The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 12, 1996 · Page 7
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 7

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, October 12, 1996
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Page 7
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THE SALINA JOURNAL NATION SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12. 1996 A7 V CRIME Legless man stands up and kills bully Neighbors reckon he performed a public service by killing bully By VERENA DOBNIK The Associated Press NEW YORK — Marcelo "Heavy" Gonzalez, a 300-pound, 6-foot-2 hulk, sowed terror with ease in his neighborhood, dealing drugs and robbing people for years. Often, he picked on Jesus "Churito" Velazquez, a 67-year- old man with artificial legs and a $546 monthly disability check. One day last month, Heavy came to Churito's stoop looking for money again. Instead, he got four bullets in the head and back and died two days later. "The reason why I shot him was because I'm an old man and he's picking on me all the time," Churito told police after his arrest on murder charges. Some of Churito's neighbors figure he performed a public service. Gonzalez, 30, was the bully of his Upper West Side neighborhood of Puerto Rican newcom- The Associated Press Jesus "Churito" Velazquez Is wheeled Oct. 3 Into state Supreme Court In New York for his arraignment on charges of killing Marcelo "Heavy" Gonzalez, described as the neighborhood bully. time here. I'm glad he's dead," Saleh said. Heavy would walk in on a Sunday morning, when it's ers, older Jews and yuppies. He used to steal from the corner grocery on Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street, said grocer Mohammed Saleh. "He used to give me a hard illegal to sell alcohol, open a beer and drink it, then leave — "and you couldn't do anything." In the basement barber shop on 83rd Street where Heavy got his thick, dark hair cut, no one could remember him with a job. Residents said he did some small-time drug dealing and occasionally smoked crack. He also preyed on Churito, once threatening to take his artificial legs and hold them for ransom, neighbors said. The shakedowns made it that much harder for Churito to pay the $240 rent for his room in the seedy Kent Hotel. Two days before Christmas, Churito said, Heavy sent a woman to steal $200 hidden in a lamp in his room. The same woman picked his pockets early last month as Heavy lurked nearby waiting for the money, said Churi- to, who sometimes used a wheelchair and sometimes a walker. In March, Heavy robbed another Kent Hotel resident, and in June he sold crack to an undercover cop, police said. On Sept. 10, neighbors said, Heavy demanded $100 from Chu- rito, but he refused. Later that day, as men played dominoes on sidewalk tables and other residents were out enjoying one of the last warm evenings of summer, Churito came out of the Kent on his walker and found Heavy sitting on the steps. Churito had powerless legs but a powerful pistol in his room. Dragging his limbs up to the first floor, he returned with the gun. "I shot him right away," Churi- to told police. "I don't know if I hit him on the first try, but I know I shot him again." On Oct. 3, Churito rolled into court for his arraignment, his left wrist cuffed to the wheelchair. After being charged with crimes that could bring him 25 years to life behind bars, he was jailed on $50,000 bail. The district attorney's office maintains the shooting was not self-defense. In a jailhouse interview Wednesday, Churito said he lost his gangrenous legs to diabetes 10 years ago and had to give up his job of 15 years — fixing vending machines in Manhattan's garment district. He left Puerto Rico 40 years ago. He never married, all his close relatives are dead, and he is alone except for a few friends in the neighborhood. T MEDICAL Anesthesiologist accused of manslaughter He is accused of dozing off during surgery that resulted in death of 8-year-old boy By The Associated Press DENVER — Dr. Joseph Verbrugge used to fall asleep sometimes in the operating room, and some of his colleagues knew it. One even wondered whether he had a drug problem. Another suggested that he get himself some coffee and walk around the operating room to stay alert. All of that would come out on the stand many months later, after Verbrugge, an anesthesiologist, was charged with reckless manslaughter for allegedly dozing off during a routine ear operation on an 8-year-old boy. Verbrugge, who is on trial in state court in V CRIME the 1993 death, could get up to eight years in prison if convicted. While hundreds of doctors a year are sued or lose their licenses for malpractice, criminal charges for medical errors are rare. In New York, two doctors have been convicted of criminal charges. Verbrugge is charged in the death of Richard Leonard, whose heart stopped on the operating table at St. Joseph Hospital. The Colorado Board of Medical Examiners revoked Verbrugge's license in 1994 after an administrative law judge ruled that the doctor fell asleep and failed to notice the boy's distress. Despite the testimony of nurses in the operating room, Verbrugge has vehemently denied nodding off during Richard's operation, and his lawyers have argued that the boy may have died because of a rare genetic, disease that made him vulnerable to anesthesia. Whatever the cause, the boy's vital signs indicated serious trouble, Verbrugge testified at his trial. Richard's heart rate and temperature soared, and the carbon dioxide level in his blood was dangerously high. - "I should have read the indicators differently. I should have been doing something else," the doctor said. "I failed to respond in an appropriate manner. But it was an active decision" and not because of inattention. "It's a decision I regret, and I will regret it for the rest of my life. I've had nightmares over this," he said. He said he noticed trouble before an alarm sounded to alert him to it. Verbrugge acknowledged he had been confronted about nodding off during surgery before. A doctor even wrote a letter to the state Board of Medical Examiners suggesting he might have a drug