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Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2004

Briefly

June 24, 2004

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Florida

Two killed in crash of plane into building

A small plane crashed into the roof of an auto body shop shortly after takeoff Wednesday. The crash killed two people on the plane and critically injured the third, authorities said. No one on the ground was hurt.

The plane went down about a half-mile from the runway at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport after taking off on a flight to nearby Pompano Beach, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

About 10 to 12 people were at work inside the body shop and ran out after the crash, said worker Michael Nast.

One witness said he heard a loud noise and then saw the plane's propeller stop.

"It sounded like the back of a UPS truck slamming shut. The propeller just stopped," said Darrin Galante, who works at an engine and transmission repair shop nearby.

Washington, D.C.

Senate GOP pushes for gay marriage ban

Seizing on a politically explosive topic, Senate Republican leaders have begun pushing hard for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has scheduled a Senate debate and vote on the amendment for the week of July 12 -- two weeks before the Democratic National Convention. That has infuriated Democrats, who contend the move is intended to pressure them and put presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on the spot.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that the Constitution must be changed or same-sex marriages will spread across the country and "may affect the development of children" and society.

Massachusetts became the first state to permit gay marriage in May after its highest court ruled the state's constitution allowed such marriages.

California

Juror removed from Peterson trial

A juror who was spotted talking to Laci Peterson's brother was removed from Scott Peterson's murder trial on Wednesday in Redwood City, but the judge denied a defense request for a mistrial.

Justin Falconer also admitted discussing with his girlfriend the media coverage of his brief exchange with Laci Peterson's brother last week, according to a transcript of a closed-door meeting with Judge Alfred A. Delucchi.

The judge, who had said after that meeting Monday that "there was no misconduct," did not specify Wednesday why he dismissed the juror. Outside court, Falconer said the judge told him he had become a "distraction."

Scott Peterson, 31, is accused of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, on or around Dec. 24, 2002, and then dumping her body into San Francisco Bay from his small boat.

Oregon

$10 million bail set in missing student case

A man whose computer had 40,000 pictures of women being tortured and raped has been named a suspect in the disappearance of a college student, according to a police affidavit.

Police found more than 3,000 pairs of women's underwear in the home of Sung Koo Kim, 30, along with dryer lint labeled as being from the apartment building where 19-year-old Brooke Wilberger was last seen, according to the affidavit.

Kim has not been charged in the disappearance of Wilberger, a Brigham Young University student who was visiting her sister in Corvallis when she vanished May 24.

Kim is being held on $10 million bail on charges of stealing women's underwear from college dorms. The underwear found in the home Kim shares with his parents was marked with the date and the dorms they were taken from, the affidavit said.

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