary schools, Peabody Middle School and Petersburg High School.

The two others are Annie B. Jackson and Ellen W. Chambliss elementary schools in Sussex County.

A school is denied accreditation if its students do not pass Standards of Learn-ing exams in subjects such as English and mathematics for more than three straight years, according to the state Department of Education.

Such schools must submit a corrective action plan to the state Board of Education.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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