- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008


King memorial gets $1 million donation

The fund to build a memorial to Martin Luther King on the Mall is inching closer to its $100 million goal.

The Pfizer Foundation yesterday announced a $1 million donation to help build the four-acre memorial. The donation brings the memorial’s fundraising total to $91 million.

Harry Johnson, the president of the foundation building the memorial, has said officials hope to begin construction this spring once all building permits are approved. He said there is enough money available to begin construction with help from lenders and banks, even though fundraising is not complete.

The memorial will sit along the edge of the Tidal Basin, between the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.

Ex-Senate aide guilty of child porn

A former aide to a U.S. senator pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal child-pornography charge.

James Michael McHaney of the District faces up to 10 years in prison. He was fired from his job as a scheduler for Sen. Maria Cantwell, Washington Democrat, after his arrest last year. Earlier, he had worked for the 2004 presidential campaigns of Democrats Richard A. Gephardt and John Kerry.

Prosecutors said McHaney, 28, was at work when he tried to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old boy in November. Police later found child pornography in his car and home.

The FBI arrested McHaney when he arrived for the meeting. He was fired from his Senate job hours later.

He was initially charged with attempting to sexually exploit a minor, but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of child pornography. Prosecutors said he had more than 1,000 images of child pornography, as well as videos and DVDs portraying children as young as age 3 engaged in sexual conduct.



Fleeing motorist hits car, kills driver

A driver fleeing a routine traffic stop struck and killed a woman after running a red light late Wednesday night, Montgomery County police said.

Lt. Paul Starks said that shortly before midnight, an officer noticed a Hyundai driving on North Frederick Road with its lights off. The officer pulled the car over after the driver turned on to eastbound Odenhal Avenue, but the driver sped away as the officer prepared to approach the car.

Two blocks away, the Hyundai slammed into a car being driven by a woman as it passed through the intersection with Goshen Road. Beatrice Omoro, 32, of the 18300 block of Lost Knife Circle in Gaithersburg, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lt. Starks says police arrested the driver after he fled the scene on foot. Anthony Kutten, 29, of no fixed address, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run, and other charges.


Woman sent to jail for animal violation

A Frederick woman was ordered to serve 10 days in jail for violating her probation in an animal-cruelty case.

Linda Young, 51, was found guilty of the probation violation in January and was sentenced Wednesday.

After Miss Young pleaded guilty in September to 24 animal-neglect charges, authorities learned that two dogs and seven cats remained at her home. She had been ordered not to possess any animals for two years.

The original charges were pressed after the seizure of 45 cats from Miss Young’s home in March. Two dozen cats had to be euthanized.

After Wednesday’s sentencing, Miss Young and her daughter, Kathleen McManus, 24, were served with the new warrants, charging them each with 19 additional animal-cruelty charges.


Motorcycle week changing venues

The next Delmarva Bike Week will have a different look and should be quieter for residents of Berlin.

The four-day September motorcycle celebration is moving from Ocean Downs racetrack, where it has been held for five years. Events will be held at four venues, including the Harley-Davidson dealerships in Ocean City and Seaford, Del.

Bike Week organizer Benet McCormick said the two other locations have not been finalized. She said the move from Ocean Downs occurred after organizers were unable to negotiate a contract. However, track owner William Rickman said the event would be welcome at the track if liability and insurance issues could be resolved.

About 100,000 bikers are expected to visit the area during Bike Week, which begins Sept. 11.


Route 50 bridge to reopen today

The closed Route 50 bridge in Ocean City will reopen by noon today after three weeks of construction work.

State Highway Administration chief Neil Pedersen said crews worked 12 hours a day for 21 consecutive days to complete repairs to the bridge’s deck and drawbridge.

The work included replacing the grid decking, sidewalk decking and support beams with galvanized materials to prevent corrosion.

The project cost $1.2 million.


Construction worker found dead in shaft

A construction foreman was found dead at the bottom of a construction shaft at a downtown office building yesterday morning, the Baltimore Fire Department said.

Chief Kevin Cartwright said the man had been missing since Wednesday afternoon and was found dead by co-workers about 7:30 a.m. yesterday.

Chief Cartwright said the man apparently had fallen five floors in the shaft inside the building at 750 E. Pratt St. The man worked for a company installing drywall and new ceilings.

The death is being investigated, but Chief Cartwright said it appears to have been an accident.


Teen skateboarder details police incident

The 14-year-old whose run-in with an irate Baltimore police officer was posted on YouTube says he knew he was “100 percent wrong” for skateboarding in a prohibited area.

However, Eric Bush said the officer overreacted and wouldn’t have a job if it were up to him. Officer Salvatore Rivieri has been suspended pending an investigation.

Eric said he doesn’t feel sorry for Officer Rivieri at all.

The video shows Officer Rivieri putting Eric in a headlock, pushing him to the ground and threatening to hit the teen, who repeatedly refers to the officer as “dude” or “man.”

Eric said he and his friends often have run-ins with police for skateboarding. Tony Santo, 15, who taped the incident last summer, said he sometimes uses a camcorder to tape the interactions with police because they find humor in getting yelled at by officers.


