The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 2001 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, May 4, 2001
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL NATION FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2001 • MURDER TRIAL Jury sees boy shoot teacher in what he says was accident By AMANDA RIDDLE The Associated Press . WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Frame by grainy frame, jurors watched a surveillance video Thursday of a 13-year- old boy fataUy shooting his middle school teacher last year. The key piece of evidence was played at the first-degree murder trial of Nathaniel Brazill, now 14. He is being tried as an adult and faces life in prison without parole if convicted. The defense contends the gun went off accidentally. Grant Frederick, a video specialist hired by prosecutors, took the jury through each frame of the tape, which shows Brazill arriving by bicycle at Lake Worth Middle School and then standing outside the classroom of English teacher Barry Grunow. He said the seventh-grader thrust both hands in front of him — he called it a "shooter's stance" —•• just before Grunow collapsed to the floor. Frederick said Brazill stood outside the classroom for 20 seconds and'held both hands, apparently pointing a gun at Grunow, for four seconds be- tells the story fore running down a hall. Brazill was an honor roll student with perfect attendance before the shooting last May on the last day of school. Prosecutors say he was receiving a failing grade in Grunow's class and was angry that he had been suspended by an assistant principal for throwing a.water balloon. The video was taken two hours after Brazill was sent home. It also shows Brazill fleeing past teacher John James, who testified that he opened his classroom door after hearing a loud noise. Earlier Thursday, a friend of Brazill, Brandon Spann, testified that the defendant told him the day of the shooting he was going to return to school to cause trouble after being suspended. Brandon Spann said BraziU asked him if he had a gun. When he asked why, he said Brazill said he wanted to "f— up" the school. Police said the weapon Brazill used was a pistol he had stolen from his grandfather's house days earlier. Outside the courthouse, about 30 i)eople protested the decision to try Brazill as an adult. "They are trying to make him wear adult shoes," said Mary Seacher, 69. "He has a child's mind. The Associated Press Dinora Resales, a student who witnessed Nathaniel Brazill, 13, shooting a teacher last year at Lake Worth Middle School, reacts to questions on the trial's first day Wednesday in West Palm Beach, Fla. • CHURCH BOMBING FBI withheld key evidence • WILDLIFE Authorities charge man with shooting wild horses „Man could spend five years !n jail if counts of animal abuse hold 6y The Associated Press -r EMINENCE, Mo. — A man 'was charged with shooting and killing five wild horses last 'year in a national park, an act ^that outraged citizens who had 'ttiade a special effort to get federal protection for the animals. •' The horses roam the Ozarks "NationM Scenic Riverways in the 'fugged hills of Shannon County Harold C. "Pogo" Williams, 42, • CHILD MURDERS was charged with five state misdemeanor counts of animal abuse, a statement from the Shannon County sheriff's office said Thursday He faces up to five years in jail and $5,000 in fines if convicted on all counts. He was to appear in court Monday The shooting happened during Missouri's deer season. A mare and a stallion were found shot to death Nov 16. Two days later, the mare's foal was shot in the head as it lingered around its mother's corpse. On Dec. 5, three more slain mares were found about 400 yards from the first group. Williams, an avid hunter, was charged with killing the five adult horses. A juvenile son of William's girlfriend is suspected in the death of the foal, the sheriff's office said, and the case was referred to juvenile authorities. The youth's name was not disclosed. Investigators found blue paint chips scratched off from a 1970 Chevy pickup near where the horses were found that matched the color of a truck owned by Williams, said Shannon County Sheriff Clinton "Butter" Reeves. Williams' phone was busy Thursday and he was not home when a reporter went to his house. Authorities did not immediately give a motive for the killings or say whether federal charges also were planned. "It's a relief if it turns out there's a conviction," said Jim Smith, a member of the Wild Horse League, an advocacy group in. Eminence. The dead horses were part of one of five herds that make their home among a tangle of forest, caves and fast-moving rivers — an area that draws visitors from around the world. Audiotapes used to help convict church bomber were a secret By The Associated Press BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For three decades, the FBI failed to disclose it had hundreds of hours of tape recordings and other evidence that could help convict former Ku Klux Klansmen in the 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls. When that information finally came out in court in recent weeks and clinched the conviction of ex-Klansman Thomas Blanton Jr. Tuesday Alabama prosecutors who first broke open the long-dormant case in the 1970s were outraged. "That is