Archive for Saturday, February 10, 2001

Nation Briefs

February 10, 2001


Fetus murder draws life sentence

A jury convicted a man Thursday of capital murder for hiring others to beat his pregnant girlfriend and kill her fetus. Erik Bullock, 30, received an automatic sentence of life in prison because prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. He also was convicted of first-degree battery, which carries a 20-year sentence.

The case was the first brought under Arkansas' Fetal Protection Act. The 1999 law allows murder charges if a fetus in at least the 12th week of gestation dies as the result of a violent crime. Prosecutors said Bullock paid the men $400 total to beat Pace. The nearly full-term fetus was stillborn Aug. 26, 1999, after Pace was taken to an emergency room with a lacerated spleen, fractured wrist, broken finger and numerous bruises and cuts.

Nursing home deaths bring indictments

Indictments were handed up Friday in the deaths of four nursing home residents who were mistakenly given nitrogen instead of oxygen.

Greene County Prosecutor William Schenck said involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide charges were brought against two defendants, but he would not identify them or say whether they are individuals or corporations.

Schenck said the grand jury did not indict two maintenance workers who had contact with the nitrogen tank, or the administrator of the Carriage-by-the-Lake nursing home in Bellbrook, or anyone at the company that delivered the tank.

Railroad suedfor requiring gene tests

In the first federal case of its kind, the government sued Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad on Friday for requiring genetic testing of employees who file claims for certain work-related hand injuries. The policy violates workers' civil rights, the lawsuit said.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asked that the railroad end the testing of workers who make claims for carpal tunnel syndrome. The lawsuit said the employees were not asked to consent to the tests and at least one worker who refused to provide a blood sample was threatened with losing his job.

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