- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008


Missing child’s mother sued

ORLANDO | A woman has filed a lawsuit claiming a missing Florida girl’s mother has accused her of kidnapping the child.

Casey Anthony said she last saw her 3-year-old daughter, Caylee, in June with a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez.

Attorney John Morgan said he represents a woman with that name who says she has never met Casey Anthony. Miss Gonzalez filed a defamation lawsuit against Miss Anthony on Wednesday in Orlando.

Todd Black, a spokesman for Miss Anthony’s attorney, said this isn’t the same Zenaida Gonzalez and called the lawsuit frivolous.

Authorities don’t believe Miss Anthony’s story and she remains a “person of interest” in the disappearance.

She has been charged with child neglect, making false statements and obstruction.


Officials shut down error-prone crime lab

DETROIT | Officials have shut down the Detroit police crime lab because of errors found in evidence from shooting cases.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Thursday that Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. and Police Chief James Barren had closed the lab.

Miss Worthy said Michigan State Police have found erroneous or false findings in 10 percent of 200 random cases. She said the lab was temporarily closed this spring after errors were found in evidence from a double slaying.

The crime lab operation will be turned over to state police. Chief Barren said the lab’s commander will be removed and its 33 officers reassigned.

Miss Worthy said past cases where lab findings were used will be reviewed.


State condemns cottages after Gustav

BAY ST. LOUIS | In Donnell Landtroop’s state-supplied cottage, mold grows on the walls and dried mud coats the floor, the foul remnants of Gustav, the second hurricane in three years to leave her family homeless.

The Labor Day storm ruined dozens of cottages like hers in southern Mississippi that were supposed to be a safer, sturdier alternative to government-issued trailers for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has condemned more than 230 of the cottages, leaving Mrs. Landtroop and other coastal Mississippi residents scrambling to find shelter in a storm-scarred region where affordable housing is scarce.

Mrs. Landtroop lived on her property in a FEMA trailer before the state replaced it with a cottage in November 2007.


Simpson, victim shake hands

LAS VEGAS | O.J. Simpson met in the courthouse hallway Thursday with one of the memorabilia dealers he is accused of robbing, and the two men said they were willing to let bygones be bygones.

“It was the moment, that’s all it was, one bad moment,” Simpson said after smiling, chatting and shaking hands with Bruce Fromong, who was the first person to testify against the former football star in the ongoing armed robbery-kidnapping trial.

“It was a set of events that happened and things just rolled and everything just happened,” Mr. Fromong said of the Sept. 13, 2007, hotel room confrontation in Las Vegas.


Man falls to death after stun-gun shock

NEW YORK | An officer appears to have violated police department guidelines when he used a Taser stun gun on a naked, distraught man teetering on a building ledge, officials said Thursday.

Inman Morales, 35, was pronounced dead at a hospital after his nearly 10-foot fall Wednesday. Police said he suffered serious head trauma when he hit the sidewalk.

Officers had radioed for an inflatable bag as the incident unfolded, but it had not yet arrived at the scene when Mr. Morales fell.

The lieutenant who directed the use of the stun gun was stripped of his gun and badge, and the officer who shocked Mr. Morales was placed on desk duty as the investigation continues.


Government gives live updates

SALT LAKE CITY | In Utah government, blogging is becoming so 2007.

The new cool for state agencies and politicians is quickly becoming Twitter, a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows people to post 140 character updates from the Internet and cell phones that can be read online or via text message.

Information about public hearings, upcoming events and how long lines are at the Capitol is increasingly being spread through Twitter to a small but growing audience.

Utah.gov began sending updates through Twitter in April and has posted more than 450 messages since then.

Utah is not alone in jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, but its state Web site has more followers on Twitter than many others at 245.


Relatives who assist in suicide can inherit

MADISON | The wife and daughter of a man who committed suicide can inherit his estate even if they assisted him in the act, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.

State law prohibits anyone who “intentionally kills” another from inheriting from the person, but Wisconsin’s District 4 Court of Appeals said that provision does not apply to those who assist in suicide.

Edward Schunk, 63, shot himself in 2006 in a cabin on his property while he was terminally ill with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. He left an estate valued at nearly $500,000.

The court ruled in favor of his wife, Linda, and youngest child, Megan Schunk, now 20, who were granted most of the estate under Mr. Schunk’s will.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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