December 9, 2007

Body found and identified in Florida's parking garage collapse

The body found in rumble of a collapsed parking garage in Jacksonville was identified as a missing construction worker, reports the Associated Press in the Star Tribune.
WIllie "L.B." Edwards' body was found early Saturday, two days after the garage in downtown Jacksonville collapsed. His body was removed and identified shortly after. He was 26.
Edwards had been trapped in a mix of crumbled concrete and wet concrete that dried around him, Fire Operations Chief Brady Rigdon said.
Reginald Edwards, the victim's brother, said Willie as working extra hours filling in for another worker to earn extra money. He planned to use the money to pay for toys he had put on layaway for his two children.
The garage collapsed while workers were pouring concrete on the sixth floor. Officials are not sure of the cause and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will begin investigating on Monday.

November 29, 2007

Woman will be questioned about the fatal stabbing of her two children

A 22-year-old woman stabbed her two young children in Augusta, Georgia Thursday, police report in both the Pioneer Press and the Augusta Chronicle.
Jeanette Michelle Hawes' two children, one boy and one girl, died of multiple stab wounds to the chest, police said. Hawes had taken both children into a convenience store bathroom in south Augusta. A Food Mart employee heard a scream and called the police.
When police arrived, they found Hawes and her two children, 1 and 3, on the floor of the locked bathroom. Hawes was unharmed and covered in blood. An autopsy is scheduled for tonight.
Hawes was charged with possession of a knife and two counts of murder. She is being held at the Richmond County jail.
Amanda Thomas, a store clerk, said Hawes was a regular customer.

November 13, 2007

Transplant recipients contract HIV and hepatitis C from infected organs

Four transplant recipients contracted HIV from a donor whose organs where infected, reports the Star Tribune, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune Tuesday. This is the first reported case of transmission by organ donation in more than 20 years.
The transplants were done at three Chicago hospitals in January, but the recipients found out that they were infected with both HIV and hepatitus C in the last two weeks.
The organs were tested before they were used, but the results came back negative. Doctors say that the donor likely contracted HIV and hepatitis C in the last three weeks of life so the antibodies were not detected by the tests done on the donor.
Information regarding the donor's medical history and cause of death was not released because of privacy laws, but the donor was classified as high-risk. Because the tests had come back negative, doctors went ahead with the transplants.
Federal guidelines discourage using organs from donors who engage in high-risk behavior. However, the number of people on the waiting list is much higher than the number of available organs.
The case is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

November 11, 2007

Streetcars return to New Orleans more than two years after Katrina shut them down

Streetcars followed a marching band down the St. Charles Avenue line in the Garden District of New Orleans Saturday, reported in the Star Tribune.
Hurricane Katrina caused the lines to close more than two years ago. Only some of the line has re-opened, but even this is a definite sign of progress. The sight of the 1920s-era cars is a morale booster for the people.
"It's what makes New Orleans feel like home," said Councilwoman Stacy Head.
Fourteen million dollars was provided by federal highway officials. Mark Major, general manager of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, said that money was necessary to resume the streetcar service.

October 30, 2007

North Carolina fire kills seven college students

A beach house fire in North Carolina killed seven college students Sunday, reports the Star Tribune and the New York Times.
Six of the victims were students at the University of South Carolina, and the seventh attended Clemson University. Most were members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority or the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on a weekend away. Many had bright futures ahead of them.
Experts are unsure of how the fire was started but it appears to have been an accident. It is thought the blaze started near the back deck of the house and quickly spread, gutting most of the house.
Allison Walden, a 19-year-old pre-med major, was one of the students who died. She had left her home in Ohio for the warmth and Greek life of South Carolina. Terry Walden, Allison's father said she spent her last night alive partying and having fun with friends.
“It sounded like they were having a good time,� he said. “Unfortunately, the fire didn’t show any mercy. They probably never woke up.�

October 23, 2007

Missouri woman convicted of kidnapping a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb

A Missouri woman was convicted Monday of kidnapping leading to death in the 2004 incident in which she cut the baby from a pregnant woman, reports the Star Tribune and the Kansas City Star.
Lisa Montgomery, 39, kidnapped 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, in 2004 the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore. It took the jury about four hours of deliberation to reach the verdict.
Montgomery had been searching the internet for information on Stinnett and used a fake identity to set up a meeting with her. She kidnapped Stinnett, attempted to choke her with a rope and then cut the baby from her womb with a kitchen knife.
Montgomery's attorneys claim she suffers from severe mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder and pseudocyesis, which causes women to falsely believe they are pregnant and show the outward signs.
Prosecutors portrayed Montgomery as being manipulative and dishonest, claiming she used pregnancy lies as leverage in her own life. Montgomery has four children of her own and is in a slight custody battle with her ex-husband.
After delivering her last child in 1990, she had a tubal ligation which left her incapable of carrying a child. Despite this, Montgomery would still claim to be pregnant.

October 19, 2007

San Francsico considers opening a place for drug addicts to with supervision

City health officials in San Francisco are considering opening a place for addicts to use drugs such as heroin and cocaine under the supervision of nurses, reports the Associated Press in the MN Daily. Called a safe-injection site, this is a step to try to reduce the number of fatal overdoses each year.
A daylong forum on the topic was held Thursday and included discussion about the safe-injection site in Vancouver, the only one in North America. Officials know getting a facility like this off the ground could take years because of legal issues.
The deputy director of demand reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Bertha Madras, doesn't think this idea is good. "The underlying philosophy is, 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable,' " Madras said. "This is a form of giving up."
Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, estimates that there are between 11,000 and 15,000 intravenous drug users in San Francisco. One in seven emergency calls handled by city paramedics from July 2006 to July 2007 were overdose related.
Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors support the move towards opening a safe-injection center.

