- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ARIZONA

Suspect’s brother pleads guilty to assault

PHOENIX — A man arrested in one of the city’s two serial killer investigations pleaded guilty yesterday to assaulting a homeless man with a knife, and prosecutors agreed to drop an attempted murder charge.

Jeff Hausner’s brother, Dale Hausner, is charged with seven counts of murder in the shooting spree that wounded at least 17 persons and killed seven, and his suspected accomplice, Samuel Dieteman, is charged in two of the killings.

Investigators said the April 14 stabbing of the homeless man was linked to those serial shootings, but they haven’t specified the link.

Police have said that Jeff Hausner, 40, whose sentencing was set for April 20, attacked the homeless man after the man approached him and Mr. Dieteman outside a supermarket.

Jeff Hausner did not agree to testify in the case against his brother and Mr. Dieteman as part of the plea agreement, prosecutor Vince Imbordino said.

GEORGIA

Bus crash prompts new safety measures

ATLANTA — Georgia highway officials investigating a deadly bus crash said yesterday they would add safety measures to several commuter-lane exits like the one the baseball team’s bus had taken before it plunged off an overpass two weeks ago.

Seven persons on the bus died from their injuries, five of them baseball players from Bluffton University in Ohio.

Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman David Spear said the state would be adding signs and adding reflective striping to seven similar ramps starting today.

The bus driver apparently mistook one of the Atlanta-area commuter-lane exit ramps for a lane, officials said. The bus crossed through a T-intersection at the top of the ramp and careened over the retaining wall of the overpass to the interstate, 30 feet below. The driver and his wife died in the crash.

KENTUCKY

Soldier goes on trial in Iraqi detainees case

FORT CAMPBELL — A squad leader never ordered his soldiers to shoot three Iraqi detainees, but he did help cover up the slayings, a defense attorney said in opening statements of the soldier’s murder trial yesterday.

“He saw what they did,” attorney Anita Gorecki told the military court. “He realized they killed the detainees, and in that moment, yes, he decided to help his squad members.”

Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard is the last and most senior soldier from the 101st Airborne Division to face trial for the killings during a May 9 raid on a suspected insurgent camp outside of Samarra, Iraq.

Military prosecutors say Sgt. Girouard, 24, had told his soldiers to cut the detainees free and then kill them as they tried to run.

Two other soldiers charged with murder — Spc. William B. Hunsaker and Pfc. Corey Clagett — pleaded guilty, cooperated with prosecutors and were sentenced to 18 years in military prison. Both men said during their court hearings that Sgt. Girouard ordered the killings.

LOUISIANA

Chicken fat spill leaves road stinky, slippery

MONROE — Chicken fat clogged a major traffic artery yesterday, a day after a leaky truck left a stinky, slippery trail along a one-mile stretch of Interstate 20.

The vacuum truck crossed the Ouachita River before it was pulled over about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

The truck’s owner, Dixie Hydro-vac Specialist Co., an industrial cleaning company from West Monroe, tried to clean up the mess with a chemical, but then it started to rain, said John Kelly, district administrator for the state Department of Transportation and Development.

It wasn’t clear where the fat originated.

MICHIGAN

Shots fired outside parole office

DETROIT — A gunman wounded two persons in a drive-by shooting outside a state parole office yesterday, and police wounded one of the suspects, authorities said.

The attack occurred as one person who had been at the Department of Corrections office walked to a car and joined two other persons, Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings told reporters.

At least two persons drove up in a second vehicle, shots were fired, and the attackers fled, the chief said.

Police did not elaborate on the shootout with officers, and did not give conditions of any of the wounded people. It wasn’t clear whether the wounded suspect was in custody.

TEXAS

House OKs bill making HPV vaccine optional

AUSTIN — The Texas House approved a bill yesterday that would keep the human papillomavirus vaccine off the list of required shots for school attendance, tentatively circumventing Gov. Rick Perry’s executive order.

The vaccine protects girls against strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer.

Mr. Perry’s order asked Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins to adopt rules to vaccinate girls entering the sixth grade as of September 2008. The order angered lawmakers who said Mr. Perry bypassed the legislative process.

The bill adopted yesterday “will not take away the option for a single girl or a single family in this state to choose to vaccinate a child,” said Republican Rep. Dennis Bonnen of Angleton, the lead author of the bill. “It simply says a family must make that choice, not a state government.”

The measure, approved 119-21, still needs final approval in the House and approval in the Senate. It’s also possible that Mr. Perry will veto the legislation.

VERMONT

City continues flood vigil

MONTPELIER — National Guard members filled sand bags and a crane wielding a steel beam pounded away yesterday at the ice-jammed Winooski River as the capital city maintained a tense watch on the river, fearing a repeat of a 1992 flood that devastated downtown.

Residents and business owners here have been preparing for a flood for weeks — emptying basements, raising store inventory up onto shelves and fortifying buildings with sand bags.

“Even though rain is expected [today], the National Weather Service tells us that that amount of precipitation will be absorbed by the existing snow pack,” said Peter Coffey, deputy director of Vermont Emergency Management. More rain could be a problem, though.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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