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Man goes on trial in beating death



Published: Thu, January 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Man goes on trialin beating death

BOSTON -- Prosecutors have asked a judge for permission to show autopsy photos of a man who died after fighting with another father at a hockey practice in one of the most shocking cases yet of violence at youth sporting events.

Thomas Junta, 42, went on trial Wednesday on manslaughter charges in the July 5, 2000, death of Michael Costin.

Junta has said he fought in self-defense, but prosecutors said the autopsy photos prove Costin's injuries indicate excessive force.

Defense lawyer Thomas Orlandi Jr. fought the move, describing the photos as "sickening," "gross" and "horrible."

Superior Court Judge Charles Grabau said he would allow the jury to see photos taken just before Costin's autopsy, but put off a decision on whether to allow photographs of Costin's internal injuries.

Jury selection was expected to continue today followed by opening arguments. On Wednesday, potential jurors were asked if their children played on sports teams and if they had ever witnessed a fight between parents.

Costin, 40, was supervising practice at a community rink while Junta watched from the stands. Prosecutors say Junta became enraged when he saw body-checking in what was supposed to be a non-contact scrimmage. The two men argued on the ice, brawled in a hallway and later fought again.

Prosecutors say the 6-foot-1, 275-pound Junta pinned down the 150-pound Costin and banged his head against the floor until the other man lost consciousness. He died two days later.

Passers-by rob body

LAS VEGAS -- The body of a Las Vegas woman killed New Year's Day after she was hit by three vehicles was robbed by passers-by before police arrived, authorities said Wednesday.

Las Vegas police said the first two vehicles that struck 42-year-old Lynette Spiller drove away Tuesday. While Spiller's body was pinned under the third car, passers-by combed through her purse, wallet and backpack, police said.

Detective Doug Nutton said one person later gave police Spiller's identification card, saying it had been found elsewhere.

Police said Spiller was jaywalking, but said the drivers of the first two cars could be charged with felony hit-and-run. The driver of the third car stopped.

Israel eases gripon West Bank towns

JERUSALEM -- In a double-edged message ahead of the arrival of a U.S. envoy, Israel today eased its stranglehold on West Bank towns, but also snatched five suspected militants in two raids into Palestinian territory.

A U.S.-drafted truce deal calls for Israel to stay out of Palestinian-controlled areas and lift travel restrictions on Palestinians.

U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni, who arrives in the region later today, will be trying to implement the truce deal, which was drafted last year by CIA chief George Tenet and was accepted by both sides.

Today, Israeli tanks withdrew from the West Bank town of Jenin and a neighborhood of the West Bank town of Ramallah. However, a tank and an armored personnel carrier remained in a northern neighborhood of Ramallah that overlooks the office of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Also today, Israeli commandos entered a Palestinian-controlled neighborhood of Hebron and snatched four suspected activists in the militant Islamic Jihad group, the army said.

In a second raid, Israeli troops entered the West Bank village of Kufr Roman and arrested an activist in the militant Hamas group.

Moderate quake rocksPakistan, Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A moderate earthquake hit swaths of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan at midday today, shaking house foundations and jolting cities across 400 miles of Central and South Asia. Some damage and minor injuries were reported in the Afghan capital.

The magnitude-5.8 quake was centered about 180 miles north of Peshawar, Pakistan, in the Hindu Kush mountain range of Afghanistan, said Abdul Rashid, seismologist at the Pakistani government's meteorological office. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.0.

The quake struck at 12:05 p.m. and was felt in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad, the northern city of Peshawar and the eastern city of Lahore.

More than 300 miles away, in the old city of Kabul, the Afghan capital, several walls surrounding house compounds cracked and crumbled.

Associated Press




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