- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 27, 2007

Man held in slaying of girlfriend’s son

CALUMET CITY, Ill. — A man beat his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son to death after she left the boy in his care while she was deployed to Iraq, police said.

A judge denied bond yesterday for Donell Parker, 23, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cameron Smith. Mr. Parker was charged Friday, a day after the boy was found dead in his bed in a suburb south of Chicago.

Prosecutors said in court that the boy suffered multiple rib fractures, damaged internal organs and swelling around his brain.

Mr. Parker told police he beat the boy but would not say why, Calumet City police Chief Patrick O’Meara said.

Mr. Parker’s lawyer, Marcos Reyes, said his client denied all the charges.

Cameron’s mother, Sgt. Lavada Smith, 28, was headed back to Illinois on Friday after spending only 10 hours at her new duty station in Iraq.

At least 2 killed after bar brawl

PERTH AMBOY, N.J. — A bar brawl that spilled out onto the streets of a working-class neighborhood early yesterday led to a shooting that left at least two persons dead and three injured, police said.

A police officer at the scene, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case, confirmed that police were responding to the brawl, along with the number of dead and injured. The officer provided no other details.

Police referred questions to the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office, which confirmed that two persons had been killed.

Teens not charged with setting wildfire

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors declined Friday to charge two teenage boys who caused a wildfire that tore through the hills near the famous Hollywood sign in March.

Deputy District Attorney Jean M. Daly cited insufficient evidence that the boys, who are from Illinois and were not identified because they are minors, “consciously disregarded the risk” of causing a wildfire.

The boys, ages 16 and 17, were hiking in the hills March 30 when one found a lighter and set twigs on fire, Miss Daly said in a document released by the prosecutor’s office. They quickly put the fire out and returned to a corporate housing complex in the area. The teens and a security guard for the complex, who spoke with them and then examined the area, thought the fire was out, Miss Daly said.

The fire began next to the complex and spread rapidly up a brush-covered hillside before it was contained about three hours later.

Shoe department to get ZIP code

NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue says its new shoe department is so big that it’s getting its own ZIP code.

The Manhattan store is revamping its shoe department, and when it moves from the fourth floor to an 8,500-square-foot space on the eighth floor in August, customers will be able to send mail to 10022-SHOE.

“We believe it’s such a big move for us it deserves its own ZIP code,” Saks spokeswoman Lesley Langsam Kennedy said Thursday. “We wanted to make it a destination.”

The retailer worked with the U.S. Postal Service on the new ZIP code — but only the last four characters, which aren’t necessary when mailing something, are specialized. The rest of the neighborhood shares 10022.

Body identified after family attack

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Charred remains found on a hiking trail earlier last week have been identified as those of the father of a family that was brutally attacked and their house burned, authorities said.

The coroner used dental records to determine the remains were those of Jayprakash Dhanak, Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez said Friday.

Mr. Dhanak, 56, is the father of Karishma Dhanak, 20, whose body also was found on the bike trail. Police found the mother, Leela Dhanak, unconscious and badly beaten outside the burning home on Monday. The bodies of Mr. Dhanak and his daughter were found Tuesday after someone noticed smoke coming from a hiking trail 20 miles from the home.

Another daughter, Shayona, 18, was elsewhere when the attack occurred and was under police protection.

Mrs. Dhanak remained hospitalized with severe injuries to her head and upper body, which has prevented investigators from speaking with her, Sgt. Martinez said.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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