- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 26, 2009



Dogs search for man wanted in killings

Authorities searching for a man suspected of killing two of his supervisors at a posh resort are using dogs that specialize in finding human remains.

Bath County Sheriff Larry Norfleet said Wednesday that a number of dogs were searching for 59-year-old Beacher Ferrel Hackney.

No trace of Mr. Hackney has been found since he was seen going into a wooded area across from the Homestead Resort after the shootings in the resort’s kitchen Saturday night as guests dined nearby.

Officers from the U.S. Marshal Service joined the county police and Virginia State Police in Wednesday’s search.

Mr. Hackney is wanted in connection with the deaths of 60-year-old Ronnie Stinnett and 39-year-old Dwight Kerr. All three were members of the staff that does dishwashing, cleaning and trash collection.


Man sentenced for strip club arson

Federal officials say an Arizona man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting a fire at a D.C. strip club that seriously injured a club manager.

Vasile Graure, 38, of Phoenix was convicted in November on numerous charges in the assault and arson at the Good Guys Club in Northwest. He was sentenced on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Graure, a truck driver, became angry after he was kicked out of the club for photographing a dancer in November 2007. He returned and used gasoline and a lighter to set the fire.

A club manager received second- and third-degree burns to 90 percent of his body.



Senate shelves campaign reform

The president of the Maryland state Senate says it is unlikely a bill that would set up a public campaign-finance system will be approved this year.

Senators voted Wednesday to send legislation back to committee after a series of amendments and questions about whether they needed more time to study the bill.

The measure was sponsored by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Prince George’s County Sen. Paul Pinsky. Mr. Pinsky has sought public campaign financing for years, but Mr. Miller has typically opposed his efforts.

This year, they compromised. In return for public campaign financing, there would be increases in the contributions allowed for candidates who choose to go without public funds.

The measure could still return to the Senate floor, but Mr. Miller said he doubted that would happen


Hearing scheduled in case against mayor

Lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon are heading to court for a motion hearing in the theft, perjury and misconduct case against their client.

Thursday’s hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Mrs. Dixon is accused of stealing gift cards intended for needy families and lying about gifts from a developer. The developer, Ronald Lipscomb, is charged in a separate case with bribing City Council member Helen L. Holton.

All three cases have been specially assigned to retired Howard County Circuit Judge Dennis Sweeney. Earlier this month, a judge set a Sept. 8 trial date for Mrs. Dixon.


Head of fraud scheme pleads guilty

Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Joy Jackson has pleaded guilty in a $35 million mortgage fraud scheme in the Washington area.

The Fort Washington woman oversaw the Lanham-based Metropolitan Money Store, which cheated lenders and homeowners facing foreclosure. Prosecutors say Mrs. Jackson’s plea on conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud on Wednesday showed she was responsible for nearly $17 million worth of fraud.

The scheme took advantage of homeowners and lenders by using straw buyers, fraudulently obtained loans and inflated real estate appraisals to strip equity from more than 100 homes from 2004 to 2007.

Prosecutors say Mrs. Jackson used money from the fraud to pay for furs, jewelry and her wedding, which cost more than $800,000.


School bus, truck collide in St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s County authorities said a school bus and a pickup truck collided in Callaway, injuring three students and the truck driver.

The county sheriff’s office said the accident occurred Wednesday morning at the intersection of Aster Road and Route 5. Officials said the bus carrying 18 students failed to yield the right of way, causing the truck to collide with it.

Three students were taken to a hospital. The driver of the truck, a 48-year-old man from Lusby, also was taken to a hospital. Officials would not comment on the severity of their injuries.

The bus driver, a 39-year-old man from Lexington Park, was taking students to Piney Point Elementary School.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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