The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on April 25, 2007 · Page 2
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 2

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Page 2
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Cancel Wednesday, April 25, 2007 B3 LOTTERIES MARYLAND Pjd(3Day NEW JERSEY Daily Night 2-1-5 AND THE REGION DELAWARE Piay4Day 09 Pick3Day 4446 WDay 14 Pick 3 Night H7 03-24-25-30-39 -555 PM4!ajL m-3 Cash5 yeiaware Pick 3 Sight M,x & Match i awr Apnl ?3) 07-12-0319-18 " 0609-1330-37 V stc 6 ,iwn April ?4 061W8224146 J1-LV22W042 a recofdinq of numbers drawn, call: jj8 Delaware (800) 338-6200 Play 3 Night Play 4 Night. 86 Pick 4 Night W) Pjck4NigliL WH Bonus Match 5 14-15-27-32-36 Cash 5 Lotto (drawn April 23) 12-17-19-24-26-33 BonusBall 39 Pick b (drawn Aprils) Powerball (drawn April 21) 22-26-28-3345 Multi-Match jdrawnApril 2J) 01-6&31-3743 PENNSYLVANIA Power g Mega Millions (drawn April 24) 08-10-35-3643 Daipay Power Play 4 Mega Ball " 14 Big 4 Day 45-2-5 (302) 736-1436 (out of state) The News Journal, Wilmington, Del. Md. man pleads guilty in brutal 1991 slaying Killer avoids death penalty in Harrington-area woman's stabbing By JAMES MERRIWEATHER The News Journal DOVER A Delmar, Md., man pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the June 1991 stabbing death of Dorothy May Donovan at her home near Harrington, bringing to a close a mystery that baffled detectives for almost 15 years. Gilbert E. Cannon, 42, was arrestedx in January 2006 and charged with murder after being linked to the slaying by DNA taken from a bloody palm print on a banister at the crime scene. The case was marked by a cruel twist: The victim's son, Charles Holden, had given the killer a ride hours before his 70-year-old mother was killed. Deputy Attorney General Robert J. O'Neill said the state was prepared to pursue the death penalty, but that Cannon's attorneys, deputy public defend ers Paul Swierzbinski and Robert Harpster, offered to enter a guilty plea to head off that possibility In keeping with the plea bargain, Superior Court Judge Robert B. Young sentenced Cannon to life in prison without the possibility of release - the only other penalty available for a first-degree murder conviction. Neither Swierzbinski nor Harpster returned calls seeking comment. "I believe the victim's family is satisfied with the resolution," said O'Neill, who joined Deputy Attorney General Marie O'Connor Graham as the original prosecutors assigned to the case. "It was a horrible murder and, in light of the passage of time, memories tend to fade, and that's an issue you have to deal with at trial. When all is said and done, I'm satisfied with the resolution of the case." One of Donovan's three children - Diana Abbott, 52, of Ellendale - spoke at Tuesday's court proceeding, but was not available later for comment. Her sister, Brenda Alexander, 55, of Camden, said later that all three siblings were present for the plea, and that Abbott spoke for family members. "I'm glad it's over with," Alexander said. "I just hope he'll suffer like we did the last 16 years, missing our mother every day" She said she wanted the death penalty, but that her sister favored the plea bargain. "Hopefully, we can find some peace and go on with our lives," Alexander said. O'Neill credited dogged detective work by Delaware State Police Sgt. Keith Marvel for solving a case that had run cold from the start. Cannon had served time in Maryland for a 1997 murder, and DNA was collected from him before he was released in 2004. Through a national database, the DNA was matched to blood taken from the crime scene after Dovo-van's slaying on June 23, 1991. State police officials also reported after Cannon's arrest that his palm print matched the one found at the scene. According to investigators, Holden, 56, of Bridgeville, was approached by Cannon in the parking lot of Hardee's in Harrington, where he had stopped for coffee after his shift at the DuPont Co. He agreed to drive Cannon to Mil-ford Memorial Hospital, but he told officers that he changed his mind at Del. 14 and Killen Pond Road and told Cannon to get out. During a struggle, Holden told investigators, Cannon tried to attack him with a knife or a screwdriver. He said he let him out near the intersection and took an alternate route to his family's farm on Kent 