Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wimp Keeps Complaining

Man told to 'walk off pain' after shooting
Star News Services
Saturday, August 18, 2007

JOHANNESBURG - A South African man shot three weeks ago was told to "walk the pain off" and is still trying to persuade hospitals to remove the bullet lodged in his side, a newspaper said Thursday.

Three Johannesburg hospitals refused to remove the bullet for security guard Phillip Mashiane, 38, who was shot during a burglary at the property of South Africa's ambassador to the United Nations, the Star newspaper said.

The bullet passed through his elbow and entered his body just above the hip, missed his vital organs and stopped beneath the skin on the opposite side of his body, the Star said.

Mashiane said he was turned away by one private hospital because he could not afford the bills while a public hospital took X-rays and kept him in for observation before patching him up and sending him home with painkillers.

When he returned a doctor told him to "walk the pain off."

Today's Children Stab Cows For Kicks

Teen accused of running over, stabbing cows
The Associated Press
August 20, 2007

PLEASANT PLAINS — A teenager has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after he reportedly stabbed a cow and tried to run over a herd of cattle, authorities said.

The youth, who was not identified because of his age, faces charges of first-degree cruelty to animals and first-degree criminal mischief, Pleasant Plains Marshal Matt Thomas said.

Thomas said he was dispatched to a farm at about 10 p.m. Friday because three boys in a pickup were reportedly running over cattle, he said.

Thomas said a youth had a knife and his arms were bloody. Jay L. Smith, owner of the cattle, told police that one of the cows had been fatally stabbed, and several cows were wounded.

“The juvenile was driving the Ford Ranger in the field. He was driving fast and cutting doughnuts,” Thomas said, adding that the teen was joined by two older friends. “According to the two, the juvenile then started purposely trying to hit the cows.”

One of the cows apparently got stuck under the pickup, and that’s when the youth stabbed it, Thomas said.

The teen was taken to the Independence County juvenile detention facility.

Last week, nine black angus cows were shot at a farm near DeQueen; five died.

No-Fun Janitor Turns On, Tunes In, Sues

Janitor: Co-workers put LSD on pizza
August 20, 2007

HACKENSACK, N.J. --A Fair Lawn school custodian is alleging in a lawsuit that his co-workers laced his pizza with the hallucinogen LSD in an attempt to poison him at an office party in 2005.

Dominick A. Rao, a janitor with the district since 2000, was served pizza out of a different box than the other custodians, his attorney, Richard Mazawey, told The Record of Bergen County for Monday editions.

"He said he felt like his body and system were melting from the inside out, like he was living in a kaleidoscope," Mazawey told the newspaper.

Soon after, Rao went to an emergency room at an area hospital where it was found that he "had a controlled dangerous substance running through his bloodstream," Mazawey said.

Rao said he has extremely poor vision due to bilateral ocular albinism, a condition that causes his eyes to lack pigment. Because of this, he said he was often bullied by his supervisor and co-workers.

When Rao returned to work after the alleged incident, a co-worker asked him, "How are you still alive," the suit says.

"Upon hearing this, he realized how extensive the plot to poison him truly was," the suit says.

Schools Superintendent Bruce Watson declined to comment on the suit, which was filed in Superior Court in Hackensack, saying he had not received a copy.

Rao filed a police report more than a year after the alleged incident but no criminal charges have been brought against anyone.

Dead Dog Treated Like Dead Dog

In death, service dog treated as roadkill
Linda Goldston, Mercury News

It was bad enough for Richard Gambord to learn that his missing service dog was killed a short time after he crashed his van and the dog ran off.

Then, he learned that the golden retriever's battered body had already been disposed of - mixed in with roadkill and grease at a San Jose rendering plant.

"It's just so sickening," Gambord said. "They took this esteemed and loved dog and hauled him away like he was roadkill. It makes me sick."

A Caltrans worker took Quinn's remains to San Jose Tallow the same night he was killed - a violation of Caltrans policy, a Caltrans spokeswoman said.

To Gambord of Los Gatos and the college student who spent more than a year training him, Quinn was treated with no more respect than motorists show squashed squirrels.

Brigetta Smith, public information officer for Caltrans confirmed that the dog was taken there even though it violated the department's procedure. Road crews are supposed to take the body of a dog or cat to an animal shelter so it can be scanned for an ID chip - and the owner can be notified, she said.

In this case, Gambord and others searched for a week for the dog that was wearing a collar and a purple cape with the logo for Assistance Dog Institute.

Based in Santa Rosa, the institute places nine to 15 assistance dogs each year and there is always a waiting list. Quinn was placed with Gambord, who has multiple sclerosis, three weeks ago, and the dog already had helped Gambord take a few steps without fear of falling.

"We certainly didn't want it to end this way," said Jorjan Powers, community and public relations director for the institute. "It's just an unhappy ending no matter how you look at it."

Smith said Caltrans is reviewing its procedures "to make sure this doesn't happen again."

A California Highway Patrol officer who removed the dog's body from the roadway told Caltrans the dog was wearing a collar and its purple uniform. The Caltrans worker who picked up Quinn, however, said he did not see the cape or the collar.

"I've asked our guys to review the agreement we have with the rendering plant to make sure they won't accept domestic animals from us," Smith said. "There should be safeguards on both ends."

Gambord and Quinn were returning home from an outing Aug. 12 when Gambord said he heard his dog choking in the back of the van. The next thing he knew he had crashed into some bushes on the Interstate 280-880 interchange in San Jose. The van's door flew open and Quinn bolted out about 1 a.m. Authorities think the dog was hit by a car about an hour later.

"He kept getting hit so the CHP ran a traffic break so Caltrans could pick him up," Smith said. "We picked him up about 2 a.m. right at northbound 280 to northbound 880."

Smith said Caltrans used to take all dead animals it removed from roadways in the South Bay to the rendering plant, but it changed its procedure two years ago to take only wild animals.

Caltrans used to have a contract with the humane society that allowed them to drop off the dead bodies of cats or dogs that had been killed on a freeway or expressway, but "Caltrans chose not to renew it," said Chris Benninger, executive director of Humane Society Silicon Valley.

Peggy Leyba of San Jose Tallow said the manager could not be reached Monday. Commonly, the dead animals taken to tallow plants are boiled down to oil that goes into a range of products, including fertilizer, soap and stock feed.

"They do accept dead dogs," Leyba said, but she had no information about the products produced.

Powers said the staff of the institute plans to hold a memorial for Quinn, and meet to discuss what happened. "We plan to meet and see if there isn't some good that can come out of this tragedy."

One-Legged Man Ambitious, Prolific

Arab father on pace for 18 wives, 100 kids
CanWest News Service

DUBAI - A one-legged Emirati father of 78 is lining up his next two wives in a bid to reach his target of 100 children by 2015, Emirates Today reported on Monday.

Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, 60, has already had 15 brides, although he has to divorce them as he goes along to remain within the legal limit of four wives at a time.

"In 2015 I will be 68 years old and will have 100 children," Abdul Rahman told the local tabloid. "After that I will stop marrying. I have to have at least three more marriages to hit the century."

The United Arab Emirates newspaper splashed its front page with a picture of Abdul Rahman surrounded by his children, the eldest of whom is 36 years old and the youngest of whom is 20 days old. Two of his current three wives are also pregnant.

Abdul Rahman said his large family lived in 15 houses. He supports them with his military pension and the help of the government of Ajman, one of seven emirates that comprise the UAE, which includes Dubai, a hub of Gulf trade and tourism.

Islam allows men to marry up to four women at a time, though most marry only one.

Elves Advise Murderous Child

'Craziest child' on trial in Westminster slaying
Friend's father was slain at home in Westminster
By Sue Lindsay, Rocky Mountain News
August 21, 2007

Michael Tate has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals since he was 5 years old and shouldn't be convicted of murdering his friend's father because he is insane, a defense attorney told a Jefferson County jury Monday.

His psychiatrists say he is "the craziest child they have ever seen," defense attorney Margaret Baker said during opening statements at his murder trial.

Tate is accused of stabbing and bludgeoning Steven Fitzgerald, 41, to death during a burglary of the Fitzgerald family's Westminster home Nov. 8, 2004.

Tate and Fitzgerald's son, Michael, were runaways from a social services placement and had been living in vacant buildings near the Fitzgerald home. Fitzgerald was 17; Tate was 16.

Michael Fitzgerald is serving a 62-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against Tate. Baker said Fitzgerald's version of events can't be trusted because he has a history of lying and manipulation.

But she conceded that her client "can't say what happened either. Michael Tate's memory is not accurate because he's literally out of his mind."

Tate has been hearing voices since age 6 and seeing things since age 8, Baker said. Six years ago, he began seeing Satan, demons and elves who commanded him to hurt himself or others, Baker said. He tried to commit suicide numerous times, including once when he was 12 in a psychiatric hospital, she added.

He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Placed with social services at age 3 because of abuse, Tate was moved 28 times in 13 years between foster homes, psychiatric hospitals and other institutions.

Although an expert for the defense contends Tate is insane, prosecutor Jacque Russell said a psychiatrist at the state mental hospital concluded Tate is sane.

While at the hospital for four months, Tate showed no symptoms of mental illness even though he was not on any medications, Russell said. The doctor concluded that Tate was an angry young man who flew into rages and couldn't control his temper, Russell said.

He was diagnosed as having a conduct disorder - a precursor for antisocial personality, meaning he disregards and violates the rights of others, she said.

"But that is not insanity," Russell said. "What he did was criminal, not insane."

Tate told Michael Fitzgerald that he wanted to kill Fitzgerald's family the day before the murder, when the two burglarized the home the first time, stealing computers and other electronic gear, Russell said.

After killing Steven Fitzgerald, Tate hid his bloody gloves in a vent and began eating a quart of cookie dough ice cream, Russell said. When he was arrested, he was wearing Steven Fitzgerald's ring and a rosary and a cross necklace belonging to the family.

