<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Thu, 23 Oct 2014 02:09:12 -0400 Thu, 23 Oct 2014 02:09:12 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Md. Sex Assaults May Be Related: Police]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:26:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/1022-pgco-sex-assaults.jpg

Prince George's County Police told News4 two sex assaults reported less than a mile apart may be related.

The first was reported Sept. 8 just before 7 p.m. in the 5100 block of Quincy Street in Bladensburg. Police have canvassed the neighborhood with a sketch of the suspect, who sexually assaulted a woman on a wooded trail.

Another sex assault was reported Oct. 20 just before 9 p.m. in the 5800 block of Annapolis Road in Cheverly, less than a mile from the Sept. 8 incident. The victim in this case was also pulled into a wooded area and assaulted.

"Hopefully the predator will be caught. I'm very heartbroken to hear someone's been attacked," one woman said.

The suspect in both cases is described as a black man in his 40s with a slim build and facial hair. 

Contact police at 1-866-411-TIPS if you have any information.

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<![CDATA[Md. Man in Custody After Jumping White House Fence]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:24:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/172*120/456595274.jpg

A Maryland man is in custody after jumping the White House fence Wednesday, just weeks after a similar incident prompted the director of the Secret Service to resign.

Officials said around 7:15 p.m., 23-year-old Dominic Adesanya climbed the fence on the North Lawn and got about 20 yards past it when he was taken down by Secret Service officers and K-9 dogs.

The officers were heard yelling, "Stop moving!" in a grainy surveillance video. Adesanya is then heard screaming, "I'm not!" 

Adesanya, of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody and has been hospitalized for unknown injuries.

Secret Service officials say two dogs were taken to a veterinarian for injuries sustained during the incident after being kicked.

The White House was locked down until just before 9 p.m. Officials say Adesanya was not armed.

Law enforcement sources told News4 President Obama was at the White House at the time.

 

Just last month, 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez also jumped the fence, entered the White House and got to the East Room before he was arrested. The security breach prompted scrutiny of the Secret Service, which led to the resignation of director Julia Pierson Oct 1. 

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said the Secret Service K-9s made all the difference Wednesday.

"As the adage goes, 'Who let the dogs out?'" Holmes Norton said. "This time, the Secret Service let the dogs out. Had the dogs been out, Gonzalez would never have gotten into the White House."

This is a developing story. Stay with us for more.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rumors of Violence at Six Flags Prompt Response]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:28:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008268750_1200x675_346564163867.jpg The Washington Post reports Suitland High School's principal sent a text message to parents, urging them not to let their kids go to the park this weekend, because gangs were planning to retaliate for fights that broke out last month.]]> <![CDATA[100s of Distracted Driving Citations Handed Out Near U.S. Capitol]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:34:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Dangerous+Driving+Capitol+Hill_1.jpeg

United States Capitol Police have issued more than 440 citations for distracted driving on the streets near the US Capitol in the past three years, according to a review by the News4 I-Team.

The dangerous driving poses a potential risk to the thousands of Congressional staffers, visitors and elected leaders who frequently cross those streets on foot.

The I-Team reviewed Capitol Police incident data in the wake of a deadly hit-and-run accident, in which a Congressional staffer was struck as she crossed East Capitol Street in May. Nearly all of the citations issued by Capitol Police were classified as “distracted driving,” which includes tickets for the use of texting or cellphone devices while driving. A smaller number of citations were issued for leaving the scene of a collision on or near the Capitol grounds.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said the frequency of distracted driving citations represent a risk to pedestrians throughout the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  

“I’m amazed at those statistics," Holmes Norton said. "There must be 20,000 staff alone who work here. If you add the members of Congress, you get a lot of walking in the streets.”

News4 I-Team cameras, deployed at multiple locations along the Capitol grounds in recent weeks, captured images of a series of drivers using portable electronic devices while driving along the nearest streets. On multiple occasions, drivers were observed pointing their phones, at eye level, toward the Capitol building, an indication those drivers were snapping photos of the building while driving.

A spokeswoman said all 1,750 members of the US Capitol Police force are trained and equipped to issue citations for distracted driving, if they observe such driving violations. When asked how and why the agency issued 440 of those citations within a 3-year time frame, the spokeswoman said it was “a byproduct of the agency’s police work.”

A hit-and-run driver, not yet found and not yet issued a citation, struck and fatally injured Lisa Radogno, a staffer for Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). Radogno’s mother said her daughter was walking home from the Senate near the intersection of East Capitol St and 17th St, NE when she was struck.