384 so he wouldn't be followed. He said he found the man peering out a window of his trailer. He said he drove back to Hardee's, called police and didn't return home until officers arrived to escort him. Officers found nothing suspicious in the trailer. But when they entered the nearby farmhouses, a state police trooper found Donovan in her bedroom, stabbed more than a dozen times. If investigators came up with a motive, it was not disclosed publicly At the time of Cannon's arrest, Alexander and Abbott acknowledged they were hard-pressed to understand why their brother would give a ride to a stranger - in this case, one with an extensive Delaware criminal history dating to 1981. His generosity caused a rift among the siblings but, according to Alexander, an attempt at reconciliation began Tuesday. "We're working on it," Alexander said. "We were all in court, and we all went to eat afterwards. We're working on it, but it's going to take time." Contact James Merriweather at 678-4273 or jmerriweatherdelaware POLICE & FIRE Sussex County SHOOTING SUSPECTS CHARGED: An 18-year-old Seaford man surrendered to police Monday in a drive-by .shooting in Georgetown. A second suspect was arrested late Monday ;by Milford police. State police spokesman Sgt. Joshua Bushweller "said the Seaford suspect, Donnell Savage, 18, of the 24000 block of Jewel St., was charged with assault, three counts of possession of a firearm during a felony, three counts f aggravated menacing, two counts Of reckless endangering and three counts of conspiracy. Savage was Committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $113,000 bail. The second suspect, Ernest Evans, !18, of the 400 block of Sussex Ave., Greenwood, was charged with the 'same offenses. Bail information for him was not available. According to Bushweller, at 3:16 p.m. Saturday, a bystander was hit in the neck by a !stray bullet. The 33-year-old was taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital by a 63-year-old woman she was talking to when the shooting occurred in the development of Broad Acres, off Del. 20. An investigation revealed that two men were in a white 1994 Honda Accord when they drove up to a 19-year-old man and began arguing. Evans, the passenger in the car, pulled out a gun and fired several shots at the 19-year-old, who dove to the ground and was not wounded, police said. The victim was released from the hospital Sunday. TEEN CHARGED IN HOLDUP: A 16-year-old Seaford boy arrested late Friday in the armed robbery of a local business has been charged with the armed holdup Monday night of a pizzeria. Seaford police Capt. Gary Flood said officers were sent to the Super Soda Center at 505 Bridgeville Highway about 9:30 p.m. Friday. When the officers arrived, the clerk told them that four people had entered the store, and one, armed with a handgun, walked up to the clerk and demanded money. The other three people grabbed snacks and cigars from store displays, Flood said. The clerk handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, and the four ran out of the store. Officers investigating the case found William Shel-ton, 18, of Laurel, who threw the cigars on the ground when approached by the officers. Shelton was charged with robbery, possession of a firearm during a felony, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, and three counts of conspiracy. He was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $68,000 bail. In the Super Soda robbery, Flood said the 16-year-old Seaford boy was charged Tuesday with robbery, possession of a firearm during a felony, and two counts of conspiracy. The boy was already in custody because he was a suspect in the robbing two Domino's Pizza employees late Monday in the 500 block of N. Sussex Highway. From staff reporters Terri Sanginifi and Andre L Taylor BIRTHS 1 Ufj'- -iS :-.: :?- ' . ... U-'f In ' r " , 1 !, The News JoumalFRED COMEGYS Joan Anderson (left), John Davis and Sandy Couch, three of the 11 students who made history In 1952 by becoming the first black students to enroll at Claymont High, hold photos of themselves that are now on permanent display. Claymont: School dedicates display case ; THE BIRTH CENTER , Conner - Rachel and Timothy, Wilmington, April 20, daughter. J Wheat - Sarah and Steve, Newark, April 23 son. 1.1. .. 