Around the nation

2013-02-22T00:00:00Z Around the nationFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
February 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Illinois

Screaming Peterson gets 38 years for killing wife

JOLIET - Drew Peterson - the swaggering Chicago-area policeman who gained notoriety after his fourth wife vanished - lost his characteristic cool in court Thursday, screaming out his innocence before a judge sentenced him to 38 years in prison for the murder of a previous wife.

"I did not kill Kathleen!" Peterson shouted, leaning into a courtroom microphone and emphasizing each of the five words.

Without missing a beat, his dead wife's sister, Susan Doman, shouted back, "Yes, you did! You liar!" before the judge ordered sheriff's deputies to remove her from the courtroom.

For years, Peterson had casually dismissed and even joked about suggestions he killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, or that he was behind the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

Georgia

4 indicted in outbreak of salmonella that killed 9

Four former peanut company employees have been charged with scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine, sickened hundreds and prompted one of the largest recalls in history.

The indictment by a federal grand jury in Georgia is a rare move by the federal government in food poisoning cases. Justice Department officials said Thursday that the charges stemming from the 2009 outbreak serve as a warning to food manufacturers who may compromise consumer safety in search of higher profits.

The 76-count indictment was unsealed late Wednesday in federal court in Albany, Ga. It accuses Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell; his brother, Michael Parnell; and Georgia plant manager Samuel Lightsey with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. Michael Parnell was a food broker who worked with the company.

Texas

Gay-marriage group drops ads with Mrs. Bush

DALLAS - A pro-gay-marriage group will replace ads that include former first lady Laura Bush speaking on the topic with a new ad this weekend after Mrs. Bush said she did not want to be part of its campaign.

The Respect for Marriage Coalition said Thursday that it appreciated Mrs. Bush's previous comments "but are sorry she didn't want to be included in an ad."

The national advertising campaign of print, television and online ads that launched this week featured part of an interview on CNN in which Mrs. Bush says: "When couples are committed to each other and love each other, then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has."

The coalition made up of more than 80 organizations supporting gay marriage said the ad was part of "a public education campaign that will now move to new and different voices that reflect the depth and breadth of our support."

The ads that began running Wednesday also included President Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell talking favorably about gay marriage.

California

More testing is needed on body in hotel water tank

LOS ANGELES - More testing must be done to determine the cause of death of a 21-year-old Canadian tourist whose body was found wedged in a water tank atop a downtown Los Angeles hotel, authorities said Thursday.

An autopsy performed Thursday didn't provide definitive answers into whether Elisa Lam was killed or if she fell victim to a bizarre accident. Coroner's officials will await toxicology tests before making a final determination.

Lam's body was found Tuesday in a water cistern atop the downtown Cecil Hotel.

Guest complaints about low water pressure prompted a maintenance worker to make the gruesome discovery.

Before she died, hotel surveillance footage showed her inside an elevator pushing buttons and sticking her head out the doors, looking in both directions.

Washington

3 Army paratroopers are rescued from trees

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD - The Army says firefighters have rescued three paratroopers who got stuck in trees after they jumped from an aircraft in a training exercise in Washington state.

Joe Piek is a spokesman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle. He said all three were unhurt after getting stuck in trees near one of the base's drop zones on a windy Thursday afternoon.

He didn't have many details but said the big, wide-open drop zones are surrounded by trees, and parachutes can drift off course if winds change or increase during a jump.

The Associated Press

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