Multiple reports said Radogno was in a crosswalk at the time. She was injured and traveled home to Illinois to recuperate, but her mother said Radogno's injuries ultimately worsened. She died of a pulmonary embolism in June.

“But for that accident, [Lisa] would be here with us today," Radogno’s mother, Illinois State Senator Christine Radogno said. "I know there are many important people walking around Washington, D.C., but there’s nobody more important than my daughter. And – to the same token – there’s nobody less important than my daughter.”

Metropolitan Police in D.C. investigated the crash that killed Radogno. A News4 I-Team review found multiple citations by US Capitol Police to drivers for leaving the scene of a traffic collision.

Radogno's mother said authorities and family members are still seeking tips and information from witnesses about the accident that ultimately killed her daughter. Radogno’s family said the car involved was a white 2011 Nissan with Maryland license plates.  

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<![CDATA[Police Step Up Search for Evidence in Graham Disappearance]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:59:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/240*120/20141022+Graham+Search.jpg

Police from across Virginia have stepped up a search in Charlottesville for personal items that could help them solve Hannah Graham's disappearance.

About a dozen law enforcement officials were searching Wednesday in the area where they discovered human remains Saturday. 

The body was found during a search for Graham, a UVa. student who has been missing for more than a month. Police have not said if the remains belong to Graham; Virginia's state medical examiner is working to identify the body.

Officers have been searching along Old Lynchburg Road and in the surrounding creeks and woods for clothing and personal belongings that could be connected to Graham, sources say.

Seperately, authorities plan to resume a search for the remains of a Virginia teenager who disappeared last year. According to police, they plan to renew efforts to comb through parts of Orange County in late November to look for the remains of Alexis Murphy.

Randy Taylor is serving two life sentences for the abduction and death of Murphy, whose body has yet to be found.

"My heart goes out to the Grahams, because I don't think they would have reached out to her family had they not had some idea that it was her remains that they found," Tina Murphy, Alexis Murphy's great aunt, said.

She and the mother of Morgan Harrington, who was abducted and murdered in 2009, say they have both been putting aside their own cases to help find Graham.

Meanwhile, the man accused of abducting Graham, Jesse Matthew, awaits trail. The FBI is looking to see if there's a possible link between Matthew and Murphy's disappearance.

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<![CDATA[Teacher Allegedly Had Sex With Student on Her 1st Day]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:18:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/257*120/2014-10-22_1223_001.png

A substitute teacher in D.C. accused of having sex with a student on her first day at the school pleaded not guilty.

Symone Greene, 22, was working at Options Public Charter School in Northeast D.C. on Friday when she first met the victim, a 17-year-old football player, according to court documents.

The student told police he was working as an office assistant and helped Green twice that day in her English class. The student says he flirted with Greene during class, gave her his cell phone number, and later received a text message from her.

While the student did not recall the exact contents of their messages, he said he did ask if she was "kinky."

She allegedly responded, 'I don't tell[;] I show," court documents state.

Toward the end of the school's pep rally that day, the teen went to Greene's classroom, where she allegedly performed oral sex behind the teacher's desk. The victim recorded the sex act and later shared the video with his teammates and a childhood friend.

Greene allegedly sent the teen a text message over the weekend asking him not to tell anyone.

"When school administrators learned of the incident Monday morning, we immediately contacted the Child and Family Services Agency, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the parent of the student," Shannon Hodge, the school's executive director, said in a statement.

Greene has been charged with first-degree sexual assault against a minor in a significant relationship.

Although the age of consent in D.C. is 16, Greene was charged because she was the teen's teacher. According to D.C. law, age-of-consent rules are not in play in when it comes to "significant relationships," which include teachers and their students.

Greene had a court date Wednesday, where she pleaded not guilty and was ordered to stay away from the vicitm, minors and Options Public Charter School. 

Hodge said Greene was contracted through a company based in Delaware and had never worked at the school before.


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<![CDATA[Woman Convicted in Shooting Death of Neighbor, Lover]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:11:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Katrina+Ben.jpg

A woman has been convicted in the 2012 shooting death of her neighbor and lover, who prosecutors say she killed after finding out he was dating someone else.

Eric Somuah, 34, was found dead on the bed of his apartment June 6, 2012. He had been romantically involved with his neighbor, 35-year-old Katrina Renee Ben, a traveling nurse who had moved back home to Mississippi after Somuah's death. 

Prosecutors say Ben shot and killed Somuah when she found out he had been dating other women.

"When she found out she was not exclusively with him, she murdered him," State's Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy said.

A bullet casing was found in Somuah's bedroom, which matched a partially dismantled gun found along the Beltway near Colesville. 

