- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Lawyers get access to guard’s records

Defense attorneys for two inmates charged with killing a corrections officer can review records ofguards who might have ordered a hit on Officer David McGuinn.

Attorneys for the state yesterday released the records, including personnel and investigative files and other documents, of 20 guards at the now-closed Maryland House of Correction in Jessup.

Defense attorneys for inmates Lamarr C. Harris and Lee F. Stephens, who face the death penalty if convicted, want to show how a culture of violence, contraband smuggling and corruption led to Officer McGuinn’s death. They can review the records privately but will be required to adhere to strict confidentiality rules.

The attorneys say Officer McGuinn was a by-the-book officer who might have been targeted by corrupt guards. He was fatally stabbed in the prison in July 2006.


Couple charged in mailbox thefts

A LaVale couple were arrested and charged in the theft of more than $8,000 from residential mailboxes.

David Baker, 32, and his wife, Kara, 21, are both charged with several counts of felony theft, conspiracy to commit felony theft and felony theft scheme.

Maryland State Police began the investigation Feb. 27 after a victim reported seeing the couple pull up to a row of mailboxes and remove mail from each one. The victim supplied police with a vehicle description and a tag number.

Investigators think the two drove to locations in Allegany County last month, removed mail from mailboxes, then cashed stolen checks at a business in Pennsylvania.


Store clerk admits staging robbery

An Easton woman pleaded guilty in a staged robbery at the convenience store where she worked.

Tiffany Harris, 22, pleaded guilty Monday to a theft scheme charge and making a false statement to police. She was given suspended sentences on both charges.

Co-defendant Nashombia Fitchett, 18, of Greensboro, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last month and was ordered to serve two months behind bars as part of a suspended sentence.

State police said Harris reported the robbery Jan. 11 at the store on Route 50 in Trappe. She initially told investigators that she was robbed by a man with a gun, but police said the investigation revealed that she had signaled Fitchett to enter the store and stage the robbery.


Fugitive found hiding in bathroom

Annapolis police arrested a fugitive found hiding in an apartment bathroom.

Corey Wallace, 24, was arrested at an apartment in the 1200 block of Graff Court on Friday after police saw him take a taxi to the address, police said. When they saw him jump out and run into the apartment, police surrounded the building.

A woman at the apartment told police that Wallace hadn’t come into the apartment, but a sheriff’s deputy with a warrant for Wallace’s arrest ordered a search and police found the man hiding in the bathroom.

The woman, Shawntay Henderson, 18, was charged with harboring a fugitive and lying to police.


Father indicted in death of son

A Baltimore man charged with throwing his young son off the Francis Scott Key Bridge was indicted yesterday on murder charges.

Stephen Nelson, 37, was indicted on first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.

He is charged with throwing 3-year-old Turner Jordan off the bridge last month. The boy’s body has not been found.

Mr. Nelson told police that demons made him do it. Court documents say he called the boy’s mother — with whom he was having a custody battle — saying he was going to kill the child.

Mr. Nelson was taken to a hospital after police received reports indicating he may have attempted suicide. He was being treated for more than a week in critical condition before he confessed to the crime.



Rail car tips, trapping man

A man was seriously injured yesterday when a rail car toppled over, trapping him underneath.

Kim Hylander, a spokeswoman for the Prince William County fire department, said the open-top rail car carrying gravel tipped over and onto the man at about 11:30 a.m. Rescuers managed to get him out about 40 minutes later.

Miss Hylander said man was taken by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

A spokesman for Norfolk Southern, which owns a rail line nearby, said the train belonged to one of its customers, Chemung Contracting. The company has a plant in Gainesville. A man who answered the phone at Chemung said the company would have no comment.


City Council delays smoking ban vote

The City Council delayed voting on a ban on smoking in restaurants that was supposed to take effect at the end of the month.

Norfolk would be the first city in Virginia with such a ban.

Council members met yesterday to discuss the ban and said they wanted to consider revisions before voting on it next week.

Mayor Paul D. Fraim asked City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko to draft a proposal that would exempt restaurants with 50 or fewer seats. Mr. Pishko said the exemption would make the policy more legally defensible.

This year, state lawmakers killed bills that would have given Virginia Beach and other cities the explicit right to ban smoking. Mr. Pishko has said Norfolk’s charter allows the city to ban smoking.


$100,000 ticket about to expire

Virginia Lottery officials are looking for the owner of a ticket worth $100,000.

Someone bought the Sept. 27 winning Cash 5 ticket at a Food Lion store in Gloucester and hasn’t redeemed it. The ticket expires at 5 p.m. Tuesday, 180 days from the date of the drawing.

The numbers for the drawing were 1, 6, 25, 29 and 32.

If the money isn’t claimed, it will go into a state fund used for school construction, renovation and teacher retirement funds.


Hilltop star goes dark on Tech anniversary

Roanoke will turn off the well-known star that overlooks the city to observe the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.

The City Council agreed to turn off the 88-foot neon star on Mill Mountain on the night of April 16.

City Manager Darlene Burcham recommended the observance, noting that the city turned off the star briefly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Since being built in 1949, the star has been illuminated in different colors for various occasions.

It was off for about two weeks in August 2006 while crews replaced the 2½ miles of wiring that keep it powered.


Suspicious packages cause traffic tie-ups

Authorities responded to three reports of suspicious packages downtown yesterday afternoon, tying up rush-hour traffic.

D.C. police spokesman Officer Quintin Peterson said none of the packages was found to be dangerous.

Officer Peterson said the first package was discovered about 4 p.m. in the 3700 block of M Street Northwest, and several roads were closed while officers investigated.

A short time later, police were called to 14th and I streets Northwest for the report of a box with the words “test specimen.” A suspicious package also was reported at the Mayflower Hotel.

Officer Peterson said police had no reason to think the suspicious package reports were related.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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