- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 25, 2009



Suspect shot in standoff

Hagerstown police said a fugitive was shot and two deputy U.S. marshals were injured during a standoff at a house on the city’s west side.

Police spokesman Sgt. Johnny Murray said the man’s injuries from the incident Friday were not thought to be life threatening.

One deputy U.S. marshal appeared to have a broken leg, Sgt. Murray said.

Sgt. Paul Kifer told The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail that a second federal marshal sustained a minor injury, also possibly a leg injury.

Sgt. Murray said the suspect was shot at least once while authorities were serving a warrant at the home.


Victims’ families sue state, drivers

The families of three men killed in a 2007 crash on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge are suing a Maryland state agency and several drivers for $19 million.

James Hewitt Ingle and Randall and Jonathan Orff died, and five people were injured, in May 2007 when a trailer behind an SUV became disconnected and caused several crashes.

The Ingle and Orff families are suing the Maryland Transportation Authority, the SUV driver, the trailer owner and two truck drivers and their employers.

Attorney Paul Bekman said his clients are suing the state in Anne Arundel County Court because the authority knew accidents had happened before during two-way traffic on one span of the bridge without a barrier. Officials have said two-way traffic was not a factor in the accident.


N.Y. man bought knife after deaths

A Baltimore County Police report says William Parente bought a knife from a Towson store after he killed his wife and two daughters in a hotel room.

Baltimore County Police released the report Friday afternoon. A statement from police said the Manhattan lawyer bought a knife at a nearby Crate and Barrel store after killing his wife, Betsy, 58, and daughters Catherine, 11, and Stephanie, 19.

The police report says a hotel manager found Mr. Parente’s body on the floor of his room at the Sheraton Baltimore North.

Police also released the first 911 call from the incident. In it a hotel employee says, “We’ve got a dead body in one of our rooms,” and tells the operator he will not go farther into the room because of what he saw.


Regents keep tuition freeze

The Board of Regents has voted to continue a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students at University System of Maryland campuses for a fourth year.

The freeze approved Thursday does not apply to out-of-state or graduate students or students at professional schools, and undergraduate fees will still increase.

Tuition varies at the system’s campuses, but tuition at the College Park campus will remain $6,556 a year.

After the vote, Gov. Martin O’Malley said the state cannot afford to freeze tuition indefinitely but he pledged to make future increases affordable. Mr. O’Malley set aside $16 million in the state budget to negate a planned 4 percent tuition increase this fall.


Mourners say goodbye at funeral

Scores of mourners in cars formed a solemn procession from a hilltop church to a Middletown cemetery after the funeral of five family members slain in a murder-suicide last week.

The private service for Christopher Wood, Francie Billotti-Wood and their three young children was held Friday at the Holy Family Catholic Community Church.

As a church bell tolled, the procession led by two police motorcycles and three hearses proceeded to a cemetery near the center of the small Western Maryland town of 2,900.

Investigators found that Mr. Wood, 34, was $450,000 in debt and was struggling with depression and his management job at CSX Corp. Police said he shot his wife and children as they slept and then shot himself.


Justice sues city in bias case

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a suit contending that the process in Baltimore for starting group homes for substance abusers is discriminatory.

The suit announced Friday against the city of Baltimore says that the zoning code’s burdensome process for substance-abuse treatment facilities discriminates against individuals with disabilities.

Officials say other comparable facilities don’t go through the process that requires city council and neighborhood association approval.

City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, said she is disappointed that the Justice Department filed suit. She said protecting neighborhoods and those with disabilities are not mutually exclusive goals.



Driver pleads to noose assault

A truck driver who made deliveries to the Pentagon has pleaded guilty to assaulting a black contractor with a noose on Pentagon grounds.

William Michael King, 50, of Lusby, Md., pleaded guilty Friday to assault and violating the civil rights of his victim in federal court in Alexandria.

The attack occurred in 2006, according to court records. King admitted that while making a delivery to the Pentagon, he constructed a noose from nylon rope and placed it around the neck of a black pipe fitter who was working there as a contractor. King tightened the noose and dragged the man into a storage trailer where he issued a threat in vulgar language.

King later claimed he was joking. He will be sentenced in July.


Eight charged in student’s hazing

Eight people face charges in the off-campus hazing of a Virginia State University student.

University officials said six of the suspects are students at the school and members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. Each has been charged by university police with hazing so as to cause bodily injury.

Two other suspects who are not Virginia State students are charged with malicious wounding.

All eight suspects were arraigned Thursday in Petersburg General District Court. A hearing is set for June 19.

Virginia State spokesman Tom Reed said the university will hold the suspects accountable.

Details of the Feb. 10 incident had not been released. Both VSU and the fraternity have anti-hazing policies.


Man sentenced in cockfight probe

A man accused of bribing a former Page County sheriff will spend three years on probation for conspiring to commit money laundering.

U.S. District Court Judge Glen Conrad also scolded Albert Taylor, 67, during Thursday’s sentencing in Harrisonburg. Judge Conrad told the Stanley resident that actions such as his destroy people’s confidence in government.

Taylor was indicted in September 2007 following a raid at a cockfighting pit known as Little Boxwood near Stanley.

Taylor pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He admitted that he paid a $500 bribe that was eventually deposited into former Sheriff Daniel Presgraves’ election campaign account.

Mr. Presgraves resigned as sheriff Feb. 24. His federal court trial on nearly two dozen charges is scheduled Sept. 16.


Shelter harbors deadly dog virus

Rundown conditions at Virginia Beach’s animal shelter have allowed a deadly virus to spread and forced the euthanization of 24 dogs.

Cracks in the floors and walls and porous surfaces can trap parvo and make the shelter hard to disinfect. Parvo is spread through feces.

Officials said the cinderblock-and-concrete shelter, built in 1974, should be replaced, but the city lacks the estimated $20 million to build a new one.

The outbreak started in mid-February when the shelter housed a stray dog that later died from parvo. The virus spread, and 24 other dogs that either tested positive for the virus or were suspected of being infected were euthanized.

There are 96 dogs at the shelter now, 33 of which are in quarantine to see if they develop parvo symptoms.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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