- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2007

NEW JERSEY

Governor injured in car accident

CAMDEN — Gov. Jon Corzine underwent surgery last night after suffering several broken ribs and a broken leg when his motorcade was involved in a car accident, a doctor said.

Dr. Steven Ross, head of trauma for Cooper University Hospital in Camden, said Mr. Corzine was in surgery for the break to his left leg last night. He was in critical but stable condition with injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said.

The crash occurred shortly after 6 p.m. on the Garden State Parkway when a red pickup truck on the right shoulder of the highway swerved, then came back onto the road, said State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes. Another pickup in the right lane swerved into the passenger side of the sport utility vehicle in which Mr. Corzine was riding.

The SUV driver, Trooper Robert Rasinski, also was injured, but his condition was not immediately available. Authorities were still searching for the red pickup truck and its driver.

TENNESSEE

Preacher’s shooting called an accident

SELMER — A preacher’s wife was trying to protect her young daughter from her abusive husband when she pointed a shotgun and accidentally shot him, her attorney said in opening statements yesterday.

Mary Winkler intended only to hold her husband at gunpoint to force him to talk about his personal problems after an incident involving their 1-year-old daughter, Breanna, defense attorney Steve Farese said. He said Matthew Winkler had threatened his wife with a gun many times.

“The state will give you evidence to show that this was no accident and that this was a premeditated act because of things that had been happening of which Mary Winkler was in control,” Assistant District Attorney Walt Freeland told the jury in his opening statement.

ALABAMA

Church arsonists plead guilty to state charges

CENTREVILLE — Three former college students accused of setting a string of church fires last year pleaded guilty to state arson and burglary charges yesterday, three days after they were sentenced on related federal counts.

Matthew Cloyd, 21, Benjamin Moseley, 20, and Russell Lee DeBusk Jr., 20, were sentenced to two years each in state prison, to be served after their federal sentences.

Cloyd and Moseley each face eight years in federal prison. DeBusk was involved in only some of the fires and was sentenced by a federal judge Monday to seven years. Their round of pleas yesterday resolve state charges in five of the church fires, those in Bibb County that were started Feb. 3, 2006.

GEORGIA

New antibiotic urged for resistant gonorrhea

ATLANTA — Health officials are recommending wider use of a new drug to treat gonorrhea because the sexually transmitted disease is steadily becoming resistant to the longtime standard antibiotic.

Fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics that includes Cipro, have been the most common way to treat the bacterial disease since the early 1990s. Since then, gonorrhea has become increasingly resistant to those drugs.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that a different class of antibiotics, cephalosporins, be used instead.

“Gonorrhea has now joined the list of other superbugs for which treatment options have become dangerously few,” said Dr. Henry Masur, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

ILLINOIS

T. rex thigh reveals chicken family ties

CHICAGO — Tiny bits of protein extracted from a 68-million-year-old dinosaur bone have given scientists the first genetic proof that the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex is a distant cousin to the modern chicken.

“It’s the first molecular evidence of this link between birds and dinosaurs,” said John Asara, a Harvard Medical School researcher, whose results were published in today’s edition of the journal Science.

Scientists have long suspected that birds evolved from dinosaurs based on a study of dinosaur bones but, until recently, no soft tissue had been found to confirm the link.

That all changed in 2005 when Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina State University reported finding soft tissue, including blood vessels and cells, in a T. rex bone dug out of sandstone from the fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation in Montana.

KANSAS

State bans pickets at military funerals

TOPEKA — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, yesterday signed a bill forcing an anti-homosexual pastor and his followers to keep their distance when protesting military funerals, but the church says the rules will have no effect on its demonstrations.

Members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, have picketed burials across the country of U.S. troops killed in combat, saying their deaths are God’s punishment for a nation harboring homosexuals.

The law says protesters can’t be within 150 feet of a funeral one hour before, during or two hours after the end of the service. Violators would face up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

“We are always more than 300 feet from the funeral site and always leave before the funeral starts,” said Shirley Phelps-Roper, the church’s attorney.

MINNESOTA

Guard reportedly hits inmate with Bible

MANKATO — A jail guard has been suspended, accused of thumping an inmate with a Bible.

James Lee Sheppard, 56, has been charged with two gross misdemeanors for reportedly swatting a Blue Earth County Jail inmate with the book, grabbing him by the throat and slamming him against steel bars on Feb. 8, according to the criminal complaint.

A video shows a guard entering the cell of inmate Jeremy Hansen, 26. The guard then took Hansen’s Bible and struck him in the side of the face with it. The two exchanged words as the guard walked away, said Mankato Police Officer Allen Schmidt, who watched the video. The complaint states that Mr. Sheppard walked back toward Hansen, grabbed him and pushed him into the cell bars.

Dennis McCoy, Blue Earth County administrator, said Mr. Sheppard was the first to report the confrontation. “He knew he violated policy and, to his credit, he turned himself in,” Mr. McCoy said.

OHIO

Indictment links man to al Qaeda

COLUMBUS — A federal grand jury indicted an Ohio man on charges of joining al Qaeda and conspiring to bomb European tourist resorts and U.S. government facilities and military bases overseas, officials announced yesterday.

Christopher Paul, 43, a U.S. citizen and resident of Columbus, spent time in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 1990s and told al Qaeda members there that he was dedicated to committing violent jihad, according to a federal indictment.

He received military-type training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, and later transferred money to a purported co-conspirator, the indictment said.

Mr. Paul is charged with providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. The weapon of mass destruction charge carries the most serious penalty, up to life in prison.

PENNSYLVANIA

Slain FBI agent buried with honors

POTTSTOWN — A veteran FBI agent killed a week ago while pursuing a trio of bank robbery suspects in central New Jersey was eulogized yesterday as a dogged investigator and role model to legions of colleagues.

About 2,000 people, including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, came to an arts center auditorium here for the funeral of Special Agent Barry Lee Bush. The crowd was so big that hundreds had to listen to the services from a nearby building.

“By his actions, he probably saved the lives of innocent people,” former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh told the throng. “You can’t quantify that.”

From wire dispatches and staff report

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