- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2008



Man pleads guilty to holding slave

A Montgomery County man pleaded guilty to holding a Nigerian teenager as a slave for five years.

George Udeozor, 52, formerly of Darnestown, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Udeozor also agreed to pay the victim more than $110,000 in restitution.

Udeozor used his eldest daughter’s passport to smuggle a 14-year-old Nigerian girl to his Maryland home in 1996, according to the plea agreement.

Udeozor and his then-wife used the girl as an unpaid domestic servant and child care provider, prosecutors said. The teenager was physically and sexually abused and did not go to school.

Udeozor’s ex-wife, Adaobi Stella Udeozor, was sentenced in 2006 to seven years in prison.

Sentencing for George Udeozor is scheduled for Oct. 7 in federal court in Greenbelt.


Potential snag for Detrick lab

The National Academy of Sciences says a safety review of the Army’s plans for a new biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick could be delayed because of Congress.

An academy official Tuesday told the Frederick County Commissioners that some congressional members want to postpone budget decisions until after a new president takes office next year.

Such a delay could affect funding for the study, which could cost $250,000 to $400,000.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, requested the review in April amid citizen complaints that an environmental-impact statement for the project doesn’t fully address the risk of terrorist attacks, the actions of disgruntled workers and the possibility of water pollution.


Remains identified of missing man

Human-skeletal remains found in 2005 near Janes Island State Park have been identified, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said.

Sgt. George Nelson confirmed Wednesday that an FBI lab positively identified the remains as those of Stuart Garrison.

The lab was not able to determine the cause of death.

Mr. Garrison was reported missing around Memorial Day in 2002. Three years later, a crew digging a mosquito ditch found bones about 150 yards from his parents’ home.


Man survives fall from Potomac dam

A man who survived a 20-foot fall from a Potomac River dam was not seriously injured, Maryland Natural Resources Police say.

Ryan Myers, 22, of Clear Spring, tumbled over Dam No. 5 along with his personal watercraft Monday night after he and a friend ignored warning signs and entered a restricted area.

Mr. Myers told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that he rode the machine to shore afterward, then walked barefoot for two miles back to the launch point while police and ambulance crews searched for him.

He acknowledged he shouldn’t have been in the restricted area. Mr. Myers is the son of Delegate LeRoy E. Myers Jr., Western Maryland Republican.


Fall from roof kills worker

A construction worker died after falling from a roof Tuesday, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said.

The accident occurred about 2:45 p.m. at a site on Chelsea Drive.

The man was moving sheet metal when he fell about 35 feet onto a concrete floor, the sheriff’s office said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His death has been ruled accidental.

The man was employed by Gardner Watson Decking of Fruitdale, Ala. His name is being withheld, pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.



Quarantine aimed at pest beetle

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a quarantine Wednesday in Fairfax County to halt the movement of ash trees and products to stem the spread of a tree-killing pest.

The emerald ash borer was discovered at two locations last week in the county.

The metallic green beetle feeds on the layer of wood just beneath the bark of the ash tree, cutting off water and nutrients.

The quarantine prohibits the movement of ash trees and untreated ash lumber products, as well as cord wood that might contain ash trees.

Since its discovery in 2002, the emerald ash borer has spread to Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It also has been found in Ontario.


Cleanup continues on Staunton River

The state’s Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public meeting July 29 in Altavista on its study and cleanup of the Staunton River.

Agency scientists have found fish between Altavista in Campbell County and Clover in Halifax County contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The levels have led health officials to suggest limits on fish consumption.

The state water quality standard for PCBs in surface water is 1.7 parts per trillion.

The agency found 19.2 parts per trillion of PCBs in water discharged from Burlington Industries in Hurt in 2006 and 2007. Last year, a concentration of 9.9 parts per trillion was found in the Altavista wastewater treatment plant discharge.


Teacher on probation for staring at boy

A substitute teacher was sentenced to five years of probation after entering an Alford plea to a charge of trespassing in a private place with prurient intent.

James Steel, 55, of Middletown, was accused of staring at a 12-year-old boy’s genitals as the boy used a school restroom Oct 22.

He entered the plea and was sentenced Wednesday in Frederick County Circuit Court. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment that had the case gone to trial, there was enough evidence to support a conviction.

Steel said in court that his life has been ruined.


Water main break disrupts traffic

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission urged commuters to avoid a busy intersection in the Langley Park area until Friday morning after a large water main break damaged several roads.

Spokesman Mike McGill said the 24-inch main broke about 1 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Riggs Road and University Boulevard.

Crews fixed the main before 9 p.m., but road repairs might not be completed until Friday morning. In the meantime, several lanes remain closed.

Mr. McGill said 20 condominium units, two homes and several businesses were without water.


Man charged in officer’s wounding

Baltimore police charged a man in the wounding of an Anne Arundel County officer during a shootout Tuesday morning.

Anne Arundel police arrested Matthew Gonzalez, 22, of Baltimore, shortly after Officer Lee Joines was hit. Officer Joines, 30, was shot in his bullet-resistant vest. He was treated at and released from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The four-year veteran of the Anne Arundel department was among several officers under fire while they investigated reports of a stolen car in the Brooklyn neighborhood in Baltimore, which is near the county line. Arundel police spokesman Sgt. John Gilmer said the officers returned fire.


Studio fire linked to electrical problem

An electrical problem caused a blaze that burned the abandoned recording studio of hip-hop and R&B producer Teddy Riley, fire investigators said.

Lightning in the area also could have been a factor in the June 24 fire, though there was no direct strike, said Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief David Hutcheson.

Mr. Riley opened Future Records Recording Studios in 1991 and produced songs for a range of artists, including Michael and Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and Keith Sweat. Over the past few years, he has been plagued with financial and legal problems.

Attorney Morris H. Fine is selling the property for Equitable Resources Inc., Mr. Riley’s biggest creditor. Mr. Fine said the building was insured for $336,000.


Court upholds court-martial

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction and six-month sentence given to reservist Sabrina Harman for her role in the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal.

In a June 30 ruling, the court largely affirmed the results of a court-martial held at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2005.

The outcome was not affected by irregularities the appellate court found in the format of the jury’s verdict.

The former specialist, from Lorton, is among 11 low-ranking U.S. soldiers convicted of crimes at the prison near Baghdad in late 2003 and early 2004.

Harman’s crimes included placing wires in the hands of a hooded detainee who was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box.

She also was convicted of photographing the episode and of posing for a photograph with detainees who had been stripped and placed in a human pyramid.


No charges in abortion case

A Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ staffer who signed a consent form allowing a 16-year-old Guatemalan foster child to receive an abortion this past winter will not face prosecution.

There was no criminal intent because the Catholic Charities staffer and others on her team thought they had the legal authority to sign the consent form, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring said Wednesday.

Mr. Herring said workers thought the procedure was allowed after the Office of Refugee Resettlement denied funding for the abortion, but did not direct staffers away from the procedure.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Richmond Roman Catholic Diocese has apologized for lapses that led to the procedure staunchly opposed by the church.


Businesses hold support for Virginia

The Greater Washington Board of Trade said Wednesday it will not support Virginia General Assembly candidates until members find a way to fund transportation.

The Assembly convened a six-day special session to solve the state’s transportation funding problems but failed to produce results.

Virginia is considered a business-friendly state, but the group says that will change if money isn’t found for roads and mass transit. The group also said that without a Virginia contribution for Metro, the region will miss out on a $1.5 billion federal match for the transit agency.

A group spokeswoman said $28,000 was contributed last year to Assembly candidates.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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