Local Leads: 10/24/2009 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 10/24/2009

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    New Shoulder Replacement Procedure Gives the Gift of Movement
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    John Allen Muhammad's attorneys said Friday they are asking Gov. Tim Kaine to spare the life of the mastermind behind the 2002 sniper attacks that left 10 dead in the D.C. area because he is too mentally ill to be executed.  Muhammad's attorneys used an unconventional video presentation to plead for his life, compiling recorded interviews with attorneys, mental health experts and witnesses to illustrate Muhammad's mental illness instead of a written clemency request. Muhammad is scheduled to be executed Nov. 10.  Jonathan Sheldon said he and other attorneys for Muhammad met with Mr. Kaine's staff on Thursday to present the 40-minute video of recorded interviews set over graphic information.

    The Marine Corps Marathon will be run this Sunday, shutting down a large number of D.C. streets. The race begins at 8 a.m. in Arlington, Virginia, and then crosses the Potomac River into the District. The Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Park Police will close numerous streets along the race route in the District between 4 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

    Surveillance cameras installed to keep hungry high school students from stealing sandwiches and snacks will keep rolling for at least one more year, the Fairfax School Board voted Thursday night.  Cameras were installed last fall in six high school cafeterias, following a report that the region's largest school system lost an estimated $1.2 million to food theft in 2007-2008. School officials said the cameras, along with a smattering of other preventative measures, helped divert some losses.  But food theft remains about a million-dollar problem, said Penny McConnell, director of food and nutrition services for the Fairfax schools.  "Our goal is to deter it," McConnell said. After another year of surveillance at the six trial schools, she will make a recommendation about whether the pilot program should be expanded district-wide

    A funeral has been planned for the Gov. Thomas Johnson High School student who died Wednesday from injuries suffered while skateboarding early this week, authorities said.   A close friend of the family, Vianney Cruz, said Friday the funeral for Pablo Serpas, 16, will be 10:30 a.m. today at Kingdom Hall-Jehovah's Witness, 11136 Old Frederick Road, Thurmont .  Cruz said Pablo was born in El Salvador. He moved to the United States with his family in 1995, Cruz said.  His mother, Zoilla Serpas, a single mother, relied on Pablo to help her with his younger siblings, ages 12 and 8, Cruz said.  Pablo worked at a restaurant, Cruz said.  "He gave his paycheck to his mother," Cruz said.  Zoilla Serpas has been comforted by an outpouring of support from her friends and the community, Cruz said. "The high school sent notes from the students," Cruz said. "Pablo was a person who was loved very much."

    Best Buy Co. Inc. will sell a GPS device that parents can use to track their child’s location.  The Richfield, Minn.-based electronics retailer is marketing the product, called Little Buddy, under its in-house brand, Insignia. The gadget is priced at $99 and is sized to fit “easily into a backpack, lunchbox or other receptacle,” according to Best Buy’s (NYSE: BBY) Web site.  The product has the ability to alert parents via a text message when their child moves outside a “designated area,” such as school, during a particular time of day. Parents can monitor a child’s location using a cell phone or computer.

    Dupont Blockbuster to Stop Renting Sunday, Liquidate & Close by Jan.  Dupont Circle's Blockbuster Video store, located at the corner of 17th and P Streets NW, will rent its last DVD on Sunday afternoon, as advertised on the dry erase board of the adjacent photo. Another one bites the dust for the chain of video rental stores that in its heyday put many mom and pop shops out of business, but is now falling victim to the competition of Netflix, cable and on demand programming, and of course, the Internet. The Adams Morgan and Eastern Market Blockbuster stores will remain open, however.