Police: Father admits tossing son off bridge

A father thought to have attempted suicide after throwing his 3-year-old son off a bridge confessed from the hospital where he has been treated for more than a week, police said yesterday.

Investigators were not immediately able to talk to Stephen Todd Nelson, 37, who had been hospitalized in critical condition for more than a week, but his condition improved Wednesday, the day he confessed, police and hospital officials said.

Mr. Nelson told a detective he threw the child, who is still missing, from the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Maryland Transportation Authority Police Chief Marcus Brown said.

Police received reports about 10 p.m. Feb. 3 about a car stopped on the bridge and a man “screaming and flailing his arms and yelling ‘no, no, no,’ ” but when officers arrived minutes later they did not find the car or the man.

Mr. Nelson was found at a home a short time later after police received a report of an attempted suicide. The child’s mother told investigators that Mr. Nelson had called her earlier in the evening to say that he was going to kill himself and their child, Chief Brown said.

After Wednesday’s confession, an arrest warrant was obtained for Mr. Nelson charging him with first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse resulting in death. MTA Police spokesman Jonathan Green said the warrant won’t be served until Mr. Nelson is released from the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The body of 3-year-old Turner Jordan Nelson has not been found.


Chase ends with car rolling into creek

A high-speed chase ended Wednesday night when the man being pursued rolled his car into a creek, Maryland State Police said.

The chase began when a Frederick City police officer tried to stop the man for suspicion of driving under the influence. Instead, the man headed north on U.S. Route 15, striking another vehicle and reaching speeds of 100 mph, police said.

Troopers said the driver lost control and landed in Toms Creek. He was identified as Joseph McDermott, 55, of Rockville. He was flown to a hospital with injuries described as not life-threatening and is being charged with DUI, fleeing police and a list of traffic offenses.



Soldier’s ID fixed after 143 years

The Sons of Confederate Veterans successfully argued that remains at a national cemetery marked as those of a Union soldier actually belong to a Southern infantryman. The decision corrects a 143-year-old misidentification.

The U.S. Park Service conducted a mock trial at the Dinwiddie County Courthouse this week and determined that Grave No. 4828 belonged to Sgt. Ivy Ritchie of the 14th North Carolina Infantry.

Three SCV members in North Carolina argued that the remains at Poplar Grove National Cemetery had been wrongly identified as Union Sgt. J. Richie of New York. Petersburg National Battlefield Park Superintendent Bob Kirby announced the decision after he heard evidence from both sides and consulted with a three-judge panel.

The debate dates to April 9, 1865, when the two similarly named men were killed.

Of the cemetery’s 6,183 graves, 4,110 are of unknown soldiers, and most of the remains belong to Union troops.


Shipyard worker’s body found in river

The body of a Northrop Grumman shipyard worker who fell from an aircraft carrier was pulled from the James River early yesterday, authorities said.

The shipyard identified the man as Kevin Batten, a 19-year-old sheet-metal worker from Newport News.

Mr. Batten was part of a “heritage shipyard family” that includes an uncle who is a master shipbuilder and several cousins who work at the yard. He had just been accepted into the shipyard’s apprentice school, said Mike Petters, president of Northrop Grumman’s shipbuilding sector.

“He had an entire life and career in front of him, which makes this loss all the more painful,” Mr. Petters wrote to company employees.

When Mr. Batten fell off the USS Carl Vinson at about 8:10 a.m. Wednesday, two sailors aboard the George H. W. Bush, a carrier under construction next to the Carl Vinson, immediately jumped into the river but were unable to find him.

After searching all day and through the night, divers recovered his body at about 2:30 a.m. yesterday, the shipyard said.

The Carl Vinson is one of the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, the largest warships in the world. About 3,000 employees work on the ship, which arrived at the shipyard — the nation’s only builder of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers — in 2005 for a three-year overhaul.

Judge won’t release videos of suspect

A judge in Chittenden County, Vt., is denying a press request to release copies of audio and video recordings of the suspect in the death of a student from Arlington.

In his ruling, Judge Michael Kupersmith cited the need to ensure a fair trial for Brian Rooney, 37, who pleaded not guilty to charges he killed University of Vermont senior Michelle Gardner-Quinn in October 2006.

The Burlington Free Press and WCAX-TV sought copies of recorded police interviews with Mr. Rooney between the time Miss Gardner-Quinn disappeared from downtown Burlington and when her body was discovered six days later.

Judge Kupersmith said republication of the recordings would further taint the jury pool.


Abandoned baby buried at last

She died unknown, but loved by those who came to know her after life.

An infant girl who was found dead of abdominal injuries in Norfolk nearly two years ago was laid to rest yesterday morning.

Nearly 30 people attended the funeral to pay tribute to the child, whom nobody ever claimed but police named “Baby Grace.” She was carried to her tulip-marked grave in Roosevelt Memorial Park in Chesapeake in a white Cadillac hearse, tucked inside a tiny white casket.

Baby Grace now lies in the “Innocence” section of the cemetery.

Paul Garrity, who runs a sawmill, came to worship, fearing that if too few showed up, it would signal that life was cheap.

Police investigators still hoping to find the child’s mother attended the funeral, and some remain convinced that somebody knows whose child she was.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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