- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2009



Cigarette cited in fatal house fire

A discarded cigarette is to blame for a blaze that killed two people in Bethesda, fire officials say.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said 79-year-old William Purcell and his 64-year-old wife, Patricia, died when their town house caught fire Sunday.

Mr. Piringer said Mr. Purcell’s 55-year-old daughter, Barbara, also lived in the home and was awakened by a smoke alarm. He said she tried to wake the others but was driven out by heat and smoke. She was not injured.

Mr. Piringer said damage was estimated at $700,000 to the house and its contents.


Two new zones prepare for BRAC

Sites in the city of Aberdeen and in Howard County have been added to a Maryland program to help build infrastructure for incoming military jobs.

Maryland is preparing for an influx of up to 60,000 jobs by 2015 as part of the military base realignment and closure process, which is also known as BRAC.

Under the BRAC Zones plan, the state would provide tax credits to encourage development.

Aberdeen’s zone includes the 800,000-square-foot Class A North Gate Business Park.

Howard County’s zone includes the 13-acre project called Savage Towne Centre.

The five other areas previously announced are in Baltimore, Odenton in Anne Arundel County, near Andrews Air Force Base, in historic Frederick and in the city of Laurel.


Principal charged in sex with girl

Maryland State Police have arrested a Queen Anne’s County principal in connection with having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Police say Lowell Litton, 39, of Sudlersville had an ongoing and inappropriate sexual relationship with the girl. Police began investigating him Sunday night after receiving reports of the relationship. Mr. Litton was arrested Monday on sex- offense and sex-abuse charges.

Four years ago, police said the girl met Mr. Litton before the two had several sexually oriented meetings in Maryland and Delaware.

Mr. Litton is the principal at Eastern Shore Junior Academy in Sudlersville. Police seized his computer and several documents at his home as part of the ongoing investigation.


Brother arrested in moving-car push

A Woodlawn man accused of pushing his sister out of a moving car onto the Baltimore Beltway has been arrested, Baltimore County police say.

Witnesses told police that Kareena Jeneya Hall, 30, and her 35-year-old brother were arguing as they traveled on the outer loop of Interstate 695 about 6:45 p.m. Sunday.

As the Toyota Camry approached the Security Boulevard Exit, police said Miss Hall’s brother pushed her onto highway without slowing.

Police spokesman Cpl. Mike Hill said Miss Hall was listed in critical condition at Shock Trauma on Monday.

Police went to Miss Hall’s home and saw a Camry pull up. Police said they determined that Miss Hall’s brother was driving when she was ejected.



Guilty plea entered for school threats

A Southwest Virginia man has pleaded guilty to referring to the Virginia Tech shootings in threats of violence at schools he posted online.

U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley said Monday that Allen Leon Sammons, 28, of Oakwood pleaded guilty last week to five counts of transmitting a threat across state lines. He faces up to 25 years in prison. No sentencing date was set.

Court documents say Sammons called universities elitist. He said in an e-mail to the Rice University admissions department that was why Seung-hui Cho “shot up VTech.” Cho killed 32 people and then himself in 2007.

In another e-mail to Rice, he said, “AK-47 on your campus for destroying lives.”

Court documents say Sammons went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to confront students he had threatened online but changed his mind.


Salon offers free haircuts

A Fairfax salon is offering free haircuts Tuesday. The promotion is aimed at people who are looking for work in these tough economic times, but it’s open to anyone.

The free cuts and styles were available at Alexandre de Paris salon Monday and will be available Tuesday on a first-come, first-served basis.

The salon is also collecting donations for Dress for Success, a nonprofit that assists underprivileged women entering the workforce.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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