- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009



Repairman admits stealing from meters

A parking meter repairman pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $100,000 in coins over the course of a year.

William J. Fell, 61, of Stafford County, pleaded guilty in Alexandria Circuit Court to two counts of embezzling.

Authorities said Fell would drive around the city of Alexandria before his 4 a.m. shift and empty the meters into a large bag before resuming his normal workday.

His supervisor became suspicious when meter revenues failed to meet projections. A hidden camera recorded Fell emptying as many as 24 coin boxes a day. Each of the boxes can hold up to $80 in coins.

Fell will be sentenced in July.


Man dies in fight with installer

A 79-year-old man died after falling down in a confrontation with a Verizon technician outside his home.

Police said the Vienna man, whose name was not released, was not happy with the installation of a new service.

The Verizon employee left the home about 5 p.m. Wednesday. The man followed the technician and tried to block his van from leaving the driveway.

Vienna police said the man tried to reach inside the van and grab the steering wheel. It was then that he fell and suffered the injuries that caused his death.

Vienna police spokesman Bill Murray said the investigation is continuing but that nothing indicated that any charges would be filed against the Verizon worker.


Ruling won’t halt DNA testing program

Virginia’s one-of-a-kind post-conviction DNA testing program will continue despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that convicts have no constitutional right to the tests.

The court’s 5-4 ruling Thursday may have limited impact because Virginia, 46 other states and the federal government have laws that allow convicts some access to the evidence. In Virginia, those convicted of felonies can request testing if the evidence or test wasn’t available at conviction.

Virginia is testing DNA evidence in more than 1,000 cases in which someone was convicted from 1973 to 1988 and the evidence was saved in their file. The attorney general’s office said the program should not be affected by the ruling because it was voluntary.

Eleven people have been exonerated by DNA evidence in Virginia.


Historians oppose elimination of exam

Officials at some of Virginia’s historic attractions are voicing their opposition to a proposal to eliminate standardized history and social-science tests for third-grade students.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s president, Colin Campbell, is among those urging the Department of Education to keep the third-grade history Standards of Learning exam.

Dropping it would send the wrong message that history - American history in particular - isn’t a priority for elementary education, Mr. Campbell said.

Virginia Historical Society officials also said they oppose the measure.

The state Board of Education plans to vote next week on whether to drop the test, starting in the upcoming school year.



Mother indicted in girls’ deaths

A Maryland woman has been indicted on charges of killing two adopted daughters and storing their bodies in her freezer.

State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Renee Bowman, 43, will face murder and child abuse charges in the deaths of the two girls and abuse of her surviving daughter.

The case began in September when Ms. Bowman’s 7-year-old daughter jumped out a window and was found in their Calvert County neighborhood.

The family lived in Montgomery County between 2005 and 2007. Investigators think that was where Ms. Bowman killed the girls and that’s where a grand jury indicted her on those charges.

The girls were adopted in the District. Ms. Bowman continued collecting payments from a D.C. agency after their deaths.


Fire trainee’s family settles with county

Public records show that Frederick County has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the death of a firefighter trainee felled by heatstroke in 2002.

The Associated Press obtained the document Thursday through a Maryland Public Information Act request.

The county also agreed to install a plaque at its fire-and-rescue training center honoring Andrew Waybright.

The 23-year-old firefighter from Gettysburg, Pa., collapsed during an outdoor workout at the center near Frederick on July 2, 2002.

Parents James and Shirley Waybright claimed in a wrongful-death lawsuit that the supervising officer was negligent in failing to recognize their son’s symptoms and administer first aid.


Two shot near Metro station

Two people were shot in the leg near the Columbia Heights Metro station Thursday afternoon, D.C. police said.

Police spokeswoman Traci Hughes said the injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Police said the shooting happened about 3:15 p.m. near the intersection of 14th and Irving streets Northwest. The area includes several restaurants, including Five Guys. The bustling shopping center DC USA also is nearby.

Ms. Hughes said police do not have a suspect in custody.

D.C. officials said several roads in the area, along with the Metro station’s south entrance, were closed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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