- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2008


B-52 bomber crashes, kills at least 2

HONOLULU | An Air Force B-52 bomber crashed off Guam on Monday morning, killing at least two airmen and leading to the search of a vast area of the Pacific Ocean for the remaining four crew members, the military said.

Six vessels, three helicopters, two F-15 fighter jets and a B-52 bomber were involved in the search, which had covered about 70 square miles of ocean, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Elizabeth Buendia.

The Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and local fire and police departments were involved.

Maj. Stuart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman, said the aircraft was unarmed.

The B-52 bomber, based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was en route to conduct a flyover in a parade when it crashed about 9:45 a.m. about 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbor, the Air Force said.


Firefighter dies in apparent ambush

MAPLEWOOD | Firefighters became victims of what appeared to be an ambush Monday when they were fired upon from a house as they worked to put out a vehicle fire across the street, police said.

One firefighter was killed, two police officers were wounded and the house where the shots were fired later burned to the ground.

The city identified the slain firefighter as 22-year-old Ryan Hummert, son of former Maplewood Mayor Andy Hummert. Officials said he was fatally shot as he got off the firetruck.

It was not clear Monday afternoon whether the gunman died in the house fire. Authorities were searching the remains of the brick bungalow, St. Louis County police spokeswoman Tracy Panus said.

Little was known about the man who lived in the house.

Someone began firing shots from the house when firefighters arrived in response to a 5:40 a.m. report of a pickup truck fire.


Crash driver held in smuggling

BRAWLEY | The driver of a vehicle that crashed and killed six illegal immigrants in Southern California has been arrested for smuggling, a federal official said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack said the driver was arrested Sunday at a hotel in Brawley. She said he is a Mexican citizen who claims to be a juvenile.

She said the crash happened Friday night about 125 miles east of San Diego and 15 miles north of the border.

Witnesses reported that 22 Mexicans were packed into the sport utility vehicle. Four were hospitalized, and three are being held as material witnesses.

Miss Mack said that five were returned to Mexico and that the others fled. Among the survivors was a 12-year-old girl whose mother, father and younger brother were killed.


Pool firm president charged in drowning

NEW HAVEN | A swimming pool company president was charged Monday with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the drowning of a 6-year-old boy whose arm was trapped by the suction of a powerful drain pump.

Shoreline Pools President David Lionetti was released on $25,000 bail. If convicted of the felony, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Police in Greenwich said Mr. Lionetti, 53, of Stamford, “recklessly caused the death” of Zachary Cohn by failing to have his company install mandated safety devices in the pool the company built for the boy’s family. Police said the safety devices would have prevented the boy’s death.

Since 1985, more than 150 cases have been reported across the country of swimming pool drain entrapments, leading to at least 48 deaths and many serious injuries, including disembowelment, of children and adults, according to a lawsuit filed by Zachary’s parents, Brian and Karen Cohn.

Mr. Lionetti plans to plead not guilty, said his attorney, Richard Meehan Jr. “To my knowledge this is the first time an executive from a pool company has been prosecuted for homicide for claimed code violations in the installation of a pool,” Mr. Meehan said.

Mr. Meehan declined to comment on the issue of safety devices, saying he had not seen the arrest affidavit yet.


Suspected bomb was harmless

SAVANNAH | A suspected mail bomb that forced the evacuation of a Savannah courthouse turned out to be harmless, authorities said.

After the suspicious package was found Monday, the Chatham County Courthouse was evacuated and nearby streets were closed.

Police spokeswoman Judy Pal said a bomb squad determined the device was harmless after removing and inspecting it.

Miss Pal initially called the package a “hoax,” but later said the sender, a 35-year-old woman who was located by police, didn’t mail it as a threat or to cause alarm. The woman, whose identity was not released, has been taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation. Police don’t intend to press charges.

Courthouse staffers were allowed to return to the building late Monday afternoon.


Woman diagnosed with rare disease

BOSTON | An elderly woman has been diagnosed with a rare brain disorder, state health officials said Monday.

There are about 300 U.S. cases each year of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fast-progressing illness that usually affects older people and leads to dementia, movement disorders and ultimately death.

In very rare cases, a form of the disorder can be caused by consuming meat products from cows infected with mad cow disease.

However, Dr. Albert DeMaria, the state’s director of communicable disease control, said that is unlikely in this case, given the woman’s age and travel history. The women, in her 70s, is at a Cape Cod hospital.

There have been only three cases of the human form of mad cow disease in the United States, and each patient was thought to be infected outside the country.


Woman charged in ‘76 escape

LANSING | A California mother of three arrested 32 years after she fled a Michigan prison on a drug conviction was charged Monday with escape.

Susan LeFevre, 53, is back in Michigan serving at least 5 years of her remaining sentence for selling heroin. If convicted of escape, she could face probation or another five years in prison.

LeFevre was arrested in April outside her home in an affluent area of San Diego.

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, whose jurisdiction covers the suburban Detroit prison from which LeFevre escaped, said Monday that it’s admirable that LeFevre made something of her life, but that she must accept responsibility for her 1976 escape.

Arrangements were being made to arraign LeFevre on the new charge.

