- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2009


Body recovered from Potomac

Metropolitan Police said a man’s body has been found in the Potomac River.

The department’s Harbor Patrol unit recovered the body about 9:30 a.m. Saturday near Chain Bridge Road. The remains were taken to the city’s chief medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.



Lightning strike suggested for fire

No one was hurt when a Silver Spring home was completely destroyed by fire early Sunday morning, WJLA-TV (Channel 7) reported.

Montgomery County firefighters responded to the fire at the home in the 2000 block of Lanier Drive about 5:30 a.m. after a neighbor called to report the fire. The two-story, single-family home was under heavy smoke and fire when firefighters arrived. It took 65 firefighters about 40 minutes to control the blaze.

No one was home at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported among the firefighters.

Officials said the cause of the fire was electrical in nature and was possibly caused by a lightning strike the night before. Officials think the hours of undetected burning caused the extensive damage that made the home a total loss.


Man, 43, accused of abusing minors

A Fruitland man is accused of coercing several minors to expose themselves and taking photos of them.

Russell Burnett, 43, is being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center and faces a variety of charges. Wicomico State’s Attorney Davis Ruark said more charges are possible and that there could be additional victims beyond the five who have come forward.

Court documents show Mr. Burnett purportedly coerced two girls, ages 11 and 8, to let him take partially nude photos of them. He is also accused of fondling the 11-year-old.

Mr. Burnett is accused of showing photos of the 11-year-old and other nude women to a 14-year-old boy.


Man convicted of burglary, murder

Prosecutors said a Montgomery County Circuit Court jury convicted a Hyattsville man on first-degree murder and other charges in the death of a woman during a string of home invasions.

A jury deliberated less than three hours before returning the verdicts Friday evening against 34-year-old Jose Garcia-Perlera.

Prosecutors said Garcia-Perlera was also convicted on four counts of first-degree burglary and four counts of false imprisonment.

Garcia-Perlera began a violent spree in September 2007 when he broke into the home of a 92-year-old Bethesda woman and hogtied her during the burglary, prosecutors said. Authorities said he then committed two similar attacks before beating to death 63-year-old Mary Havenstein at her home in September 2008. Garcia-Perlera faces life without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Aug. 13.


Ringleader sentenced in OxyContin scheme

The ringleader of a scheme to obtain OxyContin from pharmacies by using fake prescriptions has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Scott K. Gibson, 29, of Mechanicsville, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt after pleading guilty to conspiracy, making false statements and aggravated identity theft. Judge Peter J. Messitte also ordered Gibson to pay restitution of more than $25,000.

Prosecutors said Gibson led a conspiracy to use stolen patient information from a dentist’s office to fill out phony prescriptions. These were used to obtain OxyContin and oxycodone from pharmacies, which billed insurance companies.



Judge says proposal is not Jeffersonian

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals spoke out Sunday against legislation that would require more Virginians be admitted to state-supported universities.

Judge Wilkinson, a 1972 graduate of the University of Virginia’s law school and a former teacher there, said during the university’s commencement that requiring the school to admit more in-state students would run counter to the philosophy of school founder Thomas Jefferson.

By custom, almost 70 percent of U.Va. students are from Virginia, but some legislators have proposed requiring a higher-percentage of in-state students at the university and other state schools.

The university awarded nearly 6,300 degrees Sunday.


County sees millions in stimulus funds

Arlington County officials say they are expecting $19.3 million in federal stimulus money, which likely will be used for transportation projects and social programs.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has recommended using the funds to restore $10.3 million for a bridge and interchange project at Courthouse Road and Arlington Boulevard. The project’s funding was removed during last year’s state budget cuts.

Arlington County Board officials also have approved applications for $1.6 million to fund affordable housing initiatives and homelessness prevention programs. County leaders say they also will seek funds to help feed low-income senior citizens.


Man convicted of recliner murder

David Ray Worsham, 56, of Richmond, faces up to life in prison after being convicted of murder in the death of his mother.

He was convicted of first-degree murder Friday by Richmond Circuit Judge Bradley Cavedoy.

Authorities said Worsham strangled 83-year-old Victoria Worsham as she sat in a recliner in October. In a recorded confession, Worsham told police that his mother had criticized him for using cocaine.

Worsham is to be sentenced Aug. 6.


4 men charged over moonshine

A Chesapeake man and three from North Carolina have been charged in connection with purported moonshining activities, including transporting illegal whiskey from North Carolina into Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said Larry Parker, 57, of Chesapeake, faces 12 charges of sale of alcoholic beverages without a license, possessing and transporting untaxed whiskey and maintaining a common nuisance. Agents seized one vehicle and several containers of moonshine during Thursday’s arrest.

The three men arrested in Northampton County, N.C., face a total of 11 charges. North Carolina authorities didn’t release their names or the exact charges, according to the ABC.

ABC officials said the stills were in Johnston County, N.C., in the eastern part of the state.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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