- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009



Execution date set for Powell

A Virginia man who bragged to prosecutors that he killed a teenage friend and tried to rape her after he thought he couldn’t get the death penalty for it is scheduled for execution in July.

The Prince William Circuit Court set a July 14 execution date for Paul Warner Powell.

Last month, a divided panel of Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals justices rejected Powell’s argument that he couldn’t be convicted twice for the same crime.

Powell was convicted of Stacie Reed’s capital murder in 2000, but the Virginia Supreme Court overturned that verdict, ruling that he could not be executed because prosecutors lacked evidence that he tried to either rape or rob the Manassas teenager.

Powell then wrote the taunting letter to prosecutors. He was convicted again in 2003.


Tech student found competent for trial

A doctoral student accused of killing a fellow student at a Virginia Tech coffee shop has been found competent to stand trial.

Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brad Finch said Thursday that a preliminary hearing is scheduled May 29 for Haiyang Zhu on a first-degree murder charge.

He is charged in the death of 22-year-old Xin Yang, who was beheaded in her dormitory cafe where she met Zhu for coffee Jan. 21.

Zhu was transferred to a state mental hospital in Petersburg for the evaluation but has been returned to the county jail.

Mr. Finch would not give details of the test results, and Zhu’s attorney did not immediately return a phone message.


Conservancy buys 4,000 acres near Bay

More than 4,000 acres of a vital Chesapeake Bay tributary will be permanently protected.

Gov. Tim Kaine announced Thursday that the state and the Nature Conservancy have purchased 4,188 acres of land within the Dragon Run watershed from the Hancock Timber Resource Group.

The Smithsonian Institution has called Dragon Run the “second most ecologically important watershed in the Chesapeake Bay.” It is home to 90 bird species and 55 species of fish.

The purchase brings the total land conservation under Mr. Kaine to 335,000 acres. His goal was to preserve 400,000 acres during his term.

All of the acreage acquired using state bonds will provide recreational opportunities for the public.



AWOL soldier from Va. arrested

Maryland State Police say a Virginia man stopped for not wearing a seat belt was an Army deserter.

Police say Douglas Dabney, 25, of Hopewell, Va., was stopped at about 11 a.m. Thursday and found to be operating his GMC box truck on a suspended driver’s license.

The trooper also found that Mr. Dabney had an outstanding warrant from the Defense Department for desertion.

Mr. Dabney was charged with license and seat belt violations and referred to the Provost Marshal’s office at Fort Detrick.


More swine flu cases reported

Maryland health officials say two more swine flu cases have been confirmed, bringing the state’s total to 37.

Health department spokeswoman Karen Black says all have either recovered or are recovering.

Nationwide, the swine flu has killed 10. Worldwide, the World Health Organization has raised its tally of swine flu cases to more than 11,000 with 85 deaths.


County loses $700,000 lawsuit

Attorneys for a petroleum vendor say a federal judge has awarded their client $700,000 in a breach-of-contract suit against Baltimore County.

Lawyers for Petroleum Traders Corp. said in a statement released Thursday that Baltimore County broke the contract in an attempt to save money on fuel costs.

Baltimore County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler confirmed the award and said the county planned to appeal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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