- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Jackson’s doctor pleads not guilty

LOS ANGELES | Michael Jackson’s doctor has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of the pop star.

Dr. Conrad Murray, a Houston cardiologist who was with Jackson when he died June 25, entered his plea Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court just hours after he was charged.

He could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Dr. Murray appeared in court in a gray suit as Jackson’s father Joe, mother Katherine, and siblings LaToya, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Randy sat behind prosecutors.

Jackson hired Dr. Murray to be his personal physician as he prepared for a strenuous series of comeback performances.

Officials say the singer died in Los Angeles after Dr. Murray administered the powerful general anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac to sleep.


Toll stands at 5 in power plant blast

MIDDLETOWN | A fire official in the Connecticut city where a power plant exploded said the death toll should stand at five.

Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano told the Associated Press on Monday that state police think no additional victims are trapped in the rubble of the Kleen Energy plant.

Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said everyone assigned to work at the plant that day had been accounted for.

Mr. Giuliano said no recovery efforts were made Monday because the site was not safe enough.


Attorneys seek new trial for doctor’s killer

WICHITA | Attorneys for a man convicted of murdering a prominent Kansas abortion provider have asked for a new trial or an order of acquittal for their client.

Attorneys for Scott Roeder signaled their intent in a motion for a new trial made public Monday. Among other reasons, they cite a decision by the judge at Roeder’s trial last month to not allow jurors to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Such court filings are routine but are important to preserve the record on appeal issues. Arguments on the motion will be heard in March.

Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder in the May attack on Dr. George Tiller. Roeder admitted he shot Tiller in the head during services at the doctor’s Wichita church.


Celebrity photographer Quinto dies at 80

ROCKVILLE | Felice Quinto, a celebrity photographer who likely was the model for the character Paparazzo in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film “La Dolce Vita,” has died.

Mr. Quinto’s wife, Geraldine Quinto, said he died of pneumonia Jan. 16 in Rockville, Md. He was 80.

Mr. Quinto often was called the “king of the paparazzi,” and he pioneered some of the aggressive tactics that celebrity photographers still use.

Mr. Quinto was born in Milan and befriended Fellini while living in Rome. His wife said Fellini asked Mr. Quinto to play a photographer in “La Dolce Vita,” but he declined because he was making more money taking pictures.

Mr. Quinto worked for the Associated Press after moving to the United States in 1963.


On jail tape, teen denies fatal stabbing

WOBURN | In a recorded jailhouse conversation, a teenager charged with fatally stabbing another student at a suburban high school told a friend he was being “persecuted” because he stayed behind to help the victim.

John Odgren’s attorneys say he was legally insane when he randomly chose a victim and stabbed him repeatedly in a bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury High School. James Alenson, 15, died in the 2007 attack.

Prosecutors say recorded jailhouse conversations show a lucid boy who was not mentally ill and want the jury at his upcoming trial to hear the tapes.

During a pretrial hearing Monday, portions of the tapes were played. Mr. Odgren tells a friend to “just tell them I didn’t do it, that’s the truth.” Mr. Odgren told another friend he was arrested “for a murder I didn’t commit.”


Man arrested after airport security breach

ROMULUS | A portion of a terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport was evacuated Monday after a man walked through a passenger screening checkpoint and refused to obey security officers, officials said.

The passenger failed to stop about 7:45 a.m. at the McNamara Terminal, the Transportation Security Administration said. The man was arrested by airport police and was being questioned, airport spokesman Mike Conway said.

“The Transportation Security Administration asked him to stop and he didn’t comply,” Mr. Conway said.

TSA workers activated an alarm and called police. Security doors were lowered at the portion of the terminal between the security checkpoint and terminal concourse, and people in that area were evacuated, Mr. Conway said.

Security screening resumed about an hour later, officials said.

The man’s vehicle was located at the airport in suburban Detroit, and was searched and towed, Mr. Conway said. Dogs were used to search the portion of the terminal that was evacuated, but nothing was found, he said.


Sorority members plead not guilty to hazing

NEW BRUNSWICK | Six members of a suspended Rutgers University sorority have pleaded not guilty to charges of hazing.

An attorney for five of the women said Monday that they deny the accusations of paddling Sigma Gamma Rho pledges.

Each woman is charged in Municipal Court with aggravated hazing. They are accused of striking several new members on the buttocks with paddles between Jan. 18 and Jan. 25.

One pledge went with her mother to a hospital for treatment of her injuries.

National leaders of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority suspended the Rutgers chapter.


Ex-Intel executive pleads guilty to fraud

NEW YORK | A former Intel executive charged in a massive insider trading case has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud.

Rajiv Goel entered the plea Monday in Manhattan federal court. Sentencing has been set for May 28.

Goel joins eight others who have pleaded guilty. Authorities call it the largest hedge fund insider trading case in history.

So far, 21 people have been charged in the case. They include hedge fund operator Raj Rajaratnam, one of the nation’s richest men.

Goel, a resident of Los Altos, Calif., is the former director of strategic investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp.


Mudslide evacuees urged to stay away

MAGGIE VALLEY | Residents are being urged to stay away from their North Carolina mountainside homes after a 30-foot-high mudslide washed over their road.

Emergency workers evacuated about 40 people from a dozen homes near Maggie Valley in western North Carolina after the Friday mudslide.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Monday that authorities took the evacuees back to their homes on all-terrain vehicles just long enough to gather belongings.

But residents were told that they may need to stay away for weeks or longer as rain threatens to further wash out a slope that officials say is unstable and dangerous.

Investigators say recent heavy rain and snow were factors in the mudslide. A 2003 landslide in the area killed a woman whose home was crushed.


Cleared drug agent hopes return to duty

CLEVELAND | The attorney for a federal drug agent acquitted of framing 17 suspects in a 2005 sting in Ohio says the agent hopes to return to regular duty soon.

Defense attorney Joel Kirkpatrick also said Monday that agent Lee Lucas expects to be cleared in civil claims filed by victims of his paid informant’s fabricated evidence.

Mr. Lucas was acquitted Friday in Cleveland federal court of all 18 charges that he helped the informant frame suspects. He has been on administrative leave.

Jurors said they didn’t believe the informant, an ex-convict who once served time for manslaughter.

An attorney for a framing victim who filed a civil lawsuit against Mr. Lucas says the acquittal won’t affect the civil cases. Attorney Kevin Durkin says the civil case benefits from a lower standard of proof than the criminal case.


Kidnapper of Smart makes plea deal

SALT LAKE CITY | Prosecutors in Utah are dropping state charges against a woman in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart in exchange for a guilty plea related to the attempted kidnapping of Miss Smart’s cousin.

Wanda Eileen Barzee pleaded guilty but mentally ill Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping. The charge stems from the July 24, 2002, attempted abduction of Miss Smart’s 15-year-old cousin.

Sentencing is set for May 21.

Barzee, 64, was originally charged with six felonies in state court after her 2003 arrest. One of those was related to the attempted kidnapping.

Court papers say Barzee helped her estranged husband, Brian David Mitchell, plan to take the girl to a mountain campsite where Miss Smart was being held.

In November, Barzee pleaded guilty to federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor.


Boeing’s biggest 747 takes to the sky

EVERETT | The biggest plane Boeing Co. has ever built took off on its first flight.

The 747-8 freighter lifted off from Paine Field in Everett on Monday — one day short of the 41st anniversary of the first flight of the first 747 model.

The 747-8 is 250 feet long — about 18 feet longer than current 747s. It has new wings, engines and technology to make it more fuel-efficient. The new freighter is expected to enter service late this year, while a passenger version is due for delivery in late 2011.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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