- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2007


Woman’s body found behind school

A woman’s body was found yesterday morning behind an elementary school.

Officers discovered the body just before 10 a.m. on Pomeroy Road Southeast behind Wilkinson Elementary School.

Police have not identified the woman. They said she was naked and the victim of a homicide but did not release details on the cause of death.

Students were kept inside the school during recess while authorities investigated.

Fires ‘suspicious’ in Senate buildings

Four fires yesterday in Senate office building were “suspicious in nature,” U.S. Capitol Police said. All were extinguished by midafternoon, but an investigation continued.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said two fires in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and one in the Hart building next door were reported in women’s bathrooms and were extinguished between 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. A fourth, also in a Dirksen restroom, was reported later and extinguished by midafternoon, she said.

There was at least one other similar fire last week in a Senate office building bathroom that was determined to have been caused by a cigarette, according to a Senate official who is not authorized to speak to reporters and demanded anonymity.

Capitol Police sent out a mass e-mail noting “a series of small fires that have occurred in the Senate Office Buildings in recent days” and asking for tips. The e-mail said that more building patrols have been added to investigate.



Beethoven booted from sunset serenade

The Eastern Shore town is pulling the plug on playing Beethoven at sunset.

In August, the town started a new tradition featuring a short musical interlude played at sunset over speakers near the Cape Charles fishing pier. It consisted of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Kate Smith’s “God Bless America.”

But after complaints from local residents, it is canning Beethoven and replacing it with someone more serene.

The new song is Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” a song the town says keeps with the natural peace, beauty and quiet of its beachfront.

The town will form a group to select music for future sunsets.


Vick’s cousin pleads guilty to selling pot

The relative of Michael Vick whose drug arrest led to the discovery of Vick’s dog-fighting compound pleaded guilty yesterday to possessing marijuana with intent to sell.

Davon Boddie, 27, a cousin of the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback, was given a five-year suspended sentence in Hampton Circuit Court.

Boddie used to live in the house owned by Vick in Surry County — site of Vick’s “Bad Newz Kennels” dog-fighting operation. He now lives in Newport News.

Mr. Boddie was arrested April 20 after a police dog tracked a scent of marijuana coming from his parked car. The arrest led to the search of the Surry County property, where authorities found dozens of pit bulls and equipment commonly used in dog fighting.

Vick has since pleaded guilty to a federal dog-fighting conspiracy charge, and he faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10. He also has been indicted on state dog-fighting charges.


Assault charge filed against sheriff

Sheriff Bill Watson faces assault and trespassing charges after stepping into a landlord-tenant dispute.

Sheriff Watson is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow on three misdemeanor charges — two counts of assault and one trespassing count — in Portsmouth General District Court.

David Wayne Wilson said Sheriff Watson used his shoulder to bump his way into his apartment on Monday.

Mr. Wilson’s landlord, John Williams, had contacted the sheriff’s department last month because he wanted to evict Mr. Wilson. Sheriff Watson said he went to serve as a referee.

The sheriff said Mr. Wilson willingly let him in when he accompanied Mr. Williams to install an air filter in the apartment because Mr. Wilson had threatened Mr. Williams.

A witness said the sheriff didn’t touch Mr. Wilson.


Students plead guilty to drug charges

Five Hampden-Sydney College students arrested on federal drug-distribution charges in April have pleaded guilty.

The prosecutor’s office said they were among 19 young men at the all-male school arrested on federal and state charges involving cocaine and marijuana.

Pleading guilty were James Ponton II of Newport News; Chance Moore of Orange, Va.; Murray Webb of Fayetteville, Ga.; Thomas Putnam of Birmingham, Ala.; and Jeffrey Roberts of Roanoke. Their sentences ranged from house arrest to eight months in prison.

Another student was found guilty of two counts and not guilty of a third and is appealing. A spokeswoman for U.S. District Court in Richmond said a jury found a seventh former student not guilty.


Residents asked to conserve water

Unusually dry weather has prompted the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to ask area businesses and residents to conserve water.

Regional officials are asking people to limit the watering of lawns and shrubs; use a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks; limit showers to less than five minutes; and wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.

The Potomac River’s water supply remains adequate, but reservoirs including Lake Manassas and Beaverdam in Virginia are below normal, officials said.

Precipitation in the Washington area in the past month is 50 percent to 75 percent below normal and has dropped more than 5 inches below normal in the past 90 days.

Prince George and Dinwiddie counties in Virginia are among localities added to the growing list requiring residents to conserve water.

Water customers in Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover and Henrico are being asked to limit water use.

Albemarle County and Charlottesville have banned car washing except at licensed car washes, lawn and garden watering, use of ornamental fountains and serving water at restaurants except on request. In Stafford County, new mandatory restrictions will take effect Monday. The rules include prohibitions on watering lawns, golf courses and athletic fields.

Mandatory restrictions are also in place in Caroline and Loudoun counties and the town of Amherst.

Residents of Hampton Roads were asked last month to cut back on the use of water. Mandatory restrictions could follow if the drought continues.



Murder trial starts in fight over phone

A 19-year-old Annapolis man went on trial yesterday on charges that he killed a man to get back his friend’s cell phone.

State prosecutors said Andrew Tuell didn’t even know Terrance Powell, 23, when he shot him several times in February at College Creek Terrace. And Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Leitess said Mr. Tuell chose to be an enforcer before shooting Mr. Powell while he talked on the phone.

Mr. Powell was shot three or four times, then, Miss Leitess said, Mr. Tuell shot him in the head once or twice more.

But Mr. Tuell’s attorney, Robert Waldman, questioned witnesses’ recollection of the 4:45 a.m. shooting. He said they may not have been completely awake or sober.

Mr. Tuell is charged with first-degree murder. His trial is expected to end tomorrow.


Forest Heights mayor guilty of theft

A former mayor of Forest Heights has been convicted of theft and misconduct in office.

A Prince George’s County judge found Myles Spires Jr. guilty of using his office to steal $2,500 from the small community near the D.C. line.

Circuit Court Judge Melanie Shaw Gerter found that Spires submitted false reimbursement forms for private investigative services. Spires will be sentenced Nov. 8.

The conviction is the latest in a series of internal problems in the town’s government.

Last year, Spires’ predecessor, Joyce Beck, was forced out of office over charges that she slammed the door on a police officer’s arm. She was cleared of assault charges.


Man reported overboard is found

A man reported to have gone overboard when a stolen fishing boat crashed has been found, Maryland Natural Resources Police said.

Sgt. Ken Turner said John Edward Cropper, 42, of Ocean City, was found Tuesday night but said it was not clear whether Mr. Cropper is the man reported missing by the operator of the boat.

Sgt. Turner said police are still searching the water but have ramped down their efforts.

The 48-foot boat ran aground near the Route 50 bridge early Tuesday morning, about an hour after the Coast Guard received reports of a stolen boat.

Rescuers found Christopher Bornaschella, 24, of Chincoteague, Va., on board. Authorities said he was intoxicated and told them that a man he met at a local bar had fallen overboard.

Mr. Bornaschella is charged with theft, reckless operation and alcohol-related violations.


Resident charged in apartment fires

A suspect is in custody in a series of fires at Springhill Lake apartments.

Jeremiah Christopher Jones, 25, who lives in the complex, is being held on federal arson charges, Prince George’s County fire officials said. He is suspected of starting a series of suspicious fires from April through August at the apartments on Springhill Drive. Mr. Jones was arrested yesterday at his apartment.

No one was injured in any of the fires, but investigators said the damage total comes to $1 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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