- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007


Hundreds pay tribute to Kings’ eldest child

ATLANTA — Bernice King, followed by her brothers Martin and Dexter, each lighted a candle in memory of their older sister as hundreds gathered yesterday to celebrate the life of Yolanda “Yoki” Denise King.

Andrew Young; Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, Xernona Clayton; the Rev. Joseph Lowery; Juanita Abernathy and others who led the civil-rights movement alongside her father, Martin Luther King, were among the dignitaries who mourned Miss King and honored her life devoted to art and activism.

Miss King, 51, died on May 15 in California after she collapsed and could not be revived. She was eulogized yesterday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father preached from 1960 until his death in 1968.

“She dealt with the difficulty of personal pain and public responsibility and yet … she emerged from it all victorious,” said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer.


House fire kills 5 children, stepfather

SAGINAW — A kitchen fire engulfed a house early yesterday, killing five children and their stepfather, who ran back into the flames to try to save them, authorities said.

The children’s mother was rescued from the two-story home by sheriff’s deputies, police Sgt. Mark Lively said.

The fire started in the kitchen, where the stepfather, Samuel Watkins, 33, had been cooking, police Detective Jason Ball said. Mr. Watkins ran out of the burning house and flagged down deputies, police said. Mr. Watkins then re-entered the home and ran “back through a wall of flames and smoke to go upstairs,” Detective Ball said.

Along with Mr. Watkins, police identified the victims as the children of Tanesha Watkins, 33; Adam Dupuis, 13; Majesty Price, 8; Destiny Price, 5; Essence Price, 3; and Chad Skinner, 1.


Charles Manson denied parole

CORCORAN — Charles Manson was denied parole Wednesday, the 11th time since 1978 that he was ordered to continue serving life sentences for directing a murderous rampage in 1969.

Manson, 72, did not attend or send a representative to the proceeding before the Board of Parole Hearings. He previously told a prison counselor that he refuses to participate because he considers himself a “prisoner of the political system,” said Patrick Sequeira, Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, who attended the hearing.

The board voted to deny Manson parole for at least five years, the maximum allowed by law.

Despite his age, Manson “continues to pose an unreasonable danger to others and may still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with,” the board wrote in its denial.


Toddler ruins monks’ sand design

KANSAS CITY — The little boy spotted the pretty pile of colored sand on the floor of the vast hall and couldn’t resist. Slipping under a protective rope, he danced all over the sand, ruining the carefully crafted picture.

Nevermind that it was the creation of eight Tibetan monks who had spent two days cross-legged on the floor of Union Station, meticulously pouring the sand into an intricate design as an expression of their Buddhist faith.

They were more than halfway done with the design — called a mandala — on Tuesday when they ended their work for the day and left. The little boy showed up sometime later with his mother, who was taking a package to a post office in the hall.

“No problem,” Geshe Lobsang Sumdup, leader of the group from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in southern India, said through a translator. “We didn’t get despondent. We have three days more. So we will have to work harder.”


Oversized flag angers city officials

LAS VEGAS — A flap over an outsized American flag and its flagpole has city officials and an auto dealership dueling over patriotism, advertising and neighborhood peace.

The city reports receiving more than 100 e-mail messages since the City Council last week ordered Towbin Hummer to take down its 100-foot flagpole. Most disagree with the council’s decision.

Mayor Oscar Goodman blamed the dealership several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip for not keeping a promise to build a small veterans memorial with the tall pole.

The Towbin Hummer flag isn’t the biggest in town. The Terrible Herbst gasoline and convenience store chain has several American flags around the city measuring 30 feet by 50 feet on poles 100 feet tall, said Jim Smith, a purchasing agent. Dealership owner Dan Towbin said his big flag, which at 30 feet by 60 feet is about the size of a competition volleyball court, fits his dealership.


Mother gives birth in car twice

RALEIGH — If a pregnant Stephanie Green asks for a ride to the hospital, beware: She has a history of giving birth in cars.

On Tuesday, for the second time in 17 months, she had a baby while en route to a hospital. Doctors had planned to induce labor Thursday, but baby Zaria had other plans.

Her other daughter, 17-month-old Semajai, was born in a car after Mom got stuck in traffic.

Tuesday’s first contraction came about 7 a.m., and Miss Green called friend Shanika Lewis for a ride to the hospital. They were on the highway just blocks from a Raleigh hospital about an hour later when the contractions got more intense.

“We saw the exit on Lake Boone Trail and said, ‘We are almost there,’ ” Miss Green said. “But the water broke, and then out came the baby. Yep, we are not going to make it — yet again.”

Miss Lewis, who works at a hospital, helped with the delivery until emergency workers arrived.


Execution delayed by bad veins

LUCASVILLE — An overweight inmate was executed by injection yesterday after a delay of more than an hour while prison medical staff struggled to find suitable veins in his arms.

The execution of Christopher Newton, who had killed a cellmate in 2001 and insisted on the death sentence, had been set to begin at 10 a.m. But Newton, 37, was pronounced dead shortly before noon.

He weighed 265 at his physical on Wednesday. The head of the Public Defender’s death penalty division, Joe Wilhelm, said Newton told him that it was hard for blood to be taken from his veins because of his weight.

A year ago, the execution of another Ohio inmate, Joseph Lewis Clark, also was delayed more than an hour because the team could not find a suitable vein. The case was cited by death-penalty opponents as an example of problems with lethal injection.

After Newton was finally wheeled into the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, his last words were: “I sure could use a beef stew and a chicken bone.”


Victim seeks mercy for drunken driver

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who portrayed Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” and then lost his wife and two children hours later in a Christmas Eve car crash asked for mercy yesterday for the drunken driver responsible.

Carlos Prieto was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, less than the 15-year maximum. But Gary Ceran told the judge that he would be satisfied with no prison time.

“I want Carlos to know that I forgive him,” said Mr. Ceran, fighting back tears along with Prieto, shackled a few feet behind him. “If Carlos were to look me in the eye, shake my hand and say that he’ll do all in his power to see that this will never happen again — that would be enough for us.”

Prosecutors said Prieto, 25, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit, when his pickup truck broadsided the Ceran family’s car in Murray after midnight Dec. 24. Cheryl Ceran, 47, Ian Ceran, 15, and Julianna Ceran, 7, were killed in the front seat. Mr. Ceran and two other children survived in the back seat.

Prosecutor Langdon Fisher said he couldn’t recall ever arguing for a harsher sentence than the one sought by a victim. The prosecutor wanted three consecutive sentences of five years in prison.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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