LeFevre was 19 in 1975, when she agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and violation of drug laws in the hope of winning leniency.

Instead, she was given the maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years for selling about 3 grams of heroin.


Comcast urged to block child porn

ALBANY | New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has notified Comcast Corp. that the state will take legal action against the media company if it doesn’t take steps to reduce the availability of child pornography on the Internet.

Mr. Cuomo wants Internet providers to remove certain newsgroups that contain child pornography and purge their servers of child pornography Web sites. Newsgroups are essentially online message boards in which users can post text and files in any of thousands of categories.

New York has reached agreements with several providers, but Mr. Cuomo accuses Comcast of being unwilling to sign the code of conduct his office created.

Comcast officials said they were reviewing the attorney general’s letter.


Warrants sealed in slain mother’s case

RALEIGH | A judge has ordered information from search warrants sealed in the investigation into the slaying of a North Carolina mother whose body was found near her suburban home.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said in a recent order that releasing the information could jeopardize prospects for a fair trial.

Search warrants usually are available to the public as soon as detectives complete an inventory of items collected.

Police said Nancy Cooper, 34, disappeared on July 12 from her home in the Raleigh suburb of Cary. Her body was found days later at a construction site not far away.

Authorities have not named a suspect or said how Mrs. Cooper died. Her husband, Bradley Cooper, has told authorities his wife went jogging and never returned.


Ex-anchor charged with e-mail snooping

PHILADELPHIA | A longtime television newscaster was charged Monday with illegally accessing the e-mail of his former co-anchor, who suspected details of her social life were being leaked to gossip columnists.

Federal prosecutors said fired KYW-TV anchor Larry Mendte accessed Alycia Lane’s e-mail accounts hundreds of times and leaked her personal information to a Philadelphia Daily News reporter. Miss Lane’s personal life had routinely become tabloid fodder and eventually led to her own dismissal from the station.

“The mere accessing and reading of privileged information is criminal,” acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid said. “This case, however, went well beyond just reading someone’s e-mail.”

Mr. Mendte was charged with a felony count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization. A conviction could bring a six-month prison term under federal sentencing guidelines.

Mr. Mendte gained access to Miss Lane’s accounts for more than two years, prosecutors said. In a five-month span starting in January, Mr. Mendte accessed her accounts 537 times, authorities said.

He was fired from Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate in June after FBI agents searched his home and seized his computer.


Mother sentenced for house fires

COLUMBIA | Friends said Kimberly Wooten was the kind of person who would watch the church nursery on a moment’s notice and beam with pride as she described her sons’ accomplishments.

But they never saw the severe mental problems that a psychiatrist said led Wooten to set a series of fires that destroyed four homes and terrorized neighbors. She was ordered Monday to spend 13 years in prison for the blazes.

Wooten, likely wearing a wig, drove around her neighborhood, setting small fires in pine straw, grass or other vegetation, usually late in the morning or afternoon, prosecutor Robert Elam said. The last was set as she walked her dog.

All but one were put out quickly, causing minimal damage. But on March 22, 2006, Wooten set a fire that quickly spread, destroying four houses. No one was injured.

Wooten, 43, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to seven counts of second-degree arson and several other charges. Her plea meant she knew right from wrong but couldn’t conform her behavior to the law.

She is eligible for parole when she serves more than 11 years, meaning she could be released in 2017 with time served.


Soldier’s spouse suspect in attack

EL PASO | A Fort Bliss soldier’s husband kicked her in the face, stabbed and raped her before abducting her from her off-post apartment last week and taking her to Nevada, police said Monday.

The soldier, who turned up wounded but alive in El Paso on Sunday night, was attacked as she entered her apartment about 5:15 p.m. Thursday, police said in an affidavit charging Clinton W. Lewis, 34, with aggravated kidnapping.

The Associated Press previously has identified the 29-year-old soldier but is no longer naming her because of the sexual assault charges. The AP does not identify purported victims of sexual assault without their consent.

Mr. Lewis turned himself in to El Paso police Sunday night. He is being held in the El Paso County jail on $75,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

The police affidavit states that Mr. Lewis was waiting inside the soldier’s apartment and kicked her in the face as she walked through the door. The private first class was stabbed with a kitchen knife, threatened with death, then raped, investigators said.

Investigators said Mr. Lewis then drove the soldier more than 650 miles to Nevada, and apparently boarded an El Paso-bound bus sometime Saturday.

Mr. Lewis is wanted in Tennessee on a warrant for not paying back child support and has a decade-long criminal history that includes several arrests for assault and domestic assault.


Suspects found asleep on goods

MONROE | A trail of pillows and backpacks led to two sleeping men who were arrested after a department store break-in, police said.

Kyle Burress, 25, and Allen Pierce, 27, have been charged with second-degree burglary.

Police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said a break-in was discovered July 9 at a Fred Meyer department store northeast of Seattle. The two were being held in lieu of bail Monday, and it was not clear whether they had lawyers.

Miss Willis said police followed a trail of cardboard and items from storage containers in a locked area behind the store that led to the two men. One was sleeping in a stolen hammock and the other on a pile of stolen pillows.

Police photographed the men before waking and arresting them.

Miss Willis said alcohol was involved.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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