- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 11, 2009


Accused shooter can’t make court

An attorney for the 88-year-old white supremacist accused of fatally shooting a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said his client is still not well enough to make it to court.

A.J. Kramer, a federal public defender, told a judge Friday that James von Brunn’s condition has not changed substantially. He said that when he visited Mr. von Brunn in the hospital this week, he was bedridden but able to hear him and talk sometimes.

Prosecutors say D.C. Department of Corrections doctors told them Mr. von Brunn might be able to be transported to court later this month. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson set another hearing for July 30.

Mr. von Brunn faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of museum guard Stephen T. Johns. Mr. von Brunn was shot in the face by other guards.



Shortfall could hit $700 million

Gov. Martin O’Malley said he’s evaluating budget cuts proposed by his Cabinet secretaries and working on a budget plan with those cuts to present to the Board of Public Works later this month.

Mr. O’Malley’s comments on Friday came after the legislature’s chief budget analyst warned that the shortfall could be as large as $700 million - twice as large as previous estimates.

Warren Deschenaux, the General Assembly’s chief fiscal analyst, said funds carried over from the last fiscal year are essentially wiped out. With another $400 million decline in tax receipts, the shortfall could total about $700 million.

The governor said he wants to avoid massive layoffs or hurting state employees in this economy, but some reorganization or displacement may be necessary.


Trial date set in children’s deaths

The murder trial for a mother accused of killing her two adopted daughters and storing their bodies in her freezer has been scheduled for November in Montgomery County.

Renee Bowman, 44, was indicted last month on murder and child abuse charges in the deaths of her two daughters and abuse of her surviving daughter. Miss Bowman also faces charges in Calvert County for the abuse of the surviving girl.

Prosecutors said Friday that her trial is set to begin Nov. 9 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. State’s Attorney John McCarthy and Deputy State’s Attorney John Maloney will prosecute the case.

Miss Bowman’s Calvert County trial is scheduled for Sept. 28.

Miss Bowman is accused of killing the two girls in Montgomery before moving to Calvert County.


7 face charges in stabbing death

Montgomery County authorities say seven men thought to belong to the Latin Kings gang are facing murder charges in the death of a man who was stabbed after catcalling at some women.

All seven had been charged with or suspected of attempted murder, but the victim has since died.

Edwin Umana, 21, was stabbed in his left temple and kicked on the ground Tuesday night by at least six of the men, according to the charging documents. Mr. Umana was put on life support but died Wednesday.

Authorities said Mr. Umana was walking near his Wheaton home and made comments to several women sitting on a porch. Police said a man came out of the residence and told Mr. Umana to leave the women alone, and other men joined the confrontation. They said that led to the assault.


State GOP told to repay Steele

Maryland elections officials have told the Maryland Republican Party that it must repay $77,500 that Michael S. Steele, now the national GOP chairman, transferred to it.

Letters obtained by the Baltimore Sun state that the Maryland State Board of Elections found that money transferred from Mr. Steele’s state campaign account to pay the Republican State Central Committee’s debts exceeded the legal limit. The violations turned up during a routine audit of political committees.

The committee must reimburse the former lieutenant governor’s campaign account and amend campaign finance reports dating back to 2002 in the next two weeks.

Most of the amount stems from legal fees incurred during a redistricting fight several years ago.

Mr. Steele’s attorney declined to comment.


Teen shot in fight at basketball court

An 18-year-old Columbia man was shot after a fight broke out on a basketball court.

Police said the teen had been playing basketball with a group of people on Cradlerock Way in Owen Brown village Thursday evening when a fight started.

The teen, whose name was not released, was shot during the fight and went to his home with friends, where they called 911 about 7:30 p.m.

Police said the teen was taken to Shock Trauma with non-life-threatening injuries.


Board approves sale of Rosecroft

The former owner of Rosecroft Raceway will pay more than $10 million to buy back the bankrupt harness track in Prince George’s County.

Kelley Rogers, president of track owner Cloverleaf Enterprises Inc., said the board of directors approved the sale to Greenbelt developer Mark Vogel late Wednesday.

Mr. Vogel won’t reveal an exact price yet, but he says a portion of the deal includes money for subsidizing live racing. He said he’s eager to reach an agreement with Maryland’s thoroughbred industry on Rosecroft’s right to simulcast and take bets on thoroughbred races.

Rosecroft stopped live racing last year, and simulcast betting is its only form of gambling revenue.

Cloverleaf filed for bankruptcy last month and the judge overseeing its case must approve the sale.


Airport seeks tower funds

Frederick city and county officials are seeking federal funding for an air traffic control tower at Frederick Municipal Airport.

The facility serves mainly small, private planes. Frederick Mayor Jeff Holtzinger told Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, at a meeting Monday that commercial aircraft avoid the airport for safety reasons because it lacks a tower.

The Frederick-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said many corporate aircraft operators prefer to fly into airports with towers.

Mr. Holtzinger said Frederick’s airport is Maryland’s second-busiest after Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.


Cecil slots casino nears final approval

Perryville’s mayor and town commissioners have approved the preliminary site plan for a slots casino.

The approval on Tuesday night brings the plan for a casino on a 30-acre parcel off Route 222 in Cecil County near Interstate 95 closer to reality.

Perryville is one of five spots in Maryland approved for slots gambling through a referendum last year.

Town Planner Mary Ann Skilling said officials want to eventually see the development of entertainment, retail and residential buildings in the area.

The Stewart and Associates-led project still must get final approval.



Congressman wants rest areas open

A Virginia congressman is asking Gov. Tim Kaine to reconsider plans to close 19 interstate rest areas this month.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, a Republican, said in a letter Friday that he’s concerned about the safety of motorists if the areas are closed.

He said fatigued long-haul truckers would be forced to drive extra miles before they could take a break.

Transportation officials struggling with a $2.6 billion budget shortfall expect closing the rest areas to save $9 million a year.

Mr. Wolf said the state needs a plan to pay for its transportation needs, and he urged the governor to take steps to remedy that.

He said he suggested in December that Mr. Kaine appoint a bipartisan commission to make recommendations on how to meet Virginia’s transportation needs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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