A Maryland detective traced the gun back through its five previous owners, to a pawn shop in Columbia, Mississippi where it was purchased eight years ago by Ben.

"She thought she got away with it. She thought she got rid of the gun, but the Good Samaritan found the gun and we have great detective work, and the mystery is solved!" McCarthy said.

Ben was convicted of first degree murder Wednesday, and could 

 

 

 

The former neighbor of a man murdered back in 2012 has been arrested in connection with his death, Montgomery County police said Tuesday.

Katrina Renee Ben, 35, was arrested on June 21 at her home in Mississippi. On June 6, 2012, Eric Somuah, 34, was found with a gunshot wound to the head in his apartment on East-West Highway. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police say Ben was romantically-involved with Somuah and was the last person to see him alive.

Investigators found what was determined to be the murder weapon partially disassembled on I-495, and it was determined Ben purchased the gun at pawn shop in 2004, a press release states.

Ben is charged with first degree murder. She remains in custody in Mississippi.

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<![CDATA[Car Drives Off With Gas Pump, Starts Fire]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:06:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/gas+pump2.jpg

A gas pump at a Laurel, Maryland, gas station caught fire Wednesday morning after a driver pulled off with the gas nozzle still attached to the car.

Fire crews were called to the Shell station in the 700 block of Washington Boulevard around 7:30 a.m.

The fire charred most of the pump station and closed the gas station portion. The convenience store attached to the station is open.

There's no word on injuries at this time.



Photo Credit: Sam Khoury]]>
<![CDATA[Nurse Amber Vinson No Longer Has Ebola: Family]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:53:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambervinson.jpg

Dallas nurse Amber Vinson no longer has signs of Ebola in her blood, her family said Wednesday, one week after she was hospitalized at an Atlanta hospital with the potentially deadly virus.

Vinson will be transferred into a different unit at Emory University Hospital and is still being treated in the serious communicable diseases unit, the family said.

"Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition," her mother Debra Barry said, saying the news had "truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home."

Vinson, 29, was the second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse to fall ill with the virus after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States. Duncan died Oct. 8.

Her coworker Nina Pham, who also contracted the virus after treating Duncan, remains hospitalized in good condition at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

It is still unclear how exactly both nurses contracted the virus.

Vinson had worn protective gear including face shields, hazardous materials suits and protective footwear as she inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with Duncan's body fluids. She worked on the three days in late September when Duncan was producing "extensive" diarrhea and vomit.

Vinson was hospitalized on Tuesday, Oct. 14, one day after she returned to Dallas from a trip to Ohio to plan her wedding and visit family. She was diagnosed with Ebola one day after she was hospitalized.

Vinson's family has defended her decision to fly home to Dallas the day before she fell ill with Ebola, saying that she made the decision in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with guidance from her own hospital.

She had been cleared by the CDC to fly just before she boarded the flight, the CDC said last week, hours after the CDC chief told reporters she should not have flown.



Photo Credit: Vinson Family / NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Suspected Serial Killer Charged in Second Death]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:29:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Darren+Deon+Vann+new.jpg

A second round of murder charges were filed Wednesday against a registered sex offender suspected in the deaths of at least seven women whose bodies were found over the last weekend.

Darren Deon Vann, 43, was charged in the death of Anith Jones, a 35-year-old Merrillville resident whose body was found late Saturday night. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8.


Vann was charged Monday in connection with the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy.

Earlier Wednesday, Vann was ordered held in contempt of court when he refused to utter a word to the judge during his initial court appearance in the Hardy case.

"He will stay in jail for the rest of his life until this hearing takes place," Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivanwas said before putting the case on hold until Oct. 29 and agreeing to a defense motion for a gag order.

"See you in a week," she said.

Vann was then taken back to his jail cell, which is away from the general population and where he is under 24-hour watch from personnel.

Authorities said Vann, of Gary, opened up about previous crimes once he was arrested in connection with the Hardy case and helped police find six other bodies. By Wednesday morning, just three of those six had been positively identified: Jones, 28-year-old Teairra Batey, and 36-year-old Kristine Williams.

Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey on Tuesday asked asking for the public's help in identifying two of the women who were recovered over the weekend. Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake County Coroner’s Office at 219-755-3265.



Photo Credit: Lake County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Metro Took 41 Min. to Respond to Cracked Rail]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:00:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/metro-shutterstock_514000781.jpg

Metro officials are admitting changes are in order after they said it took them more than 40 minutes to respond to a cracked rail at Dupont Circle Metro station last month.

The cracked rail caused residual delays for hours throughout the day, causing trains to single-track between Van Ness and Dupont Circle stations for most of rush hour that morning.

