The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on March 30, 2005 · Page 4
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 4

Shreveport, Louisiana
Issue Date:
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Page 4
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4A WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2005 Nation THE TIMES - Slaying suspect guilty of probation violations LECANTO, Fla.-Aregistered sex offender who police said confessed to abducting and slaying a 9-year-old girl pleaded guilty Tuesday to two unrelated probation violations. John Couey, 46, was sentenced to a day short of a year in jail on each charge stemming from an August 2004 arrest for marijuana and drug-paraphernalia possession. Couey is to be arraigned April 12 on four charges, including first-degree murder, related to the death of Jessica Marie Lunsford. "You brought a lot of misery to a lot of people," Citrus County Judge Mark Yerman told Couey, who was convicted in 1991 of committing a lewd act on a 5-year-old girl. "And you took a lot of joy from a lot of people." Mother, husband charged in boy's death CAMDEN, NJ. In a case that had baffled police for more than a decade, a woman and her husband were charged Tuesday with the murder of her 4-year-old son, whose remains were found in a duffel bag in Philadelphia in 1994. Prosecutors said Jerell Willis was beaten to death by his mother, Alicia Willis Robinson, 32, and her husband, Lawrence Robinson, 35. The couple then allegedly dumped the body in a vacant lot near the Ben Franklin Bridge. The dead child's identity had been a mystery for years, until a man returned to the Camden area recently and asked about his nephew. The uncle became suspicious and searched the Web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where he found a picture of a bust resembling the boy. Suit filed over law against cohabitation WILMINGTON, N.C. A former sheriffs dispatcher who quit her job after her boss found out she lived with her boyfriend is challenging North Carolina's law against cohabitation. Debora Hobbs said she was told to get married, move out, or find another job after her boss found out about her living situation. The legal arm of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina filed the lawsuit Monday on her behalf. The lawsuit seeks to abolish the nearly 200-year-old and rarely enforced law that prohibits unmarried, unrelated adults of the opposite sex from living together. Nor th Carolina is one of seven states with such a law. Convicted offenders face a fine and up to 60 days in jail. 3 accused of stealing Air Force vests to sell VALDOSTA, Ga. Three airmen have been arrested in an alleged scheme to steal 35 bulletproof vests from Moody Air Force Base and sell them to drug dealers for $100 each. Eighteen of the vests, which typically sell for up to $600, have been recovered, but others still may be on the street, Sheriff Ashley Paulk said. "You never want the bad guys to have all the tools that you've got to work with," Paulk said. . Airman Todd Louis Boutte, 22, and Airman 1st Class Jared Wayne Roberts, 21, were accused of taking the vests from the base, and Airman 1st Class Brian Aubray Skelton, 22, was accused of distributed them. Mislabeling prompts recall of chocolate bars WASHINGTON A Vermont company is recalling a batch of chocolate bars after discovering the wrong wrapper was used on bars that contain peanuts, posing health risks to people with peanut allergies. Lake Champlain Chocolates of Burlington said Tuesday that its peanut bars were mistakenly labeled Five Star Fruit & Nut Bars, which contain hazelnuts, pecans, cherries and dark chocolate. Consumers can return the product to the store for a refund. More information is available by calling the company, which is cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration on the recall, at (800) 634-8105, weekdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m. CST. Suspect in arson fire hangs himself ASPEN, Colo. The man who was suspected of setting multiple fires at his apartment complex and was found dead in his unit had hanged himself, authorities said Tuesday. Robert Seawell, 69, was found hanging in his apartment after the flames were extinguished Monday, police Detective Jim Crowley said. Seawell had faced eviction this week from the complex, which caters to retirees. Crowley said the eviction was believed to be a key part of the motive for the arson, but he said there were other factors he would not disclose. An autopsy was to be held to determine if Seawell died of the hanging or was killed by the fire. From Wire Reports Investigators: Not enough evidence to show Annan knew of oil-for-food contract bid By Edith M. Lederer The Associated Press NEW YORK Investigators probing the U.N. oil-for-food program said Tuesday that Secretary-General Kofi Annan didn't interfere in the awarding of a contract to a company that