- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2008



Mother charged with prostituting girl

Annapolis police charged a woman with prostituting her 16-year-old daughter.

A police spokesman said the girl had sex with two older men for money during a four-month period. Police began an investigation after the girl went to a state police barrack in June to report the situation.

The 34-year-old mother — who wasn’t identified to protect her daughter’s identity — was charged Tuesday with sex abuse, child abuse, prostitution and other charges.

The daughter told police that she was broke when she moved in with her mother. She said her mother told her prostitution was a way she could make money and introduced her to one man.


Cumberland station avoids press box ban

A Cumberland radio station cannot be barred from press boxes at public high school football games in Allegany County for 10 years under a proposed settlement of a First Amendment lawsuit.

The consent decree filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore also requires the school board to include WCBC-AM on its list of news outlets receiving press releases, school closing notices and other public announcements.

Station owner Cumberland Broadcasting Co. filed the lawsuit in August, saying its free-speech rights were violated when WCBC was banished from press boxes, supposedly in retaliation for its unflattering coverage of school security issues.

Under the agreement, which still must be approved by the judge, the school board must enter into a 10-year, nonexclusive agreement with WCBC for reasonable use and access to press boxes at Ridge and Greenway Avenue stadiums. Should the board ever impose a broadcast fee, the fee must be applied to all broadcasters.

Still to be decided is the amount the school board must pay, if any, of the station’s legal fees, which totaled nearly $64,000, the Cumberland Times-News reported.


Suspect returns, as promised, on time

A Frederick man faces burglary and sex-offense charges after he told his victim when she should expect him to return to her home and then kept that appointment, police said.

An officer was taking the woman’s statement at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when Javier Martinez, 31, returned to the residence at Windsor Garden Apartments on Key Parkway, police said. He was arrested at the scene.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Martinez had followed the woman to her apartment, forced his way in the door, grabbed her and exposed himself, police said. When she broke away, police said he told her he would return between 7 and 8 p.m.


Two jail guards fired after hospital escape

Two guards assigned to watch over a maximum-security prisoner who escaped from a hospital last month were fired, state officials said yesterday.

Kelvin Poke overpowered one of the guards and seized his .38-caliber handgun on Jan. 2 while the second guard was away from the room at Laurel Regional Hospital on a break. Poke fled and led police on a chase until he was killed by officers who cornered him in a Prince George’s County cemetery.

Inmates in hospitals are supposed to be watched by two guards — one armed, one not. The guard with the gun is required to remain at a distance from the prisoner, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. But Maryland State Police said that the unarmed guard was away at the time of the escape and that Poke was out of his handcuffs.

The guards were fired last week, corrections spokesman Rick Binetti said yesterday. He would not discuss specifics of the case. The guards’ names weren’t released.

“The corrections officers did break multiple policies and procedures that had been in place for quite a while,” he said.

Poke, 45, was taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pains. He had been serving a life sentence plus 40 years at the Jessup Correctional Institution for kidnapping, carjacking and robbery. In letters he sent to his daughter and her mother a few weeks before the incident, he said he didn’t want to die in jail.

After overpowering his guards, Poke seized a gun from a two-man team guarding another inmate at the hospital. He briefly took a hospital security guard hostage, carjacked a driver in front of the hospital and fled into the District. He then carjacked a city-owned pickup truck that he eventually drove into Prince George’s County.

Police said they killed Poke when he fired at them.


Zoning board nixes Muslim center plans

The Walkersville Board of Zoning Appeals yesterday denied the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s request for a special exception that would permit construction of a recreation and worship center on Woodsboro Pike.

The decision came after days of deliberations, the Frederick News-Post reported. Board members expressed concerns about traffic during the annual Jalsa Salana festival, which could have drawn thousands, and about the availability of fire equipment.

The Ahmadiyya wanted to build two gymnasiums on the property for use during the conventions and for basketball games year-round. People attending the three-day festivals, which are traditionally held on Labor Day weekend, were to have stayed in tents on the grounds.


