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Nation in brief

McVeigh's prison mate to testify

By wire services
Published March 21, 2004

McALESTER, Okla. - Conversations between Timothy McVeigh and a fellow death row inmate could become key evidence in the state murder trial of bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, including testimony that McVeigh may have named others who were involved in the attack.

Over prosecution objections, Judge Steven Taylor has authorized inmate David Paul Hammer to testify for defense attorneys who believe McVeigh gave Hammer the identity of John Doe No. 2, a man some claim to have seen with McVeigh on the day of the bombing. Nichols' attorneys claim McVeigh had substantial help planning and executing the April 19, 1995, attack and that Nichols was set up to take the blame.

But prosecutors describe Hammer in court documents as "one of the least credible sources ever to serve time" in an Oklahoma prison.

Nichols, already serving a life sentence in federal prison for his role in the bombing, faces 161 state murder charges that could carry the death penalty. Opening statements are scheduled for Monday.

Man loses 18 years and his identity

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Darryl Hunt, who served 18 years in prison for murder in a case of mistaken identity, is now a victim of identity theft.

Someone used Hunt's name and Social Security number to pile up more than $5,200 in debt while he was in prison, police told the Winston-Salem Journal for a story Saturday. They have no suspects.

Hunt learned of the scam after his wife filed her tax return. A bank sent him a letter notifying him of a $1,400 claim against any tax refund, apparently because of an unpaid loan.

Hunt then checked his credit report and found the remaining debts - all on accounts opened while he was in prison.

Professor accused of staging hate crime

LOS ANGELES - A college has placed a professor on paid leave while prosecutors determine whether she vandalized her own car and reported it as a hate crime, officials said Saturday.

Kerri Dunn, 39, who was teaching on a one-year appointment at Claremont McKenna College east of Los Angeles, will be replaced when classes resume Monday following spring break.

Dunn, who is white, told police her car was spray-painted with racist, anti-Semitic and sexist epithets, its windows broken and its tires slashed on March 9 as she spoke at a forum on racism. The incident galvanized students, who staged sit-ins and rallies.

Rocket launches satellite into orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL - A rocket roared from its seaside launch pad Saturday, carrying into space a $45-million Air Force Global Positioning System satellite.

The satellite will join a constellation of 27 other satellites already in orbit about 11,000 nautical miles above Earth, Air Force officials said. It will replace an aging satellite and provide GPS service to the military and civilians.

The new satellite, to begin service in mid-April, has a life expectancy of 10 years.

Seal's head in luggage alerts security

BOSTON - Airport security agents stopped a biologist after discovering the severed head of a harbor seal in his luggage.

The man, whose name was not released, told investigators he is a biology professor and that he found a dead seal on Revere Beach and cut off its head so he could use it for educational purposes. He was catching a flight to Denver from Logan International Airport on Friday, Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman Phil Orlandella told the Boston Globe.

Federal wildlife laws make it illegal to disrupt or remove body parts from a dead mammal, or to transport any illegal fish or wildlife product.

"He indicated that he was aware that he needed a permit and that he didn't have a permit," said Andy Cohen, a deputy special agent in charge for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement.

Authorities allowed the man to board his plane, but they kept the seal's head.

[Last modified March 21, 2004, 01:35:34]


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