- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Mother of dead girls ordered held in jail

A woman accused of killing her four daughters called her oldest girl “Jezebel,” a detective testified yesterday at a hearing in which a judge ruled that the case against the mother can proceed.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Weisberg ordered that Banita Jacks, 33, remain held on murder charges while a grand jury investigates. He set another hearing for April 4.

Detective Mitchell A. Credle testified that Miss Jacks told investigators that she did not want Brittany Jacks, 16, to be a bad influence on her other children.

U.S. marshals found the decomposing bodies of the girls in their Southeast row house while serving an eviction notice Jan. 9. Authorities have said the girls died at least 15 days earlier.

Although autopsies are still incomplete, authorities have said there was evidence that Brittany had been stabbed. There also was evidence of binding on the necks of the Tatianna Jacks, 11, and N’Kiah Fogle, 6, and evidence of blunt force injury to the head of Aja Fogle, 5, and binding on her neck, authorities said.

Detective Credle testified that Miss Jacks told investigators she had two physical fights with Brittany and called the girl “Jezebel,” a reference to an evil character from the Bible. He said she also told police the girls were possessed by demons, which she wanted to remove.

Shortly after the girls were found, six social workers were fired for failing to properly address alarming complaints about Miss Jacks’ care for her daughters. The employees included front-line workers and a division director.



Son, 16, indicted in family’s deaths

Nicholas W. Browning, the 16-year-old accused of slaughtering his family inside their Cockeysville home, was indicted yesterday on four counts of first-degree murder.

The indictment also charges the teenager with using a handgun in a crime of violence.

He is accused in the fatal shootings of his father, John Browning; his mother, Tamara; and his two younger brothers, 14-year-old Benjamin and 11-year-old Gregory.

The Brownings were slain early in the morning of Feb. 2. According to police, The Browning youth then spent the night and most of the next day with friends before he returned and called 911 to report finding his father’s body.

He was charged in their slayings after confessing to police and telling investigators where he had hidden a handgun belonging to his father. Police have said the youth had disagreements with his father but otherwise have not spoken about possible motives.

No other indictments are expected in the case, prosecutors said. The indictment came just eight days after the teenager’s arrest and two days after the memorial service for his parents and brothers.

“Based upon the nature of this case, we decided to move quickly to the next phase,” Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said.


Campaign laptop taken in burglary

Congressional candidate Jennifer P. Dougherty reported a laptop computer containing campaign information was stolen in a burglary at her Frederick restaurant over the weekend.

Police said Jennifer’s Restaurant was among five downtown businesses burglarized Friday night or early Saturday.

Miss Dougherty said the computer contained general campaign information including polling places and volunteers’ names but did not contain voter information.

Miss Dougherty is a former Frederick mayor seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 6th District seat held by Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.


Man gets 2 life terms in 1979 rape, murder

A man who raped and murdered an Essex woman nearly 30 years ago was sentenced yesterday to two consecutive life terms.

Thomas Grant, 51, of Salisbury, was convicted last fall in the death of Sheila Rascoe, 28, who was raped and strangled in September 1979 in her Essex apartment. A DNA test in 2005 linked Grant to the crime. He lived down the street from Miss Rascoe when she was killed.

A Baltimore County prosecutor said she could not ask for life without parole because that wasn’t a sentencing option when the crime was committed.

Grant is awaiting trial in Wicomico County in a separate rape case.


Two men charged in shrine vandalism

Police charged two men with defacing religious property and other crimes involved in vandalism at a well-known Catholic shrine at Mount St. Mary’s University.

Timothy Hines of Silver Spring and Jesse Houston of Derwood, both 20, are accused of doing $1,500 worth of damage to a cross and prayer candles at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Sheriff’s deputies charged the two men after university police said they caught them in the act early Sunday morning. They were released from custody after posting bail of $3,500 each.

The vandalism occurred on the eve of Monday’s noontime Mass marking the 150th anniversary of Marian apparitions at the shrine’s namesake grotto in Lourdes, France. Catholics believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared there in 1858 to a French schoolgirl named Bernadette.



Federal court upholds man’s death sentence

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that an inmate convicted of killing a convenience-store owner during a robbery in 1998 hasn’t proven that he is mentally disabled, thus he remains eligible for the death penalty.

Kevin Green challenged his sentence on grounds that he is mentally incapacitated, and that his attorney, by failing to appeal all of his charges, was ineffective.

Green was convicted of capital murder in the slaying of Patricia Vaughan, who operated a store with her husband, Lawrence Vaughan, in Brunswick County. Green shot the couple and fled with about $9,000.

In its opinion, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision that Green’s intellectual capacity didn’t fall within the established guidelines of mental disability, and that he had passed the statute of limitations for claiming ineffective counsel.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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