- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2008



Prison locked down after fights break out

A number of state prison inmates were hurt in large fights Monday at the medium-security Roxbury Correctional Institution, the Maryland Division of Correction said.

Spokeswoman Danielle Wilmsen said one inmate required stitches and several others were treated for less-serious injuries.

Authorities said it wasn’t a riot, but a simultaneous eruption of fights involving a total of 25 inmates at three recreational areas at 1 p.m.

Miss Wilmsen said a general lockdown implemented Monday has been lifted but that the three housing units involved remain on lockdown while authorities investigate the matter.

Bail set for driver in crash that killed 5

A Michigan man accused of killing a woman and four children from Parkville, Md., in a wrong-way crash on an Ohio interstate while he was drunk kept his head bowed and said little in his first court appearance yesterday.

Responding to a question from the judge, Michael Gagnon, 24, said only that he could not afford an attorney because he was a self-employed construction worker. Toledo Municipal Court Judge Michael Goulding set bail at $1.25 million.

Police said tests showed Mr. Gagnon had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit when he drove his pickup truck in the wrong direction on Interstate 280 on Sunday night.

His truck collided with a minivan filled with eight persons returning to Baltimore County from a holiday trip to Michigan.

Killed were Bethany Griffin, 36; Jordan Griffin, 10; Vadi Griffin, 2 months; Lacie Burkman, 7; and Haley Burkman, 10, police said. Danny Griffin Jr., 36, and two other children were injured.


Truck driver injured in I-70 crash dies

A Baltimore man injured in a crash early Monday on Interstate 70 died of his injuries.

State police identify the man as Kedrick Mitchell, 30. He died several hours after the crash at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Police said Mr. Mitchell was driving a box truck that hit a car and a tractor-trailer that had skidded out of control seconds earlier in the westbound lanes near Bill Moxley Road. Mr. Mitchell’s truck overturned, spilling its load of cooking oil over the highway.


Convicted con man pleads guilty again

A Baltimore man who served prison time for fraud returned to his old ways after getting out.

David Robinson, 56, pleaded guilty yesterday to 27 counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. Prosecutors said he bilked more than 900 investors out of $8 million.

Among Robinson’s victims were residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast who endured Hurricane Katrina. He admitted sending an employee to Gulfport, Miss., to make a presentation to investors in January 2006, and his company received about $80,000 in investments.

Prosecutors said Robinson started his fraudulent company shortly after getting out of federal prison on previous mail-fraud convictions.


Assembly could serve official state dessert

When state lawmakers return to work next week in Annapolis, they will be asked to formally designate an official state dessert.

The Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council is asking that the honor be given to the Smith Island cake, calling it unique and worthy of the recognition.

The layer cakes are similar to European tortes, sometimes with 10 layers and in about 20 flavors. One of the leading vendors is the Sweet Shop in Crisfield, where the cakes are sold to local residents and via the Internet across the country.



22 of Vick’s pit bulls shipped to Utah

Twenty-two of the 47 surviving pit bulls seized from suspended NFL star Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation left Virginia yesterday for a new home in Utah.

The animals took off from Richmond International Airport yesterday morning on board a private chartered plane en route to Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

The move completes the process of relocating the 47 animals to eight rescue organizations across the country. Some of the dogs will remain in the permanent care of the sanctuaries, while others will be trained for possible adoption by members of the public.

Forty-eight pit bulls were seized from the Surry County property, but one was euthanized for medical reasons.

Vick is serving a 23-month federal sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy.

Helping the dogs adjust to a social life will be difficult, but caretakers will observe the animals for at least six months and work to correct any behavior problems, said John Polis, spokesman for the 33-acre Utah sanctuary.

“The one thing about these dogs that’s different is they can’t be put in group living situations like most of our dogs,” Mr. Polis told WWBT-TV in Richmond. “So we’ve been spending the last few weeks clearing out some new areas where these dogs can have individual runs. They have indoor-outdoor access. They’re going to have a really nice home.”


Kaine names chief of health services

Gov. Tim Kaine yesterday announced the appointment of Dr. James Burns as interim commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health.

Dr. Burns, 62, replaces Dr. Robert B. Stroube, who retired Tuesday. Before his appointment as interim commissioner, he served as the department’s deputy commissioner and chief information officer.

Dr. Burns received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia.


11 roadside markers added to note history

A state agency has approved 11 more roadside markers heralding Virginia’s history.

The state Department of Historic Resources has spent 80 years installing markers along Virginia’s roads, helping to document more than 1,300 historic events. Now, sponsors must have their marker approved by the department and pay about $2,200 to have it installed.

The 11 new markers will be spread across the state. One will be posted near the site in Orange County where a Virginia Midland Railroad train plunged through a weak trestle in 1888 and crashed into a creek 44 feet below.


Woman’s body found inside base housing

Officials at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found Tuesday morning inside military housing. According to a statement released by base officials, the woman, 41, and her husband were guests of a Marine stationed at Quantico.

Emergency personnel who came to the housing unit pronounced the woman dead about 7:50 a.m. The woman’s name was not released. The statement from base officials did not specify a cause of death.


2007 homicide rate lowest in 26 years

Richmond’s homicide rate for 2007 was the lowest in more than a quarter century.

There were 55 homicides in the city last year, the lowest since 1981, when the city recorded 51. There were 81 killings in 2006.

The city of approximately 190,000 residents usually ranks among the deadliest in the nation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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