problem, he said. Verbrugge, who denied having a drug problem, said another doctor suggested asking for coffee and walking around the room. Richard's family has been a fixture at the trial, which is in its third week. Richard's 13- year-old brother Ted attends when he can. About 500 people who attended Richard's funeral donated $15,000 to the Denver Zoo to help pay for a new exhibit. Richard's name appears as a donor. Richard's family won an out-of-court settlement against Verbrugge, though the terms have been sealed. Dr. Nancy Dickey, chairwoman of the American Medical Association, had no direct comment on 'the Verbrugge case but warned that criminalizing medical errors would be "a disaster for patients" because doctors would grow too fearful of making mistakes. T SIMPSON CASE 0J. can argue he was framed Judge rules defense can claim bloody glove and socks were planted By The Associated Press SANTA MONICA, Calif. — O.J. Simpson can claim a frame-up at his civil trial, too, and argue that police planted the bloody glove and socks at his estate, a judge ruled Friday. Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki said former Detective Mark Fuhrman's no-contest plea to perjury last week persuaded him to allow the same line of defense that proved so powerful at Simpson's criminal trial. Fuhrman, the detective who found the bloody glove, got three years' probation for denying he had uttered the word "nigger" in the previous decade — a statement disproved by tapes played at the criminal trial. The defense claimed that his racist comments showed a motive to frame Simpson. The judge also gave the defense a victory by letting Simpson's lawyers argue that a pair of bloody socks in.his bedroom might be part of a frame-up. Fujisaki said the defense could argue that blood belatedly collected from a back gate at Nicole Brown Simpson's condominium was planted. At the criminal trial, Simpson's lawyers said the gate blood was contaminated with a chemical used to preserve blood in the police laboratory. They suggested it was deposited on the gate long after the killings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Some rulings favored the plaintiffs in the wrongful-death case, the Brown and Goldman families. The judge barred an argument that a knit cap found at the crime scene might have been planted, and he found that blood collected from Simpson's Bronco the morning after the slayings could not be cited as part of a police frame-up. Blind man kills robber in self defense By The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA — Courtney . Beswick couldn't see his assailant, but the blind man used his martial arts training to flip the attacker over his shoulder and place him in a wrestling hold until police arrived. The would-be robber was declared dead at the hospital, but police say charges probably won't be filed because Beswick acted in self defense Wednesday. Neighbors say the dead man had bullied Kissing 7-year-old in trouble again By The Associated Press NEW YORK — The 7-year-old boy who was suspended for kissing a girl and ripping a button of her skirt was in trouble again this week. School officials in Queens said they tried to suspend De'Andre Dearinge' after he bit and punched a teacher and a classroom aide at his elementary school Tuesday. The Board of Education blocked the move. De'Andre is classified as a special education student. The classification means he cannot be suspended without permission from the Board of Education. BESWICK ERVIN Beswick, 28 and blind since birth. The dead man, Anthony Ervin, had been arrested eight times in the last nine years on assorted robbery, weapons and assault charges, police said. City Health Department spokesman Jeff Moran said Ervin suffered a neck injury. Police were called to Beswick's home after 8 p.m. and found Beswick, sitting on top of Ervin. Beswick told investigators Ervin had identified himself as a police officer, then said he had a gun and demanded money. Ervin kept fighting after Beswick threw him over his shoulder, so he put him in a wrestling hold, Beswick told police. TED AUGUSTINE'S FURNITURE WAREHOUSE 75 miles West of Sallna : on High way 140 Mbn.yTues.'Med., Frf.9-«f/ Thurs. 9-8, Sat.' 9:30-5 823-6792 1-800-563-1831 Manual Transmission & Transfer Case WAREHOUSE Replacement Parts For JEEP • FORD • CHEV • GM SPICER 8 DANA Power Train Components link • 729 N. Santa Fe • | M l> C Salina ' KS I II I IV 9 913-827-6204 AUTO REPAIR & 4 WHEEL DRIVE SHOP Moil.-Sat. (i am-2 pin Breakfast Specials Lunch Specials The Only Downtown Restaurant with... 158 S. Santa Fe BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL • On-Board Tools with Ready-To-Use Hose • Auto, Carpet Height Adjustment • Low Noise Operation • Instant Cord Release • 9 AMP Motor NOW ONLY $ 1 39 95 - Financing and Layaway Available - IDWEST SEWING & VACUU 340 S. Broadway • 825-0451 • 9-5:30 M-F, 9-5 Sat. „ ANASON|C #5305 GREAT PLAINS Del's Electronics Center 12 Months No interest No Payments on SONY KlipscH Audio and Home Theater System 11 • Six speakers that blow away the competition at their price point and size • Outstanding sound reproduction for both music and movie soundtracks • Sonically matched for seamless movement of sound all around the listening area - puts you in the middle of the action • All the speakers you need for tremendous audio and home theater performance - right out of the box Sunday, October 13, the Salina Journal will publish its annual Great Plains edition. We will look at the success, failures, and outlook for the future of rural Kansas in the area of health care, education, community development and technology. WATCH FOR IT SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13! SLV-660HF VHS HUM ftoree Vldoocatiett* ReconUr ~ ~ •"- • VKS Hfl Stew; MT5 Streo TV Recapfai 4-Head Dud torn* Playback en) tend fcc uub pidure quafy FREE VCR Must Instant Programmer Mail-In Offer Acuurote one-step iingPlus for TV listings •Automatically changeschandi on cable boxes Once, daily and weekly recording options • Stores up bU program at a lime Salina Journal • DigJdAulolradaig •Mufc iK^ •His SONY. 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