Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2002

Nation Briefs

February 21, 2002


Wisconsin: Toxic gas stolen; national alert issued

Six tanks of toxic gas disappeared from a Kenosha company, about 40 miles north of Chicago, prompting police to issue a national warning.

The tanks contain argon and nitric oxide, typically used by welders, officials said. The gas can be deadly in small amounts and would certainly kill anyone who inhaled from one of the tanks thinking it was nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, officials said.

The gas was reported missing on Tuesday, and the tanks still hadn't been found Wednesday, police Det. Tom Glassman said. He said police were following seven or eight possible leads.

The tanks, each 5 1/2 feet tall, are labeled "nitric oxide" and "AGA Gas Inc." Police believe someone loaded the 175-pound tanks onto a truck or van earlier this week and drove off, possibly believing it was nitrous oxide and intending to use it as a party drug.

New York City: Cantor charged in molestation case

The cantor at New York City's largest Reform synagogue was arrested Wednesday on charges he sexually molested a young nephew.

Howard Nevison of Congregation Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was accused of abusing the boy on three occasions between 1993 and 1997 while the boy was 3 to 7 years old.

Police have known about the allegations since about 1998 but did not pursue charges until the victim, who was undergoing therapy and is now 12, was ready to confront his uncle.

The cantor allegedly molested the boy during visits to the family's home in Pennsylvania.

Nevison, 61, faces charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and other offenses, and could face 27 1/2 to 55 years in prison.

Texas: U.S. Supreme Court stays execution

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of execution Wednesday to a black man who contends prosecutors deliberately kept blacks off the jury at his murder trial in 1986.

Justice Antonin Scalia granted the stay one day before Thomas Miller-El, 50, was set to die by injection.

The case could be used by the Supreme Court to clarify what evidence a court can consider when reviewing a claim that a jury was racially stacked.

Miller-El, on death row in Livingston, was convicted in the 1985 robbery-slaying of a desk clerk at a hotel near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

During jury selection, prosecutors used peremptory challenges to reject 10 of 11 blacks. Peremptory challenges allow lawyers to dismiss prospective jurors without explanation.

The jury ultimately consisted of nine whites, one Filipino, one Hispanic and one black.

Phoenix: Boot camp counselor pleads in teen's death

Authorities announced a deal Wednesday under which a counselor at a tough-love boot camp will plead guilty to a lesser charge in connection with the death of a teen-age camper and cooperate in a case against the camp's director.

Troy A. Hutty was one of two counselors who put Anthony Haynes, 14, in a motel bathtub to cool him after he collapsed in triple-digit heat last summer. The teen later died of complications of dehydration and near-drowning.

As part of the deal, prosecutors will recommend that a judge sentence Hutty to probation on a negligent homicide charge. Hutty was originally indicted for manslaughter, which carries a maximum 12 1/2 years in jail.

Director Charles Long II was charged last week in the teen-ager's death. Two other staffers also face charges.

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