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Oct 9, 2015

Drone crashes near White House, man faces charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Washington man faces federal charges after crashing a drone near the White House in the nation’s capital early Friday, federal authorities said.

Howard Solomon landed the drone illegally around 1:20 a.m. local time, across the street from the White House South Lawn outside the security gates, after launching it from the Washington Monument, U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Sergeant Anna Rose said.

Oct 9, 2015

Witness identifies Virginia man accused of three murders as killer of final victim

By John Clarke

FAIRFAX, Va. (Reuters) – A witness in the trial of an eccentric former Virginia political candidate charged with murdering three people over an 11-year span identified him on Thursday as the gunman who shot the last of the victims.

On the opening day of testimony, witness Janet Franko named the suspect, Charles Severance, 55, as the man who shot music teacher Ruthanne Lodato last year. The three seemingly random killings in the Washington suburb of Alexandria fed fears that a serial killer was loose in the U.S. capital area.

Oct 7, 2015

Baltimore mayor likens police-community relations to struggling marriage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The relationship between U.S. police and the communities they serve is like a struggling marriage in need of better communication, the mayor of Baltimore, a city rocked by anti-police rioting, said on Wednesday.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said in a speech to the group it was up to both cities and police to determine what kind of interactions they would have.

Sep 25, 2015

Transgender inmate wins suit against Maryland prison officials

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A transgender inmate who
says guards called her an animal and encouraged her to kill
herself has won a legal battle against Maryland prison officials
in the first successful lawsuit of its kind against a U.S.
correctional facility, her attorney said on Thursday.

In a decision that led Maryland prisons to adopt new
policies about transgender inmates, Administrative Law Judge
Denise Shaffer ruled in favor of Sandy Brown’s claim that prison
officials at Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland, failed to
comply with national standards for the protection of inmates
from sexual abuse, according to court documents.

Sep 23, 2015

Three men indicted in plot to fly drugs into Maryland prison by drone

By John Clarke

(Reuters) – Three Maryland men, including a convicted murderer serving a life term, were indicted on charges of attempting to fly drugs and pornography into a prison using a drone, officials said on Wednesday.

The Aug. 22 scheme was foiled when officers arrested two men parked on a road near the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, and seized pornographic video discs, tobacco, a loaded handgun, illegal drugs and the drone, police said.

Sep 18, 2015

Maryland student recovering after attack that went viral, family says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Baltimore student who was brutally beaten and left unconscious in a pool of blood on the floor of a high school cafeteria was recovering, his family said on Friday, a day after prosecutors charged one of his football teammates in the attack.

Sean Johnson, 17, faces multiple charges, including first-degree and second-degree attempted murder and assault after he assaulted a fellow student during lunch in the Frederick Douglass High School cafeteria Wednesday, according to charging documents from the Baltimore state’s attorney office.

Sep 14, 2015

Maryland mother charged in death of toddler found in park swing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The mother of a Maryland toddler is facing manslaughter and other charges after police found her pushing the boy’s body in a park swing four months ago, authorities said on Monday. 

A grand jury indicted Romechia Simms, 24, of La Plata in the May death of her 3-year-old son, Ji’Aire Lee, according to a statement from State’s Attorney Anthony Covington.

Sep 10, 2015

Father of slain Virginia journalist calls for action on gun violence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The father of a Virginia television journalist who was shot dead during a live broadcast last month took to the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to call on Congress to act on gun violence.

Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison Parker was one of two journalists killed in the attack, joined Virginia’s two senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and its governor, Terry McAuliffe, to call for more stringent laws requiring background checks for gun buyers.

Sep 9, 2015

Former Maryland bishop pleads guilty in fatal hit-and-run

By John Clarke

(Reuters) – A former Maryland Episcopal bishop faces 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to texting and drunken driving in a hit-and-run accident that killed a cyclist, according to her attorney.

Heather Cook, 58, the first female bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, pleaded guilty one day before she was to stand trial on charges of automobile manslaughter, drunken driving, texting while driving and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, according to attorney Jose Molina.

Aug 25, 2015

Actress Julianne Moore seeks to pull Confederate name from Virginia school

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore is heading a petition drive to rename her Virginia high school, which honors a Confederate general, and the campaign had gathered nearly 30,000 signatures online on Tuesday.

Moore and Academy Award-winning producer Robert Cohen, who both attended J.E.B. Stuart High School in the late 1970s, are asking the Fairfax County School Board to rename the school for civil rights leader and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, according to a petition.