Youth Thought It Was Safe To Text

Train strikes man who was texting
August 21, 2007

ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio --A train struck and injured a pedestrian who was sending a text message on his cell phone while crossing railroad tracks, a collision that hurled him about 50 feet, authorities and witnesses said Monday.

Zachariah Smith, 18, waited for a southbound train to pass Monday morning. He then walked around a gate and onto the tracks, apparently unaware that another train was coming from the other direction, said witness Mike Billups.

"The horn was blowing like mad and the kid was text messaging," said Mayor Richard Ellison, who went to the scene and talked to several witnesses after hearing of the accident. "The kid apparently was just daydreaming."

Smith was knocked out by the collision, Billups said.

After regaining consciousness, Smith was taken by paramedics to nearby University Hospital in Cincinnati with undisclosed injuries. He was listed in serious condition Monday night.

It was not clear how fast the train was moving.

Gates and lights at the crossing were in working order, said Elmwood Place police Col. William Peskin.

Sexual-Looking Room Was Sex Room

Harrah's settles suit claiming female kitchen workers were subjected to 'makeshift sex room'
Ryan Nakashima, AP
August 20, 2007

LAS VEGAS – Caesars Palace, the casino owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc., has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by seven female kitchen helpers and a male supervisor, federal officials said Monday.

The employees complained that the women, ranging in age from 19 to their 40s, were forced to have sex with other supervisors in a “makeshift sex room” under the threat of being fired, said Anna Park, an attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The room in the kitchen area had a sofa or bed, often wine, and was decorated “to make it look sexual,” said Federico Sayre, the lawyer for the four women who suffered the worst abuse.

Park said the room was “a dirty little secret that was there for a long time.”

“When they took you back there, they knew that's what that was for,” she said. “That shouldn't exist in any workplace.”

Beyond the sex acts, which began in 2000, the women were subjected to daily sexual comments or requests, Park and Sayre said. Many could speak only Spanish and were vulnerable to authority figures, they said.

The women, who mostly cleaned silverware, complained as early as 2001 to a human resources manager, but the manager did not investigate the allegations thoroughly because she had a relationship with one of the men involved, Sayre said.

Three male supervisors involved in the abuse have since been fired, but the human resources manager is still employed by the company, Sayre said.

Harrah's did not admit wrongdoing but determined “it is in the best interest of all parties to put this matter to rest and move on,” spokesman Alberto Lopez said. The incidents happened before Harrah's acquired Caesars Entertainment Inc. in 2005.

Harrah's agreed to post English and Spanish copies of the settlement, which mandates that it institute sexual harassment training, develop a system and appoint a person to address complaints and retain a third-party consultant to ensure it complies.

It was unclear whether the former supervisors might face criminal charges. Clark County District Attorney David Roger said he was unfamiliar with the allegations and the statute of limitations on at least some of the incidents had expired.

Firefighters Shirtless, Deceitful

Not the topless car wash they expected
August 20, 2007

SHIRLEY, N.Y. --Male drivers who paid $5 for a topless car wash ended up getting hosed.

Young women held up signs along a parkway advertising the car wash on Sunday and telling the drivers where to go. But hidden behind a big blue tarp, it was shirtless male firefighters who were washing the cars.

"A little bit of a bait-and-switch," Assistant Chief Donald Prince admitted. "All the guys back there are all topless."

Female drivers didn't seem to mind the shirtless firefighters. Male drivers, though, felt they were getting burned.

Mike Matias was hugely disappointed when a man soaped up and rinsed his car. But he said at least his $5 went to a good cause: All the money raised will benefit school booster clubs and charities, the Brookhaven fire department said.

Presidential Candidate Blames Crime On Brown People

Presidential Candidate Blames Killings on Newark Sanctuary Policy
Kareem Fahim, NYT
August 21, 2007

NEWARK, Aug. 20 — Federal officials said on Monday that a second man among the suspects in the schoolyard slayings of three young friends was in the United States illegally, and a conservative presidential candidate flew into town to denounce the city’s leaders as complicit in the murders because they had declared Newark a “sanctuary” for immigrants.

“If the suspects are found guilty, Newark and its political leadership share a degree of responsibility,” Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, said on the steps of the gold-domed City Hall, surrounded by a dozen supporters and slightly more protesters who rallied against him. “I encourage the family of the victims to pursue a lawsuit against the city.”

Mr. Tancredo, whose bid for the Republican nomination is based largely on an aggressive stance against illegal immigration, is among the many conservatives nationwide who seized on the killings after it was reported that one of the suspects, Jose Lachira Carranza, 28, was an illegal immigrant from Peru.

Before the killings, Mr. Carranza had been arrested three times on felony charges but had been released on bail, in part because the authorities never checked his immigration status. Doing so would likely have triggered a federal “detainer” that would have kept Mr. Carranza in custody to await deportation proceedings.

On Monday, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency placed a similar detainer on Melvin Jovel, 18, who on Sunday was the sixth person to be arrested in the case. Immigration officials said Mr. Jovel, who was from Honduras, also was in the country illegally.

A third man, Rodolfo Godinez, 24, a legal resident who immigrated from Nicaragua, and three teenagers also face murder and robbery charges for the shooting deaths of Iofemi Hightower, 20; Dashon Harvey, 20; and Terrance Aeriel, 18, on Aug. 4 behind the Mount Vernon School. Mr. Aeriel’s sister Natasha, 19, was also shot, but survived.

At a news conference that was held before Mr. Tancredo’s speech, Paula T. Dow, the Essex County prosecutor, whose office was one of several law enforcement agencies that failed to examine Mr. Carranza’s immigration status, shifted the blame to the federal authorities. Officials in Ms. Dow’s office had said their policy was to not notify immigration officials until suspects were convicted, which they believed was the officials’ preference.

Ms. Dow also pointed out that an official from Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been stationed in the county jail since March and that Mr. Carranza had been held there in May.

“They would have an opportunity to perhaps take action,” Ms. Dow said, referring to Mr. Carranza. Concerning Mr. Tancredo’s visit, Ms. Dow said, “I think it’s absolutely abysmal that anyone would challenge and accuse or lay the blame on the Newark Police Department or anyone in law enforcement for the status of Carranza.”

Newark’s mayor, Cory A. Booker, found himself answering questions about Mr. Tancredo at the news conference. He reacted angrily to the visit.

“These folks descend from out of town to protest in front of City Hall at this time; I find that troubling,” he said. “Talking about anyone being complicit in such a heinous crime — I find those words vulgar.”

Mr. Booker; his police director, Garry F. McCarthy; and the police chief, Anthony Campos, flanked by detectives, gave few additional details about the night of the shooting.

For the first time, Mr. Booker acknowledged the “gang overtones” of the case. Several of the suspects boasted, to friends and on Web pages, of an affinity with MS-13, a gang from El Salvador.

In an interview on Monday at their office, Detective Lydell A. James, the lead Newark investigator on the case, and Sgt. Darnell Henry spoke about their work over the last two weeks, during which the six suspects were arrested in three states. They said the investigation was exhausting but had produced results more quickly than anticipated.

“It was smooth,” Sergeant Henry said.

They spoke only generally about the evidence, saying they did not wish to compromise the prosecution.

Ms. Aeriel, despite her serious injuries, was able to begin speaking to investigators almost immediately, and her help was essential in finding the suspects, they said. They also praised security guards, many of them retired police officers, who worked at the Ivy Hill Park Apartments, where all of the suspects were current or former residents. “They knew the six,” Detective James said. “They knew the troublemakers.”

The investigation has taken its toll. Sergeant Henry rifled through bills in his drawer that he had meant to pay weeks ago. Detective James pointed to a couch in an adjoining room, saying he would catch an hour or so of sleep there or in a green chair in his office. The detective said he visited Ms. Aeriel in the hospital every day.

“I love that girl to death,” he said, adding that he was angry that her identity had been released to the public. “This is why witnesses are reluctant to come forward.”

There were fights between the detectives — soon resolved, they said — and thrilling moments when they could see the end of the chase.

One came over the weekend, as the two of them raced back in a car from Virginia, having found the evidence they needed to arrest Mr. Jovel. “We’re on the highway, and it’s getting dark,” Detective James said. “We had enough probable cause.”

"Mr. Check" Took Three Months To Die

Man dies nearly 3 months after shooting
August 21, 2007

The Associated Press

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) —A man shot three times while cashing checks from his car died nearly three months after the shooting, Spartanburg County deputies said.

Juan Carlos Vivoda died Monday at the hospital where he had been since being shot in the head, neck and lower back on May 31, authorities said.

Vivoda, 59, ran a business he called “Mr. Check,” cashing checks from his car which he parked at a plastics plant, said Robin Forrest, an investigator with the coroner’s office.

Police have charged Franciso Jadier Martinez, 21, and Norberto Ruis Cruz, 19, with assault and battery with intent to kill and armed robbery. Martinez has been arrested, while Cruz is still at large.

Investigators are waiting for autopsy results to determine if the gunshots were the primary cause of Vivoda’s death before talking to prosecutors about whether to upgrade the charges against the men, sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Dan Johnson said.

Ranch Hand's Skull Crushed For $200,000

Second conviction in murder of ranch hand for insurance money
The Associated Press

ELKO, Nev. - An Elko County man whose wife is serving a life sentence for the 2003 killing of their ranch hand was found guilty on Monday of the same crime.

A jury in Elko found John Vernon Fields guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the beating death of his former ranch hand, Jaromir Palensky.

Fields' wife, Linda, was convicted earlier of the same crime and was sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

The jury received John Fields' case on Friday and returned its verdict just before noon Monday. The judge will hand down his sentence later after conferring with both sides.

Palensky was found in January 2004 in the frigid Jordan River near Salt Lake City. His head was crushed, his boots were missing, and his wallet was not where a witness said he kept it. By most accounts, the Czech immigrant was last seen alive at the Fields' ranch east of Elko, where he worked after being released from a DUI-related prison sentence in October of 2003.

In closing arguments on Friday, the prosecution and defense acknowledged there was no direct evidence linking Vern Fields to Palensky's death. They differed, however, on how much weight should be assigned to an abundance of circumstantial evidence.

