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Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

Nation Briefs

July 15, 2001

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Massachusetts: Scientists again fail to save the whale

Scientists attempting to rescue a North Atlantic right whale entangled in rope could not sedate the massive animal or work the thick plastic line free from its jaw Saturday.

Weather conditions were optimal when rescuers reached the whale about 85 miles east of Cape Cod, said National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman Teri Frady.

Scientists have said even if their efforts are successful, the whale, dubbed Churchill, will likely die from an infection caused by the marine rope.

According to Frady, the whale "appears entirely white. It has lost a good deal of its black gloss, which is not a good sign."

There are only about 300 North Atlantic right whales left.

Tennessee: Pardon sought in 1922 execution

A pardon is being sought for a black man who supporters claim was mistakenly convicted and executed for the murder of a white woman eight decades ago.

Maurice Franklin Mayes' arrest in 1919 triggered a bloody race riot in Knoxville. He died in the electric chair three years later.

However, Mayes' conviction never settled doubts about his guilt. And now historian and former legislator Robert Booker, who has written a book about the case, is joining with Mayor Victor Ashe to seek a posthumous pardon.

"There is no way this case would have resulted in an execution in today's justice system, and it is doubtful that it would have even gone to trial," Ashe wrote to Gov. Don Sundquist this week.

Mayes, a nightclub owner, was arrested for murdering Bertie Lindsey in her sleep on Aug. 29, 1919. The next day, angry whites stormed the downtown jail. When they discovered Mayes was being held elsewhere, they rampaged through the city's black neighborhoods.

Philadelphia: Fugitive thinks acquittal possible

While continuing to fight extradition, American fugitive Ira Einhorn believes he could win acquittal on murder charges if he were brought back to Philadelphia.

Einhorn fled to France in 1981, soon before he was to stand trial for the 1977 bludgeoning death of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. Her corpse was found stuffed in a trunk inside a closet of the Philadelphia apartment she shared with Einhorn.

Now Einhorn believes he could have proved his innocence.

"(Fleeing) was immature, I admit it now, because I think we could have won," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in an interview at his home in Champagne-Mouton.

Einhorn also adamantly denied killing his girlfriend in the interview published in today's editions.

In 1993, Einhorn was sentenced in absentia to life in prison.

If he is returned to Pennsylvania, Einhorn's conviction under state law would be set aside and a new trial held.

Florida: SUV-van collision leaves five dead

A sport utility vehicle collided with a van in a pre-dawn crash Saturday, killing five.

The SUV's driver was taking his wife and four others to Miami International Airport for a flight to Haiti when he pulled from a stop sign into the path of the van, police said. The van struck the SUV broadside.

Killed were both drivers, Felix St. Aime, 30, and 23-year-old Kevin Page, authorities said.

Also killed were three passengers in St. Aime's vehicle Loupe Jean, 45, Marie Mathurin, 35, and Mathurin's daughter Jennifer, 9.

Jean's 17-year-old son, Stanley Lormestile, was hospitalized in critical condition while St. Aime's wife, Lehoter, 27, suffered minor injuries.

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