- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

ALABAMA

5 arrested in weapons raids

COLLINSVILLE — Federal and state agents arrested five men during a series of weapons raids in northeast Alabama early yesterday, including one raid that forced the shutdown of a nearby school.

Eric Kehn, a spokesman with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said agents were looking for “weapons and things along those lines,” but declined to elaborate.

The five unidentified men were arrested on federal warrants, Mr. Kehn said. They were expected to appear before a federal judge in Birmingham later yesterday.

ARIZONA

Tests conducted on light-rail car

PHOENIX — Residents got their first look at a real light-rail car running down a street here as officials conducted tests.

The first 20 miles of the $1.4 billion light-rail project are being built, and a completed one-mile section was used for the test on Washington Street. A Phoenix-Mesa line is expected to be running by December 2008.

ARKANSAS

2008 hopeful’s son arrested with gun

LITTLE ROCK — David Huckabee, a son of former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, was arrested yesterday after trying to board an airliner with a loaded pistol, police said.

Mr. Huckabee, 26, was jailed after an X-ray of his carry-on bag revealed the weapon, identified in a police report as a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol containing eight live rounds of ammunition.

Mr. Huckabee appeared later in the day before a municipal judge and pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying a weapon into a prohibited area. He was fined $855, sentenced to a year of supervised probation and ordered to perform 10 days of community service. A one-year jail sentence was suspended.

The report said a policeman asked Mr. Huckabee whether he knew what was in the carry-on bag. “I do now,” Mr. Huckabee was quoted as replying.

Mr. Huckabee obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon last year, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police said.

CALIFORNIA

Spector uses DNA as ‘invisible witness’

LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector’s defense will rely on an “invisible witness” — science — to prove the famous rock music producer did not shoot actress Lana Clarkson, one of his attorneys said yesterday.

Science will show that Miss Clarkson shot herself, that Mr. Spector was not standing close enough to shoot her, that his DNA was not on the gun and that his clothing bore no trace evidence to prove guilt, the defense told jurors.

“We have one unimpeachable witness who has no motive to lie, no memory problems, no language problems, and that witness is science,” said attorney Linda Kenney-Baden.

Mr. Spector, 67, whose “Wall of Sound” transformed rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s, met Miss Clarkson at a Sunset Strip nightclub. She agreed to accompany him on a chauffeur-driven ride to his home, where her body was found early Feb. 3, 2003.

GEORGIA

Officers plead guilty in drug raid death

ATLANTA — Two police officers pleaded guilty yesterday to manslaughter in the shooting death of a woman during a botched drug raid last fall. A third officer still faces charges in the woman’s death.

Officer J.R. Smith, 35, told a state judge yesterday that he regretted what had happened.

Also pleading guilty was Gregg Junnier, 40, who retired from the Atlanta police force in January. Both men are expected to face more than 10 years in prison.

In a hearing later in federal court, both pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to violate a person’s civil rights, resulting in death.

The charges followed a Nov. 21 “no-knock” drug raid on the home of Kathryn Johnston, 92. An informant had described buying drugs from a dealer there, police said. When the officers burst in without warning, she fired at them, and they fired back, killing her.

Fulton County prosecutor Peter Johnson disclosed yesterday that the officers fired 39 shots, striking the woman five or six times, including a fatal blow to the chest.

LOUISIANA

Housing aid extended for Katrina victims

NEW ORLEANS — The Bush administration announced a $1 billion plan yesterday to extend housing aid for people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita until March 2009.

Federal housing aid for Katrina evacuees had been scheduled to end Aug. 31. Under the new plan, those people deemed capable of paying rent on their federally funded mobile home or rental apartment will be required to begin doing so in March 2008. Those unable to pay yet will get a waiver.

NEBRASKA

Jury-duty dodger ordered to apologize

FREMONT — Alexander T. Harvey has a choice to make before the end of next month: apologize for skipping out on jury duty or serve 30 days behind bars.

During questioning last week in court by attorneys to determine the jury makeup for a three-day civil trial, Mr. Harvey asked to be excused to go to the restroom. When told he would have to wait, Mr. Harvey got up and left the courtroom — never to return.

“The court was not amused,” Mr. Harvey said.

A few days later, Mr. Harvey was subpoenaed back to the court, where Judge John Samson told him he had until May 21 to write an apology letter or turn himself in.

“They take fulfilling your complete jury duty very seriously,” said Mr. Harvey, 51. “It was my mistake and I shouldn’t have done that, and I’m going to write the apology.”

NEW YORK

Byrd, Pride tapped for Pulitzer board

NEW YORK — Newspaper editors Joann Byrd and Mike Pride have been appointed co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Columbia University announced yesterday.

Board members since 1999, they replace Paul E. Steiger, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and vice president at Dow Jones & Co. Mr. Steiger served on the board since 1998; board members stay on for up to nine years, serving three consecutive three-year terms.

They qualified for the chairmanship because each is in the final year on the board, said Sig Gissler, who administers the annual awards for journalism and the arts.

NORTH DAKOTA

Tractor carries date to prom

NEW ROCKFORD — Forget taking a limousine to the prom. One high school senior drove his date in a 1992 green John Deere 8760 tractor.

“A few people made bets with me that I wouldn’t do it,” said Levi Rue, a senior at New Rockford-Sheyenne High School. “I guess I won them.”

Levi suggested the idea to his date, Alissa Bachmeier, on April 19, two days before the prom. She wasn’t sure, worried about her dress getting dirty.

But after Levi showed her pictures of the tractor and promised to make sure it was immaculate, Alissa agreed. “I cleaned it up pretty good,” he said.

VERMONT

Reward offered in bathroom fires

POULTNEY — A small college is trying to track down whoever set two bathroom fires in a 16-hour period by igniting toilet paper dispensers.

Green Mountain College is offering a $2,500 reward to find the arsonist or arsonists responsible for the fires this week, which did not hurt anyone but caused a few thousand dollars worth of damage.

The first fire occurred about noon Tuesday in a basement at a classroom building, and the second took place about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in the third floor of a dormitory, said Sgt. James Cruise, a detective with the Vermont State Police.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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