Deputy District Attorney Troy Jordan told jurors whoever killed Palensky was certainly stronger than the small Linda Fields. While a murder weapon was never found, medical examiners said Palensky was struck with a pipe, ax handle or baseball bat with such force the blows cracked his skull in three places and bruised his brain.

Jordan reminded jurors the Fieldses told people Palensky simply left, but told others he was fired and, according to one witness, Linda Fields even confessed to killing the man because he had molested a 2-year-old relative. No evidence has been produced to indicate the child was harmed by Palensky or anyone else.

Jordan said the circumstantial evidence indicated Palensky was killed somewhere on the ranch, his body was placed in the bed of a Toyota pickup and transported to Utah, where it was dumped.

"Vern Fields had 300,000 reasons to kill Jerry Palensky," said Jordan, referring to a $300,000 life insurance policy Linda Fields took out on the man and named herself as beneficiary.

In his closing, defense attorney Roger Stewart told the jury there was no evidence his client killed Palensky and there was no weapon.

"This is a very thin case," Stewart said. "It's thinner now than it was when we began."

Stewart also hypothesized Palensky was killed in Utah and challenged the county's jurisdiction since it could not be proved the victim was killed in Elko. He also suggested his client was at the mercy of an overbearing wife and questioned whether the motive theorized by the state held merit.

Arsonist RA Took Dryer Warnings Seriously

BYU resident adviser charged with arson
The Associated Press

Posted: 11:15 AM- PROVO - A 22-year-old residence adviser from Brigham Young University has been charged with aggravated arson.

Austin Horton was charged connection with an early-morning fire on March 9 at May Hall, where Horton lived and served as an RA. His first court appearance is September 6th. He hasn't been arrested.

According to Capt. Mike Harroun of the BYU police, a pile of rags or dryer lint that had been sprayed with cooking oil was found smoldering in the kitchen area of the building's basement.

Deputy county attorney Chad Grunander says the charge is aggravated because the fire was in an inhabited building.

Horton is still enrolled as a student at BYU, though he is no longer working as an RA. An honor code review for Horton is under way.

Pyro Firefighter Blows Self Up

Firefighter charged with exploding pipe bomb
Bevin Milavsky, Lehigh Valley Live
August 21, 2007 11:27AM

A Bethlehem firefighter was arrested this morning and has been suspended by the department for allegedly setting off a pipe bomb behind his home in May.

City police said Steven Pasco, 39, of the 1400 block of High Street suffered vision damage, ringing in his ears and cuts to his face after the alleged May 26 incident.

He was taken to the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. He admitted "it was a stupid thing to do," according to court papers.

Pasco told police he was using "a double mortar tube" device with gunpowder. When he lit the fuse, the device blew up in his face. The device, which fire officials said was illegal, was deemed "extremely dangerous and hazardous."

Pasco told police the device was a civil war replica cannon used by re-enactors. But an expert at Gettysburg National Military Park said that is not the case.

He was arraigned before District Judge James Narlesky on charges of arson and related offenses: possession of explosive or incendiary materials or devices; reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. He was released on $100,000 bail.

Bethlehem Fire Commissioner George Barkanic issued a news release about 3:30 this afternoon stating, "Firefighter Steve J. Pasco has been suspended with full pay until further notice. This is a personnel issue and no additional comments will be forthcoming from the Bethlehem Fire Department at this time."

Study Finds Surfers "Awesome"

Hawaii surfer donates boards for Gazans
August 21, 2007

JERUSALEM --An 86-year-old Jewish surfing guru from Hawaii is bringing good vibrations to the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Dorian Paskowitz, a retired doctor, donated 12 surfboards to Gaza's small surfing community on Tuesday in a novel gesture to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

"God will surf with the devil if the waves are good," Paskowitz said. "When a surfer sees another surfer with a board, he can't help but say something that brings them together."

The chiseled Paskowitz emerged shirtless at the Israel-Gaza crossing after handing over the dozen boards to Gaza surfers waiting on the other side. He said he was inspired after reading a story about two Gaza surfers who could not enjoy the wild waves off the coastal strip because they had only one board to share between them.

Arthur Rashkovan, a 28-year-old surfer from Tel Aviv, said Paskowitz's project was part of a larger effort called "Surfing for Peace," aimed at bringing Middle East surfers closer together. He said eight-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater, who is of Syrian descent, is expected to arrive in Israel in October to take part in the drive.

Paskowitz, whom Rashkovan called a "guru" to Israeli surfers, has surfed in Israel several times over the past five decades.

Paskowitz, a father of nine, served in the Navy during World War II, practiced family medicine for more than half a century and has published books on surfing and health. He said he has surfed for 75 years in locations all over the world, and he ranks the waves off the coasts of Israel and Gaza as among the world's best.

"It's really quite remarkable how good they are for modern surfing," he said.


Vista man to stand trial in killing of neighbor's cat
August 21, 2007

VISTA – A Vista man must stand trial this fall for allegedly shooting a former neighbor's cat to death with two arrows.

A judge Monday set an an Oct. 9 trial date for Robert Eugene Brunner, 47, who is charged with two counts of animal cruelty in the death of Bill, a 3-year-old orange tabby.

A woman testified in pre-trial proceedings that Brunner said he fired at the feline because it was “pissing all over” his yard on Plymouth Drive.

The woman said she was waiting in a trailer where Brunner lived while he fixed her car on the night of April 9, 2006, and he came in muttering that a cat was stuck to a tree and he had to get it off before the property owner saw it.

She conceded she never saw the cat or the tree, but witnessed the defendant digging up a palm tree later that night.

A 10-year-old boy testified that he spotted Bill, with the arrows still embedded in the animal, in a neighbor's yard on April 12 last year and notified the owner, Janeen Bubien.

The arrows were surgically removed, but the cat died two days later.

Brunner has already been found civilly liable for the feline's death. After he was sued by Bubien, the case was settled for $2,500, and a judge added $5,000 to the settlement to help the woman move away.

Fat Man Steals From Restaurants

Police say man cheated eateries, stores
Report: Clerk stalls, foils moldy-beef-jerky scam

Rene Stutzman and Gary Taylor, Orlando Sentinel
August 21, 2007

SANFORD - A 550-pound man accused of cheating several restaurants by claiming he had found hair in his food was in jail Monday. This time, it was for talking a clerk out of $120 by claiming he had bought 30 bags of moldy beef jerky, according to police.

George Walter Jolicoeur, 35, of Sanford was being held in the Seminole County Jail on $12,500 bail. He was arrested at his home Saturday.

According to Mount Dora police, Jolicoeur talked a convenience-store clerk out of $120 on April 21, claiming that he had earlier bought beef jerky that had gone bad.

He also told the clerk he was a police officer and was organizing a children's charity event, said Robbin Mayfield, a Mount Dora police spokeswoman.

Jolicoeur tried the same thing during the weekend at a convenience store near Oviedo, according to a Seminole County Sheriff's Office report.

He walked into a 7-Eleven, saying that he had bought $50 worth of moldy beef jerky and wanted a refund, according to the report. The clerk, though, recognized him from earlier news reports and tried to stall, but Jolicoeur left.

Sanford police went to his home a short time later. From inside, they heard a man, pretending to be a woman, say that Jolicoeur was not there. Then they heard another voice say, " 'George, just turn yourself in,' " according to the report. He did moments later, the report stated.

No one answered the door at that home Monday.

Jolicoeur has a history of similar crimes, according to records. In 2005, he pleaded no contest to five crimes, all involving restaurants. Among them: He claimed he found hair in five steak sandwiches from a Firehouse Subs restaurant and received a $36 refund; and he received a $31 refund from Steak 'N Shake after complaining that he had found hair in six milkshakes.

In the early and mid-1990s, records show, Jolicoeur served time in state prison for crimes ranging from dealing in stolen property to drugs.

Forgot His Fellow Officer In The Car

Hundreds gather to honor fallen K-9 officer
Katie McDevitt, East Valley Tribune

Nearly 200 people and 50 dogs amassed Sunday evening to honor Bandit, a Chandler police K-9 who died when his trainer forgot him in a police vehicle.

The group held glowing candles Sunday evening at Chandler’s Shawnee Park while pet collars jingled and dogs barked.

“I tried to explain it to my buddy here, but he doesn’t understand,” said Cave Creek resident Fred Mueller, while looking down at his Golden Lab, Rolph. “It was an accident—poor guy.”

Community activists and Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler attended the memorial organized by self-described animal lovers. Phoenix resident Glenn Hammond paid for the memorial along with his two friends Allison Teska, of Mesa, and Tricia Gillespie, of Phoenix.

“I could not understand, like much of the community, how this happened,” Hammond said. “Why we’re doing this? There’s really no answer other than we’re just unbelievably touched.”

Ever since the public learned of Bandit’s death, the community has led an emotionally charged attack on Sgt. Tom Lovejoy, who left the dog for about 13 hours in a police vehicle outside his home.

Leah Ayers of Gilbert said her initial anger at news of bandit’s death subsided to sadness. “I pulled up and I had tears in my eyes,” said the owner of three cats, who added that she would like to adopt a dog.

Many who came added flowers, trinkets and pictures to a makeshift memorial, including a dogless collar.

The Chandler Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation to determine if Lovejoy violated any policies. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has begun a criminal investigation since Lovejoy lives in a county island.

Chandler police spokesman Sgt. Rick Griner said the department intends to have a private memorial for Bandit.

Cheerleader's Favorite Color Was Pink

Boyfriend charged in stabbing death of Gateway teen
By Brian C. Rittmeyer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Monday, August 20, 2007

Police filed homicide charges Sunday against an 18-year-old Monroeville man accused of stabbing his 16-year-old cheerleader girlfriend to death and then trying to kill himself.

The charges were filed shortly before about 1,500 people gathered at Gateway High School to remember Demi Brae Cuccia, who died Wednesday.

"The outpouring of friendship and love for our family has been overwhelming," the girl's mother, Jodi Cuccia, of Monroeville, told the crowd.

