- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009


Not guilty plea in Levy case

A man serving a prison sentence for attacking women in Rock Creek Park pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing federal government intern Chandra Levy.

Ingmar Guandique, 27, was arraigned in D.C. Superior Court on six counts, including first-degree murder, kidnapping and attempted sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Guandique listened through a Spanish translator during the hearing. He kept his head down and remained silent, except to reply “si” when asked whether he understood the charges.

Judge Geoffrey Alprin set a jury trial, expected to last two weeks, for Jan. 27. Guandique’s public defender, Santha Sonenberg, asked the judge for more time to prepare, but Judge Alprin insisted on the date.

After the arraignment, Ms. Sonenberg and another defense attorney issued a statement calling the prosecution’s evidence “false and deficient.” Previously, they said the case against Guandique is largely based on the accounts of “jailhouse snitches” interviewed years after the slaying.

Miss Levy, of Modesto, Calif., disappeared in May 2001. Her remains were found in Rock Creek Park a year later. Guandique has been serving a 10-year sentence for two other attacks in the same park.

The case has been blamed for destroying the political career of former Rep. Gary Condit of California, who was romantically linked to Miss Levy. Authorities questioned the Democrat, who represented the Modesto district where Miss Levy grew up, but he was never a suspect.



Baking powder sparks investigation

Maryland State Police are investigating the mailing of a letter containing baking powder from Virginia to Annapolis.

Police said an employee at the Maryland District Court Administration building opened a letter with white powder inside about 9 a.m. Wednesday. The letter was opened in a room for sorting mail for the District Court.

The building was evacuated while troopers, hazardous materials teams and emergency crews examined the scene and decontaminated four people in the office where the letter was received.

Virginia police were assisting in the investigation because the letter was mailed from Richmond.

Employees were let back in the building at noon. No one was reported injured.


Clerics pressing anti-violence drive

The Archdiocese of Baltimore said Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant leaders met Wednesday with Baltimore city officials as part of a joint effort dedicated to reducing violence.

The religious leaders asked city officials to keep parks, recreation centers, libraries and pools open during the summer, when crime typically increases and children are not in school. They also encouraged churches, mosques and synagogues to designate locations for job sites for the city’s Youth Works program and other programs that provide havens for young people.

The clerics also designated June 19-21 as a Peace Sabbath, during which all churches, mosques and synagogues will pray for peace.


Nine arrested in boardwalk fight

Ocean City police said they charged nine people after a large fight that occurred over the weekend on the boardwalk.

Officers tried to break up an argument Saturday morning, but police said Marlon Lee Ennis, 24, of Salisbury continued to act disorderly and resisted arrest.

That’s when police said Mary Elizabeth Elzey, 21, of Baltimore assaulted the officers and tried to keep them from arresting Mr. Ennis. She was arrested, too.

Police said that during the incident several more fights broke out on the boardwalk and more than 40 Ocean City police officers, units from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police were called to the scene.

Seven more people ranging in age from 17 to 32 were arrested.


Rats found loyal to neighborhoods

Rats are loyal to their neighborhoods, a new study finds.

The Baltimore study, appearing this week in the journal Molecular Ecology, found that rats rarely venture more than a block from home.

To find out why rat numbers have not changed despite decades of extermination efforts, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health trapped nearly 300 rats in 11 areas and tested them to see how they were related.

They found that east side and west side rats separated by a city waterway were not related and that rats live in neighborhoods not much longer than the average city alley.

The researchers said studying rat migration may shed light on how they spread disease and help eradication efforts.


Beach resort posts big holiday weekend

Memorial Day weekend was a good time to go “down the ocean.”

Ocean City’s Department of Tourism said the long weekend drew the biggest crowd to the Maryland resort since 1993 - at least 270,000 people.

The department said good weather and lower gasoline prices brought the masses back to Ocean City. Visitors came from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Ocean City counted at least 278,000 visitors over Memorial Day weekend in 1993. Last year, the total was down to 226,000.


Woman found beaten to death

A woman found dead in her home succumbed to blunt force trauma to the head, police said.

Police said Wednesday that investigators served search warrants at several Allegany County locations and recovered some evidence, but made no arrests.

Family members found the body of Rose Marie Leyh, 42, on Tuesday afternoon. The state medical examiner’s office reported the cause of death on Wednesday.

The Cumberland Times-News reported that Ms. Leyh operated the Wild Mountain Cafe in Shops at Canal Place.



U.S. to survey livestock producers

Cattle, sheep and goat producers in Virginia will be surveyed in July as part of a national livestock inventory.

Herman Ellison with the National Agricultural Statistics Service said about 150 cattle producers and nearly 100 sheep and goat producers in Virginia will be contacted.

Mr. Ellison said the survey is being conducted to measure trends in beef and dairy cattle inventories, calf crop and cattle operations. It also will collect the number of breeding and market sheep and goats, lambs and kids born during the year.

Results of the survey will be published in the agency’s Sheep and Goat Report, scheduled to be released July 24, and the Cattle Report, scheduled to be released July 25.


Board: Regulate fertilizer tanks

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is urging Virginia to regulate fertilizer storage tanks along the Elizabeth River.

The recommendation is contained in a final report released Wednesday on a November tank collapse at Allied Terminals in Chesapeake that injured two workers.

The report said some of the nearly 2 million gallons of spilled fertilizer reached the Elizabeth River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

It blamed welding defects for the collapse.

Wednesday’s report stated that the commonwealth or local jurisdictions should regulate the tanks’ design, construction, maintenance and inspection.

Virginia is one of 33 states that do not regulate such tanks.


Students study slave overseer

A group of Washington & Lee University students is uncovering the story of a figure largely forgotten since the days of Thomas Jefferson.

As part of a six-week course, 13 students are excavating artifacts that illustrate the life of Edmund Bacon, who supervised Jefferson’s slaves from 1806 until 1822. The dig is in a forest about a mile east of Monticello.

Much of the previous archaeological research at Monticello and other historic estates has focused on the property owners and their slaves. Anthropology professor Alison Bell said not much is known about that era’s middle-class white workers.

Ms. Bell said the artifacts give clues to Bacon’s life. For example, bits of a porcelain vessel imported from China suggest that Bacon’s role as overseer afforded him small luxuries.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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