- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009



Hyattsville man guilty in office fire

Federal prosecutors say a Hyattsville man has pleaded guilty to setting a probation office building on fire.

Harry Easterday, 28, was charged in the Jan. 26, 2008, fire on the first floor of a building where the U.S. Probation Office was located. He pleaded guilty Tuesday and will be sentenced in June.

Authorities said Easterday broke into the building and started the fire, which was extinguished by a sprinkler system. Only minor damage was done.

Easterday was on probation at the time of the fire and a U.S. Probation officer assigned to that office was supervising Easterday's probation.


2 indicted in plot to steal stamps

A federal grand jury has indicted two men in a plot to steal more than $682,000 worth of stamps from the Postal Service.

The grand jury indicted Marvin Foster, 54, of Rosedale, and Kyle Mathias, 23, of Joppa, on Tuesday.

The indictment states Mr. Foster was a window clerk at the Elkridge Post Office. Prosecutors said he stole packages of stamps valued at $840 each and gave them to Mr. Mathias and others to sell.

Prosecutors said Mr. Mathias sold the stamps on eBay.


Academy names dean, provost

The Naval Academy has named a University of Wisconsin official as its academic dean and provost.

Andrew Phillips will replace William Miller as dean and provost in July. Last year, Mr. Miller announced he would retire at the end of this school year.

Mr. Phillips is the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.

He will be responsible for the academy's academic program for all 4,300 midshipmen and overseeing 560 faculty members. He was an assistant professor of computer science at the academy from 1988 to 1998.

The secretary of the Navy confirmed Mr. Phillips' appointment April 2.



Ex-SEAL trainee's confession eyed

A defense lawyer urged an appeals court Tuesday to free a former Navy SEAL trainee convicted of killing a vacationing college student in Virginia, arguing that another former trainee told the truth when he changed his story to take the blame.

The lawyer for Dustin Turner told a three-judge panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals that no rational judge or jury would have found his client guilty had they heard the other trainee's admission that he alone killed Jennifer Evans in 1995.

A local judge in June ruled that co-defendant Billy Joe Brown was credible when he said that he didn't have Turner's help when he strangled the Emory University student who was visiting Virginia Beach. The ruling sent Turner's request for exoneration to the appeals court.

Turner's attorney, David Hargett, argued Tuesday that Virginia Beach Circuit Judge Frederick Lowe considered that Brown had changed his story but still found the latest version credible in the “assertion that he alone killed Miss Evans, and Dustin Turner played no role.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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