The suspect, John Mullarkey Jr., is under police guard at his bed at Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, said Monroeville assistant police Chief Doug Cole. Police said Mullarkey attacked Demi Cuccia at her home before slashing his own throat in an apparent murder-suicide attempt.

According to court documents, Cuccia suffered 16 stab wounds to her upper torso, and an autopsy determined the cause of death was a stab wound to the left shoulder.

Police said they found a folding knife with a 3 1/2-inch blade on the living room floor of the Cuccia home on Elliot Road.

According to court documents, a witness, whom police did not identify, told police of hearing hysterical screams coming from the Cuccia home Wednesday evening. The witness reportedly saw Demi Cuccia walk outside, her chest covered with blood, and twice scream, "He stabbed me!"

The witness then saw Mullarkey come outside, and Cuccia screamed, "Get away from me! I hate you! I hate you!" before losing consciousness. Mullarkey walked a short distance away from the witness before falling unconscious.

The documents say a paramedic called to the scene asked Mullarkey who had hurt him. He reportedly responded: "I did this."

An Allegheny General spokeswoman would not release a report on Mullarkey's condition yesterday. According to court documents, he suffered a severe neck laceration.

The first witness told police of hearing Demi Cuccia and Mullarkey arguing in the past.

A second unidentified witness said Cuccia told her Tuesday that Cuccia had received text messages from Mullarkey indicating he intended to harm her, according to court documents.

A third witness said he was present on Aug. 12, when Mullarkey confronted Cuccia at her home and started a loud, violent argument with her, court documents say. Previously, Cuccia's friends described Mullarkey as possessive and controlling, forbidding her to wear a bikini or travel out of town for a summer cheerleading camp.

The 1,500 students, parents, friends and relatives gathered at Gateway's Harry J. Furrie Sports Complex to remember Demi Cuccia in a vigil organized by the Gateway Cheerleading Booster Club.

Many participants wore black-and-white T-shirts bearing an image of her.

Mourners used pink, Cuccia's favorite color, in her memory.

School counselor Colleen Tortorella said staff will be there for Gateway students when they return to class next Monday.

"Don't think for a moment Demi won't be on our minds," she said. "We truly are here for you if you need us, always."

Tears and sadness filled the vigil, but there was laughter as well when Demi's mother read from one of her daughter's writings, "Life Is Short, Enjoy It," about her interests, favorite things, pet peeves and her plans for her future.

Her interests included typical teenage pastimes: listening to music, talking on the phone, going to movies and shopping. Her two heroes: her mother and Jessica Simpson. Her fears: needles and Indians.

She hoped to attend college, become a doctor or lawyer and having a family with a house near the beach, her mother said.

"I just want to thank you and everyone in my family thanks you for your love and your support. We love you, and Demi loves you too," Jodi Cuccia said.

A no-flame rule prohibited the use of candles, but organizers asked participants to wave their lighted cell phones to the song "I Will Remember You."

At the end of the vigil filled with word, song and prayer, her fellow cheerleaders released dozens of pink balloons into a dark, rainy sky.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Virginia Is For Crack

Va. alters tourism ad campaign after blooper with gang sign
Aug 20, 2007
William C. Flook, The Examiner

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Virginia’s Tourism Corp. has altered an upcoming campaign after revelations that characters in a series of ads were unknowingly making hand signs used by a Chicago gang.

The planned advertisements, meant to entice visitors to the Old Dominion, featured Virginians making a heart-shaped sign by touching together their index fingers and thumbs, a reference to the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan. But, apparently unbeknownst to tourism officials, the gesture is used by the Gangster Disciples, which the FBI calls “one of the most violent of four African American gangs that hang out on the South Side of Chicago.”

The tourism agency said Friday it has removed the hand signs from the ads.

“For the majority of people, the heart sign is a symbol of love, and the campaign’s images intended to convey a love of travel and a love of Virginia,” Alisa Bailey, the agency’s president, said in a statement. “A heart has been our symbol since 1969 and we were looking for new ways to express it.”

The Chicago-based gang is known for its large-scale crack-cocaine operations and was featured in a chapter of the best-seller “Freakonomics” in which a sociology graduate student gained the trust of gang members to learn about the group’s operational structure.

“Out of respect to those who have concerns about the use of this symbol, we will adjust the creative images in our ad campaign to eliminate any further misinterpretation of the heart/hand symbol,” Bailey’s statement said. “We regret if anyone interpreted the symbol as anything other than a symbol of love as was intended.”

Children Like Explosions

'Awesome' collapse impresses the crowds
Deborah Bulkeley
Deseret Morning News
Aug. 19, 2007

Cheers erupted from a crowd gathered at the corner of 200 West and North Temple as the former Key Bank tower fell Saturday morning and a plume of dark dust billowed from the site.

Within seconds, the dust plume spread to the area where a few dozen spectators watched, some wearing dust masks.

"That was awesome," Chrislyn Barnes, 26, of Salt Lake City, said as she quickly donned her dust mask. "I'm very impressed it came down so fast."

Her friend, Joel Dayton, called the implosion "incredible" as the two watched a replay on their camera. "That's so cool."

Barnes, who works downtown at Deseret Book, has been watching the demolition in preparation for the City Creek Center.

"If I'm here I want to see it live," she said. "It's totally a process," she said of the mall demolitions under way in anticipation of the new City Creek Center. "It's a wonderful project for Salt Lake City. The downtown has great potential."

At 200 West and North Temple, children climbed a tree to get a better view. A group of students from Brigham Young University waved signs reading "ka-boom."

Ryan Lund, 23, saw the implosion announced on TV, and "the news told us not to go, so we said, 'We'll go."'

"A Child Is Being Beaten"

A killer, but not legally a predator
Loophole could mean looser reins if he gets paroled
August 19, 2007
Barbara Carmen, The Columbus DIspatch

A photograph of Barbara Sue Caulley lies atop a scrapbook she kept as a child. She was murdered in 1988.

On the morning 14-year-old Barbara Sue Caulley was killed, a neighbor went out to his porch to smoke a cigarette. He later told police he heard a girl "screaming bloody murder" for six minutes.

He figured a kid was getting punished. He was wrong about that, but it was bloody.

The girl, killed July 17, 1988, was stabbed 56 times. Her body was found a day later, stuffed behind a ratty sofa in a relative's earthen cellar in Harrison West.

Columbus police think that Robert Lee Wells tried to rape Barbara Sue and killed her when she resisted. Wounds on her hands and arms showed that the eighth-grader fought hard to live. Her throat was slit.

Wells has served 19 years of a 25-year sentence and could walk free soon. Now 44, he was granted parole in June but remains in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution as the Caulley family fights his release.

"He is absolutely going to go after someone else's little girl" if he gets out of prison, Evelyn Caulley, Barbara Sue's mother, said last week.

Here's another thing that frightens her: Wells can't be branded a sexual predator. Ohio's law has a loophole.

Lawmakers attached the warning label to the crime of involuntary manslaughter but not to the crime of voluntary manslaughter, which a judge found Wells guilty of.

"She was just like any other teenager," Caulley recalled. Her daughter was enjoying the summer. Barbara Sue ran the neighborhood with her cousins and spent nights at the nearby homes of a grandmother, aunts and uncles.

But, Caulley said, a brother of her sister-in-law's who was visiting that summer made her nervous. "When Robert Lee Wells was around, we all kept our eyes on our kids."

Wells once carved messages on walls saying he'd sold his soul to the devil. He walked around his sister's house that summer eating handfuls of raw hamburger -- a habit that led his sister to overlook the blood splatters in her kitchen after the slaying.

A few years earlier, he was hospitalized because he said he saw "blood in women inside of him," his attorney recalled. The hospital dismissed it as "too much caffeine."

Wells confessed to killing Barbara Sue and was charged with aggravated murder. He wasn't charged with rape; he told police he sexually assaulted her after she was dead.

But police offered Wells psychiatric help to extract the confession, his attorney, Jeff Moore, said last week. Judge William T. Gillie, who has since died, decided that was improper and threw out the confession.

Gillie convicted Wells of voluntary manslaughter based on a bite mark on Barbara Sue's left breast that matched Wells' teeth.

Involuntary manslaughter usually involves accidentally killing someone while committing another crime. Voluntary manslaughter generally is a crime of passion provoked by the victim.

Victim advocate Bret Vinocur discovered the loophole in the sexual-predator law in late June, when he phoned Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien to ask why Wells hadn't been designated a sexual predator.

State law requires sexual predators to register their addresses with the sheriff in the county where they live and prohibits them from living within 1,000 feet of a school. Some towns have added day-care centers, libraries, parks, swimming pools and playgrounds to the 1,000-foot rule.

A rape conviction is not required. Any felon whose crime was sexually motivated can be labeled a predator -- even if the crime predated the 1997 so-called Megan's Law, as long as the person is still in prison when the hearing is held.

And Wells was about to walk.

"At first, I thought it might have fallen through the cracks," said O'Brien, who wasn't county prosecutor when the case was tried. "Certainly, the facts of this case would indicate that it was motivated by sexual conduct."

O'Brien's research uncovered the loophole.

"I really was surprised," he said. "I told Bret I would work with him to get the law changed."

O'Brien and Vinocur will join Caulley and her family at a parole hearing Sept. 12 to fight Wells' release. The three want to keep Wells in prison long enough to get the law fixed and get Wells designated a predator.

Moore said his former client was a hermit who didn't go looking for girls.

"I believe a mental institution is a more appropriate setting for Robert than a prison," Moore said. "The evidence was clear that she stabbed him; he had wounds on his hands."

But S. Michael Miller, county prosecutor at the time, wants Wells to stay locked up. "Mr. Wells appears to be a very dangerous and disturbed person," Miller wrote the parole board. "I believe Mr. Wells is still a danger to the community."

Wells declined a request to be interviewed for this story.

Vinocur hopes that public outcry also will sway the parole board. He has set up an online petition on his Web site, www.findmissingkids.com, and is asking for signatures.

