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National briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


Navy fighter crashes off San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- A Navy fighter plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean shortly after takeoff from an aircraft carrier, and the pilot was presumed dead, Navy officials said Saturday.

The single-seat F/A-18C Hornet went down about 95 miles southwest of San Diego at 7:20 p.m. Friday, the Navy said in a news release Saturday.

The jet had taken off from the aircraft carrier USS Constellation, which was coordinating routine flight operations off the California coast.

Rescuers using helicopters and boats had been unable to recover the wreckage, the release stated. The identity of the pilot was not released pending notification of relatives. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Woman guilty of killing two 8-year-old triplets

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman who said her multiple personalities were responsible for the deaths of two of her 8-year-old triplet sons was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder Saturday.

Mary Bass, 32, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her lawyers and defense experts said she had severe psychosis and a personality named "Sharon" who controlled her actions.

Police said Bass locked Gary and Larry Bass in a room and deprived them of food and dipped their feet in scalding water as punishment. The boys died in October 1999.

Bass' other triplet, and two other children are in foster care.

Airport security company fined for false statements to FAA

PHILADELPHIA -- An airport security company must pay more than $1.5-million for allowing untrained employees, some with criminal backgrounds, operate checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport.

Philadelphia employees of Argenbright Holdings Ltd. had backgrounds that included drug dealing, kidnapping, aggravated assault and theft.

The company pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of making false statements to the FAA. U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz on Friday fined Argenbright $1-million -- the maximum possible under federal law.

The company had agreed in April to pay $1.2-million in fines and costs for falsifying training and background checks.

Argenbright also must pay $350,000 to 38 airlines and will be on probation for three years, during which inspectors will conduct audits of its hiring and training, and $200,000 to reimburse the U.S. Attorney's Office's costs to investigate and prosecute the case.

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