- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2007


Woman killed in high-rise fire

A fire in a high-rise apartment building in Northwest killed one woman and left several elderly people temporarily homeless. The blaze broke out in the 900 block of New Jersey Avenue about 2:30 a.m.

A woman found unconscious in her 10th-floor apartment doorway was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center. Another woman was taken to George Washington University Hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

The building, known as the Golden Rule Apartments, houses senior citizens.

Firefighters and police officers helped evacuate several residents from the ninth and 10th floors.

Accountant pleads guilty to embezzling

The former accounting director for a powerful pharmaceutical lobbying group pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to embezzling $700,000.

Marcia Campbell, 46, of the District, admitted stealing the money while working at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. She hid the theft by funneling money into phony accounts she controlled in 2005 and last year, prosecutors said.

Campbell, who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, is scheduled to be sentenced in March. She faces more than $1.4 million in fines and up to 20 years in prison. She has agreed to pay more than $700,000 in restitution to the lobbying group.


Driver hit cruisers before being shot

The driver of a car who was killed by Prince George’s County police Wednesday night was identified yesterday as Mark Antonio Washington, 43, of the 400 block of Ord Street Northeast.

Mr. Washington was fatally shot after a chase from Riverdale Road onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Police gave the following account of events leading up to the shooting:

Officers saw a 1989 Dodge with stolen tags in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 6600 block of Riverdale Road about 7:30 p.m. As the officers walked toward the vehicle, the driver jumped a curb onto a sidewalk and took off. He tried to leave the parking lot when an officer again approached his car. The suspect put the car in reverse and accelerated toward the officer, nearly striking him.

Officers chased the fleeing vehicle to the southbound ramp of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at Route 450, where the driver lost control of his car. Officers left their cruisers — which were in front and behind the crashed car — to apprehend the suspects. When the driver started to ram the police cars, two officers fired their guns, striking the driver and a passenger.

Mr. Washington was pronounced dead on the scene. His passenger, an unidentified 43-year-old man, was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his arm. He was not charged.

One of the police officers, injured during the ramming of his cruiser, was treated and released at a nearby hospital.

Both officers, assigned to the Patrol Services Bureau, have been placed on routine administrative leave.

The investigation closed the parkway from Route 201 to Route 410 for more than five hours.


Lottery sales set December record

The Maryland Lottery set a record for monthly sales in December, officials said.

The state sold $141.2 million in tickets last month.

Lottery Director Buddy Roogow said new measures heightened interest despite no major jackpot.


Ex-NIH researcher pleads to child porn

A former researcher at the National Institutes of Health pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to possession of child pornography, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

McClellan Walther, 52, of Gaithersburg, used his NIH e-mail account to order videos of child pornography from a catalog sent by undercover federal agents in late 2004 and in 2005, according to a statement of facts presented in court.

On Feb. 23, 2005, a postal inspector delivered the videos to Walther’s home. After the delivery, federal agents entered the home and found one video in a VCR and other videos from the opened package.

Walther’s home computer was seized, and more than 600 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were found.

Sentencing is set for March 30. Walther could receive up to 10 years in prison.


Bail bondsman gets time in kidnapping

A bail enforcement officer from Woodbridge, Va., was sentenced to 30 days behind bars for kidnapping a Maryland man in February.

Ruth Garcia, 59, was sentenced Tuesday and will begin serving the time today. She pleaded guilty in October to false imprisonment, second-degree assault and a handgun violation.

Garcia was the second person sentenced in the case. Last month, Ryan Burgess of Hyattsville was sentenced to time served after pleading guilty to false imprisonment.

Burgess and Garcia worked as bail bondsmen for a company based in La Plata and Upper Marlboro. They were charged in the February kidnappings of Enrique Ambrosio and Macario Sanchez. Both pleaded guilty in the Sanchez case.



Park searched for missing hiker

Shenandoah National Park rangers and volunteers searched yesterday for a man who was reported missing by his wife Tuesday.

Leo Joseph Leger Jr., 35, of Warrenton, Va., entered the park Monday night, park spokeswoman Julena Campbell said.

While Mr. Leger regularly hiked in the park, “he has shown signs of depression,” Miss Campbell said.

Mr. Leger’s car was found late Monday in the central region of the park. The Appalachian Trail runs through the area, but more challenging trails also are nearby.

“He’s a frequent hiker in the park,” said Miss Campbell, adding that he also is in good physical condition.

The search effort totaled 45 persons, including volunteers from Virginia and Maryland, as well as dog teams and a helicopter.


Hampton Roads on ‘high-threat’ list

The Hampton Roads area has been designated a “high-threat urban area” by the federal government, a move that enables Norfolk and surrounding cities to compete for funding with the likes of New York City, Los Angeles and the District.

The Department of Homeland Security made the decision in recognition of Hampton Roads’ “large population and critical national security infrastructure,” Sen. John W. Warner said Wednesday.

Hampton Roads is home to the sprawling Norfolk Naval Station, as well as several other major military bases. The designation allows it to compete with 45 metropolitan areas for a share of $746.9 million in grants under the department’s Urban Area Security Initiative Program, Mr. Warner’s office said.

Mr. Warner, a Republican and member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has worked for several years to win the designation for Hampton Roads, spokesman John Ullyot said.

Northern Virginia is on the list of areas as part of the National Capital Region. It received $124 million in Urban Area Security Initiative funds from 2003 to 2005.


Farm welcomes calf with two faces

People are flocking to a farm to see one of the newest arrivals at Kirk Heldreth’s dairy farm.

Word has spread about a calf with two faces that was born Dec. 27.

Mr. Heldreth said the calf breathes out of two noses and has two tongues, which move independently. There appears to be a single socket containing two eyes where the heads split.

He called it the craziest thing he has ever seen but said the calf is otherwise healthy.

The calf has two lower jaws, but only one mouth. Mr. Heldreth feeds her through a tube and acknowledges that he probably can’t maintain that feeding schedule for long.

The calf was the product of artificial insemination, which was supposed to create a genetically superior specimen.

Bob James, a professor in the dairy science department at Virginia Tech, said the abnormality could have been caused by a developmental problem or a genetic quirk.

Mr. Heldreth said the calf doesn’t appear to have any other physical ailments or complications.

“It’s as healthy as can be,” he said.

And he expects many more people will be curious enough to stop by.

“I’ll just have to tie the dogs extra tight,” he said.


Bay foundation lists legislative agenda

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s legislative agenda, released yesterday, includes support of legislation in Maryland for a “Green Fund” to reduce nitrogen pollution.

Kim Coble, Maryland executive director of the foundation, said the fund could be paid for by an increase in vehicle emissions and inspection fees, currently $14 every two years, as well as tax credits.

The fund would be a “dedicated, comprehensive” money source that would work to improve agricultural practices to reduce farm runoff and other issues that affect the Bay.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said last month that he plans to introduce legislation authorizing $250 million in bonds to upgrade sewage-treatment plants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Virginia and other Chesapeake Bay states have committed to significantly reduce by 2010 nitrogen pollution in the Bay and rivers that feed it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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