- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2009

Polygamist gets life for torturing children

MURRIETA, Calif. | A polygamist was sentenced Friday to seven consecutive life prison terms for torturing some of his 19 children and falsely imprisoning two of his three wives.

Mansa Musa Muhummed, 55, also was sentenced to additional terms totaling 16 years and eight months by Riverside County Superior Court Judge F. Paul Dickerson III.

“If his appeals are exhausted and he does not prevail, he will die in prison,” said Peter Morreale, Muhummed’s attorney.

Muhummed, who was born Richard Boddie, was convicted in June of seven counts of torture, two counts of false imprisonment and additional charges of child endangerment and spousal abuse. At his trial, several of Muhummed’s children and stepchildren testified against him, telling jurors they had been beaten, starved, strung up by their feet and forced to eat vomit and feces.

Muhummed was a convert to Islam, which permits polygamy and thus, Muhummed said, gave him the right to have multiple wives. He was arrested in 1999 after one of his wives slipped a 13-page letter to a postal service worker describing the abuse.

NASA delays launch of shuttle

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. | NASA managers on Friday delayed for a third time the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery, now scheduled to lift off Feb. 27 on an International Space Station construction mission.

Initially slated for launch this week, NASA wanted more time to review analysis and test results of potentially troublesome valves needed to keep the shuttle’s fuel tank properly pressurized during the 8.5-minute ride into space.

“More time was needed to complete analysis and testing,” said Allard Beutel, a spokesman with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The shuttle will be carrying the last set of U.S.-built solar wing panels to bring the orbiting complex up to full power. The shuttle crew includes Japan’s Koichi Wakata, who will swap places with returning International Space Station flight engineer Sandra Magnus.

Mr. Wakata will be the first astronaut from Japan, one of 16 countries partnered in the project, to become a member of the live-aboard station crew.

Company defends hiring ex-mayor

DETROIT | The head of a computer software company defended the hiring of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as an account executive Friday, saying the felon is “uniquely qualified” to sell high-tech services in the health care field.

But Peter Karmanos of Compuware Corp. said Kilpatrick could be fired depending on the results of an ongoing investigation of corruption during his years at City Hall.

If the wrongdoing is “more than what’s come out he knows he’s done,” Mr. Karmanos told WJR-AM radio host Paul W. Smith. “But I think it’s worth a chance. If everything works out we’ll have a very talented person. If it doesn’t, well, it was a nice try.”

Kilpatrick is going to work for Covisint, a Compuware subsidiary in Dallas, Mr. Karmanos said. His family already is renting a home in Southlake, an affluent Dallas suburb.

The former mayor served 99 days in jail for obstruction of justice in a civil trial and assault on a pair of Wayne County investigators. He still needs court approval to transfer his probation to Texas.

Bess Truman papers made public

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. | Family papers detailing the private life of former first lady Bess Wallace Truman were released Friday, with no apparent bombshells about the wife of President Harry S. Truman in the more than 24,000 pages.

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum opened the family papers to mark Mrs. Truman’s 124th birth anniversary. The library obtained the papers after the death of the Trumans’ daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel, in January 2008.

About 1,600 of the papers once belonged to Mrs. Truman’s mother, Madge Gates Wallace. They apparently do not mention the 1903 suicide of her father, David Wallace.

The papers include ledgers detailing Mr. Truman’s personal finances while he was in office from 1945 to 1953. The ledgers include notations involving occasional personal payments made by the president to his younger sister, Mary Jane Truman - payments that became a financial embarrassment for the 33rd president.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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