- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2008



Man found shot in office dies

A Clinton man found shot in an apartment complex rental office last week died Tuesday of wounds suffered in the shooting, Baltimore County police said.

Milton Barnes was found shot Thursday in the rental office of the Hunters Crossing apartment complex in Woodlawn, police said.

Investigators think Mr. Barnes, who was the property manager of the complex, was shot shortly after opening the office Thursday morning. Police said they do not have a motive or suspects in the killing.


One found dead after house fire

One person was found dead following an early morning house fire in Prince George’s County, authorities said.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at a two-story home on Jenkins Ridge Road in Bowie at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, county fire department spokesman Mark Brady said.

It took about an hour to extinguish the fire, Mr. Brady said. Afterward, firefighters found the victim on the second floor of the house. The person’s age and sex were not immediately known.

Fire and police officials were investigating the fire.


Airbag thieves hit seven cars

Ocean City police said they received seven reports Tuesday of airbags being stolen from cars.

The airbag was stolen from a General Motors vehicle parked in a motel or condominium parking lot in each case, police said. The rear windows of the vehicles were broken and only the airbag was stolen, police said. Other valuables in the cars were not taken.

Airbags cost between $500 and $1,200 and are a popular target for thieves. More than 50,000 airbags are stolen annually, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.



Police seek cleaner burglar

Arlington County police are searching for a man they say robbed three dry cleaning stores.

The man stole money from Tops Cleaners in the 5200 block of Lee Highway sometime between March 15 and March 17, police said.

The same man also robbed Bergman’s Cleaners in the 2100 block of Lee Highway on April 10, and the Hurt Cleaners in the 3400 block of Wilson Boulevard on April 22, police said.

Police released video surveillance footage Tuesday that shows the man inside one of the stores. Anyone with information about the man or the burglaries is asked to call Arlington County CrimeSolvers at 866/411-TIPS (8477).


Father admits to killing baby

A Cradock man, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the beating death of his 7-week-old daughter.

Aaron Michael Bennet called 911 on Feb. 20, saying his baby, McKenzie Bennet, was unresponsive.

The baby was taken to a hospital, where she never regained consciousness and was taken off life support a week later.

A detective testified Bennet told staff at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters that he was a danger to the child.

Police later listened to phone calls in which Bennet admitted striking the child on multiple occasions. An autopsy showed broken ribs, a fractured leg, and brain injury.

Under a plea deal, prosecutors will not ask for a sentence that exceeds 20 years of active time in prison. Bennet will be sentenced Aug. 26.


Swamp fire cost $4 million

Battling a fire in the Great Dismal Swamp has cost the federal government $4 million so far.

The fire is 70 percent contained, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Catherine Hibbard said, although it will continue to smolder and its acrid smoke will not go away any time soon.

Firefighters are pumping in water from ditches around the swamp to dampen the ground, which will help hold down the smoke, Miss Hibbard said.

The blaze has burned 3,474 acres since it started June 9 when a piece of timbering equipment caught fire. It has wiped out parts of a project to restore Atlantic white cedars.


Slaying suspect gives himself up

A man authorities want to question about the slayings of three people at a Henry County trailer park has come forward.

Maurice Pritchett, 32, of Martinsville, is thought to have information about the fatal shootings early Monday, the Henry County Sheriff’s Department said. No charges have been filed, and the department’s news release said its investigation is continuing at the crime scene at Ridgecrest Trailer Park in Collinsville.

Two men were found dead inside the home, and a third died later at a hospital. They had not been identified.

Officers chased a dark-colored sport utility vehicle from the trailer park and found it abandoned on a nearby street. A search dog led officers to an apartment complex, but nothing was found.


Pastor facing huge sentence

A Culpeper pastor is facing up to a 310-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony fraud charges.

The Rev. Charles Shifflett pleaded guilty Tuesday to a total of 20 felonies and one misdemeanor, prosecutors said.

Nine of the charges involved obtaining money by false pretenses from Calvary Baptist Church when he served as pastor from 2002 to 2005.

Shifflett also pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud involving workers compensation, five counts of obtaining money under false pretenses from insurance companies, and three counts of filing false tax returns.

Prosecutors dismissed 19 felony charges against Shifflett’s wife. Shifflett is pastor of First Baptist Church, also in Culpeper.


Fire damages recording studio

A fire swept through the abandoned recording studio of hip-hop and R&B; producer Teddy Riley.

Someone passing by the studio shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday saw smoke and flames, which firefighters brought under control about 40 minutes later, Virginia Beach fire officials said.

Investigators were trying to determine a cause.

Mr. Riley opened the 3,300-square-foot Future Records Recording Studios in 1991 but has been plagued with financial and legal problems over the last few years. The studio went up for auction last month, but no one met the opening bid of $500,000.

Mr. Riley was once a renowned hit maker, producing songs for a range of artists, including Michael and Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and Keith Sweat.


River drowning victim identified

Police have identified a Stafford County man who drowned in the Rappahannock River while swimming with family and friends.

Searchers recovered the body of Terrance Carratura, 51, on Monday, Stafford County sheriff’s office Maj. David Decatur said. The body was found about 25 feet from the shore in southern Stafford, in the general area where Mr. Carratura was last seen Sunday afternoon.

The death was the second drowning in the Rappahannock this month. A 17-year-old Maryland boy drowned near Old Mill Park on June 8 during a church outing.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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