1... FROM PAGE B1 students sent home. But school officials, supported by nearly all teachers, let them stay. Brave decisions by students, parents, school officials and the community, in defiance of state orders, "made this the first high school in a segregated state to be integrated successfully," according to Russ McCabe, director of the Delaware Public Archives. The case displays photos of Davis, Couch, Anderson, her sisters Merle and Carol, and the others - Bernice Byrd, Robert Sanford, Spencer Robinson, Al-mena Short, Styron Sanford and Elbert Crumpler. Also honored is E. Louise Belton, who did not go to Claymont, but testified in the second state case. Because their attendance was peaceful and before the Brown ruling, McCabe said, Claymont integration "is one of the under-told chapters in our state history." Slighted in 2004 celebration of Brown's 50th anniversary, he said, Claymont's "truly historic" civil rights role is overdue for recognition. "History can be dry," County Councilman John Cartier told the kids, but their guests Tuesday "are living examples." Couch, who was 11 in 1952, said, "I was the only black in my entire class, and they were older than me." Still, she said, "my experience at Claymont was wonderful. I had no problems. I was accepted for who I am, what I am." "We were a little nervous at first, not knowing what to expect," said Anderson, who liked music, art, sports and her undefeated Softball team her senior year. Unaware of her historic role at the time, she said, "I remember the people and how friendly everyone was." Contact robin brown at 324-2856 or Information. AROUND DELAWARE Man's retrial in 2005 fatal crash under way in Wilmington The retrial of a 33-year-old New Castle man accused of causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence in 2005 started Tuesday in Wilmington. State prosecutors want jurors to convict Leonard J. Robinson of second-degree murder in the July 3, 2005, death of 35-year-old Brian E. Benson of Wilmington. Prosecutors are also trying to convict him of driving under the influence of alcohol. Robinson's attorney, Louis B. Fer-reara, said his client was not driving the 1996 Lincoln Continental he and Benson occupied, adding that DNA found on the passenger's-side airbag will show that. According to police, Robinson was speeding and moving across the lanes of 1-95 before the accident. As he drove onto 1-495, police said, his car smashed into a 2002 Nissan Sentra, forcing it into the guardrail on the highway's west side. The Lincoln struck the guardrail, too, then swept back across the highway and off its east side, hit ting two trees, police said. Robinson and Benson, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the Lincoln. Benson was killed, and Robinson was treated at Christiana Hospital for a broken neck and a head wound. Superior Court Judge Fred S. Silverman declared a mistrial last year after a jury said it could not reach a unanimous verdict. Newark man sues Rep. Wagner again over double dipping claims WILMINGTON Newark resident Robert P. Reeder, who accused state Rep. Nancy Wagner, R-Dover North, of illegal double dipping, has filed a second lawsuit against her, following the dismissal of the first one. Superior Court Resident Judge Richard C. Cooch tossed out the first case, a class-action suit, in December. The judge ruled that only the attorney general could bring such action. Reeder filed the latest suit as a taxpayer in Chancery Court. "The difference is that it was in the wrong court, and it didn't have standing," Reeder said. In his second lawsuit, Reeder alleges Wagner, an alternate member of the Joint Finance Committee, got paid by Capital School District for the time she was at state budget hearings, in violation of a Delaware law barring lawmakers from drawing pay from other state jobs while on legislative business. Wagner could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Her attorney has said that her attendance on the dates in question was properly noted in the sign-out logs at Dover High School, where she worked. Wagner later left her job with the school district. In the midst of the first lawsuit, she was hired by Delaware State University for the custom-made position of executive director of community relations. Reeder, along with John Flaherty, a lobbyist for the government watchdog group Common Cause, filed the lawsuit against Wagner, Capital