- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2007



Ex-ACLU chief guilty in child porn case

A former president of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union pleaded guilty yesterday to federal child pornography charges.

Charles Rust-Tierney, 51, entered his plea to one count of receipt of child pornography in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. He had been indicted last month on one count each of receipt and possession of child pornography.

From March 2005 until October 2006, Rust-Tierney bought at least five subscriptions to child pornography Web sites and downloaded other illegal materials offered at additional cost, court documents stated.

Rust-Tierney, who also coached Little League baseball in Arlington, has been in jail since his arrest in February.

At pretrial hearings, two judges refused to grant bail, describing the pornography in question as some of the most sickening they had ever encountered. The evidence included child torture and rape scenes set to music by the rock band Nine Inch Nails.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. Prosecutors said they would not seek more than eight years and one month, which is in line with sentencing guidelines.


Woman shot at bus stop

A woman was shot in the head yesterday morning while waiting at a bus stop in Northwest, police said.

According to police, the woman was waiting at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Columbia Road when she was shot by a man who fled on a bicycle.

Police said the woman was taken to Howard University Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.

Bruce Monroe Elementary School, which is near the bus stop, was locked down.

Police said they were looking for as many as three persons who might have been involved in the shooting.

Judge eases Hinckley restrictions

A federal judge yesterday gave John W. Hinckley’s doctors more flexibility to help the would-be presidential assassin rejoin society.

Hinckley, who said he shot President Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982. Testimony at his trial indicated that he suffered from depression and a psychotic disorder that led to an obsession with Miss Foster and he was committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Officials at Washington’s Saint Elizabeths Hospital sought to loosen restrictions on how far in advance they must alert the Secret Service when they take Hinckley into the community to attend baseball games, the theater and other events.

The hospital said such outings would allow doctors to observe Hinckley in social situations and get him more comfortable in public.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ruled that the hospital only needed to give the Secret Service four days’ notice when it plans to take Hinckley off the hospital grounds. The order came over the objections of prosecutors.

Judge Friedman also is considering whether to allow Hinckley to make more frequent and lengthy unsupervised visits to his family’s home in Virginia.



18 inmates injured in prison yard fight

Eighteen inmates were injured, three critically, during a prison yard fight yesterday at a Maryland corrections facility in Baltimore, authorities said.

The fight broke out at the Metropolitan Transition Center about 1:30 p.m., corrections spokeswoman Maj. Priscilla Doggett said.

Inmates “were evaluated and determined they needed additional treatment for stab wounds,” Maj. Doggett said. The inmates were taken to local hospitals, she said.

Emergency crews arriving at about 2 p.m. said injuries ranged from lacerations to stab wounds, Baltimore Fire Chief Kevin Cartwright said.

Paramedics had to wait briefly until corrections officers were able to secure the yard before they could treat the injured, Chief Cartwright said.

Prison officials said three inmates were rushed to local hospitals with serious injuries.

Details about the cause of the disturbance were not available, but it involved several groups of inmates, some of whom were armed with homemade weapons, Maj. Doggett said. No corrections personnel were injured.

The facility will remain on indefinite lockdown, and the emergency operations command center has been activated, which is normal operating procedure, she said. The entire facility, including cells, will be searched for contraband. All inmates were returned to their housing area by yesterday afternoon.


Four fire victims to be buried today

The funeral for four victims who died last week in a fast-moving fire that torched their East Baltimore row house will be buried today, a funeral home official said.

William Curtis Hyman, 66, Domonic Thompson, 27, Tashon Thomas, 16 and Davonta Witherspoon, 13, will be buried together at Israel Baptist Church this morning, said Victor March of March Funeral Home.

The Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore didn’t complete identifications of the bodies until 10 days after the May 22 fire when six persons died and seven were injured. Mr. Thompson later died of his injuries, and his cousin and the family matriarch, Deneen Thomas, 45, is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries.

Oneika Ellis, 27, made a surprise appearance at her 7-year-old son’s funeral Tuesday, temporarily leaving the hospital in an ambulance and using a wheelchair to roll down to her son’s white casket with her arms still bandaged.

She was returned to the hospital after briefly looking at her son, MarQuis Ellis, and she is still receiving treatment for her injuries. NiJuan Thomas, 3, was also buried this week.

Fire officials said they still had not determined the fire’s cause, although they think it started in a first-floor bedroom, where someone might have been smoking on a couch.

Another funeral is planned Tuesday for Melvin Beckett, 13, Davonta’s best friend, Mr. March said.


Escape attempt delays start of trial

A raucous courtroom escape attempt prompted a judge yesterday to indefinitely postpone the trial of a state prison inmate charged with killing a correctional officer.

Howard County Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney also said he is considering recusing himself to avoid any appeals based on his role in the melee that left two prospective jurors and two sheriff’s deputies slightly injured Thursday during jury selection.

Judge Sweeney’s decision to start over with a new jury pool will likely delay until at least September the first-degree murder and kidnapping trial of Brandon T. Morris, 21, of Baltimore.

Mr. Morris is accused of fatally shooting guard Jeffery Wroten, 44, of Martinsburg, W.Va., during his escape from custody at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown last year. Mr. Wroten, who worked at the nearby medium-security Roxbury Correctional Institution, was guarding Mr. Morris’ hospital room.

Yesterday morning, Judge Sweeney halted the jury-selection process and discharged the 140 potential jurors who had already completed written questionnaires.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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