the most stunning revelation of this thing," said former Alabama Assistant Attorney General John Yung, who in 1977 helped send ex- Klansman Robert "Dynamite Bob" Chambliss to prison for the bombing. "I think it's shocking that someone sat on that evidence all those years." Secret evidence Among the FBI evidence that had remained secret since the mid-1960s: secret tape-recordings of Blanton talking about planning "the bomb" and the testimony of Mitchell Burns, a former Klansman and paid FBI informant who recorded other conversations. "What excuse can the FBI have for allowing Mr. Blanton to go free for 24 years with this smoking-gun evidence hidden in its files?" former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley wrote in a commentary Thursday in The New York Times. Baxley reopened the church bombing probe in the 1970s and convicted Chambliss. FBI spokesman Craig Dahle said there was no easy answer for the agency's failure to hand over everything it had years earlier. But he denied the FBI deliberately delayed justice. "I think it is wrong to assert there was any effort to block "What excuse can the FBI have for allowing Mr. Blanton to go free for 24 years with this smoking-gun evidence, hidden in its files" Bill Baxley former Alabama attorney general anything," Dahle said; Intentionally or not, then- FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover prevented a quick trial in 1965 when he concluded that Birmingham's racial climate meant a guilty verdict was highly unlikely Juries in Birmingham were all white at the time, and the police force included Klan sympathizers. "It was just a different time," Dahle said. Also, he said, the FBI has a policy against revealing the identity of confidential informants like Burns unless they agree to go public. And agents may have been leery about sharing the information with state and local police forces, which jjrere known to have Klan sympathizers. As for the tapes secretly made in Blanton's kitchen in 1964, computers were used to enhance the murky recordings ^ and help decipher the voices " for the jury at his trial — technology unavailable in the 1960s and extremely time-consuming in the 1970s when Baxley was pursuing the church bombers. The tapes were only "moderately intelligible" without enhancement, said Anthony Pellicano of Forensic Audio Laboratory, the Los Angeles company that performed the work. But the FBI did not let Baxley know the tapes even existed in the 1970s. It wasn't until the latest investigation began that Baxley found out about the tapes and the informant. Yung said he learned- of the long-secret evidence as the Blanton trial unfolded. Daughters caught in middle iDad allegedly killed Igirls while on the jphone with their mom By The Associated Press DALLAS — An accountant jwas jailed Thursday on charges {of fatally shooting his 6- and 9- lyear-old daughters as he ar- Igued on the phone with his ex- jwife. ' } The mother heard the older jgirl say "No, Daddy! No!" be- ifore hearing gunshots, police said. The bodies of Liberty Battaglia and her older sister, Faith, were in a pool of blood (Wednesday inside their father's Jdowntown loft apartment, po- [lice Sgt. Filiberto X. Carrillo isaid. John David Battaglia, 45, was ^rrested about 3 a.m. after a short struggle with officers /who had noticed his pickup iiruck. Battaglia had been at a (tattoo parlor j Police also detained a female iiriend of Battaglia and re- ItiDved seven rifles from his j^partment. {J Battaglia, a certified public accountant, was booked on two . [founts of capital murder and Lottery host loses job by the numbers Sy The Associated Press ; ALBANY.N.y. —Ahostof the J:elevised New York lottery drawing was fired after mistaking a 6- Iball for a 9-ball diwing a live Jjroadcast, lottery officials said. \ But Reny Monk contends she was fired for refusing to smoke, clrink and play "lottery jeopardy" jwith her bosses in a bar during a ^ales conference, the New York Post reported Thursday S Lottery spokeswoman Car- Jalyn Hapeman said she Jwouldn't "dignify" the claim with a response. » Monk, an aspiring actress bnd the niece of jazz great JThelonious Monk, said her lottery career ended after the bar tncident when Lottery Director Jviargaret DeFrancisco told her: J'Well, Reny it just seems like Vou don't fit in. ... I think it's f est we part ways." The Associated Press Dallas Police take John Battaglia Into custody Thursday. Officials have charged Battaglia with shooting to death his two daughters. was being held on $1 million bond, Dallas County sheriff's officers said. The girls' mother, Mary Jean Pearle, contacted Battaglia after he called his former mother-in-law and said he needed to reach his ex-wife. "He called my house and said he had to ask ... a question," Dorrace Pearle told The Dallas Morning News, "She phoned him to see what it was." She was on the phone with Battaglia from her home in the fashionable North Dallas suburb of Highland Park when "he put the oldest daughter on the phone who was visibly upset," Lt. Bill Walsh said. "She ... asked her mother, 'Why are you trying to have Daddy arrested and have him put in jail?' Before the mother could respond, she heard the girl screaming, 'No, Daddy! No!' And then she heard several gunshots." S82 S. 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