Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2004

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January 24, 2004

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California

Peterson murder trial postponed at least week

The Scott Peterson murder trial was postponed for at least a week Friday while a new judge is appointed and the case is transferred to the San Francisco Bay area.

The case was supposed to get under way on Monday with jury selection.

But Judge Al Girolami set proceedings for Feb. 2 in San Mateo County, where he ordered the case moved earlier this week because of hostility toward Peterson in Modesto.

Peterson, 31, could get the death penalty if convicted of killing his pregnant wife, Laci.

Ohio

20th shooting linked to highway sniper

A driver whose windshield was pierced by a bullet is the 20th known target of a highway sniper who has struck cars, school buses and buildings, investigators said Friday.

In the latest shooting, which occurred Thursday, 30-year-old Michael Thomas of Columbus said he saw a person standing in shadows on a highway overpass just after the shooting. The driver was not hurt.

Investigators have linked 19 previous shootings that took place near a section of Interstate 270 in Columbus. Thursday's shooting occurred about eight miles south of I-270.

"All of a sudden I heard this 'pow,"' Thomas said. "I looked up at my window and it really was cracked."

Arizona

Negotiations continue for prison hostages

One of the inmates holding two prison guards in a watch tower came out to the observation deck and pulled in two coolers Friday, the sixth day of a hostage situation in Buckeye.

Cam Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, declined to say what was in the coolers.

"We've had on and off requests for food and drink. Some days they have not asked for anything," she said.

She said the negotiations were going well.

"The only acceptable outcome for us is the correctional officers released safely. ... They need to walk out of that building," Hunter said.

Georgia

Sect leader found guilty of child molestation

The leader of a quasi-religious sect was convicted Friday of molesting boys and girls at the group's ancient Egyptian-style compound.

Malachi York, 58, could face up to 80 years in prison at sentencing.

During the trial, 14 boys and girls from the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors said York molested them from 1998 until 2002, when federal agents raided the compound, a 476-acre property in Eatonton that is decorated with pyramids, a sphinx and statues of American Indians.

The government charged that York recruited older girls to groom younger girls for sex with him, and that he used the cult for his own financial gain.

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