- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 21, 2009

Terror plot ringleader gets 13 years in prison

MIAMI | The ringleader of a group of men convicted of plotting to destroy Chicago’s Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices has been sentenced to 13 1/2 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard issued the sentence Friday in Miami for Narseal Batiste, 35. Prosecutors sought the maximum 70-year sentence.

Four other men convicted along with Batiste of terror-related charges in May were sent to prison but got less time than prosecutors sought.

The men were arrested in 2006 and accused of plotting attacks with an FBI informant posing as an al Qaeda operative. The conspiracy never progressed beyond talk.

Two other men were acquitted of similar charges.

Hearing set for Fort Hood suspect

SAN ANTONIO | An attorney for the Army psychiatrist charged in the mass shooting at Fort Hood said his client will have his first court hearing in his hospital room on Saturday.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s civilian attorney, John Galligan, said Friday that military prosecutors notified him of their plans for the hearing at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Maj. Hasan has been recovering there since the Nov. 5 rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded. Maj. Hasan was shot by civilian members of Fort Hood’s police force.

The hearing is to determine whether Maj. Hasan will be placed in pretrial confinement, which usually means jail. But Mr. Galligan said he’ll argue that Maj. Hasan should remain in intensive care because he is paralyzed and still needs hospital care.

Guilty plea in agent’s killing

SAN DIEGO | A 17-year-old Mexican immigrant has pleaded guilty in San Diego to murdering a Border Patrol agent who was shot eight times in July.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Christian Daniel Castro Alvarez entered the plea Friday in federal court. Prosecutors said the teen admitted entering the U.S. illegally from Mexico to rob a Border Patrol agent of government property.

Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was shot four times in the head the night of July 23 near Campo, east of San Diego. He was also shot once in the neck and three times in the torso.

Authorities said the defendant lured Mr. Rosas out of his car and struggled with him over a firearm.

Castro Alvarez faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 19.

One killed, 3 hurt in mobile home fire

PHOENIX | A 2-year-old boy dragged a 1-year-old Arizona girl Friday from a house fire that killed her mother and injured two other adults, authorities said.

Fire crews responding to the fire in the Pinal County community of Maricopa south of Phoenix found the girl’s mother, Michelle Mariano, 22, lying near a doorway of the mobile home, Maricopa Fire Department spokesman Brad Pitassi said. She was identified by sheriff’s spokeswoman Lt. Tamatha Villar.

Lt. Villar said officials think the boy is the girl’s brother but haven’t confirmed that.

Miss Mariano’s sister, Marion Mariano, 28, was also severely burned, authorities said, and she and the little girl were airlifted to Maricopa Medical Center’s burn unit in Phoenix.

The little girl had facial and torso burns covering nearly 40 percent of her body and Marion Mariano had burns over 70 percent of her body and was in extremely critical condition, Lt. Villar said.

A fourth victim received superficial injuries.

Stem-cell rule changes voted down

LINCOLN, Neb. | The University of Nebraska’s governing board on Friday voted down a proposal to restrict the school’s rules governing embryonic stem-cell research beyond what the federal government allows.

The eight-member Board of Regents voted 4-4, defeating the resolution that would have restricted stem-cell experiments to cell lines approved under President George W. Bush. President Obama removed government funding restrictions on new stem-cell lines earlier this year.

A majority of votes was needed for a proposal to pass.

Friday’s vote came 20 months after a state law was enacted prohibiting the use of state resources for creating or destroying embryos for research. That law had been a compromise between abortion opponents and University of Nebraska researchers in which abortion foes agreed not to push for further legislation if certain conditions were met.

School: Missionary student killed abroad

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. | School officials from a Tennessee university said a 20-year-old student doing missionary work in Micronesia was killed.

Southern Adventist University, a Seventh-day Adventist university near Chattanooga, posted a message online about the death of Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott, who was found dead Wednesday after not returning from a morning jog on the island of Yap.

According to a statement provided to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, police are investigating the death as an apparent murder. No cause of death has been listed.

Miss Wolcott was a junior liberal arts education major from Laneview, Va.

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