According to Metro Deputy Manager Rob Troup, it took 41 minutes to get the right personnel to Dupont Circle to asses the cracked rail because the supervisor had left with the wrong crew -- and got stuck in traffic. 

"I would like to see [the response] be as quick as possible," Troup said. "Again, that's the most critical aspect of all of this. We need to be able to get people to the scene as quickly as we can."

Troup added crew members on scene had to wait to make repairs while the right type of equipment was brought in. Excessive moisture had caused damage to the tail over time.

"Water is an issue on the Red Line," Troup said. "It's deep tunnels through there, deeper than most and so we do fight that all the time."

A temporary fix was made using clamps, and a more permanent fix was made overnight.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Bullying Prevention Expanding to Youngest Students]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:10:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008263061_1200x675_346295875716.jpg A bullying prevention program in Prince William County is expanding to four schools with before and after school care.]]> <![CDATA[Sources: RGIII Out Against Cowboys]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:17:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457492620.jpg

Though Redskins coach Jay Gruden has not publicly ruled out the possibility of Robert Griffin III returning from his dislocated ankle Monday against the Cowboys, sources tell News4's Dianna Russini that he will not play and Colt McCoy will start. 

Griffin, who has not played since Week 2 against the Jaguars, received a heavier workload at practice Wednesday while wearing a protective brace on his left ankle. Gruden said that McCoy is the projected starter against Dallas "as of right now."

"I'd like to make a decision tomorrow after practice," Gruden told reporters Wednesday.

McCoy replaced Kirk Cousins in the second half of Washington's win against Tennessee last week, completing 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Guilty of Killing Teacher ]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:58:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Allen+Prue.jpg

A Waterford, Vermont, man was convicted Wednesday in the brutal March, 2012 killing of a beloved St. Johnsbury Academy Science teacher. A jury of six men and six women found Allen Prue guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and attempted kidnapping. The decision followed a 10-day trial and roughly six hours of deliberations.

Allen Prue turned his head from news cameras and gently cried as the jury's foreperson delivered the verdict. There were also tears—of relief—from the family and friends of Melissa Jenkins who had gathered in the courtroom.

"It took a lot of weight off our shoulders," said Linda Gadapee, the aunt of Melissa Jenkins. "It's been a hard two years and I think justice is going to be served."

Gadapee and other relatives and close friends have been remembering Jenkins as a good mom to a toddler son, and as a smart and motivated science teacher who wanted to continue her education. Loved ones have traveled from across the state to attend the proceedings in Burlington.

While the crime was committed in Caledonia County, the trial took place in Chittenden County, where attorneys believed they'd have an easier time finding potential jurors who had not been exposed to pre-trial news coverage of Jenkins' disappearance, memorial services, and details of the case.

Prosecutors told the jury Prue and his wife Patricia developed an obsession with Jenkins, starting when the snowplow driver did work for Jenkins. That turned to a sexual fascination, Caledonia County State's Attorney Lisa Warren argued, that exploded with a plot to trick the mother into leaving her home to help the Prues through a roadside emergency with their car.

After having lured her, the couple launched a blitz attack, Warren said, stun-gunning, beating, and strangling Jenkins to death. They then dumped Jenkins' naked body in the Connecticut River, weighed down with cinder blocks, Warren told the jury. They also tried covering the crime by disposing of evidence, Warren said.

"On behalf of the state police, we're very, very grateful to this jury for their verdict," said Capt. J.P. Sinclair of the Vermont State Police. "This was the culmination of a lot of hard work. And I'm very grateful that these 12 jurors saw this case the way we did."

The decision will bring an automatic appeal.

Prosecutors are turning their attention now to Patricia Prue, who plans to use an insanity defense at her trial. "It's going to be the same evidence and then some," Warren told reporters after the verdict in Allen Prue's trial was announced. "It's a different defendant so there are different fact patterns that have to be addressed with Ms. Prue."

Warren said she believes the conviction of Allen Prue can be "very helpful" in assisting the state seek a conviction of Patricia Prue. She is expected to go on trial in early 2015, Warren told reporters Wednesday.

No sentencing date has been set for Allen Prue. The most serious conviction, first-degree murder, carries a minimum 35-year sentence in Vermont, with a maximum of life in prison.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Bobcat Escapes Again]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:25:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Rocky+the+Bobcat.JPG

A pet bobcat escaped from its Jersey Shore home for at least the third time this year, a little more than a month after a judge told its owner the feline would be removed from her home permanently if it got out again.

