Pentagon: Officer falsified Osprey records
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has concluded that the commander of the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey squadron falsified maintenance records but that the deception played no role in two fatal crashes of the tilt-rotor aircraft, Defense Department officials said Friday.
The Pentagon's inspector general also concluded that a small number of Marine officers at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., knew of the falsification and took no action to correct or report it, the officials said.
Navy Capt. Timothy Taylor, a Pentagon spokesman, said the conclusions have been provided to Marine Corps headquarters and the full investigation report will be given to the Marines in early July.
The Osprey uses revolutionary technology to take off like a helicopter, rotate its propellers to a horizontal position and cruise like an airplane. Despite the crashes last year, the Marines say they are confident the technology works, and an independent panel that reviewed the program this spring agreed, although the panel recommended important design changes.
In an anonymous letter to the office of the secretary of the Navy on Jan. 12, a person who said he was an Osprey mechanic at New River wrote that aircraft unable to fly had been reported "as being up, as in full mission capable. This type of deception has been going on for over two years."
The squadron's commander, Lt. Col. Odin Fred Leberman, was relieved of duty the day the allegations became public.
Castrated rapistcharged in Mo. slaying
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Prosecutors charged a castrated rapist on parole in Arkansas with first-degree murder in the death of a Missouri woman and said they may seek the death penalty.
Wayne DuMond, 51, was charged Friday with the September murder of Carol Shields, 39, of Parkville, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City. The woman was found suffocated in a friend's apartment about 10 miles from DuMond's home, to which he had moved seven weeks earlier.
Police connected DuMond to the crime after matching his DNA to samples taken from beneath the dead woman's fingernails. DuMond's genetic profile was in a national database because of his 1984 rape conviction in Forrest City, Ark.
Arraignment is set for Monday, said Jim Roberts, spokesman for the Clay County prosecutor.
Serviceman suspectedin Okinawa rape
OKINAWA CITY, Japan -- An American Air Force sergeant was under suspicion Friday in the alleged rape of a Japanese woman on Okinawa island, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis said.
As many as seven other U.S. servicemen also were questioned about the incident, most as possible witnesses, Davis said. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said a number of servicemen had come to the woman's aid.
The alleged rape early Friday cast a shadow over talks scheduled for today between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Bush at Camp David. Reductions in troops on Okinawa had been expected to be a main topic of discussion.
Residents of Okinawa, 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo, have been outraged by a recent series of crimes by American servicemen -- many involving sexual assault -- and cranked up demands on the United States to take stronger preventative action.
The woman, who is in her 20s, told authorities she was surrounded by several foreign men and that one of them raped her, said Shoichi Shinzato, a spokesman for the Okinawa prefectural (state) police.
Wigs on the way out?
LONDON -- Could curled horsehair wigs on working lawyers really be going out of style?
Britain's top legal official bowed to the forward march of fashion Friday, conceding that the hairpieces still worn in courts here were out-of-date.
Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, said it might be time to abandon the wigs in civil court -- but he urged criminal lawyers and judges to keep them.
"We stopped as a society wearing them in the 18th century, but the lawyers continued, and probably the wearing of wigs doesn't contribute to the most modern of images for barristers," he said. "I exclude the criminal courts ... because there is an argument that wigs give much greater solemnity and anonymity to advocates in the criminal courts."
The white wigs with elaborate curls are standard courtroom attire for judges and most lawyers, who also wear long black gowns.
Lord Irvine said his musings were prompted by a group of lawyers who are not allowed to wear wigs because of their lesser court credentials but said they wanted to so juries would take them more seriously.