- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wrestler’s wife, son laid to rest

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Wrestling dignitaries were among those paying their respects yesterday at funeral services for the wife and 7-year-old son of professional wrestler Chris Benoit.

Former wrestler Marc Mero, known as “Johnny B. Badd,” and Jim Ross, the World Wrestling Entertainment announcer known as J.R., both attended the services.

Mr. Ross called the deaths “a real tragedy” before services began at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

Nancy Benoit and Daniel Benoit died three weeks ago when the wrestler strangled his family, then killed himself in their Atlanta-area home. Authorities say Benoit put Bibles next to their bodies and hanged himself on the cable of a weight machine.

Mrs. Benoit’s parents, Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, live in Daytona Beach.

Benoit’s father has said private services for him were to be held in Canada. It was unknown yesterday whether those services have taken place.

NASA misspells shuttle name

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA moved Space Shuttle Endeavour a step closer to liftoff without an essential part: the “u.”

The spacecraft arrived at its launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, and officials welcomed it with a banner reading “Go Endeavor.”

The shuttle’s name, however, is spelled the British way, with a “u.” It’s named after the first ship commanded by 18th-century British explorer James Cook.

The banner was up for about 90 minutes before being replaced by one with the correct spelling, but with photographers on hand for the arrival of the shuttle, cameras captured the mistake.

Endeavour’s launch is scheduled for Aug. 7.

Man accused of shooting zebra

RED OAK, Texas — An 18-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of killing a zebra named Zambi in a drive-by shooting.

Zambi was fatally shot July 5 as he grazed in a pasture at HiView Farms outside of Waxahachie, about 30 miles from Dallas, said Lt. Kevin Ketchum of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.

Joshua Romano and four friends were swimming in a creek but had to leave because of rain. They spotted the zebra as they were driving down a road near the farm. That’s when Mr. Romano pulled out a deer rifle and fatally shot Zambi, Lt. Ketchum said. The animal was worth about $10,000.

Mexican police chief admits to bribes

TUCSON, Ariz. — A police chief in the northern Mexican town of Sonoyta has pleaded guilty to charges that he bribed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in an effort to help a smuggling operation, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Friday.

Roman Robles-Cota, 32, faces up to 15 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in October.

Robles-Cota admitted offering the agent cash to help a Mexican marijuana smuggling organization bring truckloads of pot into the U.S., according to the plea agreement.

Missing macaw reunited with owner

CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — A pet macaw that flew away from its owners on July 7 turned up alive and well in a most unlikely place — 80 miles away at the New Jersey shore.

Robert Daly, 25, said he was driving near his home Thursday night when he spotted the large blue and gold bird sitting quietly by the side of the road.

He called police, who captured the bird and put it into a box. Officers who had seen press reports about the bird’s disappearance notified the owner, Rosalie O’Hara, and the two were reunited Friday.

Sophia vanished after Mrs. O’Hara’s husband lost his grip on the bird while the couple were out for a walk. The couple had been looking frantically for the bird since then and posted a $5,000 reward.

Donor offers reward to find student

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. — An anonymous donor offered a $15,000 reward for the safe return of a university student who disappeared when she went out with a man she met on the Internet site Craigslist, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.

Donna Jou, a student at San Diego State University, has not been seen since June 23, when she went out with John Steven Burgess, a convicted sex offender who is being sought for questioning.

Family members say they last saw her leaving with Mr. Burgess to go to a party. Her mother received a text-message the next day that said her cell-phone battery was dying, but she’d be home soon.

Sheriff’s investigator Dan Salcedo said authorities received an e-mail message from Mr. Burgess, which offered his “attempt to communicate his thoughts and his feelings of essentially what may have occurred.”

Paratroopers land at prison

CANON CITY, Colo. — A unit of 25 military paratroopers landed inside the perimeter of a state prison, but not to quell a riot or attempt some movie-script breakout. They just goofed.

The paratroopers, armed with exercise rifles that shoot rubber bullets, landed in a cornfield outside the Fremont Correctional Institute early Thursday, Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said.

Guards escorted them off the grounds with no violence, she told the Rocky Mountain News.

Miss Sanguinetti said she did not know which military unit was involved. She said an investigation is under way but it appears guards handled the inadvertent intrusion correctly.

The newspaper said the Army and Air Force denied knowledge of the episode. The Colorado National Guard did not return a call seeking comment.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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