- - Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Hostage standoff ends

SOUTH WINDSOR — A Connecticut man who held his ex-wife hostage for hours and then refused to leave their burning home has been taken away in an ambulance.

The woman is out safely.

Firefighters surrounding the burning home say Richard Shenkman was in custody and was taken away early Wednesday morning. There’s no immediate word from police or a description of Shenkman’s condition.

Shenkman kept police at bay for hours Tuesday. Police say he abducted his estranged wife outside her Hartford office. He missed a court hearing Tuesday morning related to the couple’s contentious divorce proceeding, which extended three years.

Police say Nancy Tyler left the house Tuesday evening, but several dozen gunshots were heard after police cut power to the neighborhood. The house soon ignited, and police urged Shenkman to get out.

Shenkman’s attorney, Hugh Keefe, had said he hoped for a peaceful outcome.


Rodney King police witness kills self

LOS ANGELES — A veteran Los Angeles police detective who testified at the Rodney King trial killed herself after walking into the lobby of a suburban sheriff’s station, authorities said Tuesday.

Detective Susan Clemmer, 41, was a gang narcotics officer who worked for the department for nearly 20 years, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. She was unmarried.

“She walked in with a box of personal items and placed it on the counter,” Mr. Whitmore said.

He declined to describe the items because they are part of the investigation into the 9 p.m. Monday shooting at the Santa Clarita station.

A pregnant deputy tried to help Detective Clemmer before the shooting, but Detective Clemmer wouldn’t talk to her, Mr. Whitmore said. A male deputy did have a conversation with Detective Clemmer.


Body found in river stolen from grave

STAMFORD — A body found in a New Jersey river this week belonged to a 2-year-old girl whose remains were apparently stolen from a grave in Connecticut, police said Tuesday.

Two men fishing in the Passaic River on Sunday afternoon in Clifton, N.J., found a girl’s body in a bag at the shoreline. An investigation led authorities to the grave of a girl who was buried in Stamford in 2007.

Authorities exhumed the grave and found an empty coffin.

Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin would not release the child’s identity Tuesday but said authorities think she was properly buried.


Professor loses bid to reclaim job

DENVER | A judge refused Tuesday to reinstate a University of Colorado professor who was fired on plagiarism charges after he likened some Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims to a Nazi leader.

If it stands, the ruling means Ward Churchill cannot return to the classroom even though a jury ruled in April that his firing was politically motivated.

Mr. Churchill wrote an essay after the 2001 terrorist attacks calling the World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns,” a reference to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi leader who orchestrated the Holocaust.

University officials were pressured to fire Mr. Churchill after that essay gained wide attention in 2005, but they concluded they couldn’t because of First Amendment protections.

However, they launched an investigation into the research behind his other writings, and in 2007 he was fired on the plagiarism charges and other research misconduct allegations. Mr. Churchill sued, and jurors ruled in his favor.

Under Colorado law, the decision on whether to reinstate Mr. Churchill was left up to Judge Larry J. Naves of Denver District Court.

Judge Naves ruled Tuesday that the decision by the university’s Board of Regents “occurred with sufficient procedural protections.” He also noted that jurors awarded Mr. Churchill only $1 in damages.


Deadline delayed for Globe bids

BOSTON — The Boston Globe’s owners reportedly have postponed a deadline for potential buyers of the newspaper to submit their initial bids.

The New York Times Co., which owns the Globe, had set a Wednesday deadline for nonbinding bids.

But the Globe reported Tuesday that Goldman Sachs & Co., the investment banking firm hired to manage the sale, has told interested parties they will be given more time to prepare offers for the Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

People briefed on the process who asked not to be identified told the newspaper that no new deadline has been set.


Jet executive pleads guilty in crash

NEWARK — An executive of a charter jet company involved in a crash at a small New Jersey airport in 2005 has pleaded guilty to fraud.

Joseph Singh of Boca Raton, Fla., admitted in federal court Tuesday that he used unqualified pilots to fly charter customers for Platinum Jet Management, based in Fort Lauderdale.

One of those pilots was flying a commuter plane that failed to take off and slammed into a warehouse at Teterboro Airport. About 20 people were hurt.

Singh faces up to five years when sentenced in October.


Murtha donor faces kickbacks charges

PITTSBURGH — The former chief executive for a defense contractor with ties to Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania was charged by federal prosecutors with taking about $200,000 in kickbacks from a subcontractor.

Richard S. Ianieri of Doylestown was charged in a one-count criminal information filed Monday in Pittsburgh. He is accused of accepting two kickbacks of about $100,000 each from a subcontractor, identified only as “K,” while he was an officer of Coherent Systems International Corp.

In an April 2006 news release, Mr. Murtha, a Democrat, announced that Coherent and Kuchera Defense Systems were working “virtually as one company” on 14 contracts worth $30 million to develop high-tech military gear.

Kuchera, which has given ten of thousands of dollars to Mr. Murtha’s campaign and political action committee, has been under scrutiny in recent months.

The company, owned by brothers William and Ronald Kuchera, has received $14.7 million in Murtha earmarks in the past two years. It and another company, Kuchera Industries Inc., received $53 million in federal contracts in this decade alone.


Gonzales to teach at Texas Tech

LUBBOCK — Alberto Gonzales, who resigned as U.S. attorney general two years ago, is coming to Texas Tech this fall to teach political science.

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance confirmed the hiring Tuesday.

A senior business assistant in Tech’s political science department, Dora Rodriguez, told the Austin American-Statesman that Mr. Gonzales will teach a “special topics” course on contemporary issues in the executive branch.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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