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Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

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August 28, 2003

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Massachusetts

Priest's death called act of revenge

The inmate accused of strangling former priest John Geoghan in his prison cell apparently wanted to avenge the nearly 150 children Geoghan allegedly molested, the suspect's lawyer said Wednesday.

Geoghan, 68, was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy and was accused of molesting nearly 150 boys in three decades. His case triggered the sex scandal that has rocked the nation's Roman Catholic Church.

Attorney John LaChance LaChance said inmate Joseph L. Druce "was upset what had happened to all those children.

"The impression that I got from him was that his beef with Geoghan was based on his serial mistreatment of little kids, and that he really wanted Geoghan to leave the kids alone," LaChance said.

Florida

Tobacco award paid to ex-smoker's estate

The estate of a man who said he suffered from lung cancer and emphysema because of a 50-year addiction to nicotine has received a $195,602 judgment from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

It was the first time R.J. Reynolds, the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, paid damages in an individual product liability lawsuit, said Edward Sweda, an attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Council at Northeastern University.

Floyd J. Kenyon Sr., of Sarasota, died of cancer last September. He was a teacher and school administrator in Massapequa, N.Y., before moving to Tampa.

The money award, which was decided by a jury, was paid after two years of appeals.

Georgia

DuPont donates land to conservation fund

The DuPont Co. will donate 16,000 acres near the Okefenokee Swamp rather than mine the land for titanium dioxide.

The land on the eastern edge of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge will be protected from development after it is turned over to the Virginia-based Conservation Fund.

Water quality was a major concern in 1999 when a proposal by DuPont to mine titanium dioxide on the edge of the swamp was fought off by environmentalists, ecologists and then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

Titanium dioxide is used in pigments in paint, plastics and paper. DuPont vowed it would not mine the land after failing to convince environmentalists that the activity wouldn't harm the swamp.

DuPont's donation is the largest land conservation gift in Georgia history, according to state officials. The nearly 400,000 acre swamp straddles the Georgia-Florida border.

Texas

Jury awards millions in boot camp death

A jury awarded $35 million Wednesday to the parents of an 18-year-old who contracted a fatal case of pneumonia at a boot camp.

Bryan Alexander died in January 2001 of a penicillin-resistant form of pneumonia at a Fort Worth hospital, two days after being transported from the probationary camp in suburban Mansfield.

Former camp nurse Knyvett Reyes testified she treated Alexander for a cold, strep throat and flu. Witnesses said Alexander had been coughing up blood for days and that Reyes thought he was faking his illness.

Alexander was at the camp for a drunken driving conviction and had no prior criminal record.

Albuquerque

Bail denied in case of missile stockpiling

A federal judge on Wednesday refused to grant bail to the head of a counterterrorism training facility who faces federal charges of stockpiling unregistered warheads.

U.S. District Judge Christine Armijo said she reached the same conclusion as two other judges who earlier refused to free David Hudak pending trial. Those judges said Hudak, a Canadian citizen, was a flight risk given his lack of connections in the United States and was a danger to the community.

Hudak has been held since August 2002 on charges of conspiracy to export defense services and stockpiling 2,400 warheads. He contends the warheads were demolition charges, not missile tips, bought to demolish unwanted buildings at his school in Roswell, which was closed after a raid.

Trial is expected to begin in October. Hudak faces a possible 50 years in prison if convicted.

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