Computer expert testifies in Peterson murder trial



Computer expert testifiesin Peterson murder trial
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Prosecutors put a computer expert on the witness stand to help prove their theory that Scott Peterson used the Internet while plotting the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci.
Five computer hard drives seized from Peterson's home and office showed he checked several Web sites for information on fishing, currents in San Francisco Bay and area boat ramps, Lydell Wall of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department testified Wednesday. He said sales ads for used boats had been searched Dec. 7 and 8, 2002.
Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then drove to the bay and dumped her weighted body from a small boat he had purchased just weeks earlier. The badly decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed ashore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched a solo fishing trip the day she disappeared.
The Dec. 7 date is important because Shawn Sibley, the woman who set Peterson up with Amber Frey, his mistress, testified earlier in the trial that she confronted him Dec. 6 after learning he was married.
Wall also said Peterson received e-mails from Sibley a month before his wife went missing but did not discuss the contents.
Rising cost of AIDS drug
WASHINGTON -- The government is refusing to take steps to in effect force down the spiraling price of an important AIDS drug, saying such an unprecedented move isn't allowed by federal law.
Wednesday's decision by the National Institutes of Health was a major victory for Abbott Laboratories, which quintupled the price of its AIDS drug Norvir late last year. Patient groups and some members of Congress called the move price-gouging. They had pushed the NIH to intervene by overriding Abbott's patents, since Norvir's discovery was partially funded by taxpayer dollars.
But the NIH decided Wednesday the law didn't allow that step, which it said could have had far-reaching effects on the pharmaceutical market.
"The issue of drug pricing has global implications and thus is appropriately left for Congress to address legislatively," concluded NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni.
Abbott raised the price of the eight-year-old Norvir to $8.57 a day from $1.71. It called the move necessary to counter falling sales as the drug's use shifted from a primary treatment agent to one now used in low doses to boost the effects of other anti-AIDS medicines.
Volcano activity picks up
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The last time Mount Spurr erupted, it spewed a plume 50,000 feet in the air, driving Anchorage residents indoors, shutting down airports and setting ash adrift as far away as Greenland.
Twelve years later, the volcano is again restless. Fifteen to 25 small earthquakes a day have been rumbling beneath Mount Spurr for the past month. Last week, the Alaska Volcano Observatory raised its level of concern from green (dormant) to yellow (restless).
On Tuesday, scientists found a giant hole, 165 feet in diameter and 82 feet deep, in Mount Spurr's ice cap that may have been formed by the heat under the surface of the volcano. Such a hole has not been seen on the mountain in memory, said John Power, a seismologist with the observatory.
But the volcanic activity is different from what preceded the three eruptions in 1992, and scientists say there is no imminent threat of an eruption.
Judge pretends to resignto end hostage standoff
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A man who authorities said was unhappy with the outcome of a court case took an attorney hostage and threatened to set off a bomb in a high rise unless a judge resigned. His demands were met -- or so it was made to seem.
John M. Knight surrendered shortly after the judge pretended to resign on live television Wednesday, said John Bowen, chief of homeland security for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Authorities said the judge had handled a case involving Knight.
The attorney, Christopher Hazelip, was freed unharmed.
Knight, 45, told police he knew the judge's resignation would not be accepted, but felt it was the best way to get his message out that he was unhappy with her handling of his case.
"He knew she was not really going to resign," Bowen said.
It was unclear what the case involved.
The standoff began before noon, when Mayor John Peyton received a call at city hall from a man who said he was holding an attorney hostage at Riverplace Tower, a 28-story downtown office building, and had a bomb.
Sheriff's officials later said the man had a loaded 9 mm pistol, but not a bomb.
Associated Press

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