- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ARIZONA

Radar operator slain at highway

PHOENIX | Police say they have a suspect in custody in connection with the killing of a man who was operating a state police photo-radar unit along a highway.

Authorities did not immediately release any details Monday, but the Phoenix Police Department said it planned to give out more information later.

Police said the 51-year-old radar operator was shot Sunday evening and died in a hospital. He worked for RedFlex Traffic Systems Inc., which has a contract with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to operate photo-radar enforcement vehicles to identify speeders on state highways.

RedFlex took its 40 mobile photo-radar units out of service because of concern for the safety of its employees.

FLORIDA

11 nations begin training exercises

MAYPORT NAVAL STATION | Navies from the United States and 10 other countries launched two weeks of war exercises Monday off Florida’s Atlantic coast that will include training in combating piracy and drug smuggling.

Several Latin American countries, Canada and Germany are taking part in the 50-year-old UNITAS Gold, the Navy’s longest-running yearly exercise. Ships, submarines and aircraft are involved in the exercise, meant to foster naval cooperation in the Americas.

Sailors, Marines and other military forces will perform live-fire exercises, undersea warfare, helicopter and amphibious operations, among other training. More than 25 ships, four submarines, 6,500 sailors and 50 aircraft are taking part in the exercise, hosted by the U.S. Navy’s 4th Fleet, based at Mayport Naval Station just north of Jacksonville.

U.S. ships participating in the $7 million exercise include an amphibious transport dock ship, a guided-missile destroyer, two guided-missile frigates and a Coast Guard ship.

GEORGIA

Company attorneys say report faked

SAVANNAH | Attorneys for one of the nation’s largest sugar producers accused a whistleblower Monday of faking a report that he says he sent to company executives warning them of the dust hazard at a refinery days before a blast there killed 14 workers.

Lawyers defending Imperial Sugar in more than 30 lawsuits filed a motion in Chatham County State Court asking a judge to throw out the report and all testimony by Graham H. Graham because he “knowingly provided false testimony.” Mr. Graham was vice president of operations at the Texas company at the time of the explosion.

Company lawyers said computer forensics experts hired by Imperial Sugar determined that the report, which Mr. Graham says he e-mailed to top company executives the week of Jan. 20, 2008 - 17 days before the explosion - was actually generated three days after the blast. They said Mr. Graham never sent the document to anyone other than his wife.

“They’ve made a mistake,” Mr. Graham said Monday. “The allegations are wrong.”

Investigators determined that the Feb. 7, 2008, explosion at Imperial Sugar’s refinery in Port Wentworth was caused by airborne particles of sugar dust that ignited like gunpowder. Dozens of workers were injured.

LOUISIANA

2 students found dead

NEW ORLEANS | The bodies of two college students kidnapped over the weekend were found Monday inside an abandoned house in a section of New Orleans east of the Mississippi River.

The bodies of Fitzgerald Phillips and Calyisse Perkins, both 19, were found about 1:30 p.m. in the Gert Town section after police received an anonymous tip, Deputy Police Superintendent Marlon Defillo said. The two were students at Southern University at New Orleans. Police did not say how the victims died and released few details.

Police arrested a man earlier Monday in connection with the case after picking up six people who had been in the area, where a car owned by one of the victims was found. Kenneth Barnes, 22, was booked on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping, possession of stolen items and other crimes after investigators discovered property belonging to the victims, Mr. Defillo said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Suspect detained in Craigslist slaying

BOSTON | A 22-year-old man has been arrested in the killing in a luxury hotel last week of a woman who advertised massage services on Craigslist, the city’s police commissioner said.

Commissioner Ed Davis said Monday that Phil Markoff was arrested after being stopped in south of Boston on Interstate 95 in Walpole.

Commissioner Davis said authorities had the Boston University student under surveillance “for days” before arresting him.

Mr. Markoff is charged in connection with killing Julissa Brisman, 29, who was found dead Tuesday at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Police said the New York City woman advertised massage services on Craigslist and had a massage table set up in the room, where she was shot.

Mr. Markoff is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

NORTH CAROLINA

Bond denied Marine in murder case

JACKSONVILLE | An Onslow County District Court judge denied bond Monday for Cpl. Cesar Laurean, who fled to Mexico in January 2008 shortly before he was charged with killing a pregnant colleague.

Cpl. Laurean, 22, wore body armor under an orange jail jumpsuit as he appeared in court. His attorney, Dick McNeil, said after the hearing that he may try to get the trial moved to a different county because media coverage has been extensive. Another hearing is scheduled May 18.

Cpl. Laurean was extradited from Mexico on Friday to face a first-degree murder charge in the death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant.

Authorities said he fled shortly before Cpl. Lauterbach’s burned remains were found buried in his backyard in Jacksonville. Investigators believe she was killed the month before.

OHIO

Court asked to lift stay

CINCINNATI | The Justice Department is asking a federal appeals court to dismiss a stay of deportation for suspected death camp guard John Demjanjuk.

The government said in a brief filed in a federal appeals court Monday that Mr. Demjanjuk’s attorneys won the emergency stay last week by arguing that a motion before the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church had yet to be considered.

The board on Thursday denied Mr. Demjanjuk’s request to reopen the case.

The 89-year-old suburban Cleveland man is facing an arrest warrant in Germany that accuses him of working as a guard in 1943 at a death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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