- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2009


Judge to order probe into missing evidence

A federal judge said Thursday that he’ll order an independent investigation into the apparent destruction of evidence in a lawsuit over mass arrests during 2002 protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he is tempted to refer the matter for a criminal investigation. However, he said he’ll hold off because he doesn’t want a criminal investigation to interfere with civil cases.

A retired judge who was asked by the city to investigate found that records appear to have been purged, but he couldn’t determine whether it was intentional.

Lawyers recently announced settlements in three lawsuits brought against the city by protesters. One lawsuit brought by four people who were working as journalists or legal observers remains.



Board approves ICC toll rates

The Maryland Transportation Authority board on Thursday approved toll rates for the Intercounty Connector that are among the nation’s highest.

The toll rates that reach as high as 35 cents per mile for two-axle vehicles depending on the time of day will be the highest in the D.C. area.

However, in response to complaints from the public, state officials said the board changed the proposed plan to lower rates for motorists who travel overnight to as low as 10 cents per mile.

The six-lane, 18.8-mile highway is under construction between Gaithersburg and Laurel.

The maximum toll for two-axle vehicles traveling the full length would be $6.15. Five-axle trucks would pay up to $36.85 to travel the highway’s full length each way during rush hours.


Trial date set in fatal hit-and-run

A trial date has been set for a man accused in the fatal hit-and-run of a Johns Hopkins University student.

Thomas Meighan, 39, of Elkridge, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment Thursday. A trial date was set for March 22. He is being held without bail.

Mr. Meighan is charged with automobile manslaughter, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury or death and other offenses.

He is charged in the death of Miriam Frankl, 20, a junior from the Chicago area who was struck by a pickup Oct. 16 near the Hopkins campus.


Hunters kill nearly 45,000 deer

Maryland wildlife managers said hunters killed about 44,800 deer during the two-week firearm season that ended Dec. 12.

The tally of 44,804 nearly matched last year’s total of 44,837.

The Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that the number of antlered deer killed declined about 2 percent from last year, while the number of antlerless deer taken rose about 1 percent.

Wildlife managers encourage the hunting of antlerless deer for population control because many of those animals are adult females.



Diamond salesman robbed in hotel lot

Robbers stole diamonds worth several hundred thousand dollars from a salesman getting out of his car in the Sheraton Hotel parking lot.

McLean police said the robbery happened about 8 p.m. Wednesday. Police said the man was getting out of his car when a sedan pulled up next to him. Three men were in the car. One got out, showed the salesman a gun and ordered him to lie on the ground.

The thieves, who were wearing ski masks or bandanas, found the diamonds and fled.


Gang member gets 40 years

A member of a Newport News gang that controlled neighborhoods through violence and intimidation was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.

Cordero B. Ellis was sentenced in U.S. District Court on charges of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to burn a police station at a Newport News apartment complex and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. The 22-year-old Newport News resident had pleaded guilty to the charges in September.

According to court documents, Ellis was a founding member of the gang known as the Dump Squad. He is among 11 people who were indicted in March on charges related to the Dump Squad’s activities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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