- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2008


Man admits to house arson

D.C. fire investigators said a Maryland man has pleaded guilty to setting his ex-girlfriend’s home on fire.

Authorities said Corey Williams, 29, was charged with stalking his former girlfriend and trying to burn her house down.

On July 5, firefighters responded to a fire on Quackenbos Street in the northwest section of the District.

Williams was arrested four days later and confessed to a fire investigator. He told authorities he had filled a container with a flammable liquid and lit the liquid so he could burn down her home.

His sentencing is scheduled Oct. 1.



Finance head leaves post

State Finance Secretary Jody M. Wagner, the first woman to hold the job, is departing next week, likely to begin her own statewide election bid.

Mrs. Wagner, a Democrat who ran a close race for a congressional seat eight years ago, is considering a race for lieutenant governor next year.

Ric Brown, who has headed the state Department of Planning and Budget since 2002, will succeed Mrs. Wagner as the state’s top fiscal officer.

Dan Timberlake, Mrs. Wagner’s deputy secretary, will take over for Mr. Brown at the Department of Planning and Budget.

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, appointed Mrs. Wagner to the Cabinet position when he took office in 2006.

Since then, she and Mr. Kaine watched a robust economy fueled largely by the boom in housing prices a few years ago wither over the past year.

Mrs. Wagner said in an interview after the announcement that she never intended to stay in the job until the end of Mr. Kaine’s term in January 2010.

“This is an 80- to 100-hour-a-week job being secretary of finance,” she said.


Virginia Tech eyes record funds

Virginia Tech says it is closing in on its $1 billion fundraising goal after less than a year into the public phase of the campaign.

Total pledges for “The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future,” totaled $683.5 million as of June 30. According to figures recently tallied by the university, 2007-08 was the best fundraising year in the university’s history.

Betsy Flanagan is the Blacksburg school’s vice president for development and university relations. She says she’s happy with the progress in the campaign and is optimistic about future fundraising despite the poor economy.

Miss Flanagan says the campaign is slightly ahead of projections to meet the $1 billion goal by 2010, but the last part of the public phase is the most difficult.



Dynamite danger at shore project

State agencies are monitoring an erosion project on the shoreline of a Severna Park home, just in case any leftover dynamite remains in rocks.

The dynamite apparently came from the rock quarry where about 150 tons of stone were brought for the project.

Matthew Tobia, the battalion chief of the Anne Arundel County fire department, said there is no immediate hazard known at this time. However, he said it is possible more dynamite is present.

Mr. Tobia said a security presence remains on the site 24 hours a day to keep curious onlookers away from the site.


Speaker’s wife charged with DUI

The wife of House Speaker Michael E. Busch has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cynthia Busch, 51, was arrested shortly after midnight in Annapolis on Wednesday, after police said she drove through a flashing red light, several blocks from the State House.

She was arrested after the trooper smelled alcohol and investigated.

The speaker’s office put out a statement Friday saying it was a regrettable incident that’s being dealt with as a family matter. The statement says Mrs. Busch accepts responsibility for her actions and will cooperate fully as the legal process moves forward.


Fourth suspect arrested in killing

Howard County police say they’ve made a fourth arrest in the killing of a 23-year-old Columbia man on May 17.

Police say Kevin Jennings, 19, of Pikesville, drove the men involved in the shooting to Columbia’s Stevens Forest Apartments, where the body of Jason Batts was found in a parking lot.

Mr. Jennings is charged with first-degree murder, hindering the investigation and conspiracy.

Ronald McConnell of Columbia was arrested in May, and Daymar Wimbish and Lamont Johnson, both of Owings Mills, were arrested last month.

Police said they think Mr. Johnson fired the gun at the shooting scene.


Second teen arrested for guns

Montgomery County Police say a second teenager is charged after authorities seized four illegally possessed assault rifles, two shotguns, a handgun and chemicals to make household explosives.

A 17-year-old Gaithersburg youth turned himself in to county police in Rockville on Friday afternoon. He is charged with theft, computer misuse and conspiracy.

Police said officers connected him to 18-year-old Colin McKenzie-Gude. The Bethesda man is charged with five counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a minor and other offenses. On Thursday, authorities also charged him with five counts of manufacturing and possessing a destructive device.

Police said the two built and detonated bombs in a field near the 21500 block of Goshens Edge Court in Gaithersburg.

Police said Mr. McKenzie-Gude’s father, 62-year-old Joseph Gude, bought the firearms for his son. He has been charged with perjury and other offenses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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