- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2008

CALIFORNIA

Convictions mount in homeless slayings

LOS ANGELES — A woman was convicted yesterday of two more counts in a scheme to kill homeless men to cash in on insurance payouts.

Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to murder for financial gain in the death of Paul Vados, 73. Last week, she was convicted of murder and conspiracy in the death of Kenneth McDavid, 50.

The jury returned to deliberations yesterday after bringing in an alternate to replace a juror who had to leave on a trip. Co-defendant Helen Golay, 77, was convicted of both murders and conspiracy last week.

Prosecutors said the two women collected $2.8 million before their scheme was uncovered during the investigation into the death of Mr. McDavid in 2005.

SOUTH CAROLINA

School security heightened after attack plot suspected

CHESTERFIELD — Students arriving yesterday at a small high school faced newly installed metal detectors and extra security because a student was arrested in what authorities said was a plan to carry out a Columbine-inspired attack.

The student suspected in the plot, Ryan Schallenberger, 18, was assigned an attorney during a brief court hearing yesterday.

Mr. Schallenberger was arrested Saturday after his parents called police because the teen had ordered 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate, authorities said yesterday. The parents retrieved the explosives agent after receiving a delivery notice from the Postal Service, officials said. Police also said they discovered a disturbing journal.

The teen is scheduled to appear in court today for a bail hearing, and Chesterfield County prosecutor Jay Hodge said he will request a mental evaluation for Mr. Schallenberger.

ARIZONA

Driver shoots self in road rage

TEMPE — A man accidentally shot himself in the stomach after waving his gun in anger at a fellow motorist, police said.

Tempe police spokesman Brandon Banks said David Lopez is expected to survive and faces charges including disorderly conduct, reckless display of a firearm and felony flight from police.

Mr. Banks said yesterday that after Mr. Lopez shot himself, he tried to evade police but crashed his car. He was arrested as he fled on foot.

Mr. Banks said it was not clear what sparked the Friday confrontation and that Mr. Lopez, 33, has been evasive in police interviews. The other driver was not injured but also fled the scene and was arrested on a charge of drunken driving.

ARKANSAS

Restaurant manager accused of selling pot

FORT SMITH — Police have arrested a pizza parlor manager accused of selling marijuana out of his drive-through window in Fort Smith.

Authorities said yesterday that state and local investigators acting on a tip went to the Pizza Hut restaurant and found 6 ounces of marijuana and a set of digital scales in the manager’s office.

Police said they arrested manager Aaron Massey, 28, on Friday on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

COLORADO

2 killed, 5 hurt in prison fight

FLORENCE — An inmate fight thought to be linked to racial antagonisms at a federal prison has led to the deaths of two people and injuries to at least five others.

U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said authorities think the fight started when white supremacist inmates targeted minorities on Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

The violence at the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence broke out Sunday afternoon in the recreation yard.

Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said no staff members were hurt.

GEORGIA

Indictments issued for faulty grenades

MACON — A Georgia munitions manufacturer has been indicted on charges claiming it sold faulty “stun” grenades to the FBI, including one that injured three agents, federal authorities announced yesterday.

Pyrotechnic Specialties Inc. Chief Executive Officer David J. Karlson and three employees are charged with conspiracy, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government, the U.S. attorney’s office announced.

ILLINOIS

22 aftershocks recorded after quake

WEST SALEM — More aftershocks shook southern Illinois yesterday, three days after a magnitude 5.2 quake rattled nerves across the region.

The U.S. Geological Survey said 22 aftershocks had been recorded since last week’s tremor that was centered deep beneath the surface near West Salem.

They included one just before 12:40 a.m. yesterday that registered magnitude 4.0 and had its epicenter northwest of Mount Carmel. The strongest aftershock registered magnitude 4.6 about 5½ hours after the original quake Friday morning.

NEW MEXICO

Conservationists sue for lynx protection

ALBUQUERQUE — A coalition of conservation and animal protection groups yesterday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to extend federal protection to Canada lynx in New Mexico.

The federal government lists the elusive, furry cats as threatened in 14 states, but not in New Mexico.

“We’ve thought the Fish and Wildlife Service’s position on lynx in New Mexico is very odd,” said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups that sued. “Once lynx cross from Colorado into New Mexico — which they have been doing — they’re suddenly not protected anymore. We don’t think that makes any sense.”

Fish and Wildlife Service officials have not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on ongoing litigation, said Diane Katzenberger, a spokeswoman for Fish and Wildlife in Denver.

In August, conservation groups petitioned for protection for the cats, asking the agency to make a decision on the species’ status in New Mexico. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington complains that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to make a finding on the petition within 90 days as required by the Endangered Species Act.

NEW YORK

Voluntary tolls to offset gases

NEW YORK — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey soon will become the country’s first toll agency to offer car and plane travelers a way to offset carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

Later this year, travelers in and around the country’s largest city will be able to offset gases emitted by their car and plane trips by voluntarily paying fees through a Web site operated on behalf of the Port Authority, the agency said yesterday.

Travel offsets allow people who feel guilty about their contribution to global warming to negate their impact by paying a fee for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. In voluntary U.S. emissions markets, offsets go for anywhere from $4 to about $20 for a metric ton.

The money helps finance clean energy projects like wind farms or the planting of trees, which absorb the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

OKLAHOMA

Warden’s wife arraigned in escape

OKLAHOMA CITY — A deputy prison warden’s wife who disappeared with a convicted murderer in 1994 and spent a decade on the run with him appeared in court yesterday to face charges that she helped him escape.

Bobbi Parker was arraigned in Greer County District Court in Mangum and released on a $10,000 bond.

District Attorney John Wampler charged Mrs. Parker on April 4, exactly three years after she and escaped prison inmate Randolph Dial were found in eastern Texas. Dial was arrested at a mobile home, and Mrs. Parker was found unharmed, working at a chicken farm.

Dial was serving a life sentence for the 1981 slaying of a karate instructor at the time of the escape. For his escape conviction, Dial was sentenced to another seven years in prison, where he died last year at 62.

PENNSYLVANIA

Seven-alarm fire destroys warehouse

PHILADELPHIA — A seven-alarm fire was brought under control after reducing a four-story warehouse to rubble and threatening neighboring homes.

Authorities reported no injuries at the blaze in northeastern Philadelphia. Flames and smoke were visible for miles after the fire started before 3 a.m.

Several nearby homes were evacuated because flying embers threatened to set roofs on fire.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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