Meanwhile, he is working with O'Brien and state Sen. Steve Stivers, R-Columbus, to close the loophole, using a pending victims' rights law.

"My little girl never got justice," Caulley said. "I still look at faces and think I'll see her. You wait for her to come in the door, and she doesn't come. You accidentally set the extra plate on the table.

"And now, I find out they can't even charge him with being a sexual predator."

Incomprehensible Tiff "Explained"

Materazzi reveals slur to Zidane
Calgary Herald
August 19, 2007

Italy's World Cup winning defender Marco Materazzi revealed Saturday he had told French icon Zinedine Zidane during last year's final that he preferred his "whore of a sister" to his shirt.

It was this comment that led to Zidane headbutting Materazzi in the chest and being dramatically sent off. That incident preceded France losing the final in a penalty shoot-out.

Materazzi made his revelations to an Italian magazine which is due to be published Monday.

The uncompromising Inter Milan central defender had previously made a different statement.

"I held his shirt for only a few seconds, he (Zidane) turned to me and spoke to me in a manic fashion, looked at me arrogantly from top to bottom and said, 'if you want my shirt you can have it after the match.'

"I responded with an insult, that is true," said Materazzi.

Arsonist Hated Loud People, Didn't See Downside

Woman torched neighbors' homes for loud music

YOUNGSTOWN - A woman who set her neighbors' homes on fire because she was upset with their behavior and loud music was sentenced to four years in prison.

Johanna Morrison, 50, has mental health problems and didn't understand the downside to what she was doing, said her attorney, James Gentile. Fire investigators said they think Morrison is responsible for as many as 13 fires in her neighborhood dating back to April 2006 until she was arrested last October.

No one was injured but some of the homes were damaged so severely that they had to be abandoned.

Morrison told Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge John Durkin during Friday's sentencing hearing that she's been taking the antidepressant drug Prozac while in jail and that her mental health has improved. She also apologized for setting fires.

Morrison pleaded guilty June 21 to four counts of aggravated arson and two counts of arson. A judge had found her competent to stand trial.

Gentile said his client's goal was to rid the neighborhood of non-law abiding persons.

Let Me Guess They Buy A Lot Of Cold Medicine Too!!!??

South-central Connecticut sees largest increase in painkiller use

By Dave Collins, AP
August 20, 2007

HARTFORD, Conn. --People in Connecticut are in pain, and nowhere else is that more apparent than in the south-central part of the state.
Article Tools

The area saw a 657 percent increase in the use of oxycodone, the chemical used in OxyContin, between 1997 and 2005, according to an Associated Press analysis of statistics from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The national average increase was 591 percent, and the statewide average jump was 471 percent.

There was also a 243 percent increase in the use of morphine in south-central Connecticut during the same period, compared with a 154 percent increase nationally and 111 percent increase statewide.

No other areas of the state had higher increases in the use of oxycodone and morphine.

The figures are for the area with ZIP codes beginning with 064. The region runs from Middletown and Meriden to the north down to shoreline towns including Branford, Guilford and Old Saybrook. It also includes Fairfield and suburbs west of New Haven.

The data include nationwide sales and distribution of drugs by hospitals, retail pharmacies, doctors and teaching institutions.

Doctors and other medical experts say it's difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons why more painkillers are being used in the south-central part of the state, but they have some ideas that echo what their colleagues are saying about increases nationwide.

-- There's been a major shift in philosophy as doctors now consider pain management an integral part of the healing process.

-- Older people are making up an increasing percentage of the population, and their need for painkillers increases with age. There were 4.2 million Americans older than 85 in 2005, compared with 3.1 million in 1990.

-- Doctors are getting inundated with marketing materials from pharmaceutical companies.

"This whole idea of palliative medicine and pain and symptom management control has become a bigger way of treating certain types of diseases and pain suffering," said Marcel Blanchet, spokesman for The Connecticut Hospice in Branford.

The hospice serves just over 4,000 patients with terminal illnesses a year across the state, including 56 at its in-patient facility in Branford.

South-central Connecticut also has seen an increase in outpatient surgery centers and rehabilitation clinics in recent years, Blanchet said.

Yale-New Haven Hospital's new Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford offers one-day surgeries, cancer services and emergency care. Many Yale-New Haven doctors have offices in Guilford and Branford. And MidState Medical Center in Meriden has been advertising its Spine and Pain Institute.

Dr. Malcolm Gourlie, an East Haddam family practice doctor and president of the Middlesex County Medical Association, said there were few, if any, doctors in the county in 1997 who specialized in treating chronic pain. Now, he says, there are three or four spine specialists in the area, which makes up a good part of the 064 ZIP code region.

"We are now managing the problems that used to go outside the county," Gourlie said. "When I trained 25 years ago, there was no formal training in pain management. It was on the job. I think there's been more enlightenment. We're trying to recognize and manage chronic pain better."

Northeastern Connecticut was second in the state when it came to the increased use of oxycodone and morphine, but it was the leader in the spike in usage of hydrocodone, a generic form of Vicodin.

Hydrocodone use increased 183 percent from 1997 to 2005 in the region where ZIP codes begin with 062. The national average was 199 percent and the state average was 113 percent.

Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, director of the blood and cancer center at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, said it was difficult to explain why hydrocodone use increased more in the northeastern part of the state. But he said Vicodin is a popular painkiller to give to patients after surgery, and many doctors are familiar with it.

Gordon also said doctors in his area of the state have made a concerted effort to better manage patients' pain.

"Over the past 10 years, there has been much better education in the medical community to ... ask if people are having pain and to better diagnose and treat it," he said.

"My personal volume of prescriptions has gone up because we're seeing more patients every year," Gordon said. "I'm not concerned if over the past 10 years I've had to prescribe more pain medicines, because overall I feel I'm doing a better job."

Statewide, the use of five major painkillers -- oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, codeine and meperidine -- increased 104 percent over the eight years, compared with 88 percent nationwide. The use of codeine and meperidine, used Demerol, both decreased in Connecticut and the nation.

They Were Watching Death Proof and Smoking Rock

Woman takes man for ride -- on top of car
Jamal Thalji, Tampa Bay Times

NEW PORT RICHEY — Michelle Lorene Luther isn't sitting in the Pasco County jail today just because she took her boyfriend for a ride.

It's where he rode, police say.

On top of her car.

"The caller said they saw a man on the roof screaming for the driver to stop," said New Port Richey police Assistant Chief Darryl Garman.

That's why Luther, 40, of 5920 Delaware Ave., was arrested Friday night on charges of aggravated domestic battery, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

That's how the story ended. How it began, according to police, was when Luther pulled up to the home she shared with boyfriend Jamison Klod, 36.

It was 9:47 p.m. She had been drinking, police say. The two argued. They have their disagreements about what happened next, too.

The boyfriend said she ran him over, throwing him onto the roof of her convertible Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder.

The girlfriend said she was trying to leave the driveway, according to Garman, but he was blocking her way when she hit him.

Another issue, police say, was that she never stopped.

The victim was literally sitting on top of the roof of her car, Garman said, holding on with both hands.
He punched in the driver's side window to try to get her to stop.

By the time police arrived, the couple and her car were back at the home. Luther had fled to a neighbor’s house. Klod was standing by her car, his hand bleeding, the roof caved in.

No other injuries were reported. The boyfriend refused medical help.

The girlfriend told police "she hit her boyfriend with her car because she was mad at him," according to an arrest report.

Luther did not go quietly. She was "screaming, crying, cursing," Garman said. The arresting officer wrote he could not understand what she was saying.

Police say they also found a glass pipe and a small piece of crack cocaine in her car, which was impounded.

She is being held in the county jail in Land O'Lakes in lieu of $6,250 bond.

Superman Comics "Accurate Account" of Crime, Punishment

FBI: Bank robber no match for bodybuilder

By Susan Gilmore, Seattle Times

"Old School" was expelled Friday, thanks to a world-class body builder.

It all happened in Lynnwood when a robber, known to the FBI as the"Old School Bandit" because of a bandanna he always wore across his face — an old-school disguise — tried to rob a Banner Bank.

He was ambushed by a customer who just happens to be a top bodybuilder, Todd Jewell, 26, of Yakima.

"This guy [Old School] was elusive and I applaud him [Jewell]," FBI agent Larry Carr, who is based in Seattle. "This is one of those cases where every week since this guy started hitting I had to e-mail (warnings) to banks. Now I don't have to do this thanks to Mr. Jewell."

Carr said the Old School robber, identified as Chadwick Asheim of Seattle, is a suspect in nine bank robberies in the past two months, all in the Seattle area.

On Friday, he walked into a Banner Bank office on 188th Street Southwest in Lynnwood and told the teller, "Give me the money, give me the money, right now."

Jewell, who was in the bank with his wife, heard the threat and grabbed Asheim, pulling him away from the teller. "He was in quite the fight for his life," said Carr. "If caught inside the bank he'd go to jail for life. It was quite the struggle."

Jewell was able to subdue the man until police arrived, Carr said. Asheim was taken to the hospital for broken ribs and cuts and will be transferred to federal custody. Carr said charges likely will be filed on Monday.

Carr said a warrant was out for Asheim, who supposedly is homeless, for leaving a halfway house, and agents thought he might be responsible for the bank robberies, but they couldn't catch him.

Jewell, on his Web site, said he just completed his first national level bodybuilding competition and took 7th in the heavyweight class and was named Amateur of the Week on a bodybuilding Web site.

He said he's been bodybuilding for five years, and started lifting at age 14. He said he weighs 254 pounds

Do Not Shoot Yourself in the Head

Drunken man 'playing' with gun kills self, police say

Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 18, 2007

An intoxicated man, playing with a gun, shot and killed himself Friday night, according to Phoenix Police.

Sergio Valencia-Maldonado, 35, died from his self-inflicted wounds at a Phoenix home in near the intersection of Thomas Road and 40th Street.

Valencia-Maldonado was "playing" with a revolver about 7:30 p.m. "in a reckless manner when he placed the weapon to his head and fired it, killing himself," according to initial police reports.

