- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008


Student sentenced in Halberstam crash

REDWOOD CITY — A graduate student charged in the car crash that killed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam was sentenced yesterday to five days in jail, but a judge recommended he serve the time on a supervised work program.

Kevin Jones, 27, pleaded no contest last fall to a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter stemming from the April 23 crash.

The University of California Berkeley journalism student was driving Mr. Halberstam to an interview with football legend Y.A. Tittle when the crash happened in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco. Prosecutors and witnesses have said Mr. Jones ran a red light while making an illegal left turn.

At the sentencing hearing in San Mateo County Court, Mr. Jones nervously read a statement expressing his remorse and said he would dedicate his career to upholding Mr. Halberstam’s ideals.

Mr. Jones also was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service. The judge said Mr. Jones must complete the service in a school, where he could honor Mr. Halberstam’s memory by helping children learn to read and write.


Metal found in Valentine lollipops

LAKELAND — What appeared to be metal fragments were found yesterday in Valentine’s Day lollipops at an elementary school, and the product has been pulled from the shelves of thousands of stores across the country.

At least 20 apparently tainted lollipops, from a bag of Pokemon Valentine Cards and Pops, were found at Kathleen Elementary School in Lakeland, Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers said.

On Wednesday, Lisa Potter in nearby Mulberry told authorities she found a lollipop with a blade like piece of metal in it in a bag of the product.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued a safety advisory and the Dollar Store chain removed the product, sold in bags of 10, from its more than 8,000 stores nationwide.

Miss Potter said her bag was purchased last week at a Dollar General store.


7 siblings celebrate 391 years of wedlock

BROWNSBURG — Newlyweds could probably learn a few things from the five Estes sisters and their two brothers, who collectively have lived through 391 years of marriage.

In an age when nearly half of new marriages are expected to end in divorce, the seven surviving children of C.M. and Minnie Estes have all been wed 50 or more years.

The youngest, Sue Bass, completed the streak of golden anniversaries Saturday when she and husband Edwin marked their 50 years together in a laughter-filled banquet room, surrounded by Sue’s six surviving siblings and many of the couples’ 71 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“We’re the last. We made it,” Sue, 69, said after the Basses’ celebratory spotlight dance. Added Edwin, 73: “The others made it, and we weren’t about to get beat!”

The Estes siblings, ages 69 to 84, attribute their marital success in large part to the moral example set by their late parents, who were married 58 years.

C.M. Estes was a Christian minister, and he and his wife raised their eight children — one is deceased and a ninth died as a toddler — with the belief that marriage is for life.


Ex-student convicted in shooting plot

BROCKTON — A second former student has been convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in a plot to carry out a Columbine-style attack at a high school south of Boston.

Joseph Nee was acquitted yesterday of two other charges, including promotion of anarchy and the threatened use of deadly weapons at school. The 21-year-old is to be sentenced Tuesday and could get up to 20 years in prison.

Nee and Tobin Kerns were charged with planning a 2005 attack at Marshfield High School in Brockton. It was to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the Columbine High School attack in Colorado.

Kerns is serving a 10-month prison sentence. Three fellow students reported the plot to police months before it was scheduled to be carried out.


Boy, 9, guilty in day-care death

NEW BRUNSWICK — A 9-year-old boy accused in the beating death of a toddler at a day-care center last summer has been found guilty of the juvenile equivalent of manslaughter.

The boy, identified only as “J.L.,” was sentenced to 18 months probation. He must continue the counseling and therapy he’s already undergoing, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said last night.

Prosecutors had sought to have the boy serve a three-year sentence at a juvenile facility, the maximum allowed under law.

The boy was originally charged with aggravated manslaughter in the Aug. 23 death of 11-month-old Tahir Francis of Carteret, who died from head injuries after being kicked at the Beverly Bryant Family Day Care facility in Woodbridge Township.


Graham recovering after head surgery

ASHEVILLE — Evangelist Billy Graham was recovering yesterday from a surgery to update a shunt that controls excess fluid in his brain, a family spokesman said.

The 89-year-old Southern Baptist minister was expected to spend some of the day walking the halls of Asheville’s Mission Hospital and return to his usual diet later yesterday, said Graham spokesman Larry Ross.

White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said President Bush placed a call to Mr. Graham yesterday morning.

“He wished Reverend Graham a speedy recovery and said that he’d keep him in his prayers,” she said.

Mr. Graham underwent the elective surgery Wednesday to replace a shunt first installed in 2000. The shunt drains fluid from his brain through a small tube that runs down his head and neck and into the abdominal cavity, where the fluid is absorbed by his body.

Doctors determined the old shunt was not adequately controlling the brain fluid. A buildup of fluid, known as hydrocephalus, can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.


Dispatchers punished for delayed response

DOYLESTOWN — Ten emergency dispatchers were not busy when a woman called 911 to report a fire that killed her, yet it took six rings before anyone answered the phone, authorities said.

Brenda Orr, 53, was initially put on hold when someone answered her call Jan. 29. That person was already on another line dispatching an ambulance, but felt compelled to answer Miss Orr’s call because the phone had rung six times, a county investigation found.

None of the 10 unoccupied dispatchers gave a “reasonable explanation” for not answering the phone promptly, said Brent Wiggins, Bucks County’s director of emergency communications.

Miss Orr, who was bedridden with multiple sclerosis, could not escape the fire. Rescuers arrived less than four minutes after her call, said Jim Cawley, chairman of the county commissioners. Fire officials said they did not believe the delay in answering made a difference in her death.

Mr. Cawley said those involved are being disciplined. He declined to elaborate, but said no one was fired.


Former priest is HIV positive

FORT WORTH — A former priest accused of sexually abusing children in two states is HIV positive, Catholic diocese officials said yesterday.

Last week, a leader in the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth heard someone mention that Philip A. Magaldi has the virus that causes AIDS, said diocese spokesman Pat Svacina. The diocese leader then got verbal confirmation from Magaldi as well as a letter from his doctor who said he has HIV, Mr. Svacina said.

Church officials said they think he has been HIV positive since 2003.

The diocese then alerted the victims — at least five minors in two states — and the parishes where Magaldi served for nearly four decades, Mr. Svacina said.

Magaldi, 71, lives in a retirement center. Diocese officials declined to disclose where. He has previously said he was innocent of the sexual abuse accusations, for which he has not been charged.

The diocese does not know if Magaldi has a lawyer, Mr. Svacina said.

Magaldi was removed as a priest in 1999 in the wake of claims of sexual misconduct in Providence, R.I., where he served from 1960-90, and the Fort Worth area, where he served from 1990 to 1992 and 1993 to 1999.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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