- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2009


Official: Student was asphyxiated

NEW HAVEN | A Yale graduate student whose body was found hidden in a wall in her lab building was asphyxiated, the state’s chief medical examiner said Wednesday, hours after a “person of interest” was questioned and released.

Dr. Wayne Carver’s office released the results three days after the body of Annie Le, 24, was found in a Yale medical school research building. Dr. Carver had previously announced her death as a homicide.

The office said Miss Le’s death was caused by “traumatic asphyxia due to neck compression.”

That means the cause could include a choke hold or some other form of pressure-induced asphyxiation caused by a hand or an object, though authorities are not releasing details on the manner of her death.

Earlier Wednesday, police released a Yale animal research technician from custody after collecting DNA samples and questioning him in Miss Le’s killing. Raymond Clark III had been taken in Tuesday night from his apartment in Middletown, Conn., and was released to his attorney, New Haven police said.


Attack on reservist probed as hate crime

ATLANTA | A black female Army reservist said Wednesday she hasn’t been able to sleep since she was beaten by a white man in front of her 7-year-old daughter last week, and federal authorities said they were investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Tashawnea Hill was kicked and punched Sept. 9 as the attacker screamed racial slurs outside a Cracker Barrel in Morrow, about 15 miles southeast of Atlanta, police said. Troy D. West, 47, became enraged when Miss Hill told him to be careful after he nearly hit her daughter while opening the restaurant’s door, police said.

Miss Hill, taken to a hospital afterward, said she is still in shock.


Man, 90, seeks master’s degree

IDAHO FALLS | Clyde Wagnon retired 25 years ago and decided he didn’t like it.

So the 90-year-old Idaho Falls resident is going back to school, pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.

Mr. Wagnon’s first day of classes at Stevens-Henager College was Monday, the Post Register reported. Felicia Little, manager at the school’s College Education Center, said he’s the oldest student in the school.

But that’s not stopping Mr. Wagnon. The former real estate agent and mobile home salesman said he’s looking forward to graduating and finding a new career.


Union rejects cuts sought for sale

CHICAGO | Unionized workers in the Chicago Sun-Times’ newsroom have rejected demands for deep pay cuts and work-rule changes, putting at risk a planned sale of the financially struggling newspaper to an investment group.

STMG Holdings LLC, led by Chicago banker Jim Tyree, wants several concessions from the Sun-Times Media Group Inc.’s 18 unions, without which it will not go through with the deal to bid for the company in a bankruptcy auction.

Members of the Chicago Newspaper Guild were asked to approve for at least three years the temporary 15 percent wage cuts imposed this spring. Other demands included wiping out seniority rules and reducing severance guarantees. The union rejected those demands 83-22 Tuesday.

Sun-Times Media Chairman Jeremy Halbreich has told workers that a rejection would mean the end of the company.


Notre Dame sues ex-worker over tip

INDIANAPOLIS | A woman who worked catering events for the University of Notre Dame said it was her lucky day when the school tipped her $29,000 in her check, but now the university is suing to get back the money she said she’s already spent.

Sara Gaspar of Granger said in court documents filed this week that she “thought finally something wonderful had happened” in her life when the school paid her a $29,387 tip on April 17. She said in court documents that she called the school’s catering department three times about the payment, but didn’t hear back until she received a threatening call from the school in June.

Miss Gaspar said by that point, she had spent the money on a new car and bill payments.


Woman arrested in child spanking

CINCINNATI | A woman has been arrested for allegedly spanking another person’s 2-year-old son in a Cincinnati store, police said.

Police said the toddler said something that apparently annoyed Gloria Ballard inside a Salvation Army store on Tuesday. Police said she told the boy’s mother she didn’t know how to take care of the boy, put him over her knee, and spanked him three times.

Police said the two women didn’t know each other and that Miss Ballard, 44, wasn’t given permission to touch the child.


Man sentenced in sex tourism case

PHILADELPHIA | A wealthy Russian-American car exporter in Philadelphia has been sentenced to eight years in prison for procuring girls for sex from a St. Petersburg orphanage in Russia.

Andrew Mogilyansky received the maximum under terms of his “sex tourism” plea. Prosecutors said he raped one girl on her 14th birthday and a 13-year-old in her first sexual encounter.

A civil suit accuses the 39-year-old married man of helping finance an online child-sex ring and develop its Web site to attract international customers. Victims told authorities he had left them pained, depressed and unable to trust men.

But friends called the Columbia University graduate a brilliant man of high character, and a defense psychotherapist said he is not a sexual predator.


Appeal expected in Rebel garb ban

COLUMBIA | A teenager who sued a school district over the right to wear Confederate-themed clothing to school will appeal a ruling that sides with the district, her attorney said Wednesday.

“This is an imminently appealable decision,” said Kirk Lyons, an attorney for the Southern Legal Resource Center based in North Carolina. “I think we can get this reversed in the Fourth Circuit.”

In 2006, Mr. Lyons’ group filed a federal lawsuit against the Latta School District on behalf of Candice Hardwick, then a 15-year-old high school sophomore.

Attorneys argued that the teenager, who was forced to change clothes, turn her shirts inside-out and was suspended twice for Confederate-themed clothing in middle school, thought that a ban on wearing the Confederate emblem violated her right to free speech.

That notion was tossed out last week by a federal judge, who ruled that Miss Hardwick’s attorneys didn’t have enough evidence to succeed with their case.

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