Baseball dad told to tear down field
DANVILLE — Even a field of dreams needs a permit.
Town officials in this posh San Francisco suburb voted unanimously Tuesday to order David Lowe to tear down an 18,000-square-foot Little League practice field he built for his son.
The private-equity investor spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building the field — complete with AstroTurf, a batting cage and motorized pitching machine — on a prominent ridge. He said he did it because he couldn’t attend his 11-year-old son’s regular afternoon Little League practices but still wanted to find a way to coach the team.
Neighbors in the multimillion-dollar housing development below the ridge have compared the ball field to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because of its obtrusive 14-foot fence.
“This was done in serious disregard of the neighbors and serious disregard of the town of Danville, its zoning permits and ordinances,” Commissioner Bob Nichols said.
Man gets death in couple’s slaying
JACKSONVILLE — A man was sentenced to death yesterday in the kidnapping and slayings of a couple who were buried alive in rural Georgia after their bank account was cleaned out.
Michael James Jackson, 25, was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping but said he only planned the robbery and did not participate in the slayings of James and Carol Sumner in 2005.
Jackson told authorities he saw the couple being buried alive and heard Mrs. Sumner moaning inside the pre-dug grave in a remote area of Charlton County, Ga., near the Florida line. He said he did not try to stop the slayings because he was afraid he would be next.
Jackson’s attorney, Richard Kuritz, said he planned to appeal.
Three others also were charged in the case. One of them, Bruce Kent Nixon, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping after leading police to the bodies. He agreed to testify against Jackson and two others.
Dog trainer jailed in prisoner’s escape
KANSAS CITY — A woman who helped a convicted murderer escape from prison in a dog crate was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in federal prison.
A judge ruled that Toby Young‘s federal sentence should run concurrently with a 21-month state sentence she already is serving, which means she will be released sometime next spring.
Young helped John M. Manard escape from the Lansing Correctional Facility in February 2006 by hiding him in a crate she used for a dog-training program at the prison. The two were captured nearly two weeks later in Tennessee.
Young pleaded guilty in March to a federal charge of knowingly providing a firearm to a felon. She was sentenced to state prison after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting Manard’s escape.
Carjacker sentenced for punching man
DETROIT — A man caught on video punching a 91-year-old man in the head during a carjacking outside a convenience store was sentenced Tuesday to 15 to 30 years in prison.
Deonte E. Bradley, 22, who this month pleaded guilty to carjacking and no contest to assault with intent to do great bodily harm, read an apology to Leonard Sims before being sentenced.
“I can’t say it enough. I’m sorry to Mr. Sims and his family,” said Bradley, who was arrested May 10, six days after the attack. “I realize that I must be punished for these acts.”
Mr. Sims was hospitalized the night after the attack.
Trucker injured by bowling ball
FAIRMONT — Authorities are searching for the person who dropped a bowling ball off a bridge, crashing through a tractor-trailer windshield and injuring the driver.
Ted Maki, 54, of Missoula, Mont., was driving eastbound on Interstate 90 about 150 miles southwest of Minneapolis when the ball smashed him in the face early Sunday. His rig then went through the median, crossed both westbound lanes, plowed through a fence and came to a stop in a corn field a half-mile down the road, the State Patrol said.
Plea deal scrapped in ‘Mad Hatter’ case
NEWARK — The man suspected of being the “Mad Hatter” responsible for 18 bank robberies in New Jersey scrapped a plea agreement yesterday.
“I do not wish to go through with it,” James G. Madison told U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares. The judge said Mr. Madison and prosecutors on Aug. 14 signed the plea deal, which called on the defendant to plead guilty to six bank robbery counts. “He changed his mind?” Judge Linares asked. “Yes,” said Mr. Madison’s public defender, Donald L. McCauley. “He maintains his innocence.”
Ovary removal raises risk for dementia
NEW YORK — Women who have their ovaries removed before menopause run a heightened risk of developing dementia or other mental problems later in life — unless they take estrogen until age 50, a study suggests.
Specialists said the research needs to be confirmed by further study, but the findings suggest another issue for premenopausal women and their doctors to discuss as they consider ovary removal.
If they go ahead with surgery, they need to consider the risks and benefits of taking estrogen to age 50, said Dr. Walter Rocca, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. Hormone therapy has been linked to a greater risk of dementia and heart attacks when given to women after age 65.
Ovaries produce estrogen. Dr. Rocca said the likeliest explanation of the study results, published yesterday in the online edition of the journal Neurology, is that removing ovaries causes a sudden deficiency of that hormone, which in turn affects the brain.
Wal-Mart threatened in wider scam
NEWPORT — A bomb threat that caused the evacuation of a Wal-Mart and led employees to wire $10,000 to the caller appears to be part of a broader scam targeting other businesses across the country, authorities said.
An unidentified man called the Newport store Tuesday morning, saying he had a bomb and would harm employees. He also demanded that workers transfer $10,000 to an account, Newport police Sgt. James Quinn said. The store wired the money.
FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said the threat appears related to a plot targeting banks and stores near Phoenix, Detroit, Salt Lake City and Philadelphia.
From wire dispatches and staff reports