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June 28, 2003

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Colorado

Son accused of burning father to death at party

A man will stand trial on charges of murder for allegedly dousing his father with kerosene, setting him ablaze and saying: "You are going to die today -- happy birthday, you are the candle."

Ernest Montoya, 58, died several weeks after he was burned at his birthday party March 11. He told police that his son, Thomas Martinez, had set him on fire.

On Thursday, a judge ordered Martinez to stand trial and remain jailed on $100,000 bail.

Martinez, who was arrested March 13, told police the fire occurred while the two men were arguing about whether kerosene was flammable. He said his father poured kerosene on his own shirt and set it on fire to prove that kerosene would burn, police said.

A police officer testified that Montoya told him his son threw a chemical on him and lit him on fire with a cigarette lighter.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Democrats announce four televised debates

Democrats announced the first four of six planned televised presidential debates involving the nine presidential candidates, with September debates in Albuquerque, N.M., and New York, and October dates in Phoenix and Detroit.

Two debates will be held in November and December in Iowa and New Hampshire, with details to be announced in the coming weeks. Democratic officials have been working with the campaigns and television outlets for weeks to set up a schedule -- originally planned for six to eight debates.

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