- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Judge dismisses motion against Janey

A D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday dismissed a motion to hold schools Superintendent Clifford B. Janey in contempt of court.

The contempt motion was filed last week on behalf of two former school transportation administration employees who an administrative judge found were improperly fired.

Stephenos Ulis and Alfred Richard were fired in 2004, but they successfully appealed their terminations before an administrative judge.

The decision, which included back pay and reinstatement of jobs and benefits, was later enforced by a Superior Court ruling after the school system failed to comply.

The contempt motion was filed because the school system had not met the March 15 deadline for compliance.

Yesterday the school system submitted an unsigned letter from Mr. Janey to the judge that promised the men’s jobs would be reinstated Monday.

The judge dismissed the motion under the assumption that the school system would soon submit signed copies of the letter.



Inmates accused in drug smuggling

Two inmates at the Richmond City Jail have been arrested and a Richmond woman is accused in a plot to smuggle heroin into the jail, authorities said.

Sheriff C.T. Woody said that investigators found evidence that the inmates Franklin Berry, 34, and Demond Randolph, 27, conspired with Kimberly Booker, 35, to send heroin to the jail through the mail.

Sheriff Woody said Randolph and Berry used other inmates’ calling cards to tell Miss Booker where to get money for the drugs and how to mail them to the jail.

Sheriff Woody said one envelope mailed by Miss Booker arrived at the jail in February and that another was being prepared to be sent.

Berry and Randolph have previous arrests on drug charges. They now face felony charges for conspiracy to violate the Drug Control Act.



Truck driver charged in fatal Beltway crash

A Delaware truck driver was charged with reckless driving and other offenses yesterday after a fatal crash late Monday night on the Capital Beltway.

The accident about 11 p.m. on the Outer Loop between Route 1 and Interstate 95 killed a Riverdale man and injured the drivers of two other cars.

Roger Scofield, 54, is charged with reckless driving, negligence, failure to control speed and driving with a suspended license. The tractor-trailer he was driving struck a car being driven by Jose Villalta, 33, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sgt. Russell Newell of the Maryland State Police said that Mr. Scofield also faces several commercial vehicle violations and that additional charges could be filed once police conclude their investigation.

Two cars had slowed behind a disabled car when the tractor-trailer slammed into Mr. Villalta’s car, crushing him inside, Prince George’s fire department spokesman Mark Brady said.

A man in another car was taken by helicopter to a hospital with multisystem failure, Mr. Brady said. His condition was not released. One other person had minor injures, and Mr. Scofield was examined and refused transportation.

The Outer Loop remained closed for several hours for the investigation and cleanup.

Mr. Brady said heavy cranes had to be brought into pull the cab of the tractor-trailer off the car it crushed, and another tow truck had to pull the car out. The wreck was so severe, Mr. Brady said, that he could not even describe the color, make or model of the car in which Mr. Villalta died.


Treasure hunters guilty of grave-robbing

Three Hancock men have been ordered to pay the federal government about $6,100 for an illegal treasure hunt that included disturbing a 19th-century grave in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

Park officials said the men dug 25 to 30 holes in a search for metal and jewelry they thought had been buried with the remains of Mary Ohr in 1875.

Authorities said the raiders didn’t find any jewelry during their hunt last April, but they caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the grave and the grounds of the homestead near Hancock.

The National Park Service said it paid a $1,000 reward for information that led to the arrests of Christopher Pelchat, 24, and Jonathan Carroll, 29.

Jonathan Carroll’s father, James Carroll, 53, was convicted of digging in the park, but not in the grave.


New trial ordered in 1975 killing

A Washington County Circuit Court judge has overturned a murder conviction in the slaying of a Hagerstown police officer more than 30 years ago.

The court ordered a new trial for Merle Unger Jr., who is serving a life term plus 40 years for the shooting of Officer Donald Kline during an armed robbery in 1975.

The court found that the trial judge had improperly advised jurors that they were to determine the law as well as the facts of Unger’s case.

Such instructions were commonly given by Maryland judges until 1980, when the state Court of Appeals ruled that jurors are the finders of facts but not of the law.


Men get 75 years for kidnapping officer

Two Baltimore men were sentenced yesterday for kidnapping and robbing an off-duty officer who managed to shoot them in 2005.

State prosecutors said Timothy Brockington, 28, and Tyrone Gross, 34, will serve 30 years for kidnapping, 30 years for carjacking and 15 years for robbery.

They were convicted nearly three weeks ago for kidnapping and robbing Officer Antoine Boykin.

In July 2005, state prosecutors said Officer Boykin was at a gas station when the two men pulled up next to him. They forced him into the car at gunpoint and beat him in the head with the gun, state prosecutors said.

Then they took him to an alley. While they were walking down the alley, he managed to pull his service weapon and shoot both men.


Man pleads guilty to Viagra theft

A District Heights man could face up to 10 years in prison for stealing at least 100 bottles of Viagra from the Air Force.

Lawrence Williams, 48, was a civilian employee involved in ordering and distributing prescription drugs to medical facilities at Andrews Air Force Base. He pleaded guilty to stealing more than $55,000 worth of Viagra and smaller amounts of Levitra.

Although Viagra was removed from the base’s approved prescription-drug list in June 2005, Williams continued to order supplies of the drug.

He had admitted selling the drugs for personal profit.

Air Force investigators said each bottle of the medication cost the Air Force at least $551.

Williams was arrested last July when he tried to leave the base with 15 bottles of Viagra in his car. He faces sentencing July 2.


Parents appeal ruling in fire trainee’s death

The parents of a Frederick County firefighter recruit who died in training filed an appeal yesterday of a federal court’s dismissal of constitutional claims in their wrongful-death lawsuit against the county.

Attorneys for James and Shirley Waybright, of Gettysburg, Pa., filed the notice of appeal in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The appeal would be heard by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

The District Court ruled March 1 that Andrew Waybright’s death from heatstroke during an outdoor workout in hot, humid weather in 2002 didn’t “shock the conscience” — a standard the court said must be met before it could find that governmental conduct violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment guarantees that no one shall be deprived of their life without due process of law.

The Waybrights’ lead attorney, Kenneth M. Berman, said afterward that the court had applied the wrong standard.

Mr. Waybright, 23, died July 3, 2002, at the Frederick County Public Safety Training Center. He collapsed during a workout supervised by an officer who didn’t recognize his hyperthermia symptoms and didn’t administer first aid, according to court records.

The dismissal of constitutional claims left other issues still to be decided in state court.


Serial bank robber has struck 9 times

A serial bank robber struck again Monday, the ninth city bank the same man has robbed in less than five weeks, police said.

On Monday, the target was a 1st Mariner Bank branch on Boston Street in Canton.

Police say surveillance photos show the same man has committed the robberies, but he usually doesn’t wear the same coat and he doesn’t strike at the same hour of the day.

The robber hands tellers a note demanding money; he has not displayed a weapon.


SoberRide reaches St. Pat’s Day record

A program to keep impaired drivers off the roads gave a record number of free cab rides on St. Patrick’s Day.

SoberRide, a free cab service provided on holidays by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, started at 4 p.m. Saturday and ended at 6 a.m. Sunday.

With 603 cab rides, the service surpassed last year’s record by 23 rides.

Kurt Erickson, president of WRAP, said the service meant a potential impaired driver was removed every 84 seconds during the 14-hour period.

WRAP provides SoberRide during times of the year with a high risk of alcohol-related traffic incidents.

St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday when 59 percent of all traffic deaths are alcohol-related, causes more such deaths than New Year’s Eve.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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