- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2007

MISSISSIPPI

Charges stand against reputed Klansman

JACKSON — A federal judge refused to dismiss charges yesterday against a reputed Ku Klux Klansman in the 1964 slayings of two black men, rejecting arguments that the statute of limitations ran out long ago.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate also denied a request to let James Ford Seale, 71, out on bail while he awaits trial. Mr. Seale’s wife testified that her ailing husband was not getting proper medical care in jail.

Prosecutors said Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee were seized and beaten by Klansmen, then thrown into the Mississippi River to drown.

Mr. Seale was arrested Jan. 24 after the U.S. Justice Department reopened its investigation and learned that Mr. Seale was still alive.

OHIO

Foster mother sentenced in killing

BATAVIA — A woman was sentenced yesterday to life in prison with parole for killing her 3-year-old developmentally disabled foster son by binding him in blankets and tape and leaving him inside a closet for a weekend.

A day earlier, jurors convicted Liz Carroll, 30, of murder and other charges. Under the life sentence for murder, she has no possibility for parole for 15 years. Some of the other sentences must be served consecutively.

Jurors decided she caused foster son Marcus Fiesel’s death, though unintentionally.

Carroll’s husband, David Carroll Jr., 29, is to be tried separately in March on the same charges as his wife, along with gross abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors say that after the boy’s death, he burned the body and dumped the remains in the Ohio River.

ARIZONA

Girl dies after being trampled by horses

TUCSON — A 5-year-old girl died yesterday after she was thrown from a horse during a rodeo parade and trampled by horses pulling a wagon, officials said.

Witnesses said the horses pulling the wagon had rounded an intersection too fast and spooked her horse.

The 82nd annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros rodeo is a weeklong event. It features more than 700 contestants from across the United States and Canada.

CALIFORNIA

$3.4 million in drugs seized this week

CALEXICO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Calexico ports of entry seized more than $3.4 million in illicit drugs this week, including 7,500 pounds of marijuana and more than 117 pounds of cocaine.

“This is a record for CBP in Calexico,” said Billy Whitford, acting port director for the Calexico ports of entry.

One of the largest seizures ever occurred at the commercial port of entry when CBP officers arrested a 26-year-old Mexicali man and seized 6,695 pounds of marijuana from a tractor-trailer rig that entered the port from Mexico, Mr. Whitford said. The seized drugs were valued at about $2.4 million.

A substantial cocaine seizure occurred when CBP officers intercepted a 25-year-old Mexicali man as he waited for inspection at the Calexico east border crossing, he said. CBP officers found 48 packages of cocaine worth almost $1 million in a floor compartment in the rear area of the vehicle, Mr. Whitford said.

CBP officials foiled six other attempts to smuggle marijuana across the border when they found the drug hidden in vehicle quarter panels, trunk compartments and spare tires.

FLORIDA

Male city manager begins sex change

ST. PETERSBURG — The manager of a small Florida city received the support of the mayor and other city officials yesterday to undergo a sex change to become a woman while remaining in his job.

Largo City Manager Steven Stanton told Largo’s 1,200 employees of his decision in an e-mail Wednesday. He said he had wanted to be a woman since he was a child.

“This will not be an easy path to travel, but I am excited about the future,” said Mr. Stanton, who is married and has a son.

Mr. Stanton, 48, who has been city manager of Largo for 14 years, said he has been undergoing hormonal therapy, electrolysis to remove body hair and psychological testing.

He said he would live as a woman for a year, including changing his first name to Susan, as a final step before surgery.

KENTUCKY

Comair sues FAA, claims negligence

LOUISVILLE — Comair sued the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday, saying the agency was negligent in having only one air traffic controller on duty last year when a plane took off from the wrong runway and crashed. The accident killed 49 persons.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

The Comair commuter jet mistakenly turned onto a too-short runway in the dark, struggled to get airborne and went down in a field Aug. 27 at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport. The co-pilot was the only survivor.

A week earlier, the taxi route leading to the correct, longer runway had been changed during a construction project.

Comair claims the FAA should have staffed the tower with two controllers. The lone controller on duty that morning had turned away to do some administrative tasks before Comair Flight 5191 tried to take off.

The FAA had no immediate comment.

NEW MEXICO

CD players blast porn at church

SANTA FE — Three CD players hidden under a cathedral’s pews blared sexually explicit language in the middle of an Ash Wednesday Mass, leading a bomb squad to detonate two of the devices.

Authorities determined the music players were not dangerous and kept the third one to check it for clues, police Capt. Gary Johnson said.

The CD players, duct-taped to the bottoms of the pews, were set to turn on in the middle of noon Mass on Wednesday at the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Church staff members took the CD players to the basement and called police, who sent the bomb squad, Capt. Johnson said.

NEW YORK

Boy falls to death from fifth floor

NEW YORK — A cab driver arrived home to find his 12-year-old son’s body in a courtyard below their fifth-floor apartment, wrapped in blankets tied together like a rope.

Police said Jonathan Batista’s injuries were consistent with a fall and that the death was not suspicious. The boy had learning disabilities.

Teodoro Batista, 42, had just finished an overnight shift driving a cab on Wednesday when he discovered that Jonathan was missing from the Manhattan apartment where they live with Jonathan’s stepmother.

“I checked under the bed, and he wasn’t there,” the father told the New York Times for yesterday’s editions.

He found Jonathan’s body in the small courtyard below the boy’s bedroom window. With him were the bed linens, which were tied together as if he had been making a rope to lower himself from his window. The boy had his backpack and was wearing a jacket and sneakers.

TEXAS

AWOL soldier gets 7 months in prison

FORT HOOD — A soldier who admitted fleeing from the Army rather than deploying to Iraq for a second time was sentenced yesterday to seven months in a military prison and given a bad conduct discharge.

Spc. Mark Wilkerson, who pleaded guilty to desertion and missing troop movement earlier yesterday as part of a plea deal, could have been incarcerated for up to 10 months.

Wilkerson, 23, surrendered at Fort Hood in August — about a year and a half after failing to return from an approved two-week leave — saying he was tired of running and wanted to move forward with his life.

“I quit the Army, I quit my unit, and I did not show up when I needed to,” Wilkerson told the judge during his sentencing hearing.

UTAH

Backcountry skier dies in avalanche

SALT LAKE CITY — The body of a 37-year-old Norwegian man who disappeared while skiing the backcountry in the Wasatch Mountains was discovered yesterday, the fourth avalanche death in Utah in less than a week.

Searchers located Vegard Lund of Styanger, Norway, after explosives were dropped from a helicopter to clear snow and create a safe route.

Mr. Lund was skiing with two other Norwegians on Wednesday when they became separated. His body was located via the signal emitted by an avalanche beacon he was carrying.

The avalanche danger has been running high because fresh snow is sitting on top of “tortilla chips” — snow that sat for weeks during a dry winter stretch, said Bruce Tremper, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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