- - Sunday, July 11, 2010


Inmate playing role of escapee gets lost

CAPSHAW | The Limestone Correction Facility might want to start handing out GPS devices with its prison-issued jumpsuits.

Officials there said an inmate playing a fugitive during a dog training exercise vanished into the woods Thursday.

Warden Dorothy Goode said inmate David Hopkins, 37, was helping out the canine unit by playing an escapee but never showed up for head count.

A “be on the lookout” warning went out and Hopkins was found within about an hour. Miss Goode said he got lost and was not trying to escape. He’s serving a life sentence for theft.


Court ruling bars Navajo third term

FLAGSTAFF | Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr.’s quest for a third consecutive term in office has ended.

The tribe’s high court on Friday upheld a previous ruling that Mr. Shirley was rightfully disqualified from the race.

Election officials had cited a tribal law stating tribal presidents are limited to two back-to-back terms in disqualifying Mr. Shirley.

Mr. Shirley twice appealed the decision, contending it violated his liberty interests and equal protection rights. He further argued that Navajos have the right to choose their leaders under traditional tribal law.

No other elected official within the tribal government is subject to term limits.

The ruling leaves 11 in the race for the tribe’s top job.


12 arrested in medical-pot case

SAN DIEGO | Authorities say 12 members of a Southern California ring that illegally sold millions of dollars of pot through medical marijuana dispensaries are behind bars and facing federal charges.

Federal court documents unsealed Friday name Joshua John Hester as the alleged ring leader. He was arrested Friday at his West Hollywood home. Federal agents served two arrest warrants in Los Angeles County and five in San Diego, rounding up 12 people.

Two dispensaries owned by Mr. Hester are among 14 clinics and collectives raided by local law enforcement in September. At one dispensary, agents found two secret rooms behind a moveable bookshelf where pot was being illegally grown.

All of the defendants are expected to appear before a federal judge this week


Car goes aloft, crash kills driver

DARIEN | Police in Connecticut say a Darien resident was killed when the person’s car went airborne, crashed through a house, hit a tree and then ran into a second house.

Police say the car was clearly exceeding the 25 mph speed limit. They did not immediately release the victim’s name.

The crash occurred about 1:30 a.m. Sunday when the car went airborne, flew through the unoccupied bedroom of one house, hit a tree and went into the kitchen of the second house. No injuries were reported in the homes.

Police say the homes sustained serious structural damage and at least one was in danger of collapsing as they tried to remove the car. The accident remains under investigation.


BLM: Survey confirms horse claims

RENO | Faced with legal challenges accusing the government of rounding up too many wild horses in the West, federal land managers released a new aerial survey Friday, claiming it confirms that they left as many mustangs as they intended after a contentious roundup last winter.

Horse protection advocates complained their own surveys had found nowhere near the 900 mustangs the Bureau of Land Management said it intended to leave on the range when it removed nearly 2,000 of the animals from the Calico mountains about 200 miles north of Reno.

But a new census from an aerial survey the BLM conducted during the last half of June found 1,141 mustangs in the five management areas that make up the Calico complex. The complex covers an area from just north of Gerlach, about 35 miles wide, running 50 miles north to the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge on the Nevada-Oregon line.

The larger overall survey found 4,217 horses in 13 horse management areas in parts of Nevada, California and Oregon.


Runaway tortoise back after 4 years

BRENTWOOD | A New Hampshire couple said a 25-pound pet tortoise has reappeared four years after escaping from its pen.

Mike and Christine Wellington said their African spur thigh tortoise named Lucy made off from their greenhouse business in Brentwood. But on Friday, the Wellingtons received a call from a neighbor half a mile up the road that Lucy had reappeared.

The Wellingtons said they are certain the tortoise is theirs because of the unusual protruding bumps on its back.

Mike Wellington said turtles of Lucy’s species dig deep holes in the ground for protection in extreme weather. He theorized that Lucy did just that to survive New Hampshire’s winters for the past four years.


New charges filed against 11 pirate suspects

RICHMOND | A federal grand jury has returned new charges against 11 Somali men accused of separate pirate attacks on Navy warships, including allegations they had a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and assaulted federal officers.

The latest charges add another possible mandatory life term for five defendants accused in the April 1 pirate attack upon the USS Nicholas off the coast of Africa.

The six defendants accused in the April 10 attack on the USS Ashland face an additional charge of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison, plus other charges.

All 11 men have remained jailed in the Norfolk area since late April on charges that included piracy, which carries a mandatory life term. All entered pleas of not guilty to the previous charges. The superseding indictment was handed up Wednesday and unsealed in U.S. District Court late Thursday. The defendants await a scheduled July 28 arraignment on the new charges in Norfolk.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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