Heat wave bakes West for third straight day

Friday, July 12, 2002

REDDING, Calif. -- Triple-digit temperatures turned much of the West into a furnace for a third straight day Thursday, sending miserable residents to pools and air-conditioned shops to stay cool.

Officials in California and Utah urged residents to conserve electricity to avoid shortages. Federal regulators also raised the price cap for wholesale electricity in the West to ensure adequate supply.

Coastal areas got a break as cool ocean breezes arrived Thursday, easing the need for air conditioners. California power grid managers said they didn't expect any outages one day after issuing the first serious power alert since the rolling blackouts of last year.

Still, forecasters said cooler weather wasn't expected in many inland areas until this weekend at the earliest.

Accused pipe bomber's attorney wants time

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The attorney for a college student accused of planting pipe bombs and anti-government letters in mailboxes in five states wants more time to prepare for the trial.

Luke Helder's trial in U.S. District Court was scheduled for Sept. 16. Defense attorney Jane Kelly filed a motion asking for a delay.

Helder, 21, pleaded innocent June 7 to federal charges of using a pipe bomb to destroy Delores Werling's mailbox in rural Tipton on May 3. Werling, 70, was injured in the face and arms by flying shards of metal. She also suffered some hearing loss.

A conviction could bring up to 40 years in prison. He also is charged with using a bomb in a crime of violence, which could bring life in prison.

92-year-old man jumps after release from jail

OROVILLE, Calif. -- An ailing, 92-year-old man who had pleaded to be allowed to stay in jail jumped to his death from a bridge less than two weeks after he was released.

The body of Coval Russell was found Wednesday under a 40-foot bridge over the Feather River. Officials believe he may have been California's oldest county jail inmate.

Russell had served 14 months while waiting for sentencing on an assault charge for stabbing his landlord. He was put on three years' probation and released from the Butte County Jail on June 26.

A judge had denied his request to stay in jail, saying that it was not an appropriate place for a man of Russell's age and health.

Father of slain girl allowed to return to murder trial

SAN DIEGO -- A judge Thursday lifted his order barring the father of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam from attending the trial of a neighbor accused of kidnapping and murdering the girl.

Damon van Dam had been barred from the trial of David Westerfield since June 24 out of concern for Westerfield's safety after sheriff's deputies reported the father had asked for details on how the defendant was transported to court.

Deputies also said van Dam was seen trying to catch Westerfield's eye while the man was being transported and while he sat in the courtroom.

Judge William Mudd agreed to lift the ban as long as the 36-year-old software engineer agreed to behave. "You should know, Mr. van Dam, if I get one report of one incident, I will bar you from the courthouse," Mudd said.

--From wire reports

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