- - Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Health officials say a rare meningitis outbreak has sickened 26 people in five states who received steroid injections for back pain. Four people have died.

Eighteen of the cases — and two deaths — are in Tennessee where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid suspected in the outbreak. A health official says the steroid came from a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the other cases are in Virginia, Maryland, Florida and North Carolina. Virginia and Maryland had one death each.

Health officials said Wednesday that more new cases are almost certain to appear.


‘Batman’ arrested after interfering at crime scene

PETOSKEY — State police arrested Mark Wayne Williams for refusing to leave an accident scene after showing up Saturday night wearing a Batman outfit.

“He wouldn’t clear the scene, and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent,” State Police Sgt. Jeff Gorno said.

The 33-year-old man was arrested last year after police received a report of a man dressed as Batman on the roof of a Petoskey business.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months of probation during which he was forbidden to wear costumes, including his Batman get-up.


Grandfather of Aurora victim asks burglar to return photos

DENVER — The grandfather of a 6-year-old girl killed during the Aurora theater shootings wants a thief to return pictures of the child that were stolen from his home in a burglary this week.

“They’re the last photos I have of her,” said Robert Sullivan, grandfather of Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the youngest person slain in the July 20 attack.

Mr. Sullivan said Wednesday that four cameras were stolen, including one that had a memory card with more than 40 photos of Veronica.


FBI sets $50K reward for terrorism suspect

BOSTON — A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a Massachusetts man who is wanted on terrorism charges, the FBI said Wednesday.

The FBI said it is seeking the public’s help in locating Ahmad Abousamra, a U.S. citizen from Mansfield who authorities believe may be living in the battleground Syrian city of Aleppo with at least one child, a daughter, and extended family. He uses several aliases.

Now 31, he fled the United States in 2006, shortly after being interviewed by the FBI.


Court to hear Fort Hood suspect’s shaving appeal

FORT HOOD — A military appeals court will hear oral arguments next week before deciding if an Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting can be forcibly shaved before his murder trial.

The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals says it also will consider whether the trial judge exceeded his authority and should be removed from Maj. Nidal Hasan’s case.

The defendant says he grew a beard because his Muslim faith requires it, despite the Army’s beard ban.


Court halts Wednesday execution for killer

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania’s top court denied prosecutors’ emergency petition in a death penalty appeal, blocking Wednesday’s scheduled execution of an inmate who claims the church deacon he killed had molested him.

The state Supreme Court asked for more briefings in the case of Terrance “Terry” Williams, of Philadelphia.

A Philadelphia judge on Friday vacated Williams’ death sentence, finding that prosecutors hid evidence of possible sexual abuse at his 1986 murder trial. A new sentencing hearing was granted.


Inmate pleads guilty to killing prison guard

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah inmate known for the neo-Nazi tattoos that cover his face and body pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering a prison guard in 2007.

Under a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid a possible death penalty, Curtis Michael Allgier, 33, agreed to a life sentence without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to aggravated murder and other charges.

Authorities said Allgier killed Stephen Anderson, a prison guard who was shot with his own gun while escorting Allgier to a doctor’s appointment on June 26, 2007.


Chicago cops find about 1,000 pot plants in city

CHICAGO — In Chicago, a bustling urban metropolis where skyscrapers are as likely to sprout up as anything a farmer might plant, someone decided there was just enough room to grow something a little more organic: Marijuana.

The plants grew even taller than the tallest Chicago Bulls. However, just days before the crop on a chunk of land the size of two football fields would have been ready to harvest, a police officer and county sheriff’s deputy in a helicopter spotted it as they headed back to their hangar about three miles away.

On Wednesday, a day after the discovery of the largest marijuana farm anyone at the police department can remember, officers became farmers for a day as they began to chop down about 1,500 marijuana plants that police said could have earned the growers as much as $10 million.


Reputed N.J. gangster gets 300 years for 4 slayings

NEWARK, N.J. — A reputed gang member has been sentenced to 300 years in prison for the slayings of a woman and three teenage girls at a New Jersey home four years ago.

Forty-year-old Rolando Terrell had been convicted in July on four counts each of murder and felony murder in the September 2008 slayings in Irvington. Prosecutors say Terrell and another man robbed and shot the victims, then set their house on fire.

Terrell had previously received a life sentence after being convicted last year of related robbery, arson conspiracy and weapons offenses. He has denied being at the scene when the crimes occurred.


Bucket List Bandit suspect indicted in bank robbery

PITTSBURGH — A man nicknamed the Bucket List Bandit by the FBI because he reportedly told a Utah bank teller he had only months to live during a July heist has been returned to Pennsylvania and indicted on one of 10 bank robberies he’s suspected of committing.

Michael Eugene Brewster, 54, faces a single count of bank robbery for the Sept. 10 heist at the Huntingdon National Bank branch in Erie. A federal grand jury returned the indictment Tuesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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