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News in Brief

CA: On May 10, 1996, El Cajon jail guard Gerald Thomas Williams was sentenced to a year in jail for having sex with a 14 year old girl he met on the Internet. Williams used the nickname "Lonely Me" when he met the girl in an on-line "chatroom."

CA: On June 8, 1996, Mark Varrass, a security guard, was accidentally shot to death by a colleague while patrolling the closed down Mira Loma Jail Facility in Los Angeles County.

FL: On March 27, 1996, Dade County jail guard John Raimondo was indicted for murdering and dismembering a wealthy Hungarian couple. Robbery was given as the motive.

FL: Petr Taborsky got patent on a better way to treat sewage by superheating a clay-like substance found in kitty litter. At the time he made the discovery Taborsky was a chemistry student at the University of South Florida. When he got a patent on his discovery the university filed grand theft and theft of trade secrets charges against him. Taborsky was found guilty and sentenced to a year's house arrest, 15 years probation and judge's order not to use any ideas from his research. The judge ordered Taborsky to sign over the patent to the university. When he refused, the judge sentenced him to 42 months in prison. Taborsky eventually wound up on a chain gang and is now in a medium security state prison. If his discovery pans out it could be worth millions.

Germany: On May 10, 1996, Hanna Krabbe, one of Germany's longest held political prisoners, was released from prison. Krabbe served 21 years of a life sentence after being convicted of killing two German diplomats during the 1975 takeover of the West German embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, by six members of the Red Army Faction, a German urban guerrilla group. The assault had been staged in order to secure the release of 26 RAF members then being held in German prisons. The attack failed when explosives accidentally detonated, killing two of the guerrillas. More than 30 RAF members remain in prison in Germany.

MS: Among the elected sheriffs in Mississippi are Gary Mauney, who was convicted in 1974 of selling amphetamines. John Jones, sheriff of Humphreys county, was convicted in 1988 of taking $48,000 in bribes to allow slot machines to operate in the county. Jacob Cartlidge, sheriff of Sharkey County was convicted in 1986 of soliciting protection money from drug dealers. State public safety commissioner Jim Ingram said: "This really makes us look kind of dumb." In all three cases the voters were well aware of the candidate's criminal records.

NY: On April 17, 1996, person(s) unknown hacked into the New York city police's 911 phone line for twelve hours. Whenever someone would call the number they would receive a tape recorded message telling them police were too busy eating donuts, drinking coffee and masturbating to come to the phone. After spending $156 million on a new 911 phone system the NYPD has been plagued with problems, ranging from being hacked to crashes and delays.

OH: Darryl Smith sent the Ohio governor a 25 pound box containing his clemency appeal with the legal documents supporting his request. The box was thought to be suspicious by the governor's staff and when a portable x-ray machine was unable to inspect it, a Columbus bomb squad took the box, with the clemency petition in it, to a remote location and detonated it. The box was packed under the supervision of prison guards and was clearly marked as having been mailed from an Ohio prison.

OH: Orient prison guard John Bennet was arrested and charged with attempting to smuggle contraband into a prison on May 10, 1996. State police arrested Bennet at home where they found almost an ounce of marijuana on Bennet and 36 ounces, 3 guns and $1,400 in cash inside his home. Police did not say how they knew the drugs were intended for the prison.

OR: The Portland Archdiocese has protested the electronic recording of the confession given by accused triple murderer Conan Hale to Catholic priest Timothy Nockaitis. The taping, which occurred without Hale's or the priest's knowledge, was labeled "an absolute outrage. They used this priest. They brought him in to perform the sacrament of the reconciliation and then they bugged him." State law says that communications between clergy and their followers are confidential.

TX: On May 6, 1996, prison guard Fred Parish was arrested on bribery charges. According to the indictment, he accepted $90 from a prisoner in return for delivering marijuana to that prisoner. Parish was assigned to the Beto 1 unit in Tennessee Colony where he had been employed since 1985. Parish could have been charged with delivery of a controlled substance, a first degree felony, instead of the third degree bribery charge.

TX: On May 28, 1996, a Smith County grand jury indicted Bullard City Councilman Bill Jones on a child indecency charge. Jones is employed by the Texas DOC in Rusk. Neither Jones nor the TDCJ had any comments on the indictment, the city indicated he could continue on the city council.

WA: On June 4, 1996, the Seattle city council approved a $240,000 settlement to James Kienast, a bus driver who was attacked by a police dog while trying to assist police in capturing three car thieves. Police mistook Kienast for one of the thieves and ordered a police Rottweiler to attack him. Kienast underwent four operations and lost full use of one leg.

WA: On March 16, 1996, state representative Jack Cairnes pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was sentenced to a day in jail, with credit for time served, and fined $685. The drunk driving representative couldn't be reached for comment. On June 16, 1996, state representative Sandra Romero was arrested for drunk driving after she rear-ended another vehicle and failed a field sobriety test. The drunken legislator was booked into the Thurston County jail and then released. Maybe this is why Washington has very lenient laws on drunk driving, with no mandatory sentences, etc.

WA: On May 23, 1996, the state supreme court affirmed the conviction for first degree rape of Colville Tribal Policeman Fred Bright. Bright was convicted of two counts of first degree rape for assaulting a female prisoner he was transporting. Bright was armed and in uniform when he raped the victim. At trial he claimed the sex was consensual.

WA: On May 24, 1996, Tacoma police and DOC officials foiled an escape attempt by Frederick Woods and Garry Eastabrook at the McNeil Island Corrections Center. Woods and Eastabrook approached a prisoner who builds boxes used to remove garbage from the island prison and asked him to build a box with a false bottom. The prisoner agreed and immediately reported the offer to prison officials who gave him approval to build the box. On May 24 the would be escapees climbed into the box which was placed on a flatbed truck and waited for it to be loaded. Two hours later they kicked their way out of the box and were captured by police. What it is so ironic about Eastabrook's being turned in by a prison informant is that he himself is a notorious jailhouse informant and should have known about the perils of snitches.

WI: In May, 1996, governor Tommy Thompson signed legislation allowing the DOC to send state prisoners, as many as 300, to Texas jails for at least a year. The measure is supposed to relieve overcrowding. Also approved was a law ordering the creation of chain gangs.

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