At least four other men were at the scene when the shooting happened.

"If he had had eyes, they would have been blue"

Blind boy's blue eyes are a special gift
6-year-old Scott finds his place in world he can't see

Gannett Tennessee

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Scott Jernigan has blue eyes, but they are artificial.

Scott was born without eyeballs.

Because he does not have optic nerves, he probably will never gaze across the rolling hills of Tennessee.

As a single mother, Amber Jernigan has struggled to provide for Scott since he was born six years ago.

Money may have been tight, but there was lots of love to go around.

With the support of her mother, Annie Taylor, Amber has taken Scott on countless visits to Nashville doctors.

An organ transplant was impossible because of the lack of optic nerves, so doctors advised Amber that Scott should initially use conformers — curved pieces of plastic about the size of a pinky fingernail. Each has a small spoke used to position the conformer properly.

Amber took Scott to Fairbanks Ocular Prosthetics in Nashville to have his conformers sized every two months.

"It was an all-day thing. After they made the measurements, then they made the conformers by hand and later in the afternoon will fit them for him," Amber said.

Scott's pediatrician, Dr. Ferdinand Espeleta, said the conformers were essential for proper bone growth around the eyebrow and sinus area of the face.

The conformers allowed Scott's long lashes to frame a circular structure beneath his eyelids and avoid a caved-in appearance.

When Scott was 2, he received a very special gift — artificial eyeballs.

"If he had had eyes, they would have been blue," Amber said.

Single mom struggles

It has been a struggle for both mother and son.

At 2 years old, Scott didn't talk much.

He rolled and scooted across the floor much longer than routinely expected for a toddler.

By the time he was 4, he was developmentally behind his peers, but Amber and her mother continued to do the best they could.

Amber didn't have a job so that she could stay home to care for Scott, and Annie worked extra hours in an effort to make ends meet.

Eventually, Scott began to learn how to compensate for his disability — and he is still learning.

Off to school every day

He is learning to be a good student with the help of teachers at the Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville.

"He is a big boy now, getting on the school bus, taking his backpack," Amber said.

This year, Scott wakes up and gets dressed by himself before his bus arrives.

A bus arrives about 6 a.m. to pick up Scott. That bus brings him home about 4 p.m.

When Scott arrives home, Amber will play a memory game with him based on notes from his teacher.

"We talk about what he ate for lunch, what he did at recess and something special he learned that day," Amber said.

Then Scott will help himself to an after-school snack from the refrigerator. A shelf houses his favorite food items, always placed in the same locations.

"Scott has learned so much since he started school. He can feed himself, and he has neighbor kids who are friends to him," Annie Taylor said.

Scott takes the wheel

Amber and Scott and little brother Isaiah moved into a new apartment this year.

While the family was getting settled, Annie said the neighbor kids invited Scott outside to the sidewalk.

"They were sweet to him. I turned around and back a bit later to see Scott on one of their motorized cars — and he was in the driver's seat," Annie said.

It was a moment of gut-wrenching fear that lodges in the throat of any parent.

"I mean after all, he is blind," Annie said.

As she neared the boys, she could hear neighborhood child telling Scott: "Turn left, good, turn right, good."

"Those kids knew Scott was different, and it didn't matter to them — they were having fun, but needless to say Scott doesn't drive anymore," Annie Taylor said with a grin.

Scott will continue his life skills classes at the School for the Blind, and Amber says once he masters the everyday tasks, he will study Braille and eventually learn to read.

Exciting Fight at Peace Festival

Hip-hop fest fosters peace
But 'small contingent' causes fight, draws crowd after event

Patrick Flanigan, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

(August 20, 2007) — It was just a white bandanna, but it wasn't welcome at the Peacefest on Sunday.

"Hey man, you wanna do something with that?" Victor Saunders asked the young man who let the bandanna hang from his pocket.

Bandannas, after all, are sometimes used on Rochester streets to signal gang affiliation — exactly the kind of activity that the 6th Peacefest was trying to reverse.

"Ain't no reppin' here," said Saunders, the director of Pathways to Peace, the city agency that organized the Peacefest.

Dubbed a "celebration of love, peace and hip-hop," the festival featured about a dozen performers who helped promote the nonviolence in hip-hop culture. Pathways to Peace is the city's street-outreach agency, which helps give at-risk youths alternatives to dealing drugs and other criminal activity.

Rochester police had to break up a large fight among people leaving the festival site, said Lt. John Smith. He said a group of people fought at the intersection of Commercial and Mill streets and the scene attracted a crowd that had to be dispersed with pepper spray.

"The festival itself went extremely well," he said. "Unfortunately, there seemed to be a small contingent that showed up at the end for the sole purpose of being disruptive. You get about a dozen people fighting, with 600 to 800 people watching, and that creates a lot of negative energy."

Police took some people into custody, but arrest numbers were not available Sunday.

The festival included children's games and provided tables where representatives of community service agencies could deliver their message to the roughly 2,500 people who attended the gathering.

"We like to meet the kids where they feel comfortable and tell them what we're about," said James Cuthbert, an education specialist with the Center for Youth Services.

Cameron Thomas, 13, said the purpose of the festival is clear.

"Stop the killing," he said. "If you get all these people together, maybe some of them will figure out that when (you) kill someone, you're taking them away from their family and that ain't right."

The festival ended a three-day violence prevention community event, sponsored by the city.

Autistic Woman Beaten, Can't Cry

LI cops: Wooden hanger, shoe used to beat autistic woman

Newsday, August 18, 2007

An autistic resident of a Long Island group home was beaten with a shoe and a wooden coat hanger, slapped in the head and kicked by several employees whose vicious assaults were captured by a hidden video camera, Nassau County police said.

The helpless 50-year-old victim was battered repeatedly at the PLUS Group Home Inc. by at least four employees after one of their co-workers alerted police to possible mistreatment of the residents inside the Uniondale facility, police said.

Group home management then installed the camera inside air conditioning vents at the home, according to Terri Cancilla, executive director of the PLUS Group Home Inc.

The camera quickly captured a series of assaults between Aug. 9-16, police said. PLUS workers Nelly Gedeon, 20, of Uniondale, and Johny Djhon-Felix, 33, of Queens, were arrested Friday and charged with harassment and endangering an incompetent person.

Djohn-Felix was additionally charged with grand larceny for disconnecting and stealing the hidden camera after noticing its presence during his shift early Thursday morning, police said. Two other PLUS employees were wanted for beating the unidentified woman.

Gedeon and Djhon-Felix were being arraigned Saturday in Hempstead, police said. Police couldn't say whether they had lawyers, and their home telephone numbers werent' listed.

Offices at Long Island-based PLUS, which provides housing and care for autistic adults, were closed Saturday. An e-mail seeking comment on the arrests was not returned.

According to police, there were four separate assaults.

In the first incident, one of the suspects still at large was captured striking the victim in the head with her hand several times on Aug. 9. Three days later, the second wanted suspect kicked the woman in her buttocks, smashed her in the head with a wooden coat hanger and then threw the hanger at the woman's head.

That same day, health care aide Gedeon used a shoe to batter the victim, hitting her in the head. Djhon-Felix, another aide, used a handful of the woman's hair to shake her back and forth during the last incident Thursday.

Authorities said the victim can not speak or convey emotions or pain because of her disease, which is characterized by impaired social interaction.

Two Men Charged for Foolish Snake Box Idea

Men accused of murder-by-snake plot

August 18, 2007

LAKEWOOD, Colo. --Two men who allegedly tried to use rattlesnakes as deadly weapons to collect on a debt have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, authorities said.

The Lakewood men were allegedly trying to kill Matthew Sowash, owner of Amateur Poker Tour in Wheat Ridge, because he owed them $60,000, Jim Shires of the Jefferson County Sheriff's office said. Arrest affidavits say Sowash's company stages Texas Hold'em-style poker games in Denver area bars.

Herbert Paul Beck, 56, was arrested Thursday in Raton, N.M., and Christopher Lee Steelman, 34, was arrested Wednesday in Lakewood.

Bail for each suspect was set at $500,000 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and extortion.

Investigators said Steelman told them the two men discussed ways to kill Sowash and Beck suggested rattlesnakes. Beck allegedly told investigators he invested $36,000 in the company last December, and with interest was due $60,000.

The plan was to build a wooden box to hold the snakes and "the lid was to be built to allow Sowash's legs to be put inside but not pulled out."

"The final and most disturbing method to Steelman was Beck wanting to kidnap Sowash's children and use them as leverage to get the money from Sowash," according to the affidavits.

Sowash contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation after getting threatening e-mails.

Both defendants have extensive arrest records. Shires didn't know if they had lawyers to speak for them

Stubborn Old Man Likes Trash

Trashed houses land man in jail
City loses patience over building code violations
Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati building inspectors say they tried to reason with Ron Brown.

They visited the 70-year-old Westwood man dozens of times over the years and asked him to clean up the trash, car parts, weeds and rusting lawn mowers that littered his McHenry Avenue properties.

They offered to help haul the junk away, they wrote more than 50 citations warning him to clear his property and, finally, they took him to court.

Nothing worked.

So when Brown went back to Hamilton County's housing court Friday, the judge decided to try something new: He sent Brown to jail.

"It's an absolute last resort," said Judge Russell Mock. "But eventually, there has to be a deterrent."

Brown's 170-day jail sentence - a rarity in housing court - is the latest chapter in a long, strange fight between the city and one of the most prolific building code violators in town.

Neighbors have complained about Brown's properties for nearly a decade and city records show citations for litter, debris, abandoned vehicles and other violations dating back to at least 2002.

"It was beyond normal stuff. It was almost like an open junkyard," said Randy Hammann, a member of the Westwood Concern neighborhood group. "It's not something most normal neighbors would look out their kitchen windows and see."

Building inspectors say Brown allowed the junk to accumulate on four of his properties: 3031, 3035 and 3041 McHenry Ave. and 2195 Harrison Ave.

