- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007


Judge denies school vote delay

A Superior Court judge yesterday denied a second request to delay a D.C. Council vote on Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s takeover of the city’s public schools.

Lisa Comfort Bradford, a candidate for the vacant Ward 4 seat on the council, filed for a preliminary and permanent injunction to delay the vote on Mr. Fenty’s proposal until after a May 1 special election is held to fill open seats in both Ward 4 and Ward 7.

Judge Judith E. Retchin denied the motion and granted a request by city officials to dismiss the complaint.

Senior Judge Bruce S. Mencher on Monday denied Ms. Bradford’s attempt to seek a temporary injunction that would have delayed the council’s first vote on the takeover proposal, which took place on Tuesday.

The council voted 9-2 in favor of Mr. Fenty’s plan.

Judge Mencher said the matter was premature because the bill had not been passed. He also said the decision was a “political question” and noted that at-large council members could vote on behalf of unrepresented Ward 4 and Ward 7 residents.

The council will vote on Mr. Fenty’s proposal a second time before sending the plan to Congress for approval.



Death of minister labeled ‘suspicious’

The minister of a tiny, rural congregation in Snow Creek was found dead in her home, and an investigator yesterday labeled the death suspicious.

Capt. Bill Overton with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said three visitors to Nancy Copin’s home Thursday found blood in the parsonage and immediately called police.

He said they found a back door unlocked, went in the home “and immediately detected that something didn’t seem right.”

An autopsy was scheduled for yesterday.

Capt. Overton said the sheriff’s department increased patrols in the community, located between Roanoke and Martinsville, and spoke to Miss Copin’s congregation last night at the Snow Creek Christian Church.


Father charged with teen’s access to guns

The father of a troubled teenager who killed two Fairfax County police officers last year has been charged with illegally helping his son obtain the guns used in the rampage.

Brian Kennedy, 50, was accused of lying on government forms to obtain an AK-47 and illegally possessing other guns that his son took to the Sully District police station in May.

Michael Kennedy, 18, was killed in the shootout, along with two officers.

Mr. Kennedy was arrested late Thursday at an acquaintance’s home in Falls Church.



Man admits beating toddler to death

A Baltimore man was sentenced to prison today after confessing he beat a 2-year-old child to death with his hands.

Donald Washington, 23, was charged with second-degree murder in the September 2004 death of Andrea Carroll-Butler and will serve 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in October 2005.

A medical examiner said the child died of blunt-force trauma at her home in the 1900 block of West Franklin Street.

Washington admitted to authorities that he beat the child several times with his fists. He was dating the girl’s mother.


Man sentenced in road-rage stabbing

A Fallston man was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to fatally stabbing another man who cut him off in traffic.

Michael Simmons, 20, stabbed Patrick Walker, 23, in the neck repeatedly last May. Prosecutors said Mr. Walker cut Simmons’ vehicle off in Bel Air and Simmons followed him to an intersection.

Prosecutors said that when Mr. Walker stopped at a stop sign, Simmons got out of his car and stabbed him through his open driver’s-side window.

It was Bel Air’s first homicide in more than 20 years. Yesterday prosecutors said Simmons apologized and called it an accident.


Wind power bill clears assembly

Lawmakers agreed yesterday on a measure that will make it easier to build large wind power projects, after the Senate voted 40-6 to agree to a similar bill passed in the House with amendments.

The measure would allow developers to build wind farms that generate electricity for the wholesale market by eliminating environmental reviews looking at the potential effect on wildlife, endangered species and forest fragmentation that are part of the Public Service Commission’s approval process.

That part of the bill brought a protest from the Maryland Alliance for Greenway Improvement and Conservation, which contended the measures would reduce environmental rights and reverse the concept of public involvement in the power-plant planning process.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has expressed interest in the bill and has indicated he would sign it, said his spokesman, Rick Abbruzzese.


Truck hits home, causes gas explosion

An Ocean City man was arrested at a bar after police said he crashed his truck into a home, severing a gas line that caused an explosion.

No one was injured in the explosion, but the elderly occupants of the home were displaced because of the damage, police said.

The truck, driven by Jay Benedict, 36, struck the home after the driver attempted to turn onto Philadelphia Avenue just past the Route 50 bridge. The occupants of the home were able to escape unharmed.

Mr. Benedict was arrested at a bar two blocks from his home and charged with hit-and-run and other minor traffic charges. Police said he drove to the bar even though his vehicle had substantial damage.

Ocean City police spokesman Barry Neeb said investigators can’t prove how intoxicated Mr. Benedict was at the time of the accident because he went to a bar after the crash. However, Mr. Neeb said the officer at the scene noted Mr. Benedict had been drinking.


Power failure blamed for sewage spill

A power failure has led to a sewage spill in Anne Arundel County.

The Maryland Environmental Service says 60,000 gallons of raw sewage was spilled from a manhole on Piney Orchard Parkway. It happened late Thursday after a power failure at the nearby Piney Orchard Wastewater Treatment Facility in Odenton.

About 1,000 gallons got into Rogue Harbor Branch, a tributary of the Little Patuxent River. The overflow lasted about half an hour before pumps at the plant were manually reactivated.

People are being advised to avoid direct contact with the water in Rogue Harbor Branch.


Funeral services held for Salvadoran family

A funeral service was held yesterday in Frederick for four slain children and their Salvadoran father whose bodies were found in their home.

Funeral director Ryan Berger of the Keeney and Basford Funeral Home said about 50 persons attended the private service for Pedro Rodriguez, 28; daughters Elsa, Vanessa and Carena; and son Angel. The children ranged in age from 1 to 9.

Police were still searching for the children’s mother, Deysi Benitez, 25. She was last seen March 18, eight days before the bodies were found.

Police said the girls were suffocated; the boy was bludgeoned to death and their father hanged himself.

Salvadoran Consul General Ana Margarita Chavez said the family’s remains will be sent on Wednesday to El Salvador for burial in Mr. Benitez’s hometown.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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