Missouri lake is receding, again

WILDWOOD, Mo. (AP) – Residents of one St. Louis suburb are scratching their heads in bewilderment – again.

Little more than a year after it practically disappeared overnight, Lake Chesterfield is dwindling before residents’ eyes for the second time.

The 23-acre artificial lake drained last year like a bathtub. A geologist determined that water had eroded layers of limestone, creating gaps in the bedrock.

Residents of the subdivision where the lake is located voted to contribute about $1,000 per home for repairs, spending a total of about $650,000. By last month, it was almost back to its normal level and had been restocked with thousands of fish.

Last week, however, residents noticed the water was dropping again, by at least a foot a day, said Bruce Colella, chairman of the homeowners’ association board of trustees. The lake must drain completely before a geologist can determine exactly what the problem is, he said.

“Last year, I knew what to do,” Colella said. “This year, I’m not sure. I don’t think people have the stomach for another $1,000 assessment.”

HIV-positive spitter sentenced for attempted murder of New York police

NEW YORK (AP) – An HIV-positive ex-convict who said he tried to kill four Manhattan police officers and a psychiatric hospital employee by biting them or spitting blood in their faces was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison.

Robert Murray, 33, was not in court when state Supreme Court Justice William A. Wetzel imposed the sentence. He had sent a message saying the Hannibal Lecter-type restraints the judge ordered were “humiliating” and he refused to wear them to court.

While court officers stood by wearing green rubber gloves, the judge said that he ordered the restraints for Murray because of his prior behavior. Murray, a former mental patient, had threatened in past court appearances to attack people around him.

Murray pleaded guilty on Aug. 8, just before his trial was to start, to five counts of attempted murder in exchange for the 13-year sentence. He could have been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison on each count if he had been convicted after trial.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bassiur told the court on Wednesday that Murray, “knowing he had HIV or AIDS, deliberately attempted to infect others in the hope that it would eventually kill them.”

“The defendant did this through deplorable and disgusting criminal actions that included not only spitting bloody sputum into his victims’ eyes and mouths but also by biting into one victim’s flesh,” Bassiur said. “His intentions were not a secret. He would constantly tell his victims that he was trying to give them AIDS so they would die.”

Murray, arrested on April 8, 2003, on a charge of promoting prostitution, was being processed at the 25th Precinct station house when he spat saliva and blood into the faces of several police officers.

One of the 25th Precinct officers, Sgt. Margaret Timlim, said outside court that she was not infected by Murray’s spew but had undergone a debilitating year of therapy with anti-AIDS drugs to make sure. She said she was satisfied with Murray’s sentence.

“He’s already got AIDS, and 13 years is a long time,” she said. “At least he’s out of harm’s way for that long.”

Murray also had been accused of assaulting a correction officer by trying to bite him on March 4, 2004, and chewing a chunk of flesh out of the arm of a mental health worker at the maximum-security Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on June 7, 2004, prosecutors said.

Ohio reservist acquitted of abusing Afghan prisoner

FORT BLISS, Texas (AP) – An Army reservist was acquitted Wednesday of charges that he beat a detainee in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Christopher W. Greatorex was accused of abusing a man named Habibullah, who died days after being detained by U.S. forces in December 2002. A military report said Habibullah died of a pulmonary embolism apparently caused by blood clots formed in his legs from beatings.

A military jury of two officers and enlisted soldier voted for acquittal of Greatorex on charges of abuse, maltreatment and making false official statements. The trial of another soldier charged with beating the same detainee is to start Thursday.

Greatorex served with the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company.

A witness, Army Sgt. Keri Patterson, testified Tuesday that she was positive she saw Greatorex and Sgt. Darin Broady repeatedly use knee strikes on Habibullah as he stood in an isolation cell with his hands chained to the ceiling.

Prosecutors said her testimony was all the jury needed to convict Greatorex, while defense attorneys said she was mistaking him for another soldier.

Broady’s court-martial is scheduled next. Nine soldiers were charged with abusing Habibullah and another detainee at Bagram Airfield, and several have been convicted or pleaded guilty to abuse and other charges.

Charges were dropped against another Ohio reservist, who received a letter of reprimand.

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