Friday, December 5, 2008


Blaze hits landmark club

WEST HOLLYWOOD | A fire Thursday burned through the roof of the Body Shop, a landmark West Hollywood strip club mentioned in a Motley Crue hit.

The blaze was reported about 6:46 a.m. at the one-story club on Sunset Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

Firefighters don’t think anyone was in the building at the time of the fire and were investigating its cause.

It took about an hour to douse the fire, which was mainly confined to the attic, fire inspector Frank Garrido said. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.


City OKs lease of meters

CHICAGO | The Chicago City Council has approved a more than $1.1 billion deal to lease city parking meters to a private operator.

Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed for the deal passed Thursday as a way for the city to weather tough economic times.

But the 75-year lease means hourly meter rates will climb. In some neighborhoods, they will quadruple from 25 cents now to $1 next year.

Daytime downtown hourly parking rates that now are $3 will climb to $3.50 next year and to $6.50 in 2013. After that, rates will be adjusted annually by inflation.


Three indicted in gun-fair death

SPRINGFIELD | Three men, including a small-town police chief, were indicted Thursday on involuntary manslaughter counts in the gun-fair death of an 8-year-old who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi that a prosecutor said he never should have been allowed to handle.

The club where the fair was held also was charged. The fair had promised shooters would have certified instructors in an advertisement, but District Attorney William Bennett said the child, Christopher Bizilj, was supervised by an uncertified 15-year-old boy.

Christopher of Ashford, Conn., lost control of the 9 mm micro-submachine gun as it recoiled while he was firing at a pumpkin Oct. 26 at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club in western Massachusetts.

Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury was charged because he owns the sponsor of the gun fair, COP Firearms & Training. Two men who brought the automatic weapon to the show, Carl Guiffre of Hartford, Conn., and Domenico Spano of New Milford, Conn., also were indicted.

An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, but the term could be five years or less for someone with no prior convictions.


Teens charged with elderly abuse

ALBERT LEA | Two teenage girls who worked at a nursing home have been charged with abuse, accused of taunting, spitting on and groping residents who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the criminal complaint, filed Monday, Brianna Broitzman, 19, and Ashton Larson, 18, earlier this year spat in residents’ mouths, poked and groped their breasts and genitals, and at times mocked them until they screamed.

The girls, who worked as part-time aides at the home, have been charged as adults.

Miss Larson’s father Michael Larson disputed the charges against his daughter in a statement read on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday.

“Not all of the charges are as they appear. Much of this has been distorted by the news media,” he said. “My daughter was doing nothing more than performing the duties of her job.”

Four other teens who worked with them at the Good Samaritan Society were charged as juveniles for failing to report the incidents.


Fines sought over records law

JEFFERSON CITY | Special court-appointed investigators are seeking fines against Gov. Matt Blunt, purporting he “knowingly and purposely” violated Missouri’s public-records law by denying access to e-mails.

The request for penalties is outlined in a revised lawsuit against Mr. Blunt and his former chief of staff. The two investigators - one Republican and one Democrat - asked the court Wednesday for permission to file the amended lawsuit, which was made public Thursday.

The lawsuit raises the strongest assertions yet in a yearlong e-mail deletion controversy surrounding the Republican governor, who chose not to seek re-election and has barely a month left in his term.


Illegal guns can equal stiff sentence

NEW YORK | A Manhattan appeals court said federal judges can give extra-stiff penalties to people who help bring illegal guns to big cities.

The case before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involves a man who got a prison sentence that was six months harsher than federal guidelines.

When he imposed the sentence in 2004, Brooklyn Judge Charles Sifton said there was a “crying need” to deter gun trafficking into large metropolitan areas.

A three-judge appeals panel initially had overturned Judge Sifton’s ruling. But all of the judges then reheard the case, and on Thursday they ruled in Judge Sifton’s favor.

The defendant in this case was from Deerfield Beach, Fla. He was convicted of selling guns that were destined for New York City.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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