- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 1, 2009


Judge won’t delay trial in Levy case

Prosecutors say they have provided more than 5,000 pages of evidence to attorneys of a man accused of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy.

At a hearing Friday, prosecutors told D.C. Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Alprin that they have provided the bulk of evidence in the case against Ingmar Guandique.

Miss Levy disappeared in May 2001 and her remains were found a year later in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington.

Defense attorneys say they still need to conduct interviews with at least 10 other people they described as possible suspects. They asked the judge to push back the January trial date, but Judge Alprin refused.

He set another status hearing for October.

Miss Levy was romantically linked to former Rep. Gary Condit. Authorities questioned the California Democrat about her disappearance, but he was never a suspect.

NTSB finishes tests of train equipment

The National Transportation Safety Board has completed its testing of Metro train-control equipment at the site of a fatal collision that occurred in June.

NTSB officials said Friday they have released the area between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations back to Metro officials.

They say that as part of the investigation, NTSB continues to examine components from the train-control system in Metro’s Landover lab and at its operations-control center.

Metro says it will now begin replacing track circuitry in the crash area, which is on the Red Line. The work is expected to take about a month.

Metro riders should continue to expect delays on the Red Line.



Brothers indicted in witness slaying

A grand jury on Friday indicted two Landover brothers in the slaying of a man who was a key witness in the killing of a prominent music engineer.

Prosecutors said the 10-count indictment of Rashadd Alexis, 19, and the 12-count indictment of his brother, Jamaal Alexis, 23, stems from the October murders of Bobby Ennels and Anthony Cash and the attempted murder of Frances Lammonse.

Authorities say Jamaal Alexis instructed his brother to kill Mr. Ennels, who was a witness to the killing of Raymond Brown, a prominent music engineer, in 2006. Mr. Ennels had agreed to testify against Jamaal Alexis in the slaying case.

Prosecutors say this will be the first time a new witness intimidation law is used in Prince George’s County. If convicted, the brothers could face the death penalty.


NTSB: Pilot knew of foul weather

Federal investigators said Friday the pilot of a helicopter that crashed on a Western Maryland freeway last week, killing all four aboard, had been warned of the foul weather minutes before taking off.

The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board does not state a cause of the mountaintop crash.

It indicates that less than 15 minutes before leaving Hagerstown Regional Airport for Frederick on the night of July 23, pilot Jeffrey Nordaas spoke by phone with an acquaintance living near the base of South Mountain who warned of fog, wind and lightning.

The report said Mr. Nordaas said he would wait for better weather, but took off shortly thereafter and crashed on South Mountain.


Blind youths drive high-tech vehicle

Several blind youths have test driven a new high-tech vehicle designed by Virginia Tech engineering students.

Twenty blind people took turns maneuvering the retrofitted dune buggy Friday in a parking lot at the University of Maryland. The test drive capped a National Federation for the Blind summer camp for 200 blind youths from across the country.

Virginia Tech was the only university to take on a 2004 challenge from the federation to build a vehicle that could let blind people drive.

The buggy they designed that was tested Friday uses a laser sensor to figure out the road ahead. A special vibrating vest worn by drivers communicates speed and warns when to stop. And a headset relays voice commands signaling which way to turn.


16-year-old gets 18 months for escape

A 16-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday for his role in the violent escape of more than a dozen youths from a state-run juvenile detention center near Sabillasville in May.

The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office said Quran McClellan of Baltimore pleaded guilty to first-degree escape from the Victor Cullen Center.

In return, prosecutors dropped 16 other charges including second-degree assault and burglary.

Six staff members were hurt during the escape of 14 youths on May 27.

Defense attorney Linda Koban said the incident reflected a program that was unstructured and insufficiently staffed.

Five juveniles have been charged as adults. Another who was 18 at the time pleaded guilty to second-degree escape on Wednesday.



License loss possible after child’s death

State regulators recommended Friday that a Richmond day care center lose its license because of the death of a toddler while in its care.

The recommendation will go to the Virginia Department of Social Services’ director of licensing, who will decide whether to revoke the license of Yellow Brick Road Day Care & Learning Center.

Thirteen-month-old Andrew Johnson died of environmental heat exposure July 6 after he was left in one of the day care’s vans for at least four hours.

Jeffrey Williams, with the Social Services central region office, said the agency’s investigation found that Yellow Brick’s staff members weren’t properly trained. Policies to make sure children were not left unattended weren’t followed.

Yellow Brick officials were not immediately available for comment Friday.


Judge to rule on coal plant case

A Richmond judge plans to rule next week after hearing arguments over air permits for a coal-burning power plant under construction in southwest Virginia.

The Southern Environmental Law Center argued Friday on behalf of environmental groups that the state Air Pollution Control Board erred in issuing permits for the Wise County plant being built by Dominion Virginia Power.

The center contends the permits do not adequately limit carbon dioxide and mercury. Its lawyer asked Circuit Judge Margaret Spencer to declare the permits invalid.

Lawyers for the state and Dominion Virginia Power said the board acted properly and legally.

Judge Spencer said she will rule by the end of next week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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