Authorities were notified around 9 a.m. Tuesday that the bobcat, named Rocky, escaped from Ginny Fine's home. Stafford Police said Wednesday the 38-pound cat was found in a humane trap Wednesday morning. It is currently being held at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey.

Fine was issued another summons after the cat escaped, and she could lose custody of the animal because of its previous escapes.

It's the third time authorities have had to round up the elusive cat this year. In one escape, the partially-declawed feline was missing for days, leaving neighbors concerned.

A judge ordered Rocky to undergo DNA testing to determine if he was a full-blooded bobcat, which are illegal to have as pets in the Garden State. Fine said he is a hybrid. The test came back inconclusive. 



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Several Sex Assaults Reported in NW D.C. Within Hours]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:52:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/1021-sex-assault.jpg

D.C. police are investigating a string of sex assaults and attempted sex assaults in high-trafficked areas early Sunday.

A suspect has been arrested in two of the incidents, which were reported in Foggy Bottom.

Around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, police say 46-year-old Mustapha Kone attempted to pull a woman into the bushes in the 2400 block of I Street NW. He also threatened her, police said.

The woman was able to escape, but police say Kone attempted to sexually assault a second woman in the same area moments later.

He was arrested shortly after students in the area pointed him out to police.

"We always see cop cars so we feel safe walking around campus," George Washington University student Bineta Barry said.

Kone has been charged with assault with the intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse, felony threats, kidnapping and simple assault.

Just 15 minutes after the second incident, a woman reported being sexually assaulted inside a car in Dupont Circle. The suspect is described as a black man with dreadlocks wearing khaki pants. At the time, he was traveling in a silver sedan occupied by three other men.

A couple hours later, a woman was sexually assaulted near Georgetown, in the 3300 block of Prospect Place NW. Her attacker is described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, standing 5-foot 7-inches, clean-shaven and wearing a leather jacket.

Police do not believe these incidents are related.

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<![CDATA[Lawyer Won't Represent Matthew in '05 Attempted Murder]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:01:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP702814643380.jpg

Jesse Matthew's lawyer Jim Camblos confirmed he won't be representing his client in Fairfax, Virginia, where Matthew is facing attempted murder charges in a 2005 assault.

Matthew was charged Monday with attempted murder, abduction with attempt to defile and sexual penetration with an object in a Northern Virginia incident. Police say a 26-year-old woman was walking home from a grocery store when a man grabbed her and forced her into a wooded area, where he sexually assaulted her. He fled after being startled by another person.

Matthew was arrested with the abduction of U.Va. student Hannah Graham last month. Police say she was last seen Sept. 13 on surveillance video in Charlottesville, accompanied by Matthew. Albemarle County Police located human remains last weekend during the search for Graham, but have not yet made a positive identification.

Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County Raymond F. Morrogh said Matthew will likely be brought to Northern Virginia to face the charges, but no court date has been set. Thursday, Fairfax authorities will ask the court for a bench warrant to bring Matthew to Northern Virginia.

"It's possible to transport a defendant to and from various courthouses, and that's what we'll do," Morrogh said.

Morrogh declined to comment on Matthew's connection to other unsolved cases. Authorities had previously said DNA evidence links the 2005 Fairfax assault to the murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in 2009.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["Game of Thrones" Debate Moment]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:41:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NECN_102114_winteriscomingNHdebate_10p_1200x675_346016835790.jpg

A University of New Hampshire political science professor's three word pop culture reference in the New Hampshire U.S. Senate race debate Tuesday night in Concord had the audience laughing and the Internet buzzing.

"Winter is coming," Dante Scala said in kicking off a question on rising energy costs directed at Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.

NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, who was moderating the debate, quickly said it wasn't in reference to HBO's hit show "Game of Thrones." 

The light moment in an otherwise testy debate came as Shaheen and Republican Scott Brown face a close race.

A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

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<![CDATA[American Journalism Icon Ben Bradlee Dies at 93]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:40:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/137613147.jpg

One of the great figures in American journalism has died.

Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post, passed away at the age of 93.

The family says he had been in hospice care suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

His death was reported by The Washington Post Tuesday.

Bradlee skyrocketed to fame in the early 1970s when he allowed the Post to look deeper into the burglary at the Watergate Hotel. His collaboration with young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and established the Washington Post as one of the world's top newspapers.

"He had the courage of an army," Woodward and Bernstein said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Ben had an intuitive understanding of the history of our profession, its formative impact on him and all of us. We loved him deeply, and he will never be forgotten or replaced in our lives."

Bradlee's Watergate fame was sealed with the movie "All the President's Men," in which he was portrayed by actor Jason Robards.

