- - Sunday, May 6, 2012

LOUISVILLE — The discovery of a man’s body Sunday in the stable area of Churchill Downs was being investigated as a homicide, but there appears to be no connection to the race track or the Kentucky Derby, police said.

“At this point we don’t have anything pointing to the fact that this had any association with Churchill Downs or the Derby itself,” said Alicia Smiley, spokeswoman for the Louisville police. “We are still investigating at the stables and at the barn.” She said the police are trying to determine the man’s identity and how he died.

Ms. Smiley said the death is being investigated as a homicide.

“He did sustain injuries that lead us to believe he was involved in some type of altercation,” Ms. Smiley said.

“Our investigation is ongoing as to why he would have specifically been at this location.”

Churchill Downs security called police at 4:50 a.m., Ms. Smiley said. The body was found at the back of a barn occupied by Louisville trainer Angel Montano Sr.

Mr. Montano did not have a horse running Saturday either in the undercard or the Derby, which saw a record attendance of more than 165,000.


Gorilla gets jaw surgery after scuffle at zoo

OMAHA — If things were a little bananas at the Nebraska Medical Center this weekend, it might be because of a special patient who needed jaw surgery.

A 27-year-old silverback gorilla named Motuba was brought in Saturday for a CT scan after a scuffle with another gorilla. Doug Armstrong, director of animal health at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, said the zoo can’t perform the scan.

Motuba is among four silverbacks that socialize together at the zoo. Mr. Armstrong said Motuba and one of the younger gorillas apparently got into a physical confrontation that left the older gorilla with a fractured jaw that pushed three of his teeth outward.

Mr. Amstrong said surgery was done to remove a piece of bone and the askew teeth.


2 hikers held in Iran to marry in Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — Two Americans detained and accused of spying after hiking near the Iraq-Iran border three years ago will marry Saturday in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A private wedding ceremony for Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd was set for 4 p.m. at an undisclosed location, said San Francisco attorney and family friend Ben Rosenfeld.

Mr. Bauer, Ms. Shourd and Josh Fattal, all University of California, Berkeley graduates, were arrested on July 31, 2009, and held in Iran.

Mr. Bauer and Mr. Fattal were sentenced to eight years after being convicted on spy-related charges but were released after more than two years.

Ms. Shourd was released after 14 months on bail.

Mr. Bauer proposed to Ms. Shourd while both were in prison, fashioning an impromptu ring out of threads from his shirt.

All three say they were innocent of spying and had simply strayed across the countries’ border while in the mountainous region.


Chihuahua costume party falls short of record

KANSAS CITY — Hundreds of tiny tacos, ballerinas and other costumed dogs fell short of a world record Saturday morning in Kansas City, but organizers said they were encouraged by the turnout for the inaugural Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua parade.

Mark Valentine, the president of the group that organized the parade, said 500 dogs showed up in costume - about 200 fewer than what was needed to break the Guinness Book world record. The event, organized by United Entertainment to benefit a local animal shelter, was open to any breed.

Mr. Valentine estimated that 80 percent of the costumed canines were Chihuahuas, more than the 50 percent he anticipated.

“We are going to keep doing this until we run out of dogs in Kansas City and have to start shipping them in,” Mr. Valentine said. “For a first try, we did OK.”

Mr. Valentine said he was told Chihuahuas were among the most common breeds in animal shelters. Saturday’s event raised about $2,500 for the Pet Connection, a local no-kill shelter.

“Chihuahuas get killed in animal shelters almost as much as pitbulls,” he said.


Police say body of man’s girlfriend located

ORANGE — Police said Saturday they located the body of the girlfriend of a Southern California man who led officers on a chase that shut down a busy freeway for an hour.

Shazer Fernando Limas, 31, was arrested early Friday following the chase on Interstate 5. He is suspected of killing his girlfriend, Arlet Hernandez Contreras, 31, and the couple’s two young boys.

Detectives found evidence in his apartment indicating the victims were killed about three weeks ago and the bodies were dumped elsewhere.

Detectives located her body late Friday when they contacted the Los Angeles coroner’s office to see if the facility had any unidentified female bodies. They learned that county workers found one that appeared to have stab wounds April 25 in La Puente, police Sgt. Dan Adams said.

The couple’s 4-month-old and 2-year-old sons remain missing, Sgt. Adams said.

Mr. Fernando Limas came to police’s attention after he moved out of the apartment he shared with Contreras and someone sent to clean the carpets found them covered in blood.

Mr. Fernando Limas was spotted in the Costa Mesa area late Thursday afternoon. When police tried to stop him, he fled on what became a freeway chase that ended near the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near San Onofre. A spike strip was used to flatten the tires on his car.


Wife on Skype with soldier saw bullet hole in wall

DALLAS — An Army nurse showed no alarm or discomfort before suddenly collapsing during a Skype video chat with his wife, who saw a bullet hole in a closet behind him, his family said Sunday.

Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark’s family released a statement describing what his wife saw in the video feed recording her husband’s death.

“Clark was suddenly knocked forward,” the statement said. “The closet behind him had a bullet hole in it. The other individuals, including a member of the military, who rushed to the home of CPT Clark’s wife also saw the hole and agreed it was a bullet hole.”

The statement says the Skype link remained open for two hours April 30 as family and friends in the U.S. and Afghanistan tried to get Clark help.

“After two hours and many frantic phone calls by Mrs. Clark, two military personnel arrived in the room and appeared to check his pulse, but provided no details about his condition to his wife,” the statement said.

In the statement, Susan Orellana-Clark said she was providing details of what she saw “to honor my husband and dispel the inaccurate information and supposition promulgated by other parties.”

U.S. officials in Afghanistan referred questions to the Pentagon, which previously referred questions to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, where Clark was assigned.

The Pentagon said previously that Clark’s death remains under investigation.


For chronically unemployed, more bad news for state

MERCED — Across California, 93,000 unemployed workers will receive more bad news: Federal long-term benefits for chronically unemployed workers are set to expire.

On Saturday, they will join 670,000 other jobless Californians whose benefits have already run out.

A drop in the state’s unemployment rate to 11 percent - its lowest mark in three years - is triggering the federal cutoff of the benefits that were granted by Congress to help laid-off workers during the recession.

Under federal law, the rate of unemployment must be 10 percent higher than for the previous three years for the extended benefits to remain in each state. California’s rate has been declining.

The federal program gave the unemployed up to 99 weeks of benefits, the longest on record.


11th hazing death defendant arrested

ORLANDO — The last of 11 band members charged in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major has turned herself in to authorities.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Lasherry Codner, 20, surrendered Sunday at the Orange County jail.

Jail records showed that Mr. Codner posted $15,000 bond and would be released.

Eleven band members face third-degree felony hazing charges from Robert Champion’s death in November. Two others face misdemeanor counts.

Champion died aboard a charter bus outside an Orlando hotel. His death revealed a culture of hazing at the Tallahassee school and has jeopardized the future of its prestigious Marching 100 band.

A criminal investigation of the band’s finances continues, as does a probe by the state university system into whether university officials ignored warnings about hazing.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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