- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Woman charged with killing sons

SAN PABLO — A woman was charged with killing her two infant sons after she purportedly admitted to authorities that she smothered the children because they were crying too much.

Lavida Davis, 23, of San Pablo, faces two counts of murder with special circumstances and two counts of assault on a child causing death. If convicted, she could receive the death penalty.

Police said Miss Davis admitted to investigators last week that she suffocated her 6-week-old son, Darion Johnson, on Sept. 17 because she was tired of his crying.

Miss Davis also said she killed another son, 22-day-old Emmanuel Beals, on Feb. 8, 2004, for the same reason, San Pablo Police Commander Walter N. Schuld said.

FLORIDA

Air traveler held after gun is found

TAMPA — A woman was arrested after security screeners at Tampa International Airport found a loaded handgun tucked in her carry-on bag, authorities said.

Mavis Cobb Thornton, 58, was taken into custody after a screener discovered the .38-caliber revolver, loaded with three bullets, in her bag as she passed through a security checkpoint Monday, police said.

Mrs. Thornton did not give a statement to police, but her husband, Charles, told authorities that he did not know his wife had the gun. She does not have a concealed-weapons permit, airport officials said.

Mrs. Thornton was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon. She was booked into the county jail and released after posting bail.

GEORGIA

Christian group to split from national coalition

ATLANTA — Georgia’s branch of the Christian Coalition has announced plans to change names and split from the national group — making it the fourth state to leave the socially conservative political group.

Director Sadie Fields said the Georgia branch’s board voted about two weeks ago to make the change because of the Christian Coalition of America’s liberal “drift.”

“It’s really a sad moment,” Miss Fields said Monday. “I deeply regret we have been compelled to take this action, but we felt like we had no other choice.”

Chapters in Alabama, Iowa and Ohio also have left the Christian Coalition.

IDAHO

Snakes invade couple’s fixer-upper

WILFORD — Shortly after the Hepworths began working on their fixer-upper, they experienced a trauma known to few besides Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Snakes on a Plane.”

Snakes fell on Lyman Hepworth’s head when he opened the door to a pump house near the small house the couple planned to buy.

“When it warmed up, we walked onto the yard, and the whole yard moved,” Jeanine Hepworth told the Rexburg Standard Journal.

Turns out the property was a winter snake sanctuary, said Lauri Hanauska-Brown, a biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The reptiles are a protected species, meaning the Hepworths cannot bait them or kill them.

The department will attempt to move the snakes, but this could be difficult because if it moves them too far away they could die, and if it moves them nearby the snakes likely would return to hibernate, Miss Hanauska-Brown said.

KANSAS

Store owner to be deported

KANSAS CITY — The owner of Latino Y Punto, a chain of grocery stores in Kansas and Missouri, will be deported after pleading guilty to selling misbranded medicines made in Mexico.

Samuel Morones-Perales also must pay a forfeiture of $18,000, which represents the profits made from the sale of the drugs.

The federal felony conviction prohibits Morones-Perales from returning to the United States.

KENTUCKY

Plane crash survivor undergoes surgery

LEXINGTON — The co-pilot who survived the crash of Comair Flight 5191 underwent additional surgery yesterday and could be released in a few days, a hospital spokesman said.

Doctors are operating on James Polehinke to stabilize his fractured spine, said Matt Cantor, a spokesman for the University of Kentucky hospital. The co-pilot was the lone survivor of the Aug. 27 crash that killed 49 persons.

If the surgery goes well, Mr. Polehinke could leave the hospital as soon as next week, Mr. Cantor said.

Mr. Polehinke then will start months of rehabilitation.

His family said this week that Mr. Polehinke’s left leg has been amputated. Other surgeries have repaired his right leg and foot.

MASSACHUSETTS

Voters kill bill targeting illegals

SANDWICH — Voters here effectively killed a proposal to punish businesses that hire illegal aliens. Residents voted 572-301 at town meetings to indefinitely postpone consideration of the measure.

The measure would have revoked, suspended or denied a license to any business found by federal authorities to be hiring undocumented workers.

MICHIGAN

Man sentencedfor gator cruelty

LUDINGTON — A man who attempted to kill an alligator and left it near a park was sentenced to 30 hours of community service and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Brian DeRooy pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. Mr. DeRooy, 37, said he didn’t mean to maim the 4-foot gator.

“I put a hatchet in the back of the head of the alligator,” he told a judge. “At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do.” The alligator survived.

MINNESOTA

Boy arrested after sister, 3, found drunk

MINNEAPOLIS — A 14-year-old boy was arrested after his 3-year-old sister was found passed out drunk from hard liquor at a home, police said.

The girl was unconscious when she was taken to a hospital after her sister called police Monday night, police spokesman Lt. Greg Reinhardt said. “The child could have easily died,” he said.

She was recovering and had been released to a children’s home by yesterday morning.

The girl’s teenage brother was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child endangerment, Lt. Reinhardt said. He said neglect or abuse appeared to have caused the girl’s condition, rather than accidental alcohol poisoning.

Police would not release further details about the boy and any court proceedings because he is a juvenile. Lt. Reinhardt said the girl’s mother was not home at the time.

MONTANA

Store clerk charged in lottery scam

DEER LODGE — A truck stop clerk, Frekkie Magoai, was jailed on a felony theft charge on suspicion of printing $10,280 in lottery tickets and taking them without paying.

Lottery officials said that the stolen tickets can’t be voided and that the store owner will have to pay for them.

If any of the tickets are winners, the money goes to the store owner.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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