Bradlee lived a life as rich as his family name. Born into privilege in Boston, he graduated from Harvard. As a young man he lived in Paris for a time, working for the American embassy. He then joined Newsweek and eventually the Washington Post, where he served as the executive editor from 1968 until his retirement in 1991.

A prominent figure in the glamorous days of the Kennedy Administration, he was a close friend of both John and Jackie Kennedy.

Bradlee was a major player in those heady days when Georgetown dinner parties probably shaped government policy more than Congress.

He added to his stature in 1978 when he married the young style section reporter, Sally Quinn, who was 20 years his junior.

Since retiring, Bradlee wrote a memoir entitled "A Good Life" in 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama last year.

"A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country's finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told - stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better," President Obama said in a statement Tuesday. "The standard he set - a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting - encouraged so many others to enter the profession."

As for journalism, Bradlee once said, "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but we are in a holy profession.”



Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood: Ben Bradlee Was "Larger Than Life"]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:09:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/156783197.jpg

You can read all the fancy and famous tributes to Ben Bradlee.

Truth be told, he’d like to read them, too.

Bradlee, who died Tuesday at 93, was the – cliché alert – larger than life editor of The Washington Post who made the Post must-reading around the nation and world.

I like to tell people that Richard Nixon resigned in August of 1974 and I arrived at The Post that October as a lowly news desk editor, a 28-year-old from The Atlanta Constitution, stepping into that famous newsroom.

Bradlee would bound through the aisles, his shoulders back and chest out, arms cocked at his side. But it wasn’t like a braggart, but more someone embracing news with a bear hug. He wanted to be in on it, whatever “it” was each day. He made the newsroom electric with his presence. Actor Jason Robards, as good as he was, captured only some of Bradlee’s demeanor in the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men.

In Wednesday’s newspaper, the Post editorial page attempts to explain to younger readers what Bradlee was all about.

“His newsroom crackled with the energy of a modern startup,” the paper writes. “A certain ‘creative tension’ was the reality, a competition among reporters and editors to win his approval. Mr. Bradlee loved the chase and the thrill of discovery.”

Bradlee would seethe at bureaucracy, especially that which envelops too many newsrooms today. He called journalism at The Post, “the best damn job in the world.”

When I was a group of young metro reporters working on the on-going stories about then-Mayor Marion Barry’s alleged drug abuse and private life, an associate of Barry’s was arrested at a downtown motel. “This one has the smell of death to it,” Bradlee said as he looked over the newspaper copy. As Post editor Marc Fisher recounts in his own look back, that was the beginning of the end that led to Barry’s arrest at the Vista Hotel in January 1990. “Smell of Death” became a headline for a chapter in my book, Dream City, coauthored with Washingtonian writer Harry Jaffe. 

When reporters were writing breaking stories, Bradlee would sometime recite a bit of caution. He said if the story held up, you were just good. But if it were printed and turned out to be wrong, you’d be famous. And the way he said “famous” was not something you wanted to be.

The brightest highlights of The Post under Bradlee were both the Nixon Watergate scandal and, before that, the Pentagon Papers, when the newspaper joined with The New York Times to print secret papers describing the false underpinnings of the nation’s Vietnam War.

The low point for Bradlee, and every journalist in his newsroom, came in 1981 when Bradlee near tears announced the newspaper was returning a Pulitzer Prize that reporter Janet Cooke had won with her story about an 8-year-old cocaine user. The story, like much of Cooke’s alleged background, was made up. I was in the newsroom when Bradlee spoke to the reporters and editors gathered around him. It truly is one of the saddest moments of my own career.

But I prefer to think of Bradlee in larger, more positive terms. He wrote a memoir, “A Good Life.” And that is what it was. Bradlee now becomes a historical figure that will be written and talked about whenever “journalism” is seriously discussed.

And – cliché alert again – an era has truly passed.



Photo Credit: The Washington Post]]>
<![CDATA[Police Hope New Lead Will Solve Mailman's Murder]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Tyson+Jerome+Barnette+postal+worker+killed.jpg

Police are hoping a grainy surveillance video will help them solve the 2013 murder of a Maryland mailman.

Tyson Jerome Barnette, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was on duty when he was shot and killed around 7:20 p.m. in the 6000 block of Reed Street in Cheverly, Md. on Nov. 23.

Tuesday, police released surveillance video of a dark-colored SUV, possibly a Jeep Grand Cherokee, they say could be related to the murder.

The murder sparked a conversation between residents and the postal service, that postal office workers were working late hours that made the job a risk.

