The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 7, 1997 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 7, 1997
Page 6
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A6 WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997 NATION THE SAUNA JOURNAL THE PRICE is LIFE Impaired driver gets life in prison for murders By The Associated Press WINSTON-SALEM. N.C. — A driver who killed two college students with his car after drinking and taking drugs was sentenced to life in prison without parole Tuesday by a jury that rejected a prosecutor's plea for the death penalty. Thomas Richard Jones, 39, was convicted of murder Friday in the deaths of two young women who were passengers in a car hit by his pickup truck Sept. 4. Four others in the car were injured. Jurors deliberated about 1 '/i hours before sentencing Jones to two life sentences. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, but said the verdict would still send a strong message to people who drink and drive. "Driving while impaired, reckless driving, cuts across all social lines and you have very responsible people from all walks of life who go to bars and drink after work. This will seriously make everyone stop after the first drink or the second one," prosecutor Vincent Rabil said. Under North Carolina state law, anyone who kills another while committing a separate dangerous felony can be prosecuted for first-degree murder, punishable by the death penalty, whether the death was intentional or not. Prosecutors said Jones committed two felonies — reckless driving while impaired and assault with a deadly weapon — and deserved to die. It was apparently the first case in the nation in which prosecutors have pushed for the death penalty in a driving-while-impaired case. Jones was playing Russian roulette when he got behind the wheel after drinking beer and taking painkillers — but in this game, the gun was pointed at someone else, Rabil said in his closing argument Tuesday. "You point it at someone and pull the trigger, and you don't know if it's going to go off or not," he said. The Associated Press Prosecutor Vincent Rabil (right) shows Thomas Richard Jones a prescription bottle label Monday with the instructions not to drive or drink alcohol while taking them. Jones was convicted of murder Friday in the deaths of two Wake Forest University students. Jones' defense lawyer blamed Satan — in the form of alcohol and drugs — for Jones' problems while Jones blamed the government. On the stand, Jones testified his addiction was worsened by Veterans Affairs doctors who gave him more drugs when he sought help last August. "Satan forced him to do it. Beelzebub. Alcohol ... in every bottle of liquor, the devil lurks. In these pain pills he was taking, the devil lurks," defense lawyer Carol Teeter told the jury Tuesday. During a sentencing hearing Monday, a Wake Forest University official read the college admission applications of the victims — Maia Witzl, 19, of*Arlington, Texas, and Julie Hansen, 19, of Rockville, Md. The university is in Winston-Salern. MIGLIN MURDER Slain developer had humble start Miglin had dreamed of building the tallest skyscraper in Chicago By The Associated Press CHICAGO — He was the son of an immigrant coal miner, selling sunglasses and television sets on his way to the top ranks of Chicago's business and social elite. Now Lee Miglin, a developer who dreamed of building Chicago's tallest skycraper, is dead, his slashed, stabbed and tortured body found bound in tape and wrapping paper on his garage floor in one of the city's poshest neighborhoods. "This man was the American dream come true," said J. Paul Beitler, Miglin's partner at Miglin-Beitler Inc., a Chicago- based real estate development and management company. He described Miglin as one of the last of a principled, older generation of people "who provide the kind of leadership and character that all the young men talk about but don't exude." Miglin, 72, was last seen alive Saturday afternoon. His body was discovered Sunday morning after his wife returned from a business trip and reported him missing. According to published reports, Marilyn Miglin found stubble from an electric razor in a bathroom sink and a leftover ham sandwich and dirty dishes in the kitchen, which she considered unusual for her husband. She called police after discovering a gun — which turned out to be fake — in a bathroom. The front gate wasn't locked at the red-brick, three-story townhouse, and there were no signs of forced entry, newspapers reported. Miglin's body — soaked with blood across his shoulders and chest — was found partially hidden under a car in the garage. His neck was slashed, and he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest. He had been bound in masking tape and brown wrapping paper. Police Superintendent Matt Rodriguez told reporters Miglin was tortured but would not elaborate. Rodriguez said he couldn't say whether Miglin knew his killer or killers. Police wouldn't discuss a motive, but Miglin's 1994 Lexus was missing. Also missing were his leather jacket, wristwatch and $2,000 from his briefcase, the Chicago Tribune reported. Miglin's surroundings were far from his beginnings in Westville, a small community in east-central Illinois. His father, a Czech immigrant, worked in a coal mine and ran several side businesses. He worked hard as a paper boy and later attended the University of Illinois. After graduation, he worked his way across the country selling sunglasses, then came to Chicago where he sold pancake batter and television sets. He learned the real-estate business from working for developer Arthur Rubloff. At Rubloffs company he met Beitler, and the pair formed their highly successful firm., They gained national notice in the early 1990s with a plan to build the world's tallest building — a needle-pointed, 125-story tower that would look down on the Sears Tower. Financial backing fell through and the plan failed. ROLLS, ROLLS, ROLLS $/|99 Starting at ^t *<i- The CUPBOARD 2 911 B. West Crawford, Salina 6 mos. no interest OV.A.C f^ CARPET 833 East Prescott, Salina • (913) 827-8755 T CRIME Two teen-agers charged in grocery store slaying By The Associated Press UNION, Mich. — The gunman fired his sawed-off rifle once to announce his arrival at the Hilltop, a general store where customers sip coffee, wash clothes and catch up on the news. Then he shot a 68-year-old woman in the head as she cowered behind a washing machine. He shot and wounded a woman in the back, then another in the temple. A 4-year-old girl watched it all. He got away with a purse. "It was an act of cruelty and cowardice," Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter said Tuesday as he announced murder and other charges against two 17-year-old boys from nearby South Bend, Ind. The shootings Saturday have people nervous and angry in this tiny community in the lake region of southern Michigan along the Indiana border. Darnell Johnson, the accused gunman, and John Sherwood, who allegedly waited outside in a getaway car, are charged with mur- Imitators try to die like those in Heaven's Gate By The Associated Press ENCINITAS, Calif. — One person was found dead and another unconscious Tuesday at a Holiday Inn in what authorities said appeared to be an attempt to imitate the Heaven's Gate mass suicide. San Diego County Sheriff's spokesman Don Crist said the body and the unconscious person were found by deputies at about 12:25 p.m. The unconscious person was taken to a hospital. Crist said both may have been former members of the Heaven's Gate cult and one was the husband of a cult member who participated in the March 26th mass suicide in a Rancho Santa Fe mansion. Thirty-nine members of the cult killed themselves believing their deaths would enable them to catch a spaceship trailing Hale-Bopp comet. der, robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a crime. The two are in jail in South Bend, where they were arrested later Saturday at a house. People had seen their Ford Bronco and called authorities. They are not waiving extradition to Michigan, officials said. They are also charged with robbing a convenience store in nearby Roseland, Ind., of $600 a few hours after the Hilltop, where the amount of cash taken was undetermined. 1X6 advertisement Come Help Us Celebrate the Grand Opening of Our New Super-Store In Oklahoma Cilyl Save Big While MldWest TV Grows, Bringing You the Largest Selection on Top Name Brand Appliances & Electronics! All Stores are Joining In the Celebration and Passing the Savings on to You, because...What We Do Save You Money! ^MITSUBISHI 32" 46" Big Screen Home Theatre System Home Theatre System ' MTS Stereo Big Screen with Picture-in-Picture • Oak Enlertainmenl Center with Solid Oak Raised Panels ' Leaded Beveled Glass Doors • Mitsubishi 32" Stereo Color TV with 700 Lines Resolution. 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