Detroit police officers to be tried over beating
DETROIT -- Three police officers were ordered yesterday to stand trial in the fatal beating of a black motorist, but a judge dismissed a felony charge against a sergeant accused of failing to stop the attack.
The ruling came at the close of a seven-day preliminary hearing in which witnesses testified that flashlight-swinging officers brutally beat Malice Green, 35, outside a suspected crack house Nov. 5.
There was no testimony that race was a motive, but the case evoked comparisons to the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King by white officers whose acquittals this spring led to rioting in Los Angeles. The three officers ordered to stand trial are white.
District Judge Alex J. Allen said the prosecution had not shown that the failure of Sgt. Freddie Douglas to stop the officers from beating Mr. Green caused the Detroit man's death. Sergeant Douglas is black.
The judge ordered Officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn to stand trial on second-degree murder charges, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. He bound over Officer Robert Lessnau on a charge of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Fire hits N.J. mall; shoppers evacuated
MOORESTOWN, N.J. -- A sprawling suburban shopping mall near Philadelphia was struck by a fire yesterday morning, prompting the evacuation of shoppers who had already filled the stores.
The Moorestown Mall, in an affluent New Jersey suburb east of Philadelphia, was closed shortly after it opened at 8 a.m.
It took firefighters six hours to douse the flames that burst through the roof of the huge structure. Officials said only minor injuries were reported.
Leaking gas causes 3 blasts, traffic pileup
MOUNT AIRY, N.C.
MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Leaking gas at a propane plant touched off three explosions yesterday and created a blinding fog that caused a traffic pileup and injured 15 people, authorities said.
Police Chief Leo Shores said the source of the initial leak was unknown. But once the cloud formed, he said, a truck driver tried to stop quickly on the rain-slick road and jackknifed, causing about 10 cars to crash behind it.
Then a driver filling up his truck with propane "got a little excited and pulled away a little prematurely," causing another leak, the chief said.
FDA approves drug for AIDS patients
WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to prevent a blood infection in people who have advanced AIDS, the agency said yesterday.
The drug, rifabutin, has been on a fast track through the agency's approval process, in part because it is for acquired immune deficiency syndrome and in part because its results rTC have been so positive. Clinical tests have shown it to be effective in blocking or delaying the Mycobacterium avium complex, or MAC.
"As the first product approved for the prevention of MAC disease, this drug will provide significant benefits for AIDS patients," FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler said. "It's a welcome addition to the growing number of products used to fight AIDS and diseases that can accompany it."
MAC can cause night sweats, fatigue, fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, severe anemia and liver dysfunction. The disease is caused by bacteria related to the tuberculosis germ. Researchers have said it occurs in about a quarter of the people in the late stages of AIDS.
Rifabutin is made by Adria Laboratories of Dublin, Ohio.
Ohio University gets patent for new mouse
WASHINGTON -- The second animal patent ever issued has been awarded to Ohio University for a mouse strain carrying a human gene that makes it resistant to viral infections, university officials said yesterday.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has notified the university that it will receive a patent Tuesday for the virus-resistant mouse, officials at the Athens, Ohio, institution announced.
Dr. Thomas Wagner, co-developer of the new mouse strain, said the patented animal was genetically altered so that it continuously produces a low level of interferon, a protein that the body uses to attack invading viruses.
The patent office issued the first mouse patent to Harvard University in 1988 for a laboratory mouse strain engineered to grow malignant tumors. That animal, called Harvard Mouse, is used for cancer studies.
From Wire Reports