Fellow postal workers had said they worried about their own safety as well following the murder. "That could have been me," one told News4.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Prince George’s County Homicide Unit at 301.772.4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

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<![CDATA[Prosecutor Examines Jesse Matthew's Case]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:13:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008254598_1200x675_345962051899.jpg Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver speaks with a former prosecutor as investigators await results from medical examiner]]> <![CDATA[HS Football Players Sidelined Over Assault Allegations]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:33:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008254436_1200x675_345947715710.jpg

Several players on a top ranked Northern Virginia football team are under investigation for allegedly assaulting two teammates.

The Loudoun County Sheriff confirms his detectives are looking into whether several varsity players assaulted two, younger junior varsity players in the locker room.

Sheriff Mike Chapman says they are looking into two separate incidents. He says fewer than six varsity
players have been accused.

The report of an assault came first on Oct. 17 to the Briar Woods School resource offficer, who is also with the sheriff's department. Detectives joined him at the high school Tuesday to look deeper into the allegations.

"We work with the school in these investigations and with the parents and with our school resource officer and with administration and we try to make sure everybody is involved in the process to make sure we are covering all our bases at the school," said Sheriff Mike Chapman.

The investigation was first reported by LoudounTimes.com. News4 has learned the varsity players in question have been sidelined while the investigation continues.

School officials declined to comment on the ongoing probe. Briar Wood' varsity record is 6-1 and the team is ranked No. 5 in the Washington Post football standings.

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<![CDATA[Va. Business Owner Sues Google, Others for $8.4M]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:04:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008254468_1200x675_345955907616.jpg

A Northern Virginia businessman is suing Google, Yellowbook, and Ziplocal, for $8.4 million in damages, claiming he has lost significant business in the past 7 years.

"We're fighting for every service call we get, and my job is to make the phone ring, and it's not ringing," Baldino's Lock & Key owner Mark Baldino said.

Baldino said the search engines knowingly list pages of fraudulent and unlicensed locksmiths in search results.

"I believe it's just plain old greed," he said.

The phone numbers sometimes lead to dispatchers in other states farming out calls to people who are not locksmiths, don't really have businesses, but respond to calls and overcharge, according to Baldino.

"Who are these guys coming out? What's their background? I know in Virginia and Maryland, you have to have a background check in order to be a licensed locksmith,” said Baldino.

Yellowbook filed a lawsuit against Baldino last year for unpaid advertising costs. Baldino lost the lawsuit and is now appealing.

"I will not pay them as long as they have 5,000 fake listings in their directory,” said Baldino.

Baldino’s veteran locksmith Billy Coy says he hears from customers who have been burned several times a week.

"They basically destroy the lock, and they're calling us to say, 'Is there something you can do to fix what they've done?'" said Coy.

Google declined to comment on the lawsuit. Yellowbook plans to fight it. Ziplocal has not responded to News4's request for comment.

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<![CDATA[Ebola Lessons Hit Close to Home for Texas Nursing School ]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:14:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola_funerario_duncan.jpg

Just before Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, students in a microbiology class at Texas Christian University read the medical thriller "The Hot Zone."

The 1994 best-selling chronicle introduced them to virus hunters desperately battling outbreaks of Ebola and other deadly viral hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, the dangers the scientists faced and the stringent safety procedures they followed, from the biohazard clothing they wore to chemical showers and ultraviolet scans they used to keep from infecting themselves.

It was enthralling and far away.

And then Ebola arrived in Dallas — sickening a Texas Christian University graduate, Nina Pham, one of the two nurses who became ill after they cared for Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

When the Ebola scare began unfolding three weeks ago, 19-year-old nursing student Andrea Jumper thought about what she had read, particularly the protective steps the researchers took in "The Hot Zone.”

"It was all decontamination," the sophomore from Keller, Texas, said. "They had so much protection and they were just dealing with little samples of Ebola.”

She wondered why Duncan’s specimens were sent through the hospital’s tube delivery system during Duncan first visit to the hospital, when he arrived at the emergency room with a fever and complaining of nausea, abdominal pain and other symptoms. That changed when, after initially being sent home, he returned on Sept. 28 and was hospitalized.

“It was really mind-boggling to me that here they sent in the samples with all the other blood samples,” she said. “And they didn't have nearly as much of the protection as they use in the book.”

The hospital just did not know what to expect, she said.

It’s an assessment that Texas Health Presbyterian shares. It has acknowledged that its nurses had not received full training for such a deadly, contagious illness and that it made mistakes.

“On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola,” Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, the hospital’s parent company, wrote in a letter to the community. “For this, we are deeply sorry.”

