- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007



Man gets life term for anthrax threat

A man who mailed packages containing an explosive device and a powdery substance labeled “Anthrax” to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond pleaded guilty yesterday and was sentenced to life in prison.

U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said Rodney Curtis Hamrick, 41, assembled, then mailed, an improvised explosive device in a manila envelope in October 2005.

Hamrick was being held at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., when he sent the package, Mr. Rosenberg said.

A second package mailed several days later to the clerk’s office contained a powdery substance labeled “Anthrax.”

Tests determined that the substance was not anthrax.

Hamrick pleaded guilty to use of a destructive device in an attempted crime of violence. He was convicted of the same offense in 1992 in a federal court in West Virginia after he mailed a similar explosive device to a U.S. attorney.


Drugs found hidden in courthouse bushes

A Newport News man was arrested outside the courthouse after a security officer caught him with drugs, police said.

Security officer Carl Hornberger said he was working the metal detector at Hampton General District Court when he told visitor Ronald E. Hall Jr. to empty his pockets.

Mr. Hall obliged, and out tumbled his cell phone and a half-ounce bag of marijuana.

Mr. Hall scooped up the phone and the drugs, went outside and stashed them in the bushes.

Mr. Hornberger said Mr. Hall returned, cleared the metal detector and headed upstairs.

Mr. Hornberger then summoned a police officer, who waited for Mr. Hall to return and watched as he retrieved the phone and the drugs, Hampton Police Cpl. Allison Good said.

Mr. Hall, 22, was arrested and escorted down the hall to the jail’s booking center, where he was charged with distribution of marijuana.


Woman gets 2 years for welfare fraud

A Smithfield woman who took welfare benefits illegally for 15 years will serve two years in prison.

An Isle of Wight County judge sentenced Carrie Bailey, 51, to prison Wednesday. He also ordered her to repay $245,000 and barred her from receiving public assistance ever again.

Judge Carl Eason Jr. said he hoped to send a message to others committing welfare fraud.

Bailey and her daughter, Melinda Bailey, faced 101 felony charges.

Carrie Bailey agreed to plead guilty to 15 of 73 charges related to lying on applications for Social Security, food stamps, rent subsidies, Medicaid and energy assistance money.

Melinda Bailey, 33, pleaded guilty to seven of 28 charges. She was spared jail time when she was sentenced in January.

Carrie Bailey admitted that she put her daughter up to the scam.


Students name space station node

Students at Browne Academy think the International Space Station needs Harmony.

Several months ago, the middle school’s eighth-grade science class entered NASA’s Node 2 Challenge contest, in which students submitted a proposed name for the space station’s new node.

The node, scheduled to launch this year, will act as a connecting port to additional international science labs in the International Space Station.

The class was one of six to choose the name Harmony and those schools were recognized by NASA yesterday.

The contest included more than 2,200 students in kindergarten through 12th grade in 32 states.



12 persons tossed from sailboats

Twelve persons were rescued from the water when at least three sailboats overturned in high winds yesterday afternoon off Solomons Island in Calvert County, officials said.

State police said three boats overturned, throwing the occupants into the water. Sgt. Norma Traaf at the Prince Frederick barracks said everyone was accounted for.

Jackie Bivito of the Coast Guard office in Baltimore said the sailboats belonged to a boating school and overturned because of high winds.

“The winds are getting real strong out there,” she said. She did not know the name of the boating school.


Convicted murderer’s parole revoked

A Laurel man convicted of two murders and questioned in two recent slayings is back in prison.

A Maryland parole commissioner yesterday revoked parole for Lawrence Banks, 53, who will remain in prison until 2014 for the 1991 murders of his son in Baltimore and a friend in Pasadena.

Banks had been held for two minor parole violations since Dec. 13, one day after the fatal shootings of his live-in girlfriend’s 22-year-old daughter and 9-month-old granddaughter.

Banks has not been charged in those shootings.

His record also includes a 1976 sentence for throwing his 7-month-old daughter through a glass door during an argument with his wife.

His wife was found dead before his trial and the cause of her death was not determined.


Firefighters find body in apartment

A fire in a three-story apartment building yesterday morning may have led to the death of one person, fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to the apartment building in the 8800 block of Bradford Road about 7:20 a.m.

Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said a fire in a bedroom of a second-floor apartment was extinguished quickly, but firefighters found a person inside. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The person’s name and sex would not be released until relatives were notified.

The remains will be transferred to the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore to determine the cause of death.


Canal Road lane to close

One outbound lane of Canal Road in Northwest will be closed this weekend while a new concrete road base is put into place.

The lane will be closed from the Whitehurst Freeway to Foxhall Road from 7 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Monday.

Normal concrete must be allowed to cure up to 28 days without traffic, but the D.C. Department of Transportation is using a rapid-setting concrete that can be opened to traffic in less than 48 hours.

Downtown march will cause detours

The group Act Now to Stop War and End Racism is scheduled to hold a rally tomorrow.

Constitution Avenue between 17th and 23rd streets Northwest will be closed from noon until the end of the march.

Traffic into the District from the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge will be diverted northbound onto 23rd Street.

Traffic proceeding southbound on 23rd Street will be diverted at Virginia Avenue. Southbound traffic on 19th and 22nd streets will be diverted at E Street.

The routes are subject to change.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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