- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Voting rights bill moves forward

House lawmakers yesterday said a bill granting the District full congressional representation is scheduled to be marked up next week and will come to the floor for a vote by the end of the month.

“The people of the District have waited too long to have a voice in the House,” said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat. “Democrats promised to move this legislation in the first months of the new Congress, and that is what we are doing.”

The D.C. Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act, which would give one House seat to the predominantly Democratic District and an additional House seat to Utah, a mostly Republican state, likely will be marked up by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee next Wednesday and Thursday.

The committee hearings and markups will then clear the way for the bill to be brought to the House floor for a vote.

The movement means House Democrats have agreed on the bill’s components and have adopted a strategy for its passage, advocates said.

“We’re thrilled that the Democrats have resolved issues on their side,” said Ilir Zherka, executive director of D.C. Vote. “We think that these committee markups will be the beginning of the end for taxation without representation.”

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton — a Democrat who co-sponsored the bill — heralded the new timetable.

“We in the District embrace this milestone in the journey of our citizens for two centuries to obtain the most basic of American citizenship rights — the cherished right to be represented in the people’s House,” she said.

Bus driver to stand trial in two deaths

The driver of a Metrobus that struck and killed two women on Valentine’s Day has been ordered to stand trial on charges of negligent homicide.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz set a trial date of June 8 for Victor Kolako, who was behind the wheel of a Metrobus that struck Sally McGee and Martha Schoenborn at Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street Northwest.

At a hearing yesterday, a police crash investigator said Mr. Kolako failed to look left before turning into the crosswalk where the women were walking. The investigator drew his conclusion from the testimony of two cabdrivers who were in oncoming vehicles.

Mr. Kolako is on paid leave from Metro.



Marine charged in 2-year-old’s death

A Marine stationed at Quantico is being charged with murder after police said he gave a sketchy description of how a 2-year-old girl died while in his care.

Police arrested Lance Cpl. Christopher Nadeau, 19, of South Carolina, on Monday night at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett said.

He is charged with one count each of first-degree murder, felony child abuse and causing a child to be injured. He was being held without bail at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford.

Police did not identify the child, who was discovered unresponsive Sunday night after Cpl. Nadeau called 911.

Cpl. Nadeau is a friend of the child’s mother and was baby-sitting at her Stafford home, police said.

Cpl. Nadeau gave a description of what happened that didn’t match the child’s injuries, police said.

There were no further details on her injuries.


Man found guilty in officer’s death

A jury Wednesday convicted a man charged in the October 2005 fatal shooting of Norfolk police Officer Stanley Reaves.

Thomas Porter, 31, acknowledged Tuesday that he shot Officer Reaves three times in the head, but testified that he did it because he feared for his life during an altercation with the officer.

But prosecutor Phil Evans told a jury that Porter did it because he knew he had an outstanding warrant and was committing a crime just by carrying a gun.

Authorities said Officer Reaves was shot as he investigated a report of a man with a gun in a Norfolk neighborhood.

Police later identified Porter in the shooting; he fled the area and was arrested six days later in White Plains, N.Y.

Porter now faces the death penalty.

His trial was held in Arlington because of the attention the case received in the Hampton Roads area.


Investigators close abduction, murder case

A woman killed last summer was randomly abducted from a suburban shopping mall three days before her body was found, investigators said.

Goochland and Henrico county authorities have closed their six-month investigation into the disappearance and death of Emily “Kate” Robertson, 21.

They found no evidence that the suspect, John Snyder, 37, had been stalking Miss Robertson before spotting her in the Short Pump Town Center parking lot, they said.

Snyder committed suicide the same day Miss Robertson’s body was found.

Investigators think Snyder forced Miss Robertson into his car at gunpoint.

A security camera video of the woman getting into his car did not clearly show a gun, but authorities said they learned through interviews that Snyder always carried a handgun.


Jail extends norovirus quarantine

City jail officials plan to extend a quarantine in an effort to contain a norovirus outbreak.

The quarantine was to be lifted yesterday, but jail and health department officials want more time to be sure, said Tara Dunlop, a spokeswoman with the city sheriff’s office.

Since the norovirus outbreak started last week, five deputies and 57 of the jail’s estimated 1,500 inmates have become ill.

Norovirus can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

An epidemiologist advised jail officials Tuesday that in a facility where people live in such close quarters and cannot be sent away, as students at a school can, infection rates of 50 percent are common, Miss Dunlop said.

Jail officials’ efforts to isolate the ill and clean the entire jail has kept hundreds of inmates and deputies from falling ill, she said.


Human skull found in stone quarry

Remains have been found again in Spotsylvania County — and this time, they definitely are human.

Sheriff Howard Smith said authorities were called Tuesday to Luck Stone Quarry, where they found what appeared to be a human skull on a remote area of the property.

The state medical examiner’s office confirmed that skull was in fact human.

Deputies and rescue workers also found additional human remains, as well as a hat, a pair of pants and a tie.

Sheriff Smith says they will continue to use cadaver dogs to search the quarry. He said the area where the skull was found is about the size of a football field.

Last month, a foot that was thought to be human was found in a landfill, but was later identified as belonging to a bear.



Staph infection hits police academy

Nearly 100 police cadets and their instructors have been ordered to stay away from the Prince George’s County Police training academy after a suspected outbreak of staph infections.

The problem surfaced in late January when a few cases were reported. Officials said more than 20 cases have been documented, prompting police commanders to order students and instructors home.

Only one of the three classes now under way at the academy has had a problem with the infections, Assistant Chief Darrin Palmer said.

Instruction for the affected classes has been postponed for two weeks while students and instructors take medication to treat the problem, Cpl. Diane Richardson said.


Marshals, police arrest 200 fugitives

Baltimore police and federal authorities said yesterday that they arrested nearly 200 fugitives including several violent criminals and registered sex offenders.

Operation Falcon, organized by the U.S. Marshals Service working with city police, began Feb. 26 and lasted five days.

All 195 persons arrested were wanted for crimes in Baltimore, U.S. Marshals Service Director John Clark said.

Six were arrested on murder or attempted-murder charges, and 86 were arrested for robbery, assault or other violent crimes.

More than 80 percent of those arrested were wanted for violent crimes or already had criminal records of violent crimes.

At least 24 of the arrests were gang-related and four were listed among Baltimore’s most-wanted fugitives.


Two found dead in mobile-home fire

Two persons died Tuesday night in a fire at a mobile home, Ocean City fire officials said.

Police and fire crews responded about 11:30 p.m. to the mobile home on 135th Street, officials said.

Officers kicked in the door but could not enter because of the smoke and flames.

When the fire was out, two bodies were found in a bedroom, officials said.

Police don’t yet know the victims’ identities, and the cause of the fire has not been determined.


Clogged dam drain poses flood threat

Emergency responders and the Maryland National Guard are trying to unclog a drainage pipe to protect an earthen dam near Oakland.

The dam is owned by Garrett County Memorial Hospital and is upstream from 25 homes that the Maryland Emergency Management Agency said would have to be evacuated if the dam fails.

Divers from the Middle River Volunteer Fire Company flew to Western Maryland on Tuesday night, but they were unable to unclog the pipe beneath 22 feet of water, MEMA spokeswoman Katie Leahan said.

A Maryland State Police dive team also has been summoned, Miss Leahan said.

Meanwhile, workers are pumping at least 4,000 gallons of water a minute out of the dam, using tractor-trailer-sized pumps that the Baltimore County Public Works Department sent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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