Nation briefs

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Gravano again to be witness, this time for mob

NEW YORK-- For years, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano was the government's star cooperator against the likes of late mob boss John Gotti.

Now, in perhaps the strangest twist in a tortured relationship with prosecutors, Gravano has reinvented himself as a defense witness for a reputed hit man.

Lawyers for the defendant, Thomas "Huck" Carbonaro, say Gravano has agreed to help their client fight charges he plotted to silence a boastful mob turncoat in 1999 with a land mine.

The alleged target: Gravano himself.

The defense says Gravano will testify that Carbonaro was a loyal friend who was indebted to him. After all, they claim, Gravano persuaded prosecutors not to bring murder charges against Carbonaro and other Gambino crime family members more than a decade ago.

"That's precisely why Carbonaro would never hurt Gravano," attorney John Jacobs told a judge at a pretrial hearing last week.

U.S. Episcopal dioceses criticize decision on gays

MONROEVILLE, Pa. -- Episcopal dioceses in Pennsylvania and Texas accused the national church Saturday of exceeding its authority and violating its own constitution by confirming its first openly gay bishop and approving the blessing of same-sex unions.

Clergy and lay delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in Texas conducted a similar vote as part of a national drive among conservative dioceses and clergy seeking to distance themselves from the Episcopal Church for its decisions last month on the gay bishop and same-sex unions.

Both the Texas and Pennsylvania dioceses called on the Anglican Communion to recognize those who oppose the gay bishop and same-sex blessings as "the legitimate expression" of the Episcopal Church.

Two men plead guilty to shooting sea lion

LOS ANGELES -- Two men pleaded guilty to violating the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act by hooking a 5-month-old sea lion and shooting an arrow through the animal's neck.

Anthony Hill, 18, a crew member of a San Diego-based sportfishing company, and Matthew Lyon, 38, were charged with illegally taking and attempting to kill a marine animal.

The two face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine under the misdemeanor charge. They will be sentenced Jan. 12.

Hill, a member of the 88-foot Pacific Queen's crew, intentionally hooked a 5-month-old female sea lion pup on Nov. 4, 2002, with a deep-sea fishing rod, prosecutors said.

Hill reeled the pup to the stern of a nearby fishing vessel, Billy Boy. Lyon, who sells bait on the Billy Boy, fired an arrow into the pup's neck.

The young sea lion survived. Tourists visiting Morro Bay found the pup two days later with the yellow bolt protruding from her neck.

The pup, nicknamed "Arrow," was rehabilitated by volunteers from the Marine Mammal Center, who brought her to the center's hospital.

Arrow was treated at the center and released three weeks later. She was found a month later, weak and thin, on a pier in Monterey Bay. Workers spent another month nursing her back to health before she was released again in February.

School bus crashes in Tennessee; one killed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A school bus carrying a high school cross country team collided with two cars Saturday, killing the driver of one of the cars and sending 19 people to hospitals.

The assistant coach driving the bus overcorrected after running off the road, then drove into oncoming traffic and struck a minivan and a Jeep, Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said. The minivan driver was killed, and all five occupants of the Jeep were hospitalized in critical condition.

Eleven students and three adults on the bus were also taken to the hospital, but none was seriously injured, Aaron said. The bus was carrying 22 students from Kenwood High School in Montgomery County, about 40 miles northwest of Nashville.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: