Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003


June 1, 2003


Massachusetts: Death during golf ball dispute leads to charges

A 54-year-old man has been indicted for manslaughter in a deadly argument over abandoned golf balls.

Robert Carnathan pleaded innocent at his initial arraignment in the Nov. 9 death of Donald King, 79. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The state's chief medical examiner determined King died after suffering cardiac arrest during the fight with Carnathan at Presidents Golf Course in Quincy.

Authorities said the two men both lived near the county-owned course, and Carnathan regularly collected and sold lost golf balls. Prosecutors said the pair began fighting because King tried to take some of the abandoned balls. Carnathan allegedly threw stones at King, and beat him on the head and legs with a cane.

Carnathan, who has used a cane to walk for several years, has said he acted in self-defense.

The manslaughter charge was handed up Thursday by a grand jury.

Virginia: Court upholds firing in Confederate flag case

A federal appeals court has upheld a South Carolina dairy's firing of a mechanic who displayed Confederate flag stickers on his toolbox.

Matthew Dixon claimed that Coburg Dairy Inc. in Charleston violated his First Amendment rights and state employment laws when it fired him in 2000 for refusing to remove the stickers after a black co-worker complained. The dairy said the stickers violated its policy against harassment.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday that Dixon had a constitutional right to display the flag, but said that right was not unlimited. For example, his employer could not fire him for attending a pro-flag rally at the state Capitol on his own time.

"Dixon, however, chose to display the Confederate flag on the tool box he used at his workplace," Judge Roger Gregory wrote. The judge said that for Dixon to prevail, the court would have to find that he had the right to "move the flag rally ... to the Coburg Dairy garage. Such a finding would lead to the absurd result of making every private workplace a constitutionally protected forum for political discourse."

Massachusetts: Police investigating suspicious divers

Authorities are investigating a sighting of three scuba divers near a Massachusetts power plant early Saturday.

An employee of NRG Electric Generating Plant told police he spotted the three scuba divers shortly after midnight on a beach next to the plant in southeast Massachusetts. When he called to them, the three fled, leaving behind their scuba gear, said state police spokesman Tom Ryan.

Ryan said authorities suspected the divers were involved in illegal drug activity that may be related to a coal ship docked near the plant. U.S. Customs is handling the investigation.

Bomb disposal units from state police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded, but no explosives were found, Somerset police said.

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