- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

ALABAMA

Dad guilty of tossing children off bridge

MOBILE | A man was convicted of murder Thursday for throwing four children to their deaths from a coastal Alabama bridge last year. The jury needed only 40 minutes to reach a verdict.

Lam Luong, who emigrated from Vietnam as a teenager, presented no defense witnesses during the week’s proceedings and declined to speak at his trial in Mobile.

Prosecutors charged that Luong, 38, threw the four children - ages 4 months to 3 years - from the top of an 80-foot-high span of a Gulf Coast bridge on Jan. 7, 2008, after an argument with his common-law wife, Kieu Phan. Three of the children were his and the fourth was his wife’s with another man.

Luong was convicted of five counts of capital murder, one for each victim and one additionally because the victims were children. The jury is scheduled to return for the penalty phase Friday to recommend either death or life without parole.

CALIFORNIA

1 dead, 16 hurt in prison fight

SACRAMENTO | A riot at a California state prison has left one inmate dead and at least 16 others injured.

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Thursday that one inmate died of stab wounds inflicted by other prisoners.

Four inmates had been shot by guards, and two others suffered stab wounds. They are expected to survive. Several inmates were bruised by blunt projectiles fired by prison guards.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Department identified the dead inmate as Oscar Cruz, 23.

Miss Thornton said the fight began Wednesday afternoon at the maximum-security prison near Delano. She said the cause of the fight is under investigation.

No employees were injured.

FLORIDA

Astronauts install last of solar wings

CAPE CANAVERAL | Spacewalking astronauts installed the last set of solar wings at the International Space Station on Thursday, accomplishing the top job of Space Shuttle Discovery’s mission.

Steven Swanson and Richard Arnold II struggled with some cable connections but managed to hook up everything.

The next milestone will be Friday, when the folded solar wings are unfurled.

Manpower was needed inside and out to attach the $300 million segment to the space station. Mr. Swanson and Mr. Arnold helped their colleagues inside the shuttle-space station complex cautiously move the 31,000-pound, 45-foot-long girder into position with a robotic arm.

IOWA

Supervisor sentenced in illegals hiring

DES MOINES | A supervisor at an Iowa kosher slaughterhouse raided by immigration agents has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his part in hiring illegal immigrants.

Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, 36, was sentenced Thursday in Cedar Rapids federal court. He agreed to plead guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to hire illegal immigrants and one count of aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal immigrants.

The former supervisor at Postville’s Agriprocessors Inc. faced up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. He was arrested after a May raid during which 389 people were arrested.

His attorney, Corey Rubenstein, said the judge reduced the sentence because Guerrero-Espinoza didn’t “engage in the offense for profit.”

MONTANA

Fossil hunter to plead guilty

BILLINGS | A famed paleontologist who discovered the world’s best preserved dinosaur intends to plead guilty to stealing dinosaur bones from federal land.

The change of plea motion from Nathan Murphy follows state and federal investigations into suspected attempts to cash in on the lucrative fossil market.

Mr. Murphy, 51, is a self-taught dinosaur researcher who spent much of the past two decades searching for bones in central Montana’s Hell Creek formation, a rocky badlands once stalked by the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex. In 2000, he famously discovered a mummified, 77-million-year-old duck-billed hadrosaur known as Leonardo, considered the best preserved in the world.

Court documents filed Wednesday show that Mr. Murphy, after initially denying wrongdoing, has reached a plea deal on a federal charge that he stole bones from public land near Malta. He faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

NEW JERSEY

Crackdown eyed on cosmetic waxing

TRENTON | New Jersey is drawing the line when it comes to bikini waxing.

The state Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling is moving toward a ban on genital waxing after two women reported being injured in their quest for a smooth bikini line.

Both women were hospitalized for infections after so-called “Brazilian” bikini waxes; one of the women has filed a lawsuit, said Jeff Lamm, a spokesman for New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the cosmetology board.

Genital waxing technically has never been allowed - only the face, neck, abdomen, legs and arms are permitted - but because bare-it-all “Brazilians” weren’t specifically banned, state regulators haven’t enforced the law.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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