- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 14, 2009



Teens indicted in dog burning

A Baltimore grand jury Friday indicted 17-year-old twins in the fatal burning of a dog.

Tremayne and Travers Johnson of Baltimore were indicted on five counts charging animal abuse and cruelty. They were being held without bail and will be arraigned Dec. 9.

Police said the two set a pit bull on fire on May 27. A police officer used her sweater to put out the flames, but the dog later died at an animal shelter in Pennsylvania.


Gift card ‘buyer’ testifies in trial

A housing official described his relationship with Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, and a former boyfriend’s employee testified about buying gift cards at the heart of the theft trial against her.

Prosecutors say Ms. Dixon used gift cards intended for the needy during personal shopping sprees, while the defense says the mayor believed they were intended for her use.

Housing official Edward Anthony and Doracon employee Randell Finney took the stand Friday. Mr. Finney testified he bought gift cards at the direction of his boss, Ms. Dixon’s boyfriend at the time, and the mayor told him by phone to give the cards to her driver.

Mr. Anthony, meanwhile, told jurors he has been in a relationship with Ms. Dixon for several years, but doesn’t remember receiving a gift card from her as prosecutors charged.


Sheriff denies rights violation

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins on Friday denied that two deputies violated the civil rights of a Salvadoran immigrant during an arrest last year.

Sheriff Jenkins responded to a federal lawsuit filed by New York-based LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the state civil-rights group Casa de Maryland.

He denied that the woman was targeted because she looked Hispanic.

Sheriff Jenkins said the deputies became suspicious of Roxana Orellana Santos because she tried to hide behind a shipping container after spotting their cruiser.

He said they learned while checking her identification that she was wanted on a deportation arrest warrant, so they turned her over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The woman won supervised release five weeks later and is fighting deportation.



Student hitchhiking before disappearance

Virginia State Police say they think a Virginia Tech student missing for nearly a month was hitchhiking after she left a Metallica concert in Charlottesville.

Police said Friday that witnesses saw a woman fitting the description of Morgan Dana Harrington, 20, of Roanoke on a bridge that crosses railroad tracks trying to get a ride.

Miss Harrington became separated from her friends after she left the concert arena Oct. 17 and was denied re-entry. She told them she would find a way home.

Police said they want to hear from anyone who might have loaned a cell phone to a woman fitting Miss Harrington’s description. They said she was wearing a distinctive necklace made of large crystal chain links.


Death-row inmate seeking a stay

The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to delay Tuesday’s scheduled execution of a Maryland man convicted of killing a Northern Virginia couple to impress a former stripper with whom he was obsessed.

Larry Bill Elliott, 60, a former Army counterintelligence worker, was convicted in Virginia in the 2001 shooting deaths of Dana Thrall, 25, and Robert Finch, 30.

Lawyers for Elliott said in court papers Friday that the execution should be stayed until the Supreme Court decides whether to consider the Hanover, Md., man’s appeal.

Prosecutors said Elliott was romantically involved with Rebecca Gragg, who was involved in a bitter child custody dispute with Finch. Elliott claims his trial lawyers were improperly restricted in questioning Ms. Gragg, who testified for the prosecution.

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