employed his son but criticized the U.N. chief for not properly investigating possible conflicts of interest A defiant Annan said, "Hell no," when asked at a news conference if he would resign, noting the report's findings that he committed no wrongdoing. "After so many distressing and untrue allegations have been made against me, this exoneration by the independent inquiry obviously comes as a great relief," he said. Although the report did not com pletely vindicate the secretary-general, the investigation led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said there was insufficient evidence to show that he was aware of the bid. Still, the report raised questions about when the secretary-general Annan learned about the December 1998 contract to the Swiss firm, Cotecna Inspection SA, and strongly criticized the destruction of documents by his former chief of staff that could have shed light on the oil-for-food scandal in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The independent inquiry, released Tuesday, faulted Annan for conducting a one-day investigation into the matter, saying it should have been a more rigorous, independent probe. It also accused the company, Cotecna Inspection SA, and Annan's son, Kojo, of trying to conceal their relationship after the firm was awarded the contract At a separate news conference after the report was released, Volcker said the investigation found no evidence that Kofi Annan improperly influenced the process by which Cotecna was selected for an inspection contract under the oil-for-food program, or that he tried to influence it "Our investigation has disclosed several instances in which he might or could have become aware, of Cotec-na's participation in the bidding process," Volcker said. "However, there is neither convincing testimony to that effect nor any documentary evidence. "Taking all of this into account, the committee has not found the evidence is reasonably sufficient to show that the secretary-general knew that Cotecna had participated in the bidding process in 1998," Volcker said. Kojo Annan worked for Cotecna in West Africa from 1995 to December 1997, and then was a consultant for the firm until the end of 1998 when it won the oil-for-food contract. He remained on the Cotecna payroll until 2004 on a contract to prevent him from working for a competitor in West Africa. Longtime Boy Scouts official faces charges of child porn possession By Lisa Falkenberg The Associated Press DALLAS A longtime Boy Scouts of America official who directed a national task force to protect children from sexual abuse has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, was accused of receiving images over the Internet in February of children engaging in oral sex, intercourse and other sexually explicit conduct The charges were filed by federal prosecutors March 21. "We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this," said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, based in the Dallas suburb of Irving. "Smith was employed by the Boy Scouts for 39 years and we had no indication of prior criminal activity." Smith was a national program director and staff adviser of the Boy Scout's renowned Youth Protection Task Force. Shields said Smith took over the task force a couple of years ago when another employee retired. Smith managed the distribution of literature, video tapes, a Web site and other resources that teach children and adults at schools, churches and Boy Scout troops how to detect and prevent child abuse. Law enforcement officials indicated the pictures did not show boys who were with the Boy Scouts organization, Shields said. Smith's job did not involve working directly with children, Shields said. Smith was put on leave immediately after the Boy Scouts officials learned of charges, then chose to retire, he said. Smith, reached Tuesday at his home in Colleyville, near Fort Worth, referred all questions to his attorney, Jack Strickland, who said: "He's not taking this well. I've got to tell you, this is a good man and I would hate to see the entirety of his life and the good things he's done defined by one incident" He was expected to appear in federal court today. "This is the first time ever we recall anything like this being charged against a Boy Scouts employee," Shields said. "We're proud of our dedicated and hardworking people, but never heard of anything like this." mw J. .ftfrHfrtfffo Orthopedic OPECIALISTS OFJOUISIANA if Treating Arthritis of the Hip, Knee 8s Shoulder1 presented by Steven M. Atchison, M.D. Robert E. Schwartz, M.D. Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana Tuesday, April 5, 2005 Bossier Specialty Hospital 2105 Airline Drive, Bossier City Zimmer's Mobile Learning Center 1 lilvV -V- Seminar & Luncheon $7.00 per person 11 :30 a.m. -1p.m. Auditorium Sponsored by Fhri-State -PAS PHYSICAL THERAPY. INC. 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