Despite many warnings, city officials say, Brown refused to clean up. He often argued with city officials about the citations and was accused two months ago of threatening an inspector on his property with a metal pipe.

"This gentleman has had ample opportunity to clean his act up," said William Langevin, director of the city Department of Buildings and Inspections. "We've all lost our patience." He said no one wanted to see a 70-year-old man go to jail, but frustration with Brown's inaction had reached a boiling point.

Mock said he repeatedly warned Brown jail was a possibility. The judge even sent Brown to jail for 10 days earlier this year and told him he could avoid serving the full 180-day sentence if he made an effort to improve his properties.

He said some property owners in housing court don't have the money or physical ability to comply with the city's orders, but that's not the case with Brown. "I gave him another chance and he just refused to do it," Mock said. "He chooses not to do it."

Brown's lawyer declined to comment Friday.

Frustrated neighbors have demanded for years that the city do something about Brown's properties.

"This is the stuff we need to crack down on, the basic quality-of-life things," said Mary Kuhl, a member of Westwood Concern who lives near Brown's Harrison Avenue property.

"You can cite everybody until the cows come home; but if you never follow up, then you get what you got with Ron Brown."

Langevin said the city did as much as it could, but uncertainty about ownership of the properties held up enforcement for several years.

He said many of the properties remain in the name of Brown's deceased mother and, until a recent court hearing, Brown denied responsibility for maintaining them.

Once he accepted responsibility, Langevin said, the city could take action.

The city has since demolished the house at 3041 McHenry and has gone to court to do the same to the house at 3031 McHenry. Brown lives at 3035 McHenry.

Mock could let Brown out of jail before the end of his 170-day sentence, but that's likely to happen only if he promises to clean up his property.

Langevin said he hopes Brown gets out soon and starts following the rules.

But he's not convinced even a stint in jail will do the trick.

"Mr. Brown," he said, "is a very stubborn individual."

Just Called To Say "I Love You"

Rapist gets 18 1/2 years
Cincinnati Enquirer

A 22-year-old Forest Park man is being sent to prison for 18½ years for beating, cutting and raping his girlfriend, then calling her 350 times from jail to discourage her from testifying, authorities said.

Darryn Pringle got the sentence Friday.

A jury convicted him in May of rape, two counts of felonious assault, two counts of domestic violence and a count of violating a protection order.

The charges stem from January attacks on his girlfriend, who is the mother of his 1-year-old son. The incidents occurred in Hamilton.

Axe Attack Ruins Life

Three youths found guilty in axe attack
Chantal Eustace, CanWest News Service
August 18, 2007

Michael Levy, the Surrey teenager who was attacked with an axe last year, stared ahead from his wheelchair as three of the four young men charged with assaulting him were found guilty yesterday.

Levy was at a party at Surrey's Tynehead Hall on Oct. 28, 2006, when he was attacked -- punched and pepper sprayed -- then hit in the back of the head three times with an axe.

The near-deadly attack severed Levy's spinal cord and left him a quadriplegic.

The six-foot-one teenager -- who had planned to join the army -- didn't smile, even as his friends and family let out hushed cheers and bursts of applause.

But outside Surrey provincial court, Levy told reporters he was pleased the three teenagers were found guilty of the assault charges, which included aggravated assault with a weapon.

"I would like to see them go away for life," said Levy, 19, adding he wants his attackers punished as adults, not as youths.

"But that's probably not going to happen. With our justice system, they'll probably get a week."

He'd also like to see them do some volunteer work with quadriplegic people, he said, so they understand what they did to him.

Levy's mother, Deborah, said the guilty verdicts were good news.

"I'm ecstatic that the truth came out," she said. "It was a very traumatic, horrific thing that happened, but we have served some justice."

She said the trial, which began in April and adjourned several times because of scheduling, has been difficult on her entire family. She said she and her son cried and had a "meltdown" earlier that day.

"It's not closure," she said of yesterday's verdicts. "It's just the next step."

Levy's supporters couldn't suppress their emotions when Judge Kenneth Ball read out the three guilty verdicts shortly after 2:30 p.m. Some shed tears while others whispered "yes."

A fourth teenager was acquitted. Ball cited a lack of evidence tying him to the crime. None of the four teenagers can be named because their identities are shielded by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Levy's sister Crystal said she would like to see the young men tried as adults.

"I hope they ask for adult sentencing and adult time," she said. "This is not a youth crime."

Before the sentencing -- set for Sept. 10 at 9:30 a.m. -- the family plans to take a vacation and unwind.

Baby Total Lush

Man charged with giving beer to baby

A Walnut Hills man is charged with child endangering after a witness noticed him giving beer to a baby, according to Cincinnati police.

Anthony Chambers, 43, of Walnut Hills, was arrested Friday after a woman told police she saw him giving beer to the infant.

The woman followed him and called police.

Chambers also is charged with assault for allegedly attacking the woman after she called police.

Boy Was Collateral in Meth Deal

South Bay couple charged in torture of 22-month-old
Bruises cover boy's entire body; DA calls abuse 'one of the most extreme cases we've seen'
Linda Goldston, Contra Costa Times

After a stormy two-month relationship, a South Bay couple was arraigned Friday on charges of abusing and torturing the woman's 22-month-old son so severely that he had injuries from his head to his toes and will need several kinds of medical treatment indefinitely.

Julia Acosta, 20, of San Jose and Baltazar Martinez, 26, of Milpitas, face life sentences if convicted of the charges. Martinez faces an additional charge of felony domestic abuse.

"We believe this is one of the most extreme cases we've seen in Santa Clara County," said Dan Nishigaya, Santa Clara County supervising deputy district attorney, family violence division. "We have accused both of them for being responsible for the injuries to the child."

Nishigaya said the torture charge was included because of the severity of the injuries, which include bruises of varying colors -- yellow, black, blue, purple and red -- over the boy's entire body, and major trauma to the boy's genitals, according to police reports.

The toddler's head and eyebrows had been shaved, his eyelashes cut and there were two burns, possibly caused by a meth pipe, on the boys' left arm and back, the reports said.

In statements to police, Acosta and Martinez deny hurting the child but accuse each other of doing it. At one point, police said, Acosta said the boy had been taken by a drug dealer "as collateral" for a drug debt she and Martinez owed. At another time, she said the countless bruises on her son's body were caused by a "3-year-old known as Gordo who played rough."

The couple had known each other for about seven months and had dated for about two months, living in various motels in San Jose and Milpitas, they told police.

Martinez is not the boy's father. According to police reports on the case, Jon Holmberg "is reportedly the father" of the victim. He is currently in custody at Elmwood for unrelated offenses.

Authorities learned about the boy's injuries on Aug. 7, after Acosta and her mother, Melisa McElvain, took him to Valley Medical Center. Earlier that day, McElvain received a call from her niece about bruising on her grandchild. The niece was with Acosta at a house in Campbell.

McElvain told police that her daughter "was irate," and would not let her mother touch or see the boy. McElvain said the boy was covered with a blanket, but she could still see bruises on the boy's face and burns on his arm.

After driving to the hospital with her mother and baby, Acosta disappeared from the emergency room, saying she needed to go get something. McElvain saw her driving away with Martinez in his white Ford pickup, according to police reports.

That didn't stop doctors from continuing their examination of Acosta's son. The boy was in such bad shape that one of the doctors didn't want police to see him that day "due to his emotional outbursts and visible fear when in the presence of strangers," according to a police report.

On Aug. 13, investigators received a tip that Acosta was at a house in Campbell and immediately went there. Acosta agreed to accompany them to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said Acosta told officers she had tried to get away from Martinez the day before, but he "forced her back into his truck and slammed the truck door on her."

She also said that any time she tried to defend the boy by standing in front of him, even picking her child up, "she would be punched in the head and knocked out," one police report states. She described Martinez "as a monster."

After initially denying that Martinez had hurt her child, Acosta said, "Martinez first started hitting" him about 11/2 months before "and the hitting got bad about three weeks ago." She said it got worse because Martinez was smoking more methamphetamine.

Mutilated Tortoise Is Friend to Boy

Tortured tortoise leaves rehab, returns to family
Bob, a 42-pound pet, was slashed and mutilated after being stolen
AP, 08/18/2007

VENTURA -- Bob, a 42-pound pet tortoise who was slashed and mutilated after being stolen from a family's yard, has returned home following more than a month in a rehabilitation center.

Bob heartily ate his first meal of hibiscus flowers and roses after having a feeding tube pulled out of his neck, owner Dorothy Sullivan said Friday.

"He's eating like a pig," she said. "He's doing great and we're pretty excited."

The 25-year-old African spurred tortoise was snatched from Sullivan's yard on July 7. Police following an anonymous tip found Bob behind an apartment complex several days later.

Bob's hind legs were badly cut, a toe was cut off, his neck was slashed and his shell was punctured with a sharp object. The attacker tried to cut the animal out of his shell and threw him against a wall, police said.

Jose "Tony" Mosqueda, 18, of Ventura, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. He pleaded not guilty and faces three years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

Sullivan said Bob is a friend to her 6-year-old autistic son, William, who rarely spoke to people but chattered to the animal. She said the boy was withdrawn while Bob was staying at Turtle Dreams, a Montecito rehab center, but he has started talking again since Bob came back.

"It's made a good impact on our son. He's sleeping through the night and he's opening up," Sullivan said.

Sullivan and her husband have built a temporary enclosure with a screen to give Bob room to exercise and keep flies away from his scars. The animal will undergo more surgery to repair deep slash wounds under his neck and legs.

"He's still got a long road to recovery," she said.

Bob's plight made headlines across the country and prompted a flood of calls from people wanting to help. A benefit concert was planned Sunday at a Ventura night club to raise money to help pay the animal's veterinary bills.

Football Players Cruel, Playful

Teens admit killing baby skunks with paintball gun
Lauren Pack, Middletown Journal

LEBANON, Ohio - Three southern Ohio football players admitted this week to killing two baby skunks with a paintball gun and chasing and shooting at the mother and a third baby skunk at a Hueston Woods State Park campground.

