Local & VCU

Colonial Heights police locate car of elderly couple found dead

Colonial Heights police have located the vehicle of an elderly couple found dead Friday in their home in the 100 block of Conduit Road, near Colonial Heights Middle School.

Authorities said the vehicle, a 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis, was found a few blocks away from their residence and was seized for processing. Colonial Heights Police investigators and Virginia State Police Forensic Unit are working on the case.

Police said family members found Joseph Bland, 84, and Evelyn Bland, 80 unresponsive in their home on Friday and called authorities about 6:30 p.m. Emergency personnel and police responded.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Petersburg police identify suspect in fatal shooting

Authorities Saturday identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of Marcellus Crittendon, 19, of Petersburg.

Crittendon was shot and killed early Saturday outside a home party, in what is the city’s first homicide of 2011.

Police obtained murder and various firearms warrants for Kelleph Abraham Bland III, 25, who is described as a male, 6’1” tall, 185 pounds. He has scars on his lower left chin and his last known address is in the 15000 block of Martingale Road in Chesterfield County, police said. Bland is considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Crittendon was attending a party in the 1400 block of Custer Street, off Halifax Street when he was shot around 1 a.m. Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene, police spokeswoman Esther Hyatt said.

This is Petersburg’s first killing of the year. The city recorded 12 killings last year, two more than in 2009 and the most since at least 1999, according to state records.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Bus monitor gets suspended term

A Richmond school bus monitor was given a suspended jail term Friday for her role in leaving a 4-year-old autistic boy on a hot bus in July.

At the end of a three-hour bench trial, Richmond Circuit Judge Clarence N. Jenkins Jr. acquitted Irene Jenkins on a charge of felony child neglect but convicted her on a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The judge, who is not related, sentenced Jenkins, 61, of Richmond to one year in jail, the maximum, but suspended the entire term for three years on the condition that she avoid further legal trouble.

Richmond Public Schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby said she could not comment on Jenkins’ status, but she said a conviction of the misdemeanor offense could be grounds for termination.

Alvin D. Matthews, the driver of the bus, received a nine-month suspended term in November when he entered a guilty plea to a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a felony child neglect charge, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. Matthews, who at the time of the incident had been a substitute driver for the city school system for less than five months, is no longer driving school buses.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

National and International

St. Paul bar to roast bear for Packers-Bears game

A sports bar owner in Minnesota is showing his support for the Green Bay Packers in this weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears in a very literal way – by roasting a bear.

Blake Montpetit, the co-owner of Tiffany Sports Lounge in St. Paul, says he plans to cook a 180-pound black bear in a pig-roaster over hickory and charcoal on Sunday. He says his cousin shot it in northern Wisconsin during bear hunting season, which runs in September and October, and then froze it.

Montpetit says he planned to serve the meat to customers, but the state health department rejected the plan because the meat is unprocessed. Instead, customers can take photos with the roasting bear.

After the game, the meat will go his cousin’s party in Somerset, Wisconsin.

Brief by The Associated Press

U.S. company stops making key death penalty drug

The sole U.S. manufacturer of a key lethal injection drug said Friday it is ending production because of death-penalty opposition overseas — a move that could delay executions across the United States.

Over the past several months, a growing shortage of the drug, sodium thiopental, has forced some states to put executions on hold. And the problem is likely to get worse with the announcement from Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill.

Hospira said it decided in recent months to switch manufacturing from its North Carolina plant to a more modern Hospira factory in Liscate, Italy. But Italian authorities demanded a guarantee the drug would not be used to put inmates to death — an assurance the company said it was not willing to give.

“We cannot take the risk that we will be held liable by the Italian authorities if the product is diverted for use in capital punishment,” Hospira spokesman Dan Rosenberg said. “Exposing our employees or facilities to liability is not a risk we are prepared to take.”

Italian Health Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Brief by The Associated Press

Initial results: South Sudan independence vote approved

Officials say preliminary results show more than 98 percent of voters in and near Southern Sudan’s capital voted for independence from the north.

The referendum committee for Central Equatoria State on Wednesday posted their results of the weeklong poll that ended Saturday. The south was widely expected to vote for secession.

Referendum bureau spokesman Aleu Garang Aleu said “five or six” of the south’s 10 states have reported final tallies.

Southern president Salva Kiir urged southerners to wait to celebrate until complete results are announced in mid-February.

The referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between the largely Christian and animist south and the mostly Muslim north.

Brief by The Associated Press

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