district and state Auditor R. Thomas Wagner Jr. The lawsuit says Thomas Wagner is failing to perform his duties bv not taking action against the lawmaker. From staff reports Man linked to 3 holdups, police say By TERRI SANGINITI The News Journal After a Monday morning heist at a Fairfax bank, a 49-year-old Townsend man hopped into a cab and headed to Philadelphia International Airport, where he bought a one-way ticket to Orlando, Fla., authorities said. But the man was stopped at the airport's Terminal C checkpoint, where security officers found him with a large amount of cash, what appeared to be a demand note, and a glass crack pipe, state police Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh said. Michael J. White, of the 400 block of Blackbird Station Road, was held by Philadelphia police, who notified Delaware State Police of his capture. White has been linked to two other weekend holdups and faces four counts of first-degree robbery when he is returned to Delaware. Pennsylvania authorities contacted neighboring police agencies as state police detectives were still investigating the bank robbery, which occurred shortly be- Michael J. fore 10 a.m. at Wil- white mington Trust, 2311 Concord Pike. The detectives drove to the airport and identified White as their suspect. "They took the surveillance photos from all three robberies and compared him to the photographs, interviewed him and confirmed it was him," Whitmarsh said. In addition to robbing the bank, White is accused of holding up two businesses in northern New Castle County over the weekend, according to police. White has been linked to a Sunday morning holdup at a Gulf station on Naamans Road in Claymont, where the bandit walked into the store about 7:55 a.m., placed a note on the counter that said he was armed and demanded money, authorities said. Police said that robbery involved two victims. White also is accused of walking into the Wawa on Wilson Road in Brandywine Hundred early Monday with a note saying he was armed, police said, adding he was seen fleeing the store in a maroon minivan with an undisclosed amount of cash. Ten hours later, White showed up at the bank, police said. Contact Terri Sanginiti at 324-2771 or tsanginin' CALENDAR Today PROSPECTIVE H0MEBUYERS: A homeown-ership information meeting for prospective buyers. 6:30 p.m. Rolling Meadows Club House, 2 Dartmouth Drive, Lewes. Free. Reservations, 857-3600 or 857-3603 Thursday PANCAKES & SAUSAGE: Pancake and sausage breakfast, 8-11 a.m.. Cane Henlonen Senior Center, 11 Christian St., Rehoboth Beach. $2.50-$5. 227-2055 Kent: Budget includes money for paramedic peak-hour 'power unit' FROM PAGE B1 including five paramedic slots for a new "power unit" to be deployed during peak hours and two dispatchers for the 911 center. The budget also provides for a new parks employee. Commissioner Bradley S. Eaby, D-Dover, elected in November and presenting his first budget as Levy Court's finance chairman, congratu- I lated McDowell and his boss, Susan Durham, for an impressive spending plan. "We don't have any declines in services," Eaby said. "In fact, we had increases in services, and we didn't have to increase taxes. I think we did a very good job." The budget includes $212,000 for the county's share of dog-control ex- ? penses passed along by the state and $50,000 more for open-space preservation, bringing the total annual set-aside for that purpose to $300,000. The budget also includes: New capital projects spending of just over $6.56 million. That's down from spending of $8.37 million for the current year, a figure that features an extraordinary general-fund transfer of $4.38 million largely for parks and recreation improvements. A sewer fund of $14.5 million, up 7.6 percent from spending for the current year. To offset higher costs, the county will pass along a flat rate increase of 9.8 percent for residential users, bringing the quarterly bill to $70.55. The increase will not be applied to the portion of bills collected for debt I service, the cost of which varies from one sewer district to another. An appropriation of $8.1 million for the sewer construction fund, with $3.93 million for a sewer district to serve the Hartly area accounting for almost half of that spending. Contact fames Memweather at 678-4273 or I t

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