- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Trial postponed in Levy case

The trial of the man accused of killing Chandra Levy has been postponed until Oct. 4.

Prosecutors plan to file additional charges against Ingmar Guandique, who had been scheduled to stand trial for her death on first-degree-murder and other charges in January.

Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he could not discuss the new charges because they involve a grand jury.

Guandique is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for attacking two women at knifepoint.



2 sentenced in drug-dealing plot

Two men were sentenced Monday for plotting to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

Otis Harris, 36, of the District, was sentenced to more than 23 years in prison, and Jerry Bannister, 38, of Indian Head, was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison.

According to their guilty pleas, the two men conspired with others to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Bannister sold and distributed drugs in Charles County. Harris sold and distributed drugs and numerous firearms in the District, Virginia and Maryland.

A kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds.


Dixon jurors are ‘making progress’

Jurors in the theft trial of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon recessed again on Monday without reaching a verdict.

The jury left at about 4:40 p.m. after sending a note to the judge saying they had not completed deliberating but were “making progress.”

It was the jury’s third day of deliberations. Jurors have deliberated about 18 hours during that time. They will resume Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors say Ms. Dixon used gift cards intended for the needy on personal shopping sprees. The defense says the mayor’s then-boyfriend anonymously gave Ms. Dixon gift cards for her own use, and she thought gift cards from another developer came from her boyfriend. She’s also accused of taking cards from a holiday charity event run by the city.


New penalties for poaching violations

Maryland’s fisheries service has proposed a new system of penalties for commercial poaching and other natural-resource violations.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it created the system and increased penalties because several convictions are currently required before even a minor suspension is possible.

If the proposed penalties are approved, violations will have points assigned to them based on their seriousness. Repeat offenders face increased penalties, and so do those who violate laws protecting certain species.

There are also proposed provisions for automatic suspensions with certain violations.

Public comment will be accepted starting Dec. 18 and ending Jan. 19.



1 in 3 Va. homicides are domestic-related

The Virginia Department of Health issued a report on Monday that said about one-third of the homicides that occurred in the state between 1999 and 2007 were domestic-related.

In the report, the agency said males were more likely to die in what it called the “crossfire” of intimate partner violence. Females were more likely to be killed by an intimate partner.

The findings were based on an examination of 1,232 domestic-related homicides that occurred during the nine-year period.

According to the report, about 56 percent of such homicides involved the use of a firearm. Sharp instruments such as knives were used in 16.4 percent of domestic-related homicides.


Activist’s trespass charge on hold

A trespassing charge against the leader of a Virginia liberal activist group will be dropped if he stays out of trouble for six months and stays away from Anthem insurance offices.

Virginia Organizing Project executive director Joe Szakos had his day in court Monday.

Four months ago, Mr. Szakos was arrested after entering an Anthem building in Henrico County and asking to speak to executives. About 60 protesters remained outside. They were upset that Anthem had raised the organization’s insurance premium while spending money to lobby against health care reform.

General District Court Judge Neil Steverson ruled on the trespassing charge after an hourlong trial.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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