- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2007


Man must display picture of victim

BARTOW — A judge has ordered a man who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide to display a large picture of the victim in his home after serving two years in prison.

Circuit Judge Robert Doyel said Friday that the picture must be at least 2 feet wide and displayed prominently. It also must include lettering that says: “I’m sorry I killed you.”

Arthur Pierce, 31, was racing with his cousin on a busy street when they caused an accident that killed 17-year-old Chelsi Gregory, authorities said. Witnesses told police that Pierce was swerving in traffic at about 120 mph when his Cadillac collided with a pickup in which the victim was a passenger.

A prosecutor also said alcohol was a factor in the crash. Pierce’s cousin, Christopher Pierce, is set to be sentenced April 5.

An advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving requested the photograph be part of Pierce’s sentence, according to the Ledger of Lakeland newspaper.

The judge said that Pierce’s probation officer will be allowed to search his home at any time, and if the photograph is not displayed, it will be considered a probation violation.


Mediterranean diet as good as low-fat

NEW ORLEANS — A Mediterranean-style diet high in olive oil and other “healthy” fats is just as good as the classic American Heart Association low-fat diet for the 8 million Americans who have suffered a heart attack and want to prevent a repeat, new research suggests.

People on either diet had one-third the risk of suffering another heart attack, a stroke, death or other heart problem compared with heart patients eating in the usual way, the study found. The results of the study were presented yesterday at an American College of Cardiology conference.

Doctors said it was one of the best tests of specific diets on heart health, especially because participants stuck to it and achieved the goals for various fats that researchers set. The participants also were similar in treatments and other factors so the effect of the diets could be isolated.

“Both diets are prudent choices” for people at high risk of heart disease, said Dr. Katherine Tuttle of Providence Medical Research Center and Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. She led the study and presented the results at the conference.


Man jailed in sex-pact case

MUSKEGON — A man who pleaded no contest last month to entering into a sex pact with his girlfriend and her 15-year-old daughter and to having had sex with a 12-year-old relative was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

Michael J. Fitzgibbon, 37, was sentenced Friday to up to 15 years for each of four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after prosecutors said he, his girlfriend and her daughter signed a contract allowing the teen to be his sex partner for two months. He was also sentenced to 12 to 25 years for each of two charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a 12-year-old girl.

The case arose after Fitzgibbon’s girlfriend, afraid of losing him while she was recuperating from surgery, reportedly arranged for Fitzgibbon, herself and her daughter to sign a contract in June. In exchange for sex, the 15-year-old testified that she was to be paid and receive privileges, such as piercings, hair dyeing and permission to stay overnight with her own boyfriend.

The girlfriend, whose name is not being made public to protect her daughter’s identity, has been charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person 13 to 15 years old and is scheduled to stand trial next month.

Authorities investigated after the 15-year-old told a relative in July.


Activists tracked before GOP convention

NEW YORK — Undercover NYPD officers traveled across the U.S. and even to Europe to observe activists who planned to protest at the 2004 Republican National Convention — including hundreds who showed no sign of illegal intent, a newspaper reported.

Posing as activists or sympathizers, the officers attended meetings of political groups in at least 15 states and filed reports with the police department’s intelligence division, the New York Times reported on its Web site Saturday.

The officers involved in the “RNC Intelligence Squad” then identified certain groups as potential threats, the Times reported, citing hundreds of still-secret reports that it had viewed from the police department’s intelligence division. The police often shared information with departments in other cities.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said the activities were legal. He said the operation was an essential part of preparations for the huge crowds that came to the city during the convention.

“The New York Civil Liberties Union condemns this operation and is considering legal action against the police department,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.


Teen killed at friend’s roadside memorial

WEST WARWICK — A teenager was killed by a hit-and-run driver at the same spot where his 14-year-old friend had died in a car crash just hours earlier.

Andrew Coit, 18, was hit by a car after 4 a.m. Saturday as he played a guitar at a makeshift memorial to Darien Plass, 14, on West Warwick’s Main Street. Darien died after driving his mother’s minivan into a utility pole late Friday, friends of both teenagers told the Providence Journal.

“He wanted to play one last song for [Darien], and that was the last time anyone saw him. He loved singing. He died doing what he loved doing,” said Mr. Coit’s friend, Dennis Sullivan.

Darien’s friends said he had been drinking and took his mother’s minivan without her knowledge. Mr. Coit and other friends set up the memorial.

Police were searching for the driver who hit Mr. Coit, said Detective Sgt. James Tiernan.


2 rescued after fall from cruise ship

GALVESTON — A man and woman fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico early yesterday, but both were rescued after a four-hour search and appeared to be in good condition, a cruise line spokeswoman said.

The 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman, whom the cruise line declined to name, fell 50 to 60 feet from a cabin balcony, said Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises.

She said the cruise line did not know how they fell overboard. Their ship, Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess, was about 150 miles off the coast of Galveston at the time.

The captain turned the ship around after friends of the man and woman notified the crew at about 1:30 a.m. that they had gone overboard, Miss Benson said. The ship’s crew used high-powered spotlights and rescue boats in the search. One passenger was rescued by the ship’s boats at 5:30 a.m. and the other at 6 a.m., according to the cruise line.

The search was aided by the Coast Guard, said Lt. j.g. Jillian Lamb at the District 8 Command Center. A nearby cruise ship also offered assistance, she said.


Angel-coffee shirts rile Mormon leaders

TAYLORSVILLE — For a coffee shop, T-shirts of a Mormon angel with java flowing into his trumpet are selling well. But they don’t have the blessing of religious leaders.

The shirts have upset the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only is Moroni a revered figure — Mormons believe he appeared to church founder Joseph Smith — but LDS members are discouraged from drinking coffee.

The shirts show the angel Moroni, a male figure in a robe blowing a trumpet. The trumpet is turned up at an angle as coffee is poured in.

“They’ve been the best-selling T-shirts we’ve ever done,” said Just Add Coffee co-owner Ed Beazer.

The church informed Mr. Beazer that the angel’s image is a registered trademark.

“If they provide proof, we’re going to comply,” Mr. Beazer said. “We don’t want to break any laws or anything.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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