- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Evidence causes stench in courtroom

Evidence from the home of Banita Jacks, accused of killing her four daughters, caused a foul odor when presented in court Monday.

The decomposing bodies of Miss Jacks’ four girls — ages 5 to 17 — were found by U.S. marshals serving an eviction notice at her home in Southeast in January 2008. In an indictment, a grand jury said Miss Jacks’ oldest daughter had been stabbed and the others strangled. Miss Jacks has pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated first-degree murder.

Police on Monday showed pictures of the girls when they were found in the home. They also brought to court boxes with more than 100 pieces of evidence that when opened, caused a stench in the courtroom.



Court rules board handles slots dispute

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the State Board of Contract Appeals has jurisdiction over a dispute over Laurel Racing’s rejected slot machine bid and that it’s premature for the courts to get involved before the board acts.

An Anne Arundel County Circuit judge upheld the slot machine commission’s rejection of the license earlier this year, when Laurel Racing tried to have its bid reinstated despite failing to put up a $28.5 million licensing fee.

The Court of Appeals decision sends the matter back to the lower court with instructions to dismiss the case.


Silver Spring man gets prison term

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said Amadu Jalloh, 28, of Silver Spring was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

According to the plea agreement, Jalloh obtained numerous U.S. Treasury checks and personal checks stolen from the mail from June 2005 through November 2006. Prosecutors said Jalloh then used the names and other identifying information to impersonate the check recipients at bank branches in Maryland.

Prosecutors said six fraudulent accounts were opened to cash the checks, which totaled $295,453. The scheme involved at least 22 victims from Maryland and New Jersey.


Officer identified in shooting

Anne Arundel County police have identified an officer who shot an Arnold man threatening to hit another officer with a chair.

Police said Doyle Holquist is a four-year veteran assigned to the patrol services bureau. He and another officer went to a 50-year-old man’s home in the 1000 block of Deep Creek Avenue on July 12 after the man’s wife was treated for unspecified injuries. Anne Arundel Medical Center officials asked police to go to the home.

Police said the man became belligerent, told officers to leave and hit them. That’s when police said the man picked up a chair, raised it toward one of the policemen and Officer Holquist shot the man. The man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening.


2nd boy dies from fire injuries

Prince George’s County fire officials said a 7-year-old boy has died from injuries he suffered in an apartment fire last week. Jai Farrell died Sunday in a D.C. hospital. His brother, Jordan, 5, died Friday.

Firefighters rescued the boys Friday afternoon after responding to a fire at the children’s first-floor apartment. Their father tried to rescue the boys before firefighters arrived. The fire was caused by unattended cooking and was ruled accidental.


Another manatee spotted in Bay

The National Aquarium in Baltimore said a manatee has been spotted near Havre de Grace, and aquarium and Coast Guard officials are urging boaters to be careful not to harm the manatee if they spot it.

Although manatees are infrequent visitors to the Chesapeake Bay, one wandered into the Bay in the mid-1990s, was trapped and airlifted back to Florida when scientists became concerned he wouldn’t make it back on his own before the waters chilled in the fall. That manatee, nicknamed Chessie, was outfitted with a transmitter, and his travels up and down the East Coast were followed for years.

Aquarium officials said they are working with federal officials in Florida, where the marine mammals are normally found, to identify the manatee spotted over the weekend.


Man gets 18 years for kidnapping

A federal judge Monday sentenced William Cordell Johnson, 38, of Port Republic to 18 years in prison after he was convicted of kidnapping a Maryland bank manager and her two children before robbing the bank where she worked.

Prosecutors said Johnson - wearing camouflage and a ski mask - used a gun Sept. 24 to force the woman and her children, 5 and 1, from their home to go to the bank in California, Md., and withdraw $169,900. While she was getting the money, prosecutors said Johnson held her son hostage.

Johnson and Joseph Franklin Brown, 35, were arrested in Raleigh, N.C. Brown has pleaded guilty to bank robbery and weapons charges and will be sentenced in September.



Tech families, victims oppose gun measure

Some of the survivors and families of the victims of the deadly Virginia Tech shootings are appealing to Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, Virginia Democrats, to reject a proposed national standard for carrying concealed weapons.

In a full-page ad in Monday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, about 30 families and others urged the two senators to vote against the so-called Thune concealed carry amendment.

Sponsored by Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, the amendment would allow people licensed to carry concealed weapons in their home state to legally carry their weapons in other states.

The ad contends the amendment would allow residents from states with weak laws on concealed weapons to bring their handguns into Virginia.

Tech student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people before committing suicide April 16, 2007.


McLean woman dies of gunshot wounds

Hillary E. Bradford, 36, who was shot last week in a domestic dispute that led to a nearly 24-hour standoff with Fairfax County police, died Friday, Fairfax County police said.

Authorities have said John Valentini, 44, the father of Miss Bradford’s 8-year-old son, shot her outside his home in the Pimmit Hills neighborhood Tuesday night. The man then went inside the house, and police surrounded the home. He fatally shot himself Wednesday evening as police tried to enter the house with a remote-controlled robot after losing communication with him.

Miss Bradford’s death is the seventh homicide in Fairfax County this year.


8th ship leaves the Ghost Fleet

The U.S. Department of Transportation says the submarine rescue ship Ortolan left the James River Reserve Fleet at 9:50 a.m. Monday and is headed to Esco Marine Inc. of Brownsville, Texas, where it will be recycled. The journey is expected to take about two weeks.

Since 2001, the Maritime Administration has sent rusting hulks from the fleet to salvage yards or converted them to artificial reefs. The fleet is located off Fort Eustis in Newport News.

Virginia officials have pushed for the sale of the fleet, fearful a storm could spew oil and asbestos from the retired vessels.


Feds send team on uranium incident

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent a special inspection team to assess an incident involving uranium at Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s operation in Lynchburg. The operation handles highly enriched uranium used in nuclear fuel.

The commission said Monday that the four-member team will spend about a week reviewing factors that led to the buildup of enriched uranium last week.

The commission said a saw used to cut fuel components discharged oil containing a small amount of highly enriched uranium into a container.

The incident prompted the company to go into alert status for five hours, the commission said. An alert is the lowest emergency classification for operations such as the one in Lynchburg.


Ship catches fire while being scrapped

Residual fuel is suspected in a fire that broke out on a ship being cut up for scrap metal at Bay Bridge Enterprises.

Chesapeake Fire Department Capt. Sam Giulisano said that the fire occurred Monday morning and that firefighters brought the blaze under control and no injuries were reported. He said officials believe the blaze was caused by residual fuel in the deck area.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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