Funeral director sentenced for theft

A funeral home director who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for prepaid funeral accounts was sentenced yesterday to more than four years in federal prison.

Paul Stella, who pleaded guilty to bank fraud also was ordered to pay $757,000 in restitution.

Court documents say he confessed to using customers’ prepaid funeral expenses at a bank and making him the trustee over those accounts.

Then investigators said Stella started forging customers’ names and closing their accounts. Then he endorsed the bank checks and redeposited the money in his accounts.

The State Board of Morticians began investigating after customers complained.



Suspect arrested by waiting police

Police are trying to determine whether a man arrested in an assault on a woman in Falls Church is connected to a string of recent attacks in Northern Virginia.

Falls Church police have identified the man they arrested as David Foltz of Falls Church. A convicted rapist who was released from prison last year, he was arrested Wednesday night on charges of abduction with intent to defile and sexual battery.

Fairfax County police had Foltz under surveillance on Hillwood Avenue when they witnessed him attack a woman and drag her into the woods. The attack occurred at about 7:30 p.m. County police detained Foltz until Falls Church officers arrived.

Police are investigating at least 11 cases where a masked man abducted and assaulted women in Fairfax County, Alexandria and Falls Church in recent months.


Reprieved inmate still on death row

A man in the center of a case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court banning execution of the mentally disabled will remain on Virginia’s death row for now.

A York County judge agreed yesterday to a request by special prosecutors not to carry out his order to commute Daryl Atkins’ sentence to life in prison while they appeal the order to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Special prosecutor Melissa Hoy said that if the judge did not stay the order, she and special prosecutor Mark Krueger would have to ask the state Supreme Court for a stay before an appeal could be heard. Miss Hoy said the stay would aid the process.

Defense attorney Joseph Migliozzi argued that enforcing the order would not prevent prosecutors from appealing. He also said the order would keep Atkins in prison but remove him from death row.

Judge Prentis Smiley modified the sentence last month after finding that prosecutors had failed to turn over potentially favorable evidence to defense attorneys during Atkins’ 1998 murder trial.


Grandparents held in girl’s kidnapping

A Lynchburg couple is being held on charges of kidnapping their granddaughter from her Georgia home after authorities discovered the 5-year-old in their house.

A U.S. Marshals Service spokesman said yesterday that authorities had been searching for the girl since she was abducted from her father’s home in Atlanta when she was a year old.

A news release said federal officers and Lynchburg police went to the home of David and Sharon Duncan on Wednesday night and found the girl and six other children younger than 12.

The Duncans were members of the House of Prayer in Atlanta and convicted of cruelty to children in 2002 along with two other church members and its pastor.


Copper thefts hit $100,000 mark

Police are investigating a run of copper thefts in Prince William County.

In the past six months, as much as $100,000 worth of copper wire has been stolen from construction sites, businesses and anywhere else thieves can get the metal, police said.

Detective J.L. Mackling said some thieves are going to dangerous lengths to get a small amount of copper. One person even risked fatal shock by cutting the ground wire of a cell-phone tower.

Copper thefts have increased across the nation as the salvage price for the metal has climbed sharply.

Detective Mackling said county police will meet with police departments from across Northern Virginia later this month to discuss ways to handle the problem.


Phone calls raise voters’ concerns

Voters in several Virginia counties are reporting strange phone calls about their registration, and state police fear a voter scam.

State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said voters were told they would receive a voter registration application packet in the mail, to complete the enclosed form, sign it and mail it back. Elections officials said they don’t tell voters to return forms to anyone but their local registrar.

Registrars have received reports about the calls in the counties of Amherst, Bedford, Charles City, Dickenson, Halifax, Henrico, Lancaster, Montgomery and New Kent, as well as in the cities of Charlottesville, Danville, Galax and Martinsville.

So far, Miss Geller said nobody has received any packets.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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