- The Washington Times - Monday, September 14, 2009


Man killed by Metro train

Authorities said a Metrorail passenger was killed when he intentionally threw himself into the path of an oncoming train at the Gallery Place-Chinatown station on the Red Line.

Metro officials said the incident was reported at 7:58 a.m. Sunday. For several hours, service was suspended at the station and shuttle buses were available to help ease passengers’ problems. The train involved was headed for Shady Grove.

St. Alban’s rector elected Ga. bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on Saturday elected the Rev. Scott Benhase, rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church near Washington National Cathedral, as the 10th bishop of the diocese in southern Georgia.

Mr. Benhase was elected on a second ballot from a field of six nominees during the diocese’s 188th annual convention at the Dubose Porter Center, a business and training center in Dublin, Ga.

He will succeed Bishop Henry I. Louttit, who has served the diocese since January 1995. The ordination and consecration are set for Jan. 23, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Mr. Benhase, who graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, served congregations in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia before he was called to St. Alban’s in 2006. He is married to Kelly Jones Benhase; they have three children.

2 fatally shot in 2 incidents

Metropolitan Police are investigating two separate homicides in Northeast, including a triple shooting that took the life of a 16-year-old boy.

Police said officers found the teenager, Antonio Ward, suffering from a gunshot wound Saturday night in the 5000 block of Just Street Northeast. He died at the scene.

The other two victims in that shooting were taken to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds, and police reported both were in stable condition.

The second slaying happened early Sunday morning. Police said Jason Liser, 32, of Bowie, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the 4000 block of Minnesota Avenue Northeast. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Police haven’t released any details on possible suspects or motives.



Prosecutors want tough gang law

Many prosecutors in Maryland think 2009 is the year to beef up the state’s anti-gang law.

Several of the state’s top law enforcement officials are scheduled to meet this week with the House Judiciary Committee as part of a bid to craft tougher legislation.

Prosecutors say the current gang law is so watered-down that it’s virtually useless and that it’s too difficult under the current law to legally define a gang or its members.

Harford County prosecutors tried to use the law soon after it went into effect in 2007, but a judge threw out the charges.

Joseph Cassilly, state’s attorney of Harford, said the law is “unworkable” and prosecutors haven’t tried to use it since those early experiences.


State audit questions city pension plan

Baltimore has no money set aside for future payments to members of its oldest fire and police pension system, a state audit says, but city officials say no one will miss a payment.

The report says the city has no money put aside for future benefits under the pension plan for firefighters and police hired before 1947.

City Finance Director Edward J. Gallagher said the pre-1947 plan has always been a “pay-as-you-go” system and that not many people are still on the plan.

In June, the administration of Mayor Sheila Dixon sponsored legislation to stop future cost-of-living increases for retired police and firefighters as one way to control the ballooning annual cost of the overall $1.6 billion public safety pension systems.



Governor announces completed easement

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced Sunday that 11,363 acres of open land in the Roanoke area are protected from development under the largest publicly held conservation easement in the state.

About half of the acreage in the Carvins Cove Natural Reserve was placed under easement in 2008, the other half last week. Mr. Kaine said land preservationists, state agencies and local officials have been working on the agreement for 15 years.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Western Virginia Land Trust hold the easement. The property is owned by the City of Roanoke and surrounds Carvins Cove Reservoir, the largest source of public drinking water for several municipalities in the Roanoke Valley.


Defense attorneys want trial moved

Attorneys for 18-year-old Xavier Pinckney of Dale City want to move a trial out of Prince William County. Mr. Pinckney was charged in a December double homicide.

Defense attorneys said in a motion that inflammatory news coverage of the case would make it hard to find an impartial jury in the county. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 28.

Mr. Pinckney is charged in the Dec. 19 shooting deaths of 39-year-old Jean Smith and her son, James, 19. He faces four counts of capital murder, two counts of first-degree murder, five counts of use or display of a firearm in commission of a felony and one count each of robbery and statutory burglary. He is accused of shooting the Smiths during a burglary at their Dale City home.


Gifts to university down 13.4 percent

The University of Virginia is reporting a second year of declining giving.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the university raised $248 million. That is down 13.4 percent from the previous fiscal year, according to a report Friday to the university’s Board of Visitors, meeting in Charlottesville.

The Campaign for the University of Virginia ended the fiscal year at $1.9 billion, which includes more than $200 million in projected future support. The campaign aims to raise $3 billion by the end of 2011.

Despite the sluggish economy, the university said it is committed to that goal.


Toddler drowns in ornamental pond

A toddler drowned in an ornamental fish pond in the backyard of a home in Burke on Sunday afternoon, Fairfax County police said.

Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said the 14-month-old boy apparently fell into the pond. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Mrs. Caldwell said police were trying to determine how the child ended up in the water.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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