- - Monday, January 23, 2012


Marine accepts plea deal in Iraqi civilian deaths

CAMP PENDLETON — A Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children pleaded guilty Monday to negligent dereliction of duty in a deal that will bring a maximum of three months confinement and end the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 31, of Meriden, Conn., led the Marine squad in 2005 that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in a series of raids on homes after a roadside bomb exploded near a Marine convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

It was a stunning and muted end to the case once described as the Iraq War’s version of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The government failed to get one manslaughter conviction in the case that involved eight Marines.

The Haditha incident is considered among the war’s defining moments, further tainting America’s reputation when it was already at a low point after the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib prison.


Huckabee relative among 3 killed in kidnapping case

LITTLE ROCK — Three people, including a distant cousin of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, have died in a homicide and kidnapping case in Arkansas, police said Monday.

Arkadelphia Police told the Associated Press that Donald Hux shot his ex-wife, Amy Huckabee, before he was fatally shot by law enforcement officers in the southern part of the state. Amy Huckabee’s current husband, Sandy Huckabee, was found dead Sunday at the couple’s home in Arkadelphia.

Sandy Huckabee’s father was the first cousin of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s father.

Authorities said Mr. Hux, 36, abducted Amy Huckabee and their three children in Arkadelphia and then drove about 80 miles to El Dorado in Union County. He dropped the children off somewhere there, and they weren’t hurt, the local sheriff’s office said.

Meanwhile, police in Arkadelphia learned about the situation and went to the Huckabee home to do a welfare check. They found Sandy Huckabee’s body inside and issued a warrant for Mr. Hux’s arrest on capital murder, kidnapping and other charges.


Small-town mayor shot fatally; suspect surrenders

HICKMAN — The mayor of a small western Kentucky town was fatally shot early Monday morning in his home, and a suspect turned himself in shortly afterward.

Hickman Police Chief Tony Grogan said Thomas Joseph Lattus, 30, walked into the police department around 1 a.m. local time and told an officer he had just shot Mayor Charles Murphy. An officer went to Mr. Murphy’s home and found the mayor’s body in the bedroom.

Mr. Lattus has been charged with murder and is being held at the Fulton County Jail.

Chief Grogan did not say anything about a motive.

The mayor had dated the suspect’s stepmother on and off for years, said Gerald Harris, whose niece is married to the mayor’s son. Mr. Harris said there were no arguments between Mr. Lattus and any of Mr. Murphy’s family.


Judge: Federal law trumps state’s medical pot law

HELENA — A judge has ruled that Montana’s medical marijuana law doesn’t shield providers of the drug from federal prosecution, delivering a new blow to an industry reeling from a state and federal crackdown.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy on Friday dismissed a civil lawsuit filed by 14 individuals and businesses that were among more than two dozen medical marijuana providers raided by federal agents last year across Montana.

The providers claimed the raids violated their constitutional rights in part because state law passed by voter initiative in 2004 allows them to grow and produce the drug for medical consumption.

Judge Molloy wrote in his order that the providers can be prosecuted under the federal Controlled Substances Act even if they are following state law. He cited a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause applies in medical marijuana cases.

The Supremacy Clause says that federal law prevails if there is any conflict between state and federal statutes.


Longshore union settles Longview dispute

OLYMPIA — A longshore union says it has reached a temporary settlement to end a months-long labor dispute at the Port of Longview, Wash.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has been aggressively protesting the company EGT since last year, when EGT decided to use a contractor that staffed a new grain terminal with workers from a different union.

Union protesters blocked trains and repeatedly faced arrest despite the warnings of a federal judge. The judge has fined the union more than $300,000.

The union and EGT did not disclose details of the agreement Monday.

ILWU President Robert McEllrath says the agreement is a win for the union, the company and the Longview community. He says the union is looking forward to developing a positive working relationship with EGT.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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