- - Thursday, July 29, 2010


Cargo plane crash kills 4 servicemen

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE — A military cargo plane on a training mission crashed just about a minute after it took off from a base runway, officials said Thursday.

Three of the men killed in the Wednesday evening accident were in the Alaska Air National Guard, and the fourth was on active duty at Elmendorf, Air Force Col. Jack McMullen said Thursday.

The servicemen’s names were not released pending notification of relatives.

The C-17 was part of the 3rd Wing, based at Elmendorf in Anchorage. A fireball erupted hundreds of feet into the air when the plane crashed about 6:14 p.m. during a training demonstration for a weekend air show, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins said.

“About a minute after takeoff is when I got the call that we had a mishap,” Col. McMullen said.


2 officers charged in beating death

NEW ORLEANS — Two New Orleans police officers were indicted Thursday on federal charges in the beating death of a 48-year-old man, part of a sprawling Justice Department probe that has led to charges against 18 of the city’s officers.

Melvin Williams, one of the two officers charged, is accused of kicking Raymond Robair and beating him with a police baton, causing his fatal injuries. Officer Williams and Officer Matthew Dean Moore encountered Robair while patrolling a New Orleans street on July 30, 2005.

Both officers dropped off Robair at a hospital, where the man later died of a ruptured spleen. The officers didn’t tell anyone at the hospital that Officer Williams struck Robair, the indictment said. Both men are still on the force.

A police report submitted by Officer Williams and Officer Moore described the encounter as a “medical incident” and included a false description of how Robair was injured, according to the indictment.

Officer Williams is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law in Robair’s death. Both officers are charged with obstructing a federal investigation. Officer Moore is charged with lying to the FBI when he said Officer Williams never struck Robair.


Michael Moore seeks theater revival

TRAVERSE CITY — Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore wants to bring back the single-screen movie theaters that used to be the pillars of city business districts.

Mr. Moore has a plan to refurbish or prop up downtown movie houses in his home state of Michigan and eventually nationwide.

Other such efforts have been made, but Mr. Moore’s approach has a unique twist, modeled on the successful resurrection of the State Theatre in Traverse City.

Mr. Moore said the way to rescue downtown movie houses is to run them as nonprofits staffed mostly with volunteers.

He plans to provide grants and training to theater operators.


Grizzly, 2 cubs caught after mauling

COOKE CITY — A mother grizzly and two of its three cubs were captured after killing one person and injuring two others during a late-night rampage through a campground near Yellowstone National Park.

The mother, estimated to weigh 300 to 400 pounds, was lured into a trap fashioned from culvert pipe Wednesday evening, then left in place to attract the year-old offspring. By Thursday morning, two of the younger bears had been caught and the third could be heard nearby, calling out to its mother.

Capt. Sam Sheppard, the fish, wildlife and parks warden, said he was confident that officials had captured the killer bear because it came back to the site of the fatal attack early Wednesday.

Officials said the sow would be killed. State and federal wildlife officials will determine the fate of the cubs. Capt. Sheppard said the young bears are unlikely to be returned to the wild because they could have been learning predatory behavior from their mother.


More Toyotas targeted for recall

NEW YORK — Toyota is recalling nearly a half-million cars, most of them large sedans sold in the U.S., for problems that can cause the steering wheel to lock up. It’s the latest indication that the automaker is still struggling with vehicle problems even as it works to overhaul quality control.

The recall, announced Thursday, affects 412,000 vehicles in the U.S. — 373,000 Avalon sedans and 39,000 Lexus LX 470 sport utility vehicles. The recall is Toyota’s largest since announcing that it would fix 600,000 Sienna minivans over rusting spare-tire holders in April.

Toyota has been embroiled in its recall crisis since October, when it announced a recall of 5.3 million cars and trucks to fix floor mats that can trap pedals and cause unintended acceleration. A number of recalls have followed, from sticky gas pedals to braking problems with the Prius hybrid to rusting frames in the Tacoma pickup.

Thursday’s announcement brings the size of Toyota’s recalls to about 9.5 million cars and trucks since October.


Diocese sued in accuser’s suicide

PITTSBURGH — The estate of a man allegedly abused by a priest in the 1980s is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, claiming he committed suicide this year after the diocese stopped paying for his mental health treatments following two other suicide attempts.

Michael Unglo, 39, formerly of Etna in suburban Pittsburgh, committed suicide in May at a facility in Stockbridge, Mass., according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the Associated Press. He said he was molested in the early 1980s while serving as an altar boy, by a priest who was convicted of molesting another boy and later resigned.

The lawsuit claims negligence by the diocese and Bishop David Zubik and seeks $50,000 in damages for factors including Unglo’s pain and suffering, his medical expenses, his future lost income and his family’s loss of his companionship.

A diocesan spokesman said he planned to respond to the lawsuit after reviewing a copy provided by the Associated Press.

AP could not locate the former priest, Richard Dorsch, for comment.


Execution date set for woman

RICHMOND — A Virginia woman who used sex and money to persuade two men to kill her husband and her stepson to collect a $250,000 life insurance policy was scheduled Thursday to be executed in two months, which would be the first U.S. execution of a woman in five years.

A judge set a Sept. 23 execution date for Teresa Lewis, 41, the only woman on Virginia’s death row. She would be the first woman executed in the state in nearly a century.

Lewis offered herself and her 16-year-old daughter for sex to two men who committed the killings. She provided money to buy the murder weapons and stood by while they shot her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr., 51, and stepson Charles J. Lewis, 25, in 2002 in Pittsylvania County in south-central Virginia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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