The 17-year-old Franklin High School athletes, wearing ties and flanked by their parents, appeared before Warren County Juvenile Court Judge Mike Powell.

The boys each quietly answered "I admit" to the charges of juvenile delinquency by way of cruelty to animals, improper methods of taking game birds and wild quadrupeds and disorderly conduct.

The students - all seniors - will be sentenced for the misdemeanor charges Sept. 12 following a pre-sentence investigation.

The judge could impose a sentence of as many as 90 days in the juvenile detention center, house arrest, a fine, community service and probation.

According to park officers, campers at Hueston Woods saw the youths chasing skunks with paintball guns. The teens then reportedly chased the remaining baby skunk and its mother into a drainage pipe under a park road.

Charges were filed in Preble County Juvenile Court, but were transferred to Warren County, where the juveniles reside, for adjudication.

Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Kimberly Kutschbach requested the boys have no contact with each other until after the pre-sentence investigation is completed.

The teens' attorney, Joe Kirby, objected, noting they are teammates and go to school together.

"They are good kids who did something that is just wrong and stupid," Kirby said, noting many school officials were in the court-

room ready to attest to the defendants' character. Kirby said a no-contact order would not be in the boys' best interest.

Powell relented and permitted the boys to see each other at school and in extracurricular activities, but not to socialize until after the pre-sentence investigation is completed.

Old Woman Forgotten in Vault

Calif. woman locked in bank 6 hours
August 18, 2007

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. --A 73-year-old woman became trapped in a bank when employees accidentally locked her in the building while she was looking over the contents of a safe deposit box.

Marian Prescher, who has diabetes, apparently passed out during the ordeal because she had not taken her medication with her. A cleaning person discovered her six hours later.

Prescher visited the Bank of America branch Wednesday and was given use of a privacy room to examine her valuables. Employees left her in the room when they closed the bank at about 6 p.m.

"They forgot she was there," sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Shortly after midnight, deputies received a call from a cleaning person who discovered the woman. Prescher was unconscious and cold to the touch when authorities arrived.

"She may have died," Amormino said. "It just seems to be a terrible oversight."

Bank of America said it was investigating.

Prescher said she knew nothing about what happened until she awoke at the hospital where she was treated and released.

"I just couldn't believe it, that they would leave me in there," she said.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Crazy Cat Lady Crazy

Animal hoarder to get psychiatric evaluation
Aug 16, 2007
Matthew Santoni, The Examiner

Harford County - Donna Bell couldn’t turn away desperate animals.

So she took them in and kept taking them in, until she had more than 100 cats and dogs sick and dying in her two adjacent Harford County homes.

A judge on Thursday found Bell, a 60-year-old former operator of an animal rescue organization, not criminally responsible because she has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“There was a disconnect between her good intentions and her ability to say no,” said Leonard Shapiro, Bell’s attorney. “She was afraid that if she didn’t take the animals in, they would die. ... Unfortunately, that’s what happened in the end.”

Bell had been charged with animal cruelty in May 2006 after police responding to complaints of a strong odor emanating from the two houses found 70 dogs, four cats and 44 carcasses, caged and uncaged. Piles of animal waste stood nearly 3 feet deep in places.

District Judge John Dunnigan committed Bell to the care of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and ordered that she be taken to Spring Grove Hospital in Catonsville. There, she will stay for at least the next several weeks to undergo further evaluation until the state determines what kind of treatment she needs for OCD, which can manifest itself in hoarding.

“You will be in the hands of the doctors there,” Dunnigan told Bell. “Be sure that you follow everything that they recommend. ... I don’t know what to say, other than what I read was horrific, to say the least.”

Beyond replying, “yes,” Bell did not speak.

Bell’s attorney, Leonard Shapiro, said the case exemplified someone not responsible for crimes because of mental illness.

The plea angered many the Bel Air courtroom. Some shot Bell dirty looks, cursing under their breath and berating Shapiro as he left the court. But others said Bell had suffered already in realizing the harm she had done to the animals she most wanted to save.

“What she did was horrible, but I don’t think she had a choice,” said Dianne Nowicki, who worked with Bell to adopt animals through PetSmart. “I have a lot of warm fuzzies for Donna because she was doing a lot of good in that area before.”

But Debbie Pineda, a former volunteer at the Humane Society of Harford County, called for a stiffer penalty. “I’m pleased that Donna is getting the help she needs, but I believed there should have been some other punishment,” she said.

Zombies Are Real

Brecksville man, 19, acting strangely, dies after breaking into condo
Brie Zeltner, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Broadview Heights -- A 19-year-old Brecksville man died early Thursday morning after breaking into an elderly couple's condominium, removing his clothes and asking to take a shower, police said.

This is how the incident unfolded, according to Broadview Heights police:

Neighbors heard William Martin yelling "help me" about 2 a.m. outside the patio door of an apartment in the 1000 block of Tollis Parkway. He was wearing only a pair of pants. He then scaled a wooden fence separating the apartments from condominiums on Scenicview Drive.

Martin ran through a bedroom window and into a condominium where a couple in their 80's were sleeping in an adjacent bedroom. Martin took off his pants and underwear, said he needed to take a shower, and assaulted both of them. He tried to run out through another bedroom window, which he cracked, and then left the way he came in.

A witness said Martin scaled the same fence but it broke and he fell onto the pavement. He then took a piece of the broken wood and used it to stab and hit himself.

Police arrived and Martin assaulted one of them, biting his finger. Other officers subdued Martin, and then he went limp and stopped breathing.

Martin was transported to Parma Community General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:25 a.m., Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller said. His death is under investigation, and Miller said there was no visually obvious cause of death in the autopsy, which was done Thursday.

Monster Dog "Face" Kills Boy

Family pit bull kills Minneapolis boy
7-year-old's father shoots pet after trying to stop attack in their basement
Frederick Melo and Mara Gottfried, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

The pit bull that killed 7-year-old Zachary King Jr. on Thursday afternoon was a "huge, full-grown monster" with no love for people, according to a relative.

Bert Robinson, the boy's cousin, said he could see meanness in the dog. It was kept tied up in the basement of the King family's North Minneapolis home.

Its name was Face, and with its partner, Ginger, the dog had produced at least two litters, which the Kings gave away as gifts to friends and family.

"Ginger could socialize," Robinson said. "You couldn't pet that other one."

Zachary was mauled to death in his basement. His father, Zachary King Sr., was bitten on the arm while trying to protect the child, police said. The elder King then shot and killed the dog.

Authorities called the incident the first fatal dog attack in the metro area in at least 17 years.

The boy was pronounced dead at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. His father was treated at the hospital and released.

Face was tied to a post in a basement at 3530 Humboldt Ave. N. when the dog attacked the boy shortly after 1 p.m., said Minneapolis police Lt. Amelia Huffman. Zachary had severe bites to his throat, she said.

The dog had bitten people twice in the past, said Minneapolis spokesman Matt Laible.

Police haven't determined what caused Thursday's attack.

"Any consideration of charges at this point is premature," Huffman said. "Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened."

Animal control officers removed Ginger, the female pit bull, and five puppies from the home afterward, Laible said.

Neighbors and other family members expressed shock and sadness as they remembered Zachary. The only boy among four children, he was a proud older sibling to his 3-year-old sister, Deanne Zenae King.

"He finally got to be a big brother," said Robinson, 35.

Tameara Freeman, 11, and her sister, Teea Freeman, 8, recalled petting the adult dogs during a recent birthday party at the King home. Face was kept in the basement; Ginger roamed free.

"I used to go down there. The dogs were nice," Tameara said. "They didn't look mean at all."

But Zachary's grandfather, Robert L. King Jr., said he remembers Face as being unapproachable.

"I can't stand pit bulls. I told my son that. But there's pit bulls in every other house up and down this street," Robert King said. "This generation - strong dogs, strong this, strong that, bigger cars."

Michael Bownik, who lives nearby, has testified against neighbors who have kept vicious dogs in their homes. He has seen friends holed up indoors or stuck inside cars for hours when angry dogs were loose.

Pit bulls, seen as a symbol of status in some inner-city neighborhoods,
are seemingly everywhere, he said.

"Pit bulls are a big problem in the neighborhood," said Bownik, 48.

Beth DeLaForest, a director with A Rotta Love Plus, a Minnesota rescue group for pit bulls and Rottweilers, said that although her heart goes out to the King family, she believes there were warning signs.

"The combination of factors here was a big accident waiting to happen, regardless if you have pit bulls or Labrador retrievers," said DeLaForest, who owns two pit bulls.

All un-neutered dogs are more likely to attack than dogs that have had the surgery, DeLaForest said.

The fact that the dog was tied up in the basement was also a red flag, she said.

"Statistics also show that when your dog is tethered, there is a higher bite or attack incidence," she said.

Barbara Johnson, the Minneapolis City Council member who represents Ward 4 where the incident took place, expressed shock Thursday.

"I just am astounded at the number of people that put their children in jeopardy by taking risks like this," Johnson said. "I truly do believe there are a lot of people breeding these animals to fight them, irresponsible owners, and we as a city have to do something about it ... it's just such an absolutely needless tragedy."

In 2005, Face bit a trespasser on the family's property. Because of the circumstances it was considered a "provoked bite" and didn't lead to action from the city, Laible said.

In 2006, Face bit a man, Laible said. That bite was considered minor.

A rabies test will be conducted on the dog's remains, Laible said.

Several dog attacks have been reported in the Twin Cities area in recent years, but aside from a fatal attack in Elroy, Wis., in 2002, when six Rottweilers killed a 10-year-old girl, none appears to have been deadly.

In St. Paul, reports of dog bites have dropped.

Since 1966, the lowest numbers of dog bites were in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The peak was 1,346 in 1971. The lowest annual total was 156 in 2004.

As of May, there had been 37 reported dog bites in St. Paul, of which 15 involved pit bulls.

In June, Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, said he would push legislation next year to make it illegal to own breeds of dogs he deems a threat to public safety.