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Archive for Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Briefly

October 22, 2002

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Florida: Gun distributor on trial for killing

A gun distributor went on trial Monday in West Palm Beach in a closely watched case filed by a widow who says her husband was gunned down by a 13-year-old boy with an unreasonably dangerous weapon.

Pam Grunow is suing Valor Corp., which distributed the .25-caliber Raven handgun. She says the gun is too dangerous because it has no safety and too often falls into the hands of juveniles.

The gun could have been made safer with a $3 lock but instead was sold in a "lousy, little cardboard box," said Rebecca Larson, Grunow's attorney.

Attorneys for Valor Corp. maintain that the gun is not defective and worked as it should, firing a bullet when Nathaniel Brazill pulled the trigger after pointing it at Barry Grunow in a middle school hallway.

Valor attorney John Renzulli said the fault lies with Brazill and Elmore McCray, the family friend who owned the gun and stored it in a cookie tin in a drawer, unlocked and loaded.

Louisiana: Former governor reports to prison

Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards checked into federal prison Monday in Fort Worth, Tex., to begin his 10-year sentence, joking that he would be a "model prisoner as I was a model citizen."

Edwards, 75, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after his May 2000 racketeering, extortion and fraud conviction in a scheme to rig the casino licensing process.

His son Stephen and three other men also were found guilty. The younger Edwards also reported Monday to a prison more than 300 miles away from his father, in Beaumont, Tex.

Atlanta: Convicted pastor stages mock whipping

A pastor used his last sermon before heading to jail to encourage his flock to continue whipping disobedient children.

The Rev. Arthur Allen Jr., convicted of cruelty to children, took off his belt and waved it behind a 14-year-old boy as part of a mock whipping at the House of Prayer.

Allen, 70, and four church members were found guilty Thursday of aggravated assault and cruelty to children for whipping two boys in front of the congregation in February 2001.

The pretend whipping Sunday mocked a judge's order that Allen and his followers use only an open hand on their own children's buttocks and not to bring them to church to have them whipped while men restrain them.

"I can't maintain discipline in my home by just hand-spanking our children," Allen told his congregation of about 130.

"Amen!" church members responded. "That's right!"

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