- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2009



Two dead identified after 911 call

The two people found dead in an apartment near Annapolis after a 911 call from one victim were identified Wednesday by the Anne Arundel County police.

The victims’ names are Helen Clapsaddle, 43, and Michael Missimer, 39.

Police say Miss Clapsaddle called 911 before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, saying officers should come to their home in the 600 block of Admiral Court, where they would find two bodies.

When officers arrived minutes later, investigators say, Miss Clapsaddle had shot Mr. Missimer to death, then shot herself.

The couple was having financial and domestic problems, police said.


Officer demoted after chase

An Anne Arundel County police officer involved in a high-speed chase last year has accepted a demotion.

Max Weinstein, a former sergeant with 22 years in the department, took a “voluntary reduction” to corporal last week, lawyer Mark Howes said. He also agreed to be assigned to animal control.

The actions come over a May 21 police chase down Aris T. Allen Boulevard that left three officers injured.

Investigators want to determine why police didn’t disable the stolen vehicle after the chase and why a sawed-off shotgun inside the vehicle was left loaded.

Another police officer, Cpl. Gerald Smith, is preparing to fight 24 departmental charges against him in the chase.



State cuts catch of female blue crabs

Virginia has reduced the harvest of female blue crabs by 37 percent as part of an effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay’s crab population.

Preliminary data released this week shows 9.4 million pounds of female crabs were harvested from the Bay by Virginia watermen last year, compared with an average haul of 15 million pounds in the previous three years.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, both Democrats, had sought a 34 percent harvest reduction in both states so that more female crabs could survive and spawn.

Last year, the Commerce Department declared the crab fishery a federal disaster. Virginia and Maryland are splitting $20 million in disaster aid approved by Congress.

Jack Travelstead, Virginia’s director of fisheries, said harvest restrictions imposed in 2008 will continue when the 2009 season begins March 17.


Pastor pleads guilty to taking funds

A pastor faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to taking money from his former church.

Kenneth L. Montgomery pleaded guilty Tuesday in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to grand larceny and obtaining money or property by false pretenses. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 22.

Montgomery, 49, was accused of taking more than $100,000 from Hilltop Community Church in Virginia Beach.

In 2007, a Virginia Beach judge ordered Montgomery in a civil case to repay Hilltop more than $131,000. He resigned as pastor in spring 2007.


Senate panel passes noose-hanging ban

Those who attempt to intimidate others by hanging a noose on their property could be sent to prison for five years under a bill passed Wednesday by a Virginia Senate committee.

The Senate Courts Committee unanimously passed the bill by Sen. Mark Obenshain, Harrisonburg Republican. The legislation also includes hanging a noose on public property.

Prosecutors have asked that the law be brought in line with that of burning a cross, both symbols used to create fear within the black community.

In Rockingham County, prosecutors were only able to get a misdemeanor conviction out of a recent case of a man who hung a noose to intimidate a co-worker.


Homes sought for seized roosters

Thirty-one roosters seized in a cockfighting investigation could be euthanized if the Bedford County animal shelter can’t find new homes for them.

A Maryland-based sanctuary has taken eight roosters, animal shelter manager Scott Polinek said. Homes are being sought for the remaining birds.

The Bedford County sheriff’s office seized the roosters on Dec. 22. Avery Fitzgerald of Coleman Falls was charged with two felony counts of selling the birds for fighting purposes.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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