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Nation in brief

Red ink may close S.C. chief's home

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 12, 2003

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina Governor's Mansion may have to close because of a $150,000 shortfall in operating funds.

Republican Gov. Mark Sanford said he must either close the mansion until June 30 or raise private money to cover operating costs such as salaries for 11 employees, utility bills and food.

If the mansion is closed, Sanford's family would continue to live in the private quarters, but they wouldn't have a staff and would cook their own meals.

Sanford accuses his predecessor, Democrat Jim Hodges, of overspending the mansion's budget. "There was a disregard for costs and disregard for who would be picking up the pieces after the administration left," he said.

Witness: Wife ran over husband three times

HOUSTON -- The prosecution's final witness used toy cars Tuesday to show jurors what he remembered seeing: Clara Harris repeatedly ramming her Mercedes-Benz into her adulterous husband in a hotel parking lot.

Punctuating his testimony with sounds of squealing tires and crashing metal, Oscar Torres gave an eyewitness account in Harris' murder trial, the last witness to appear before closing arguments today.

Chris Junco, who had been playing tennis with Torres across the street from the parking lot, testified the two stared in disbelief as they saw Harris drive over her husband's body three times.

Harris, 45, maintains she intended only to hit a sport-utility vehicle owned by her husband's lover after catching the two of them at the hotel that night. Prosecutors say she intentionally killed David Harris, 44.

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