Nation digest 09/09/03

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

At least 12 Marines diagnosed with malaria

WASHINGTON -- Twelve U.S. Marines who were in Liberia last month have been diagnosed with malaria and 21 other U.S. troops have symptoms of the disease, defense officials said Monday.

A Defense Department spokesman said the Marines, members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., were in Liberia in mid-August as part of a U.S. quick-reaction force of about 150 U.S. troops. They operated from an airport outside Monrovia, the capital.

The European Command statement said all 33 patients were responding to treatments.

Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos that breed in stagnant water and tall grass.

Judge moves Nichols' state bombing trial

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The murder trial for Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols will be held more than 100 miles from the site of the bombing, a state judge ruled Monday.

District Judge Steven Taylor decided to move the trial to the southeast Oklahoma city of McAlester because of extensive pretrial publicity. It is to start on March 1.

Nichols, 48, was convicted of federal charges in the April 19, 1995, bombing and sentenced to life in prison for the death of eight federal agents.

He now faces 161 state counts of first-degree murder for the other victims in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Nichols was at home in Kansas the day the bomb exploded. But authorities allege he helped Timothy McVeigh pack the bomb inside a Ryder truck the day before.

McVeigh was sentenced to death in the federal trial and executed in June 2001.

Dog trainer gets prison for post-Sept. 11 fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A dog trainer was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison Monday for providing defective bomb-sniffing dogs to the government after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and lying about their credentials.

Russell Lee Ebersole, convicted in June on 27 counts of fraud, insisted his dogs were competent and blamed his conviction on jealous competitors.

Ebersole's Detector Dogs Against Drugs and Explosives, of Stephenson, Va., provided bomb-sniffing dogs to several federal agencies in the months after the attacks. His contracts were canceled after his dogs failed independent tests on five different occasions.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema imposed the maximum sentence and ordered Ebersole to pay about $700,000 restitution upon his release.

Man gets 25 years for biting court officer's ear

NEW YORK -- A man who bit off part of a court officer's ear during a probation hearing was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for the attack.

Gaeton Remy, 31, was convicted July 24 of multiple assault charges for the courtroom attack that prosecutors said left Patrick Glynn permanently disfigured.

The incident occurred at a hearing last October. Officials said when Judge Stephen Knopf told Remy that he had violated his probation and would be taken into custody, he began to struggle with court officers.

During the fight, Remy bit down on Glynn's ear with a "sharp-edged gold metal denture," severing part of the lobe, prosecutors said.

-- From wire reports

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