January 2011 Archives

Heskett's week one analysis

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In the "California man jailed in alleged attempt to blow up Dearborn mosque" article in the Detroit Free Press, the lead works because it gives the reader the who, what, where, when, and why all in the first sentence. The reporter lets us know the most important aspects of the story in the first sentence.

The reporter tells us exactly where and when the incident took place. The reader also immediately knows who is involved. In the first sentence it is shown why the man is being arrested. However the writer waits until later in the article to let the reader know why he chose to do what he did. So, the lead gives a general summary of the story that follows. It works because the next few paragraphs give elaborated details as to what took place.

It is a straightforward hard-news lead that has no opinions, it is all facts. It works best as a hard-news lead because it is a sensitive issue. It deals with race, religion, and politics so a story about an attempted hate crime is best to keep as a hard-news story with a hard-news lead.

A Washington guard killed in prison chapel

An inmate serving a life sentence is the prime suspect for the murder of a female prison guard found strangled in a Washington state prison chapel on Saturday night, the Star Tribune reported.

Jayme Biendl, 34, who had previously complained about being the only guard in the chapel, was strangled by a microphone wire at the Monroe Correctional Complex near Seattle. Biendl is the first guard killed at the facility, according to the Star Tribune.

A prison spokesman said the inmate found in the chapel lobby confessed to officers that he had planned to escape. He was also missing during a routine roll call at the time of Biendl's death. Monroe police are still investigating if the inmate is guilty, the Pioneer Press reported.

The suspect, Byron Scherf, 52, was convicted in 1997 of first-degree rape and kidnapping and is not eligible for parole while serving his life sentence, the Star Tribune stated. .

Biendl had worked for the department since 2002, the Pioneer Press stated.

A federal charge was made Friday against a man who worked as a Hennepin County court clerk that took money in exchange for fixing traffic tickets, the Star Tribune reported.

Abdulkadir Mohamoud Afrah had the power to fix no-proof-of-insurance tickets and used that authority to accept bribes. Afrah, who was employed by the state since March of 2003 and had dismissed more than $5,000 from 19 seperate tickets, could receive a fine of $250,000 and serve a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to the Star Tribune.

Afrah accepted $280 this month to dismiss a no-proof-of-insurance ticket authorities said, according to the Pioneer Press.

A California man was arrested in the parking lot of the biggest mosque in the Detroit area on Monday after officials said he was trying to blow up the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Roger Stockham, 63, has "had a long history of being angry with the United States government," a police chief in the Detroit area said. Stockham was arraigned Wednesday for one count of explosive-possesion of bombs with unlawful intent for possession of Class C Fireworks and one count on a threat of terrorism or false report, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Stockham lives near San Diego and was arrested after a resident made a 911 call. Authorities believe Stockham was acting alone but mosque members are afraid of copycat crimes, according to the Star Tribune.

The incident occurred in Dearborn, which is the capital of the Detroit area's Arab-American community, 10 miles west of Detroit, the Star Tribune reported.

A University of Minnesota student found dead near campus

A dead body found on Thursday morning near the University of Minnesota campus in a rail yard has been identified as a University of Minnesota student, according to the Pioneer Press.

The body has been identified as Keaton Patrick Murphy, 20, who was believed to be suicidal and had battled depression. Murphy was last seen when he was released from jail on Jan. 20 for suspicion in a child pornography case, the Pioneer Press reported.

Murphy's identification and clothes were still on his body that was discovered by a rail worker. The cause of death is not believed to be a homicide but it is still being determined, according to the Star Tribune.

A missing person release about Murphy's whereabouts was released the previous weekend by the U police. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was quoted by news outlets about the possibility of felony charges against Murphy, the Star Tribune noted.

10 killed and more injured in Germany train wreck

The initial death count is at 10 with another 23 injured in the aftermath of a train crash in Germany on Saturday night, according to the USA TODAY.

Approximately 50 people were on the passenger train when it collided with a cargo train and launched some passengers onto a nearby field. Due to the seriousness of the injuries sustained doctors feel the death toll may rise, the USA TODAY reported.

Although the last train out of Magdeburg is a single track that was scheduled for overnight maintenance, the BBC stated that the cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

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