At Texas Christian University's Fort Worth campus of yellow brick buildings, green quads and purple depictions of the school's mascot, a horned frog, the nursing students are keeping up with the latest developments on Ebola and here, their discussions have an added urgency. They will soon be on medicine's front lines, battling Ebola and other illnesses.

Kristie Tinh, a 21-year-old junior, said she and classmates are following the news reports and trying to make sure they have the correct information.

"We understand why it's a big deal, but we really just want people to calm down and look at the facts," she said.

Tinh said she was inspired by her father, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s who volunteered at a clinic where the injured were cared for. His work was dangerous, she said.

“He would tell me stories of what he would do and it just seemed really fascinating to me,” she said. “And that's what really pushed me to go into a health profession.”

She and other students said they thought that they were being prepared to protect themselves and that, panic aside, the disease in the United States was being controlled.

“You just need to be smart about it and take the proper steps and just think about what you're going in to,” said Jumper, who plans to work in neonatal care after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Clark A. Jones, Jumper’s microbiology professor, said that each year he began his course with “The Hot Zone,” reading an excerpt at the start of the first class. It provides an excellent description of epidemiology and shows how agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control Prevention in Atlanta and the U.S. Army work together in public health emergencies, he said.

“It’s been an amazing book to always use,” Jones said. “Did I ever foresee that we would see something like this? Well, we talk about it a lot, especially as the book ends with HIV …a major virus that has affected our world.”

His students have asked about droplet transmission — when a virus is transmitted through fluids as Ebola is — as opposed to airborne transmission, and they understand why the nurses were so much more at risk of infection than Duncan’s fiancee and her family, he said. After reading “The Hot Zone,” they knew the danger of a “Level 4 hot agent” like Ebola and questioned why the protection gear being worn by the Dallas health-care workers as recommended by the CDC in Atlanta seemed inadequate, he said.

“Our students were really surprised,” he said.

Since Pham and the other nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, became infected, the CDC has announced a series of measures to better protect health-care workers, the most recent change coming on Monday, when it issued stricter guidelines for protective equipment worn by the workers. The CDC is now calling for gear that covers the workers’ bodies completely, with face shields, hoods and boot covers, and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put it on and remove it.

Also, on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the state would create two new biocontainment facilities for treating patients with Ebola and other contagious diseases. Pham and Vinson are now hospitalized at two of the country’s four biocontainment hospitals specially equipped to handle infectious diseases, Pham at the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Suzy Lockwood, the director of undergraduate nursing studies at Texas Christian University’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said the school’s students have always been made aware of the need to guard against infectious diseases.

She poined out that the Dallas nurses, in trying to better protect themselves, taped their gear closed, perhaps putting themselves at greater risk as they removed the tape. Some of the protective gear was too large for the nurses. Lockwood noted that Pham, whom she taught and described as very caring, thoughtful and smart, is also small. The CDC recommendation for monitors to watch health-care workers remove their gear is key, Lockwood said.

“We’re all in a living science experiment,” she said. “We’re learning so much. Unfortunately, Presbyterian, the hospital here, ended up being the hospital that got the patient. Any other hospital would have had the same, probably would have had the same experience — just a little bit different but would have had the same struggles that this hospital had. They wouldn’t have had any different equipment.”

Maddy Robinson, a 19-year-old who studied nursing before switching to education, said the Ebola cases at Texas Health Presbyterian showed the importance of nurses, something she had learned from her father, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta.

“We're not prepared for something like Ebola,” she said.

With Pham still hospitalized, students and staff at the Harris School of Nursing have started wearing purple and apricot ribbons as a show of support, purple for the university, apricot because it is the academic color for nursing. After homecoming this past weekend, alumni have been calling asking for them, Lockwood said.

“We’ve been sending ribbons all over the country,” she said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images / File Photo
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<![CDATA[Car Slams Into Home; Misses Resident on Couch]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:24:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/car-into-house2.jpg

Two people were injured after their car crashed into a Montgomery County townhouse Tuesday afternoon, narrowly missing a woman who was home sitting on her sofa.

"All of a sudden there was the car, about two feet from me and about 10 feet inside my house," said homeowner Reenie Parris.

It happened around 1 p.m. in the 9900 block of Ridgeline Drive in Gaithersburg.

Montgomery County Fire officials said the driver was trapped and had to be rescued. He suffered serious injuries. His passenger was also hurt.

Parris, along with her dog, escaped unharmed. 

Officials have not determined what caused the driver to lose control. 

There is significant structural damage to the townhouse. A building inspector says the home is "unsafe to occupy."

"I was not expecting a car to be a guest in my living room today," said Parris. 



Photo Credit: Jay Alvey, News4]]>