- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 1, 2008


Mom’s trial delayed in daughter’s deaths

A D.C. Superior Court judge has postponed indefinitely the trial of a woman accused of killing her four daughters and living with the bodies in her Southeast rowhouse.

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg said Friday he made the decision because Banita Jacks refused a mental evaluation at the D.C. Jail to determine whether she is competent to stand trial.

As a result, Judge Weisberg ordered Miss Jacks be sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital, where she will be evaluated for 45 days.

Judge Weisberg had hoped to begin the trial Dec. 1, but now has scheduled another hearing for Dec. 19.

Miss Jacks’ attorneys want her to defend herself by saying she is insane. The judge had ordered that Miss Jacks be evaluated last month.

Miss Jacks has been jailed since January when the bodies were found. Authorities think the girls had been dead since the summer of 2007.

Report issued in man’s death

D.C. officials said they are taking action to correct bureaucratic blunders that kept a 65-year-old mentally disabled man from getting needed assistance before his death.

A report released two weeks ago by University Legal Services said the man was found unconscious and lying in his excrement in a roach-infested apartment before his death in February. It said D.C. officials knew as early as 2001 that he urgently needed help, but failed to provide services.

A report by the city administrator released Friday identifies 10 problems, including poor record-keeping and communication among agencies. It said the urgency of the case was never met with urgent action.

Woman pleads guilty to hospital theft

A 46-year-old Maryland woman has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $21,000 from Washington Hospital Center through a fraudulent paycheck scheme, federal prosecutors said.

Jacqueline Nugent pleaded guilty Friday to mail fraud in U.S. District Court in the District and faces a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison at her sentencing in January.

Prosecutors said Nugent, who went by the name Jacqueline Wilkinson at work, admitted that she created time sheets for a fictitious employee, the daughter of one of her friends who never performed work for the hospital, and the hospital sent checks to the fictitious employee.

Nugent and her friend cashed 14 checks, totaling more than $21,000, endorsing them with the name of Nugent’s friend’s daughter, prosecutors said.

Walk-in absentee voting trend strong

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is anticipating that 10,000 people will cast walk-in absentee ballots by Election Day.

Turnout at the elections board headquarters near downtown D.C. has grown in recent days, with about 1,250 absentee ballots cast Thursday, board spokesman Dan Murphy said. There was a steady stream of voters casting absentee ballots Friday as well.

Mr. Murphy said those voting in-person absentee must explain why they cannot vote at their polling places on Election Day.

The D.C. Elections Board is bracing for a record turnout Tuesday. Mr. Murphy said about 2,500 poll workers are expected, an increase of about 1,000 workers compared with previous presidential elections.



Deal reached on DNA regulations

Lawmakers have reached an agreement with Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration on wording in regulations for the state’s new DNA sample collection law.

Previous regulations angered black lawmakers, who said the guidelines failed to represent language in legislation reached after a compromise in the legislative session.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, initially wanted DNA taken at the time of arrest for violent crimes and burglary, but the bill was amended so that a sample only would be taken after someone is charged with a crime.

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus were angered when they found that wording in the regulations said a sample could be taken during the booking process.

The administration has agreed to take that language out, making it clear that a sample only could be taken after a person is officially charged with a crime.


Man gets life term for shooting wife

A Woodsboro man has been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for his guilty plea in the fatal shooting of his estranged wife.

Charles Hahn, 58, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last month. He was sentenced Thursday in Frederick County Circuit Court.

Hahn sobbed as his public defenders read his written apology for the slaying of his wife, Pamela, 45. She was shot three times at close range one year ago this week. Emergency dispatchers heard the gunfire after the woman called them for help.

During the sentencing hearing, Hahn’s grown son, Timothy, said his father “took the only thing I had.” He added that he hoped his father knew he would not be missed for what he did.



Charges dropped for county officials

Charges have been dropped against four Gloucester County supervisors who were accused of conducting public business in secret.

Substitute Judge Thomas Shadrick dismissed the misdemeanor charges against Teresa Altemus, Bobby Crewe, Michelle Ressler and Gregory Woodard at the special prosecutor’s request.

Prosecutor Catherine Dodson of Virginia Beach argued the charges should be dropped because of insufficient evidence presented to a special grand jury.

The four were indicted in July. They were accused of meeting secretly in late 2007 and deciding to fire the county administrator and county attorney and to hire a friend of Miss Altemus’ to fill the administrator position.

Sheriff Steve Gentry also was charged in the case but the charges later were dismissed.


40 crabbers punished over missing reports

More than 40 Virginia watermen are being punished for repeatedly violating requirements to report their catch of Chesapeake Bay crab.

Nine who did not show up at a regulatory hearing on the accusations had their commercial licenses suspended indefinitely.

Thirty-three who appeared at a Virginia Marine Resource hearing this week in Newport News were put on two years’ probation.

A senior fisheries manager for the commission said letters were sent to 165 commercial watermen in June, alerting them to missing monthly reports dating back to 2006.

Most supplied the missing information.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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