Thursday, October 5, 2006


Roof collapses at condominium

The roof of a Southeast condominium building collapsed yesterday morning, forcing evacuations but causing no injuries, D.C. fire officials said.

The collapse at about 7 a.m. was caused by a contractor leaving about 10,000 pounds of waste and construction materials on the roof during a renovation, said Alan Etter, D.C. fire department spokesman.

The 16-unit East Gate Condominiums, in the 3000 block of Fifth Street, was fully occupied at that time.

The collapse split wooden ceiling joists, and officials were concerned about more collapsing.

The fire department stabilized the roof and returned the building to the contractor to “fix the roof the way it was supposed to be fixed,” Mr. Etter said.

Ex-Times executive held without bail

A federal judge yesterday ordered a former human resources director for The Washington Times to be held without bail while a grand jury investigates charges that he tried to entice a minor on the Internet.

U.S. Magistrate Deborah A. Robinson yesterday rejected a $50,000 bond request for Randall Casseday, 53, who has been confined in the D.C. Jail since his arrest Sept. 26.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Stewart said that the case will be presented to a federal grand jury. A date for Mr. Casseday’s next hearing has not been set.

D.C. police arrested Mr. Casseday on Sept. 26 in the 1300 block of Brentwood Road Northeast, where they said he had arranged to meet a 13-year-old “girl.” He actually had exchanged Internet messages and photographs with a male police detective posing as a girl, police said.

The Times has terminated Mr. Casseday’s employment.


‘Intersex’ fish concern lawmakers

Federal lawmakers are criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for not moving faster to determine whether “intersex” fish in the Potomac River signal the presence of chemical pollutants that might be harmful to humans.

At a House Government Reform Committee hearing yesterday, lawmakers expressed alarm at a survey last year by the U.S. Geological Survey that found the presence of male fish with female sexual characteristics.

They worry that fish could be the first sign that something is dangerously amiss. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, said fish are “like canaries in the coal mine.”

In 1996, the EPA was required by Congress to develop a screening program to identify which chemicals were confusing fish reproductive systems. But the agency continues to conduct research, saying it has been more complicated than expected.



Six students injured in BB gun shooting

Six boys suffered minor injuries when someone fired a BB gun at a group of students during the lunch hour at Pikesville High School yesterday, Baltimore County police said.

The weapon was found under a bush on school grounds, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman.

Police think the shooter was a fellow student and that no intruder was involved. There were three officers at Pikesville High on an unrelated matter and no one was seen entering the school, Sgt. Warehime said.

The boys, ages 14 to 16, were in an interior courtyard during a lunch period. They reported hearing six popping sounds and then feeling a stinging sensation where they were struck by the BBs on their chests, arms and legs.

The school nurse treated the victims. Some of the boys went back to classes, while others were picked up by their parents.

Sgt. Warehime said no fights or arguments took place before the gun was fired.


Man sentenced for drug dealing

A New Jersey man who operated an Ecstasy drug ring in Maryland and tried to have an informant killed has been sentenced.

Fred Caruso was sentenced to 13 years and seven months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.

Caruso was charged with conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy, conspiracy to retaliate against a witness and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

He pleaded guilty to distributing Ecstasy in Maryland and New Jersey in 1999 and 2000.

Caruso began selling in 2000 to Thomas Dixon, who was under police surveillance when he received the first delivery of about 41,000 tablets. Mr. Dixon was arrested in 2002 and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, Mr. Rosenstein said.

Mr. Dixon was shot six times as he left his home but survived. Mr. Rosenstein said court documents show Caruso admitted hiring others to shoot Mr. Dixon.


County makes landfill gas deal

Anne Arundel County and Fort Meade have agreed to negotiate a contract to allow the post to buy methane gas produced at the county’s landfill.

The decomposition of trash buried at the landfill produces methane, the principal component of natural gas. When methane is collected and cleaned of impurities, it can become an alternative source of natural gas.

County Executive Janet S. Owens and Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy signed an agreement Monday to negotiate a deal. The parties have a year to negotiate an estimated 20-year contract.

Fort Meade will be responsible for constructing a pipeline to transport the gas to the post, as well as construction of processing equipment.

The county currently burns off an estimated $200,000 in excess gas per year to prevent explosions within landfill cells.



Inmates charged in jail beating

Two inmates at the Roanoke City Jail have been charged in the beating of Michael Morva, the older brother of accused killer William Morva.

The inmates were arraigned yesterday on charges of malicious bodily injury.

In criminal complaints, Michael Morva, 26, said one of the assailants came into his cell, started tugging on his clothing and tried to pull his pants down. He said he also was punched in the face and kicked from behind.

Michael Morva also wrote that his cellmate told him that while he was unconscious, one of his assailants stomped on his head twice and his neck once, and he began bleeding profusely.

William Morva escaped custody in Blacksburg in August and is accused of fatally shooting a hospital security guard and a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy.

Michael Morva is charged with conspiring with his brother to escape police custody. He has said he had nothing to do with his brother’s escape.


Officer-killing trial moved to Arlington

The trial of a man accused in the slaying of a Norfolk police officer will be held in Arlington.

Thomas Porter, 30, is charged with capital murder and other charges in the October 2005 fatal shooting of Officer Stanley Reaves, who was shot three times in the head.

A Norfolk Circuit Court judge ruled last month that the trial would be moved because of pretrial publicity. His order moving the case to Arlington was filed earlier this week.

Porter was arrested in New York after Norfolk police issued a nationwide bulletin for him. Police said witnesses had identified him as the killer.

Authorities have said Porter’s record includes an eight-year prison term for armed robbery.

Police said Porter killed Officer Reaves as the officer investigated a report of a man with a gun in Norfolk’s Park Place neighborhood.


Bill aims to ease Fort Belvoir gridlock

A federal defense bill passed this week includes several measures to help ease traffic gridlock for southern Fairfax County when 23,000 military jobs move to Fort Belvoir.

The legislation enables the federal government to push forward construction of the missing link of the Fairfax County Parkway. It also directs the Army to study the effect of the relocation of military jobs on the area’s transportation network.

The Pentagon’s base-closing plan calls for about the jobs to move to Fort Belvoir and the nearby Engineer Proving Ground, west of Interstate 95.

The final 2 miles of the Fairfax County Parkway was planned to border the site, but a dispute over pollution cleanup efforts has stalled construction.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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