- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Mayor, governors talk inauguration

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine met Tuesday with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to discuss security planning for the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.

The meeting, at the Secret Service headquarters in the District, also included Presidential Inaugural Committee Executive Director Emmett Beliveau.

Officials said the topics of discussions ranged from law enforcement and incident management to transportation and medical and fire safety planning. However, they decline to discuss specifics.



Judge to propose furlough alternative

Maryland’s chief judge is planning to propose that judges give up five days of leave to help cut the state’s budget crisis.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to propose taking away five of the 27 days that state judges receive for leave in 2009.

Judge Bell will make the proposal before the Court of Appeals, whose members would have to vote to support the idea.

State law prevents Judge Bell from ordering judges to take the furloughs he is ordering for other court employees.

The judge’s furlough plan is similar to one ordered by Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, for executive branch employees.

The governor also has ordered other state employees take unpaid leave to deal with a budget shortfall now projected to be $3 billion.

Legislative leaders also have ordered furloughs for staff, and they’re urging members of the General Assembly to return equivalent portions of their salaries to help with the budget crisis.


Heroin kingpin sentenced in slayings

A heroin kingpin who paid cash for the slayings of three Baltimore rivals in 2001 has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

Jermaine Bell, 33, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to a weapons charge leading to death.

In his guilty plea, Bell said he led a west Baltimore heroin dealing syndicate from 1996 to December 2001.

He wanted Angelo Stringfellow, Torrence Johnson and Kenyatta Harris dead, putting out contracts worth $45,000 in total. In June 2001, Sean Sterling, Andre Brown and others from the syndicate killed the three.

Sterling, Brown and the others have pleaded guilty to the slayings and were sentenced. Sterling will be sentenced on Feb. 19.


O’Malley names court appointee

Gov. Martin O’Malley has appointed an Eastern Shore lawyer to the Court of Special Appeals.

Christopher Kehoe will fill a vacancy in the First Appellate Judicial Circuit, which represents counties on the Eastern Shore on Maryland’s intermediate appellate court.

The vacancy was created when Mr. O’Malley appointed Sally Adkins to the state’s highest court.

Mr. Kehoe has practiced law since 1978. Since 1983, he has been a partner at the Easton law firm of Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kehoe P.A.

Mr. Kehoe has specialized in the areas of local government, land use, real estate, business, trusts and estates.

He also has served as town attorney for Easton and Trappe.


Lawmaker pledges to pay taxes owed

The majority leader of Maryland’s House of Delegates says he and his wife will pay taxes they may owe for improperly receiving property tax credits.

Delegate Kumar P. Barve, Montgomery Democrat, said he didn’t realize he and his wife were receiving a Homestead Property Tax Credit on two properties. The Washington Examiner reported that Mr. Barve and wife Maureen Quinn each claimed a different home as their primary residence on tax forms.

The newspaper cites records indicating the tax credits over three years were worth about $5,800 on Mrs. Quinn’s Annapolis property and about $3,570 on Mr. Barve’s Gaithersburg home. Mr. Barve, who co-sponsored a bill last year to prevent people from claiming the credit on multiple properties, is the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House.


Trooper arrested after abduction

Baltimore County Police have arrested a Maryland State trooper for purportedly abducting a man and driving while intoxicated.

Police say Trooper Bruce Wrzosek abducted a man at a Taco Bell in Towson early Saturday morning. When police caught up with the trooper near his home, police say he had alcohol on his breath.

The county’s investigation found no explanation for Trooper Wrzosek to force the 20-year-old man into his car at the restaurant’s parking lot. The trooper is charged with DUI, false imprisonment and eluding police.

A state police spokesman said Trooper Wrzosek has been fired.

Police said the trooper was dressed in plain clothes but driving his police car during the incident.


Son not criminally culpable in slaying

A Finksburg man has been convicted of stabbing his mother 20 to 30 times, but a judge has ruled Eric Yates isn’t criminally responsible.

Carroll County Judge Michael Galloway said Monday that Yates, 40, didn’t understand his actions were criminal and couldn’t obey the law. The judge based his ruling on a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report about Yates.

In October 2007, Yates killed Christine Windstein, telling police he stabbed her with a knife. He was charged with first- and second-degree murder after police found the 57-year-old woman’s body at the trailer where she lived with her son.

He is being held by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.



Third arrest made in double slaying

A third suspect was arrested Tuesday in connection with the killings of a woman and her son who were found dead in their Dale City home, according to the Prince William County Police Department.

Police announced the arrest of Jonathan Jake Jackson, 19, of Dale City.

Mr. Jackson is charged with obstruction of justice, accessory after the fact and concealing physical evidence of a murder in the deaths of Jean Smith, 39, and her 19-year-old son, James. Police said the Smiths were shot during an attempted burglary Friday and were familiar with at least one of the suspects.

Police earlier charged an unnamed 17-year-old who lives nearby with two counts of murder, burglary, robbery and a firearms charge. His girlfriend, Jacqueline Munoz, 22, of Woodbridge, is charged with obstruction of justice.


Kaine wants more data on drilling

Gov. Tim Kaine is asking the Interior Department for more time to gather information and public comment before leasing waters off Virginia’s coast for oil and gas drilling.

In a letter to Minerals Management Services Director Randall Luthi, Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, asked that preparation for the lease sale be delayed to provide time for gathering seismic, biological and environmental data. He asked that the public comment time be extended until the end of February.

The agency originally scheduled the comment period to end Dec. 29, but last week extended it until Jan. 13.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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