Nation digest 02/02/02

Saturday, February 2, 2002

Priest in Florida pleads guilty to drug charges

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A Roman Catholic priest accused of dealing drugs from the rectory pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges.

The Rev. Thomas Crandall, 47, could get five to 40 years in prison at sentencing April 17.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and the drug Ecstasy.

The pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Milton came under investigation in December after an informant identified the priest as his drug supplier.

He was arrested Jan. 12 after agents found some 900 Ecstasy tablets and methamphetamine in his sport utility vehicle and at the St. Rose rectory.

Lear will cut 6,500 jobs and close 21 sites

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Lear Corp., the world's fifth-largest auto parts supplier, said Friday it will cut 6,500 jobs and close 21 factories and other sites by the end of the year.

The announcement came after Lear reported a fourth-quarter loss of $48.8 million, down from earnings of $72.4 million for the same period last year.

The job cuts and closings -- 16 of them involving factories or sales sites in North and South America -- started in December.

The company did not specify how many U.S. jobs or plants would be affected. As of October, Lear employed more than 100,000 people worldwide.

U.S. Attorney won't call Columbine grand jury

DENVER -- U.S. Attorney John Suthers declined to convene a grand jury to investigate claims that one of the students killed in the Columbine High School massacre was actually shot by police.

Suthers said Thursday that there was no credible evidence to disprove investigators' conclusions that student gunman Dylan Klebold killed Daniel Rohrbough.

Even if there were information linking an officer to Rohrbough's death, Suthers said he still would not call a grand jury because there was no indication it would have been deliberate.

Rohrbough's parents claim a Denver police officer killed the 15-year-old as he ran from the school on April 20, 1999. They note that the bullet that killed their son entered from the front, as if he had been running toward police and away from the gunmen. Shell casings found near his body did not match bullets used by either Klebold or Eric Harris.

Boy, 12, pleads guilty in stabbing death

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A 12-year-old boy pleaded guilty to juvenile charges of voluntary manslaughter Friday for stabbing another youngster to death outside a movie theater in a fight over a girl.

The defendant, whose name was not released, was committed to a juvenile detention center until at least age 18, with a possible extension to age 21 -- the maximum penalty.

He was charged with pulling a knife and stabbing to death 11-year-old Nestor "Tito" Herrera last February. One thrust of the knife pierced his heart.

Nike launches $200 Air Jordan shoe

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Air Jordan, the most successful brand of Nike basketball shoes, is taking a vertical leap with a new $200 version that comes in a silvery metallic briefcase instead of a shoebox.

The Air Jordan XVII is being accompanied by a $10 million national advertising campaign.

The competition, meanwhile, is trying to keep up. Reebok International is introducing a $125 shoe promoted by such stars as Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson.

"Most of them will never see the street," said John Shanley of Wells Fargo Securities in New York. "Kids call it a 'keeper.' They basically keep it under their bed and when friends come over, show it to them."

-- From wire reports

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