Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2002

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October 23, 2002

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Michigan: Mother drowns children before shooting herself

A woman apparently drowned her two young daughters in a bathtub and then shot herself to death, authorities say.

The bodies of the 24-year-old Hartland Township woman and her daughters were discovered Monday when the woman's 8-year-old son came home from school.

Michelle Lee Vorase was found in the master bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said. Daughters Anna Lynn, 22 months, and Olivia Michelle, 3 months, were found in the bathtub in about 8 inches of water.

"It's very rare for females to shoot themselves in this manner," Undersheriff Robert Bezotte said. "This type of scene is very traumatic to the investigating officers. We all have kids. It's a terrible scene."

The gun was registered to the father, Scott Vorase, 26, who was at work at the time of the deaths, police said.

Sheriff's detectives had not determined a motive.

Illinois: Universal clemency for death row unlikely

Gov. George Ryan said Tuesday that he has "pretty much ruled out" granting blanket clemency to Illinois' death row inmates.

"That doesn't mean I won't do it, but I've pretty much decided that it's not an option I'm going to exercise," he said.

As Ryan spoke, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board in Springfield was in its second week of clemency hearings for nearly every inmate on death row. The board was flooded with clemency petitions for 142 of the 160 death row inmates after the governor said earlier this year that he might commute all death sentences to life without parole.

Ryan said his main concern is to make sure no innocent person is executed.

Washington, D.C.: FDA panel endorses new heart stent

A new type of stent that props open clogged heart arteries and keeps them open by emitting a drug moved a step closer to the market Tuesday.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously late Tuesday that Johnson & Johnson's Cypher stent should be approved for sale if the company meets a list of conditions.

Among them: Mandating that the stent is intended to clear only certain-sized blockages; providing clearer information for doctors and patients about the stent's effects; and promising to follow for five years people who initially tested the stent to see how it holds up long-term.

The committee noted that the stent is coated with a drug sirolimus, normally used to prevent organ rejection in kidney transplants that cardiologists aren't familiar with, said Dr. Ashley Boam, FDA's chief of interventional cardiology. Thus, there are some questions about side effects and interactions with other heart drugs.

New York City: New 911 system to aid court procedures

The city is installing a new digital 911 system that could help protect victims of domestic violence by giving the courts immediate access to recordings of emergency calls.

Currently, recorded calls are located manually, and tracing, retrieving and transferring the calls to cassette tapes takes about three months.

That sometimes leaves prosecutors with little evidence during bail hearings and requests for orders of protection.

The new system will store calls digitally.

"The prosecutors will now be able to play a domestic violence victim's cry for help in open court at the batterer's first court appearance," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The program will be tested in Brooklyn for the next 90 days before going citywide.

The tapes also will be available for cases involving other crimes.

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