- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007



Officials say wildfires intentionally set

Forestry officials say arsonists have set at least 20 wildfires in Southwestern Virginia so far this year, including one that consumed more than 1,000 acres earlier this month in Lee County.

Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman John Campbell said that at least 75 percent of the fires were set in the past two weeks.

The fires have burned about 2,000 acres of woods mostly in Lee, Buchanan and Scott counties.

Of seven fires burning Tuesday, Mr. Campbell said, two had been declared arson and two others were under investigation.

No one has been injured and no homes burned, but Mr. Campbell said some outbuild-ings have been destroyed.

He said forestry officials have not been able to determine whether the same person or people are responsible for multiple blazes.


Man gets death for officer’s murder

A jury recommended a death sentence yesterday for a man who killed a Norfolk police officer in October 2005.

Thomas Porter was convicted of capital murder March 7 after he admitted shooting Officer Stanley Reaves three times in the head.

Porter testified that he shot Officer Reaves because he feared for his life during an altercation with the officer. But prosecutors said Porter shot the officer because he knew he had an outstanding warrant and was committing a crime by carrying a gun.

Officer Reaves died instantly.

Porter fled the area and was arrested six days later in White Plains, N.Y.

The trial was moved to Arlington because of the attention the case received in the Hampton Roads area.


Death-row inmate charged again

A man on death row for the murders of a Richmond family will stand trial in another capital murder case Oct. 29 for the 2005 slaying of a Culpeper woman, a judge said yesterday.

Ricky Jovan Gray, 29, appeared in Culpeper Circuit Court but did not enter a plea yesterday, though he is expected to plead not guilty to killing Sheryl Warner, defense attorney Ted Bruns said.

Miss Warner, 37, was found hanging by an electrical cord in her burning basement on Dec. 18, 2005.

She is the ninth person authorities think Gray killed during a rampage from November 2005 to January 2006.

In October, he was sentenced to death for the 2006 New Year’s Day slaughter of Bryan Harvey, 49; his wife, Kathryn, 39; and daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.

The same lawyers who defended Gray in that case will represent him in the upcoming trial, which is scheduled to last about a week, Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. said.

Miss Warner was on the phone with her father when a man came to her door and asked to use her phone, family members said.

When Miss Warner did not answer her father’s calls later that day, authorities went to her house and discovered her body.



Driver trapped in car after Beltway crash

A Honda Civic rear-ended a piece of construction equipment on the Capital Beltway yesterday morning, closing several lanes of the Outer Loop for more than an hour.

The incident occurred about 8:30 a.m. near the Old Georgetown Road exit.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said the car ran under the construction vehicle, pinning the driver inside.

An emergency medical technician treated the man in the car while other rescuers worked to cut away damaged metal. The driver suffered a leg injury.


Suspicious packages delay Metro, Amtrak

The Rockville Metro and Amtrak stations were evacuated last evening while police investigated suspicious packages found on board an Amtrak train.

The report was made about 5 p.m., an Amtrak spokesman said.

About 140 passengers were taken off the Chicago-bound train at the Rockville station. All Amtrak trains going through Rockville in both directions were delayed.

The packages, which were not accompanying a passenger, were cleared by the bomb squad and their owner was identified, Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said. He did not know why the owner was not on the train.

The Rockville Metro station was evacuated and closed about 5:30 p.m. Buses arrived to take Red Line passengers from the Twinbrook station to Shady Grove.

The stations reopened about 7:30 p.m.


Soldier accused of smuggling weapons

An Army soldier from Bowie is accused of smuggling out of Iraq machine guns that were used in a series of local bank robberies, including one caught on tape by a television news crew.

Prosecutors said Leonard Stephan Lockley, 26, was arrested Tuesday on charges of receiving, possessing and selling machine guns while on active duty near Baghdad.

According to court documents, a witness in 2003 saw Mr. Lockley placing four disassembled AK-47-style rifles into a large black metal chest with a false bottom.

The witness said the soldier told him that he had the chest made and was using it to send the weapons to the U.S.

The court documents state that when Mr. Lockley returned home in 2004, he sold some of the weapons, which were later used in the bank robberies.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted.


Ex-coach sentenced for teen relationship

A former Wicomico High School volleyball coach pleaded guilty yesterday to having a relationship with one of his players and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Robert Borello, 52, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty to three counts of fourth-degree sex offenses for having a relationship with the girl, who was 16 at the time.

Borello was named Bayside South Conference volleyball coach of the year, but since he was charged he has resigned his job as coach and speech therapist at the Wicomico County Board of Education.

He apologized to the court and the mother of the victim, asking her to extend his apology to her daughter.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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