CURSES, FOILED AGAIN
Dallas police said Dwayne Lamont Moten, 20, hired a friend, Jacob Wheeler, 20, to shoot him, intending to blame the crime on his wife’s boyfriend so he could gain custody of his 3-year-old son. Wheeler was only supposed to wound Moten, who “drove a short distance before he realized he was shot a little worse than he had planned and got out of his car and was screaming for help,” then died, according to Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, who noted, “There’s legal ways to get custody of a child, and taking a bullet and ultimately dying is definitely not one of those ways.” (KDFW-TV) Shawn Martines, 25, flagged down a sheriff’s deputy in Pasco County, Fla., and explained that he let a woman put handcuffs on him, thinking they were fake, but they were real, and the woman didn’t have a key. Martines managed to pick one cuff and wanted the deputy to unlock the other. First, though, the deputy patted down Martines for weapons. When he found a hypodermic needle and nine Xanax pills, he locked the loose cuff on Martines’ free wrist and arrested him on drug charges. (Associated Press)
Richard Junkins rolled up to a parking space in his Ford Mustang to find Ross Campbell standing in the spot holding his 3-year-old son and refusing to budge, according to police in Athens, Ga. “Junkins, after an exchange of words, continued pulling in the space” and hit the man and the child, causing both to land on Junkins’ hood, police official Hilda Sorrow said. Junkins was arrested, and Campbell declined to explain why he wouldn’t move from the parking spot. (The Atlanta Journal- Constitution)
Fire officials concluded that a fire which damaged an apartment in Springfield, Mo., was caused by a big-screen television left outside in the sun. Assistant Fire Chief Randy Villines explained that mirrors inside the set likely bounced and concentrated sunlight enough to start a fire. Villines called the blaze “bizarre” but noted the damage was minor. (Springfield News-Leader)
Authorities said Tommy Ryser, 54, was driving drunk when he crashed his truck into a utility pole in Blaine, Wash., and again soon after when he crashed his wife’s car into a guardrail a short distance away. While Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies were investigating the crashes, Ryser pulled up to the scene of the second crash in his privately owned tow truck to take the wrecked car back home. They questioned him, determined he’d been the driver of the two vehicles and charged him with three counts of driving under the influence. (The Bellingham Herald)
Declaring his intention to start a new life, Shelby Marwan Heggs, 27, petitioned a court in Bibb County, Ga., to change his name to Saint Jody Almighty Bedrock. “I wanted a name that everybody would know when they were talking to me that they were talking to a man of God,” Heggs said. “I wanted that to be expressed by my name.” He added that his friends and family already call him Saint Jody. (Macon Telegraph)
Russia’s finance minister announced his ministry was doubling the cigarette tax to boost the economy and encouraged citizens to do their patriotic duty by smoking more. “If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates,” Alexei Kudrin said. “Those who smoke are doing more to help the state.” (CBS News) Romanian lawmakers seeking new sources of revenue proposed taxing witches. The measure, drafted by senators Alin Popoviciu and Cristi Dugulescue of the ruling Democratic Liberal Party, would require witches and fortunetellers to produce receipts and also hold them liable for wrong predictions. After the Senate voted down the proposal, Popoviciu claimed the senators were afraid of being cursed. (Associated Press)
WAY TO GO
Suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Garry Phebus, 62, declared that he wants to die by donating his organs while he’s still alive. “What better thing can I leave for other people?” Phebus said at his home in White, Ga. “I already have a death sentence, so what’s the difference?” The trouble, he explained, is that no doctors are willing to help him, not even in Europe.
“A health-care provider can’t commit homicide,” said John Banja, an ethicist at Emory University’s Center for Ethics. “If you cut him open and take his organs while he’s still alive, you are committing homicide.” Phebus is determined, however, and believes that someone will help him get his wish, thanks to a five-minute appeal he posted on YouTube. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Authorities in Everett, Wash., accused Dallas Amber Smith, 18, of stabbing a 19-year old man who laughed at her for having smelly feet. The two were at a party, where Smith boasted that she was good at doing back flips. The man challenged her to do a flip off the deck, so she took off her shoes and tried but failed. Snohomish County prosecutor Janice Albert said that’s when the man laughed at her and said her feet smelled. She started to leave the party but stopped long enough to stab him in the back with a steak knife. (Everett’s The Herald) After David A. Patton, 44, burst into the house of a neighbor, Stephen A. Carr, 48, and shot him to death, police in Fairfax County, Va., said the homicide occurred because Patton objected to a speed bump in front of Carr’s house. Carr had campaigned for the speed bump to discourage traffic speeding through the neighborhood. (The Washington Post)
When warning sirens sounded in the region of Thailand where 5,398 people died in 2004 after a tsunami battered the Andaman coast, hundreds of people fled to higher ground, believing another wave was on the way. The government eventually explained that the sirens went off accidentally, during a drill as part of Thailand’s effort to develop an effective tsunami warning system. The false alarm was the latest in a series of problems, which include sirens not being loud enough for people to hear them and going off by accident.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban apologized for causing panic but resisted calls to fire the officials in charge of disaster warning, instead blaming faulty equipment and calling the incident “not that serious.” (Reuters)
News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The New Times.