- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 1, 2010

ARKANSAS

Evangelist loses phone privileges

TEXARKANA | An attorney says convicted evangelist Tony Alamo has had his telephone privileges suspended for more than 400 days for violating Federal Bureau of Prisons policy.

Alamo attorney Phillip Kuhn says the 75-year-old Alamo was trying to conduct business over the phone from the U.S. Penitentiary in Tucson, Ariz.

Fellow Alamo attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. says Alamo is appealing the disciplinary action.

Mr. Hall says the bureau of prisons should have made sure Alamo knew he is not allowed to run a business enterprise from inside the prison before the rule was enforced.

Alamo was convicted in 2009 on 10 counts of taking young girls across state lines for sex. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison.

CALIFORNIA

‘Tony’ the tiger pulled from moat

SAN FRANCISCO | ‘Tony’ the Siberian tiger is back on display at the San Francisco Zoo after being shot with tranquilizers and hauled out of a moat where he’d spent four nights.

Zoo officials say it’s not clear why Tony stayed in the moat. He’s in good health, although he’s 18 and a recent medical evaluation showed signs of senility.

Zoo officials decided on Monday that Tony could no longer stay in the dry moat he climbed into Thursday. The excrement was piling up and officials worried about a potential health hazard.

So with the help of firefighters, they hit the 360-pound tiger with tranquilizer darts, strapped him to a board and hauled him out with a pulley.

Siberian tigers have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years in the wild and 14 to 20 years in captivity.

COLORADO

Casino says prize message a mistake

DENVER | A Colorado woman who won $42.9 million off a penny bet in a slot machine had her dreams quickly dashed when the casino said the jackpot message was an error.

Now Colorado gaming authorities are testing the faulty machine while the state’s 39 casinos scramble to reassure gamblers.

Louise Chavez of Thornton got the jackpot message Friday on a machine at the Fortune Valley Casino in Central City. The top prize was listed as $251,000.

Two years ago, a penny machine at another Colorado casino told a player she’d won $164 million. Her correct prize should have been $6.60. That casino settled a lawsuit out of court with the player.

Miss Chavez says the Fortune Valley Casino gave her a free breakfast but that she is owed more.

INDIANA

Appeals court extends rapist’s sentence

INDIANAPOLIS | A convicted rapist who asked the Indiana Court of Appeals to reduce his sentence instead got it extended by 25 years.

Jeffrey Akard, 35, of Peru, Ind., had asked the judges to reduce his 93-year sentence to 40 years.

Instead they extended it to 118 years, citing the heinousness of Akard’s crime; he held a homeless woman captive, zapped her with a stun gun and repeatedly raped her.

A state Supreme Court ruling last year reserved the power to increase sentences in unusual cases and noted the court had never done so.

Akard’s attorney didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

LOUISIANA

Cop resigns amid cover-up charges

NEW ORLEANS | A New Orleans police officer who is expected to plead guilty to helping cover up a deadly shooting of unarmed residents in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath has resigned from the police department.

Michael Hunter, 33, of Slidell was charged Tuesday with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of misprision of a felony. A person familiar with the case said Mr. Hunter is expected to plead guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors.

His lawyer, Townsend Myers, confirmed his client’s resignation Wednesday but wouldn’t comment on the case.

Mr. Hunter is accused of giving a false account of the shootings that killed two people and wounded four others when he testified before a state grand jury in 2006.

NEW JERSEY

Police: Teen sold stepsister for sex

TRENTON | Police in New Jersey’s capital city say a 15-year-old sold her 7-year-old stepsister to have sex with as many as seven men and boys at a weekend party near their home.

Trenton police said Wednesday the child later put on her clothes and two strangers walked the crying girl home. She was treated at a hospital.

Police say the teenager, who stayed behind, also took money to have sex with others at the party in an apartment Sunday.

The older girl is charged with aggravated sexual assault, promoting prostitution and other crimes. Her name was not released because of her age.

Police are trying to track down the men and boys who attended the party.

NEW YORK

Toyota sales rise 40 percent in March

NEW YORK | Toyota sales surged 40 percent in March compared with last year after the automaker offered some of its deepest discounts ever to cope with the fallout of millions of recalls.

The incentives were scheduled to end April 5, but Toyota Group Vice President Bob Carter said some will continue into the spring, including an offer of free maintenance for return Toyota customers.

“When you look at what retail consumers are buying, many more retail consumers are going to be buying Toyotas in the month of March than any other brand,” Mr. Carter said at the New York International Auto Show, which kicked off with press previews on Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. has been reeling from the recall of more than 8 million vehicles worldwide - including 6 million in the U.S. - over problems with accelerator pedals and braking issues with the Prius hybrid. The automaker rolled out aggressive incentive programs in early March, including 0-percent financing on recalled models, low-priced leasing and the free maintenance offer.

Mr. Carter said Toyota dealers have so far repaired about 2 million recalled cars and trucks in the U.S. Dealers are repairing about 50,000 vehicles a day, he said, by adding metal shims to the accelerators and shaving down pedals.

Automakers are scheduled to report March sales on Thursday. Toyota’s sales fell 9 percent in February while the broader industry saw sales climb 13 percent.

OHIO

Man sentenced in red-kettle theft

TOLEDO | An Ohio man has been sentenced to four years in prison for shoving a Salvation Army bell ringer to the ground and swiping one of the charity’s red kettles.

Shawn Krieger pleaded no contest to robbery two weeks ago. A Toledo judge sentenced him on Tuesday and noted that Krieger had a prior theft conviction.

Police say Krieger told the Salvation Army bell ringer in late November that he hated Christmas and then grabbed the kettle stuffed with hundreds of dollars. The bell ringer tried to pull the kettle away and gave chase until police say the thief tossed the kettle into the back of a stolen pickup truck and sped away.

Police say items in the truck led them to Krieger.

VERMONT

Rescued captain writes book

MONTPELIER | A cargo ship captain who spent five days as a hostage of Somali pirates says in a new book that it was a high-seas double-cross that led to his brutal ordeal in a sweltering lifeboat.

Richard Phillips writes that after the Maersk Alabama was seized by AK-47-wielding pirates, one of the captors was taken captive by the ship’s crew. The crew agreed to release him if the pirates released Phillips, who was already captive. He says they reneged at the last minute and kept him hostage.

He says he learned something: “Don’t make deals with pirates.”

The 286-page hardcover, titled “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous Days at Sea,” hits bookstores Tuesday.

Mr. Phillips lives in Underhill.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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