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Archive for Sunday, January 26, 2003

Briefly

January 26, 2003

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North Carolina: Army paratrooper killed in training jump

An Army paratrooper was killed Saturday during a jump from a helicopter during a training exercise, officials said.

The soldier was participating in a scheduled training jump from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter over a drop zone about 10 miles west of Fort Bragg, said Maj. Gary Tallman, a base spokesman.

Weather didn't appear to be a factor, with little wind and a clear sky, Tallman said.

The soldier's name and unit were being withheld until his family was notified, he said.

The Army started an investigation that will include interviews with witnesses and a review of training and jump procedures, he said.

Texas: 4 arraigned in 6 slayings during home invasions

Four men accused of storming two small homes and shooting six people to death were arraigned Saturday on capital murder charges.

The six victims -- all men ages 20 to 32 -- were found dead Jan. 5 in and around two ramshackle houses on a lot in Edinburg, a semirural community in far southern Texas, about 15 miles from the Mexican border.

The mother of two victims was bound with electrical cord during the attack but survived. She said the attackers demanded drugs, money and guns.

Four suspects were arrested Friday. Bond was set Saturday at $30 million each for Rodolfo Medrano, 23; Humberto Garza III, 28; Robert Garza, 19; and Juan Arturo Cordova, 33.

A fifth man, Marcial Bocanegra, was arrested Jan. 16. He faces the same charges and is being held on $18 million bond.

Police Sgt. Rey Ramirez said the shooting appeared to be "a case of drug dealers ripping off drug dealers." He said police found a small amount of drugs at one of the houses.

Pennsylvania: Teenager convicted in neighbor girl's death

A teenager faces life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, rape and assault in the death of his 6-year-old neighbor.

Brandon Brown, 17, was convicted Friday in the death of Jasmine Stoud, whose body was found Aug. 12, 2001, at the bottom of an embankment near a former high school. Stoud's skull was crushed and there was evidence of the girl being sexually assaulted, authorities said.

"Justice was served here," Northumberland County Dist. Atty. Anthony Rosini told The Daily Item of Sunbury for Saturday's editions. "This kid deserves the sentence he's going to get, which is life."

Rosini originally sought the death penalty, but changed his mind in January 2002 after a state Superior Court ruling barred the death penalty in cases where the defendant was under 16 when the crime was committed.

The first-degree murder charge carries a mandatory life sentence.

Milwaukee: Teen pleads guilty in fatal mob beating

A 15-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in the death of a man who was beaten by a mob of juveniles and adults.

Rahman Pirtle, originally charged with first-degree homicide, pleaded Friday to a charge of second-degree reckless homicide and agreed to testify against others.

Charlie Young Jr., 36, was beaten on Sept. 29 with objects including broomsticks, shovels and a milk crate. He died Oct. 1.

Authorities say two boys argued with Young after one of them threw an egg at him, and the others joined in chasing and beating him.

Ten juveniles have been charged as adults with first-degree reckless homicide. A judge ruled a 10-year-old not competent to stand trial, and another 15-year-old was acquitted of battery.

A 33-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless homicide; a 17-year-old pleaded guilty to aggravated battery.

Pirtle's sentencing is set for March.

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