- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009



Council aide’s body found in harbor

Baltimore police say the body of a D.C. Council member’s aide was found Tuesday morning in the Inner Harbor.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said 30-year-old Desi Deschaine’s body was found in the water at the marina where he was last seen Sunday.

Mr. Guglielmi said Mr. Deschaine’s parents identified the body, but police were still waiting for a fingerprint match. He said Mr. Deschaine was from Bristol, Conn., but had lived in the District in recent years.

Mr. Guglielmi said Mr. Deschaine, an aide to D.C. Council member Jack Evans, visited Baltimore on Sunday to go boating. He said Mr. Deschaine had been drinking and was last seen about 10:30 p.m. Sunday at the Baltimore Marine Center at Lighthouse Point.

Mr. Guglielmi says there was no sign of foul play, and police expect the medical examiner will rule the death an accidental drowning.

D.C. Council members paused for a moment of silence Tuesday morning in honor of Mr. Deschaine.


Sect members ask to represent selves

Two members of a religious sect have told a Baltimore judge they want to represent themselves at their upcoming trial for the starvation death of a toddler.

Queen Antoinette and Trevia Williams are two of four members of a now-defunct religious group who are accused of denying food and water to 1-year-old Javon Thompson after the boy refused to say “Amen” after meals.

The four were scheduled to go to trial Tuesday, but the trial was postponed because the attorney for another sect member had a scheduling conflict.

Prosecutors asked Baltimore Circuit Judge John Addison Howard either to appoint attorneys to represent the women or to find that they had waived their right to counsel.


Coach is fired after alcohol party

A Walkersville High School softball coach said he was terminated for violating a school alcohol policy.

Coach Brad Young said a couple of parents brought beer to the annual postseason team cookout at his home last month.

Frederick County Public School rules prohibit alcohol at any school function. But Mr. Young, in his fifth year as head softball coach, said he didn’t know that what happened would be considered a violation of the policy.

First-year junior varsity head coach Danny Cleveland said the school system also relieved him of his coaching duties, but his full-time position at another high school was not affected.

Mr. Young said he’s appealing the decision, which bars him from coaching for three years.

A system spokeswoman said the matter was being investigated.


Violent haircut leads to $75,000 payout

A female inmate whose hair extensions were forcibly removed while in the Frederick County jail has received a $75,000 settlement.

The Frederick News-Post reported Tuesday that inmate Sherrelle Showell’s claim had been settled, citing documents it obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins told the News-Post that the settlement was appropriate and that officers used excessive force. He said Showell was handcuffed and placed in leg irons and a restraint chair, and that officers used pepper spray on her. He said her hair was cut “very close to the scalp.”

Removal of hair extensions is standard practice at the jail. But Sheriff Jenkins said the November 2007 incident with Showell was the only time extensions have been removed by force.


Arts get $900,000 in stimulus money

Maryland arts organizations are set to receive about $900,000 in federal economic stimulus money.

Twenty-nine groups were awarded $306,000 in Maryland Arts Employment Stabilization Program grants by the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development said the money is being used to preserve jobs in the arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts also awarded $600,000 in grants directly to 10 Maryland arts groups to preserve jobs.


Graham wants park named for Obama

A D.C. Council member Tuesday proposed naming a newly renovated park in Northwest after President Obama.

Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, introduced a bill to rename Girard Street Park as President Barack Hussein Obama Park.

Mr. Graham said residents celebrating the reopening of the park on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to rename the park in honor of the president.

Construction on the park, located at 14th and Girard streets Northwest in Columbia Heights, began in December. It now contains a rubberized basketball court surface, new game tables, new landscaping, two restrooms and a play fountain.

The renovations were funded with part of $4 million authored by Mr. Graham for parks and playgrounds along the 14th Street corridor.

The bill has been referred to the council’s Committee of the Whole.



2 men plead guilty in kidnapping plot

Two men pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal conspiracy charges in a plot to kidnap the wives of wealthy men in the Roanoke area and hold them for ransom.

U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley said Mohamed Hussein Guhad, 20, and Anthony Eugene Boyd-Muse, 18, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court.

Two co-defendants are scheduled to plead guilty Friday.

Prosecutors said the defendants drove through Roanoke County neighborhoods to identify houses where they thought wealthy people lived, then would research intended targets on the Internet.

The men were arrested after a thwarted attempt to kidnap a woman on April 9.

Guhad and Boyd-Muse face a maximum term of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled Oct. 8.


Jury deadlocks in ‘88 murder case

An Albemarle County jury deadlocked Tuesday on whether to convict a Gordonsville man charged with killing a convenience store owner in 1988.

After deliberating 13 hours, the jury deadlocked 6-6 in the trial of Alvin Lee Morris.

Morris, 68, was charged with first-degree murder, robbery and using a firearm in a felony in the slaying of Roger Shifflett. Authorities say Mr. Shifflett was robbed and fatally shot outside the former Southwind Grocery. Mr. Morris later married the victim’s widow.

After jurors informed Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins that they couldn’t reach a verdict, Judge Higgins released them and scheduled an Aug. 3 hearing for Mr. Morris, who will remain free on bond until the hearing.

Mr. Morris was arrested last year after DNA tests conducted on cigarette butts found at the scene matched his DNA.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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