- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

ALABAMA

Dad alters plea in bridge deaths

MOBILE | An Alabama man has withdrawn his guilty plea to capital murder charges in the deaths of his four children tossed from a coastal bridge last year.

Lam Luong, 38, pleaded guilty last week and told the judge that he wanted to be put to death. But court officials said he withdrew that plea Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.

The Vietnamese refugee apparently did not understand that Alabama law requires a trial in a capital murder case even with a guilty plea. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.



ILLINOIS

Not-guilty plea in church shooting

EDWARDSVILLE | An attorney for a man accused of gunning down an Illinois pastor and wounding two churchgoers with a knife entered a not guilty plea for his client in court.

Ronald Slemer entered the plea Tuesday on behalf of Terry Sedlacek. Mr. Slemer also asked for a jury trial.

Mr. Sedlacek is charged with murder and aggravated battery in Sunday’s attack at the First Baptist Church in Maryville.

Authorities said Mr. Sedlacek killed the Rev. Fred Winters during an early service as about 150 congregants watched in horror. Mr. Sedlacek received knife wounds while being subdued by two church members who were also injured.

Saint Louis University Hospital spokeswoman Laura Keller said Mr. Sedlacek and one of the men who subdued him were in fair condition Wednesday.

MASSACHUSETTS

Doctor accused of faking studies

BOSTON | A Massachusetts anesthesiologist has been accused of fabricating results in nearly two dozen published studies that claimed to show after-surgery benefits from painkillers including Vioxx and Celebrex.

Dr. Scott Reuben, who is on leave from Springfield’s Baystate Medical Center, studied the use of more than one type of drug to relieve pain and speed recovery after surgery.

Baystate said a routine review in May found that some of Dr. Reuben’s research was not approved by an internal hospital review board. Further investigation found 21 papers published in anesthesiology journals between 1996 and 2008 in which Dr. Reuben made up some or all data.

“Doctor Reuben deeply regrets that this happened,” said his attorney, Ingrid Martin.

MICHIGAN

Mayoral hopeful lied about degrees

DETROIT | Detroit mayoral candidate and former NBA great Dave Bing said that he does not have a master’s degree and that he received his undergraduate degree 29 years later than he had claimed.

The former Detroit Pistons star told the Associated Press on Wednesday that his auto industry work was like having an MBA. Mr. Bing has touted the degree while urging athletes to stay in school but says he didn’t intend to imply that he had earned an MBA in school.

Mr. Bing also admitted receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics from Syracuse University in 1995. He previously claimed to have completed school in 1966 but actually was short of credits.

Mr. Bing, 65, faces incumbent Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. in a runoff special election May 5.

NEBRASKA

Dealership officials, 81 cars missing

OMAHA | Scores of new cars vanished from a western Nebraska car dealership and a prosecutor said Wednesday that some had turned up in other states and warrants had been issued for three missing executives.

The 81 Fords and Toyotas taken from Legacy Auto Sales in Scottsbluff were valued at about $2.5 million.

The Fords were put on transporter trucks and taken away Saturday and the Toyotas were shipped out late Monday, John Childress, Scotts Bluff County’s chief deputy county attorney, said Wednesday.

He said seven of the cars were found Wednesday at an auto auction in Utah. Others were found in Arizona, but he didn’t know how many.

Mr. Childress said arrest warrants had been issued for owner Allen Patch, controller Rachel Fait and general manager Rick Covello, who are wanted on suspicion of theft.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Anti-kindergarten lawsuit endorsed

HUDSON | Voters in a southern New Hampshire town are supporting their school board’s legal fight against free public kindergarten.

Voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin Tuesday night to allow the Hudson school board to proceed with its lawsuit against the state to block the program. Lawyers and outside groups said they think the lawsuit filed last year is the only one of its kind nationally.

The lawsuit claims a 2007 state law mandating kindergarten in all school districts by this fall is unconstitutional because the state isn’t providing enough money for it.

A court hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for next week. School officials said they will offer kindergarten if they lose their legal battle.

NORTH CAROLINA

Army to review troops’ treatment

FORT BRAGG | The general in charge of the Army’s more than 9,000 wounded soldiers is ordering a review of how the ones at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg are being punished for minor violations.

Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek is asking the Army surgeon general to look at all discipline that has been taken against soldiers in the base’s Warrior Transition unit to make sure each case was fair.

Gen. Cheek’s comments come a day after the Associated Press reported that soldiers in the unit are being disciplined three times as often as those in the base’s main tenant, the 82nd Airborne Division. The AP also found that discipline rates vary widely across the Warrior Transition system.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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