October 11, 2007

Mother convicted of breaking infant's skull while using him as a weapon

A woman who used her infant as a weapon in a domestic dispute was convicted Wednesday on multiple charges including endangering the welfare of a child, reported the Erie (Penn) Times.
Chytoria Graham, 28, faces a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence stemming from an Oct. 8, 2006 fight with her boyfriend. During the fight, Graham picked the infant up by his feet and swung him at her boyfriend, Deangelo Troop, 21. The infant's skull was broken and he also suffered brain bleeding and bruising. He has since recovered.
A list of her charges, reported by the AP in the Star Tribune, is aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, simple assault and child endangerment. After she was convicted, Graham fell into the fetal position on the floor. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12. The defense claims they would "take the appropriate steps for appeal."
Graham had originally pleaded guilty in March to aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, but withdrew her plea in June. While being questioned Wednesday, Graham said she did not remember much about the night of the fight.
Testimony indicates she had spent time at a night club and drank with her cousin for a birthday celebration. Graham returned home around 3 a.m. where Troop had been caring for the infant, Jarron, and three of four Graham's other children. The fight broke out over whether Jarron should be taken to see a doctor about a cough. Graham then began throwing objects at Troop, including Jarron.
The infant and Graham's four other children are now living with Graham's parents.

October 7, 2007

Chicago marathon shut down because of humidity and record-breaking temps

The 88-degree temperature Sunday became a new record high for the Chicago marathon, and it also caused the 26.2-mile course to be shut down four hours after it started, reports the Associated Press in the Star Tribune.
Organizers diverted runners back to the starting mark where medical attention and cooling misters were available. An unknown number of runners who made it past the halfway-mark were allowed to keep running after it was decided that the heat and humidity were dangerous.
"We're seeing a lot of our participants slowing," race director Carey Pinkowski said. "It was a contingency plan we had in place and we decided to implement as a precautionary measure."
Kenya's Patrick Ivuti won the race, with Jaouad Gharib, Morocco, only 0.05 seconds behind. It was the races closet finish. His unofficial time was 2 hours, 11 minutes, 11 seconds.
Ethiopian Berhane Adere defended her title in the women's race, finishing in 2:33:49. Romania's Adriana Pirtea had a 30-second lead in the final miles, but Adere pushed her last mile and finsihed three seconds before Pirtea.

September 28, 2007

Police investiagte sex tape found near Las Vegas

Police are needing help to identify one of two young girls seen on a sex tape found recently near Las Vegas, reports the Associated Press in the Star Tribune Thursday.
The tape shows sexual acts being performed on a girl thought to be about 4 or 5 years old and it also shows a 10 or 12 year old in a sort of peep show, according to Nye County sheriff's detective David Boruchowitz. The older girl has been identified, and pictures of the younger one are being released in hopes that she can also be identified. Authorities hope this will help locate the abuser and put this to a stop.
"She could still be in this situation and (be) abused currently as we speak," Boruchowitz told "The Early Show" Thursday, where fully-clothed-still photos of the younger girl were shown.
The tape was turned into police by Darren Tuck, 26, of Pahrump, a small town about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. He said he found it in the desert, but the tape appears to show no signs of weather damage. Investigators do not think that Tuck made the tape.
The two segments of the tape were not filmed in the same room, and investigators are trying to determine if they were shot with the same camera.
In a more recent report by the Associated Press in The New York Times, police have identified a man as a ''person of interest'' in search for more information about the sex tape.
Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said it is possible that the man sexually abusing the younger girl on tape is Chester Arthur Stiles, 34. His last known address was Las Vegas.
It is believed the tape was made sometime since January 2005.

September 22, 2007

Cyclist shoots driver after nearly being hit

A motorist in Milwaukee was shot once after knocking a cyclist from his bike, according to the Associated Press report in the Star Tribune.
The accident happened around 10:45 p.m. Friday night. After a near collision, the motorist, 28, got out of his car to check on the biker who had fallen to the ground. The cyclist got up and fired three shots. One shot hit the driver in the shoulder.
According to the police and written in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, the driver drove to a friend's house and was taken to the hospital. There he was treated and released. The cyclist has not been identified.

September 14, 2007

Suspect killed in Miami officer shooting

One officer was killed and three others injured in Miami after a man opened fire during a traffic stop Thursday. The Pioneer Press reports that after 12 hours of searching, Miami police killed the suspect, Shawn Sherwin Labeet, 25, later Thursday night.
The Miami Herald reports the incident began routine burglary detail in South Miami-Dade. Officers tried to stop a Honda Accord driven by Labeet when he sped off, then stopped and ran into his girlfriend's house, the place where he shot the officers from.
Jose Somohano, 37 and a married father of two, was shot in the neck and killed. After firing from inside the house, Labeet ran outside still firing at officers, got back into his car and sped off. He crashed into a fence not long into the chase, but escaped police on foot. Labeet was found not long before midnight at Pembroke Pines condo complex and killed.
More details surrounding the story continue to be discovered, including Labeet's use of a fake identity.