- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Gag order issued in shooting case

ST. JOHNS | An 8-year-old boy charged in the shooting deaths of his father and another man appeared in handcuffs at a court hearing, drawing tears from some in the audience, and the judge slapped a gag order on the shocking case.

While friends and neighbors disputed a suggestion that the boy had been abused, the judge on Monday proclaimed the gag order necessary to prevent “loose-cannon pronouncements.”

The boy, a third-grader, has been charged as a juvenile with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and the father’s co-worker, Timothy Romans, 39.

During the hearing Monday, the boy sat restlessly next to his mother, fidgeting, tapping his fingers on the table, and swiveling and rocking in his chair. His mother declined to comment.

Judge Michael Roca gave defense attorneys until Friday to find an expert to evaluate the boy’s competency or agree to one suggested by the prosecutors.


Deputies: Don’t drink while carrying guns

LOS ANGELES | The sheriff of Los Angeles County plans to prohibit his off-duty deputies from carrying their guns while drinking because some of them have been accused in recent years of firing weapons while intoxicated.

Sheriff Lee Baca said there has been a disturbing rise in alcohol-related misbehavior among his deputies.

Since 2004, more than a dozen deputies have been accused of brandishing or shooting a gun while under the influence of alcohol. More than 60 have been arrested this year on alcohol-related charges, most for driving under the influence and most of them armed at the time.

The deputies’ union opposes the restriction.


DENVER | A 14-year-old boy calmly walked into Montrose High School Tuesday morning, grabbed a girl from behind and slit her throat in front of dozens of classmates.

The sophomore girl, Mallory Haulman, was in serious condition at a local hospital, where she underwent several hours of surgery and is now recovering.

The suspect was arrested shortly after the attack near the high school, authorities said.

The teen suspect is not a student of the high school, and the motive was not known, said Kathi Kinkel, a spokeswoman for the police department.

School was closed for the day.


SEAL submersible catches fire

HONOLULU | Firefighters extinguished a blaze on a SEAL submersible that was undergoing maintenance in a shore-side facility at Pearl Harbor, Navy officials said Monday.

The Naval Special Warfare Command said that no injuries were reported.

The fire started late Sunday, and federal firefighters worked until early Monday pouring water onto the battery-powered vessel to cool it.

The amount of damage to the $272 million Advanced SEAL Delivery System submersible wasn’t available.

The submersible was undergoing routine maintenance when the battery fire erupted, forcing evacuation of a building at Pearl Harbor, San Diego-based Cmdr. Greg Geisen said.


Man’s body found in paper bale

TWIN FALLS | Workers at a recycling plant found a man’s body inside a 1,500-pound bale of paper, and investigators are trying to find out the man’s identity and how he got there.

The body was found at Hamilton Manufacturing Inc. in Twin Falls, but investigators said the paper bale came from the Boise area, more than 100 miles northwest.

Police Sgt. Abe Blount in Garden City, near Boise, said the male victim was likely in his 50s and was wearing clothing consistent with a homeless person.

The Ada County coroner’s office in Boise scheduled an autopsy for Wednesday.


Bankrupt resort owes $343 million

BILLINGS | Court documents show the exclusive Yellowstone Club resort in Montana owes at least $343 million to creditors such as banks and local contractors.

The residential club for the ultra-rich filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday. The court filing says tight credit markets made it difficult to raise money to pay off debts and make repairs to the resort. The club also wants court approval of a $4.5 million loan to keep the resort open.

Critics have accused the club’s founders, Tim and Edra Blixseth, of going on a spending spree as the luxury real estate market stagnated. That included the purchase of at least four foreign estates and fleets of luxury jets, boats and vehicles.


Man who killed 11 women dies

ROCHESTER | Serial killer Arthur Shawcross, who was serving life in prison for strangling 11 women in the Rochester area, died Monday at an Albany hospital. He was 63.

Shawcross was taken to the hospital after complaining of leg pain earlier in the day at the Sullivan Correctional Facility, a Corrections Department spokesman said Tuesday. The cause of death is under investigation.

Shawcross’ victims, most of them prostitutes, were killed from March 1988 to January 1990. At the time, he was on parole after serving 15 years for killing two children in Watertown, N.Y., in 1972.

Shawcross was convicted of killing 10 of the women in December 1990. Three months later, he pleaded guilty to strangling a woman whose body was found a year earlier.


Mormons give gays hope for new laws

SALT LAKE CITY | Gay rights activists see opportunities for their cause in Utah thanks to Mormon church officials. The officials strongly supported California’s proposition denying same-sex couples the right to marry but said they did not object to granting those couples other rights.

The advocacy group Equality Utah is asking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support bills that will be submitted to the Legislature in support of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Mormon support - especially in the form of campaign contributions - was an important factor in the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which rejected a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.

In a statement issued after the approval of the proposition, church officials said they do “not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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