Court to monitor jails
PHILADELPHIA -- A federal judge ordered city jails to go back under court monitoring, blasting conditions as overcrowded and squalid and saying inmates lack access to clean cells and adequate medical attention. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick issued a scathing ruling Thursday, calling holding facilities overflowing and lockups at police stations firetraps that violate detainees' constitutional rights.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of 11 inmates with the help of David Rudovsky, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who filed a similar lawsuit 35 years ago. That case led to court oversight of the jails from 1971 to 2001. Surrick toured the system, which holds roughly 8,800 inmates.
Sex scandal at school
GREENWOOD, S.C. -- A National Guardsman who recruited at a high school and a former cheerleading coach are both accused of having sex with students, and the principal is charged with hindering the investigation, authorities said. Former Ware Shoals High School coach Jill Moore, 28, took cheerleaders to a motel, where they met guardsmen for sex, according to Greenwood County sheriff's reports released late Thursday. Moore, a married mother of two, also is accused of having sex with a male student on another occasion.
Because all the students involved were 16 or older, none of the adults will be charged because the teens were old enough to consent under state law, according to the sheriff's reports. Moore, however, is charged with supplying alcohol and cigarettes to students and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Principal Jane Blackwell also is accused of telling cheerleaders and a school staff member not to talk about the allegations against Moore, authorities said, and she was charged with obstruction.
Sentenced in dorm fire
NEWARK, N.J. -- Two former roommates who set a dormitory fire that killed three students at Seton Hall University were sentenced to five years in prison Friday after listening to the victims' relatives reject their apologies and call them murderers and cowards. Joseph T. LePore and Sean Ryan, both 26, pleaded guilty in November to arson for setting fire to a paper banner in a lounge on Jan. 19, 2000. The flames spread to a couch, filling the dorm with smoke.
Freshmen Frank Caltabilota, John Giunta and Aaron Karol, all 18, were overcome by smoke and died. Dozens of others were injured. T
Felon escapes to see mom
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It has all the makings of a country song: an escaped prisoner, his terminally ill mother, a Wal-Mart truck, NASCAR and a Nashville singer's tour bus. Since Christopher Daniel Gay, 32, escaped from a prisoner transport van Sunday in South Carolina, police say, he has evaded a five-state manhunt by stealing a pickup, a big rig and the bus that belongs to singer Crystal Gayle.
Michael Douglas, the police chief in Pleasant View, Tenn., near the home where Gay's mother is dying of cancer, said Gay escaped to see her. A man believed to be Gay arrived Thursday night at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., telling the track's manager he was there with NASCAR racer Tony Stewart and asking him for help getting a new generator for the tour bus he was driving, officials said. They supplied authorities with the license number of the bus, which Gayle wasn't aware had been stolen from a Nashville garage.
Copter crashes into ocean
SAN DIEGO -- A Navy helicopter with four crew members aboard crashed Friday into the Pacific Ocean about 50 miles off the California coast, killing at least one person, a Navy spokesman said. A sailor died after being pulled alive from the water, the Navy said. It was unclear whether the other three crew members survived.
The helicopter, based at Naval Air Station North Island, was on a training mission when it crashed at 2:45 p.m. The MH-60S, commonly known as a Seahawk, was on a mission off the USS Bonhomme Richard near San Clemente Island.
Policy targets Iranians
WASHINGTON -- American troops in Iraq have authority to kill or capture Iranian agents deemed to be a threat, officials said Friday in describing a tougher stand toward Tehran and its suspected meddling in the nearly four-year-old war. The more aggressive policy was described as the result of mounting evidence that Iran is supporting terrorists inside Iraq and is a major supplier of bombs and other weapons used to target U.S. forces. President Bush has said the remote-controlled bombsare the greatest threat to U.S. troops.
Rice on Afghanistan
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked allies Friday to intensify their efforts to keep the Taliban from retaking parts of Afghanistan, and asserted a resurgence in Taliban attacks does not mean the U.S. war strategy has failed.