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Nation in brief

Second jury deadlocked in D-Day Memorial trial

By wire services
Published October 7, 2004

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The federal fraud trial of former National D-Day Memorial director Richard B. Burrow ended Wednesday as jurors deadlocked on whether his aggressive fundraising efforts were illegal.

Senior U.S. District Judge James Turk declared a mistrial after a visibly frustrated jury of 11 women and one man told him repeatedly, at times tearfully, during two days of deliberations that they disagreed on all eight fraud counts.

It was the second hung jury in the government's three-year investigation of Burrow.

Burrow, 57, said afterward he was thankful to his family and his lawyers for standing by him.

His lawyers "will not let the system take advantage of you in any way," he said, clutching his wife, Janet. "And we appreciate that."

One of the jurors, Lois Thomas, said she would have voted innocent and the majority of the jurors agreed. Thomas added that she felt a lot of memorial officials should also have been held responsible.

"There should have been a lot more people in here than Richard Burrow," Thomas said.

A hung jury means the charges remain unresolved in the case. Prosecutors have 70 days to decide what to do with the charges - they could ask for another trial. But prosecutor Pat Hogeboom would not comment about what the U.S. Attorney's Office planned to do.

Two perjury charges are still pending against Burrow. A trial has not been set.

"I just hope this puts an end to all of it," said Bob Slaughter, 79, a D-Day veteran who helped bring the memorial to Bedford and for a time served as chairman of its foundation's board. "If they try to indict him again, I think it would be a travesty."

Judge: Bryant accuser faces identification

DENVER - A federal judge rejected a request from the woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape to remain anonymous in her lawsuit against the NBA star, saying the public's interest in open court proceedings outweighs her desire to shield her identity.

"The parties appear as equals before the court, and that fundamental principle must be protected throughout these proceedings," U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch said.

He said allowing the woman to remain anonymous could be misconstrued as a prejudgment in her favor.

Attorneys for the 20-year-old woman had asked Matsch to protect her identity, saying she has been the subject of death threats and sordid publicity for more than a year. At least two men have been prosecuted for allegedly threatening to kill the woman, or saying they would kill her for money.

Attorneys for Bryant opposed the anonymity request earlier this week, saying she shouldn't be able to bring a "false accusation" in her lawsuit without being identified.

No trial date has been set in the civil lawsuit.

The woman's identity has been splashed across the Internet in part because of mistakes by courthouse staff in posting case filings on a state Web site.

Hunter who sparked wildfires indicted

SAN DIEGO - A federal grand jury indicted a hunter who is accused of starting the largest wildfire in California history.

Sergio Martinez, 34, was indicted on one count each of setting timber on fire and making a false statement to a federal officer. Each charge carries a maximum five years in prison.

The 2003 blaze killed 15 people, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and charred 273,000 acres from the mountains east of San Diego into the nation's seventh-largest city.

The blaze began Oct. 25 in the Cleveland National Forest after Martinez became lost on a deer hunting trip and lit a fire, according to police. The fire, driven by winds, swept through tinder-dry brush and trees.

Texas executes second inmate in two days

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A death row inmate was executed Wednesday evening for a fatal beating and stabbing in 1986.

Peter Miniel, 42, had welcomed the death penalty and asked his attorney to file no more appeals. He was the 15th Texas prisoner executed this year, and the second in as many days.

Miniel only recently disclosed he was lying when he pleaded innocent to killing 20-year-old Paul Manier, who was beaten with a car shock absorber and a beer mug and stabbed repeatedly with a knife.

[Last modified October 7, 2004, 00:30:24]

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