- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Von Brunn too ill to appear in court

The man accused of fatally shooting a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is still in no condition to appear in court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Waid said at a hearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday that a D.C. Department of Corrections doctor told her that James W. von Brunn, 88, would not be able to come to court this week.

A.J. Kramer, Mr. von Brunn’s defense attorney, said his client is able to understand him and respond; however, Mr. von Brunn cannot walk.

Although Ms. Waid said the doctor told her he was unsure whether Mr. von Brunn would be well enough to go to court next week, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola scheduled another hearing for July 10.

Mr. von Brunn faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Stephen T. Johns, a guard at the museum. Mr. von Brunn was shot in the face during the attack and remains at Greater Southeast Community Hospital.




Inmate’s death prompts lawsuit

The mother of an inmate found strangled in a jail cell filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Prince George’s County.

Attorneys filed the nearly $154 million lawsuit in Prince George’s County Circuit Court on behalf of Angela L. White, the mother of 19-year-old Ronnie White. It comes less than a month after state prosecutors said they would not likely charge anyone with murder, citing a lack of evidence.

Mr. White, who was accused of killing a police officer, was found dead in June 2008. The state medical examiner ruled he was strangled and declared the death a homicide.

Hassan Murphy, an attorney for Angela White, said people are not supposed to die under mysterious circumstances in correctional facilities.

County officials had no immediate comment.


Trial postponed in children’s deaths

The trial of a Rockville man accused of drowning his three young children in a Baltimore hotel bathtub was postponed until October.

Prosecutors asked for the delay in the trial of Mark Castillo, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. A spokesman for the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office said more time was needed for testing of evidence.

Mr. Castillo’s public defender, Natasha Moody, said she objected to the postponement and would have preferred to go to trial Wednesday.

Mr. Castillo has often behaved erratically in court and voiced displeasure with the slow pace of his case.

Police have said Mr. Castillo confessed to drowning his children. He had been involved in a custody battle with his former wife. Defense attorneys plan to argue that he is not criminally responsible for the killings.


Stimulus to help police serve warrants

Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to use federal economic recovery money to reduce a backlog of arrest warrants for violent offenders.

The governor said 15 grants totaling more than $1 million will be used to pay overtime for police officers in the state to get at least 4,000 offenders off the streets.

The initiative aims to serve outstanding warrants on people who are wanted for crimes of violence or people who have violent backgrounds and are wanted for crimes.

The O’Malley administration said tens of thousands of warrants are unserved throughout the state at any given time.


New E-ZPass fee kicks in July 1

The Maryland Transportation Authority is going to start charging E-ZPass customers a monthly fee to use the service.

The authority will start Wednesday charging customers $1.50 per month.

As part cost-recovery initiative approved in January by the authority’s governing body, E-ZPass customers will also pay $21 to $40 for new and replacement transponders. New customers will also pay a $25 prepaid deposit.

An administration fee for unpaid toll violations increases from $15 to $25.

The changes are part of an effort expected to generate $60 million more a year for the self-sustained agency as costs increase and toll traffic and revenue drop. In May, vehicles with more than two axles began paying higher tolls on several highways and bridges.


City to demolish ‘Highway to Nowhere’

Baltimore city officials say they plan to demolish part of a “highway to nowhere” that has divided a community for decades and expand a commuter rail parking lot.

The section of Route 40 built in the 1970s was originally planned to connect Interstates 70 and 83, but construction was stopped by community opposition. The demolition will clear two blocks of abutments built to support a highway bridge that now sit between two high-speed lanes of traffic.

The new parking lot will serve riders who use the West Baltimore MARC Train station, which is the center of a transit-oriented development plan city and state officials have been working on.



Nestle officials meet with workers

Nestle officials met with Danville workers Tuesday to review the finding that a sample of raw cookie dough collected at the plant tested positive for E. coli.

Nestle spokeswoman Roz O’Hearn said the meetings were to review the Food and Drug Administration’s investigation.

She said the side of the plant that made refrigerated cookie dough has been sanitized, and workers were putting equipment back together after the FDA’s inspection last week.

None of about 275 workers who made cookie dough has been laid off. Ms. O’Hearn said some were taking vacation days, others were on unpaid leave, and some were working on the side of the plant that makes pasta products.

Danville had the state’s highest metropolitan unemployment rate in May at 13 percent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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