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September 27, 1995
Web posted at: 1:10 a.m. EDT

Supreme Court to hear appeal in Rodney King case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court is getting a jump on its fall term, which officially begins Monday. Wednesday, the justices announced that they will hear appeals from two former Los Angeles police officers convicted in the 1991 beating of Rodney King.

KoonPowell It's been four-and-a-half years since Los Angeles police were videotaped beating King. Stacy Koon and Laurence Powell got two-and-a-half-year sentences for the beating, less than half the prison time normally called for. A lower court wants the two men to get a stiffer sentence.

Koon's attorney said more prison time would be unfair because, he claims, the beating was partly King's fault. Defense attorney Ted Olsen said King was a large, strong man who led police on a 100 mph chase and resisted arrest.

The Supreme Court will review the sentences of Koon and Powell, but it refused to overturn their convictions.

Nichols' attorneys want judge in bomb case removed

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Lawyers for Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols asked a federal appeals court in Denver Wednesday to order the trial judge off the case. If the court won't grant their request, the lawyers said, it should at least force U.S. District Judge Wayne Alley to hold a hearing on the issue.

Alley has refused requests from both the defense and prosecution to step aside in the case. He has scheduled the trial to start May 17 in Lawton, Oklahoma. On Wednesday, Alley did grant a defense request for an extra 30 days to file change of venue motions. The defense wants to move the trial farther from Oklahoma City.

Nichols and accused bomber Timothy McVeigh are charged with terrorism, murder and conspiracy in the April 19 attack on the Oklahoma City federal building that left 169 people dead. Nichols' attorney, Michael Tigar, told the appeals court that all federal judges in Oklahoma City should be disqualified because the bombing took place directly across the street from the U.S. courthouse, damaged the courtrooms and injured court personnel.

Two more arrested in wrong-way killing

Kuhen LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A fourth alleged gang member was charged Wednesday and two more suspects arrested in the murder of 3-year-old Stephanie Kuhen, who was shot after her family's car made a wrong turn into a gang-infested neighborhood.

Police identified the two suspects as 26-year-old Anthony Rodriguez and 21 year-old Manuel Rosales. A 16-year-old charged earlier with murder and attempted murder is in juvenile custody along with another 16-year-old suspect. A hearing is scheduled to determine whether they should be tried as adults.

The other suspects, 18-year-old Alejandro Pech and 23-year-old Marcos Antonio Luna, were charged Tuesday with murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit assault with intent to cause great bodily injury. Their bail is set at $3.5 million. They are schedule to be arraigned October 11.

Virginia man executed for contract killing

JARRATT, Virginia (CNN) -- Dennis Stockton, 54, became the 27th person put to death in Virginia since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Stockton was executed by lethal injection on Wednesday for the 1978 contract murder of a teen-ager.

He was pronounced dead at 9:09 p.m. EDT (0109 GMT), said a spokesman for the Greensville Correctional Center.

According to witnesses, Stockton's last statement was a brief line from Isaiah 26:3: "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed in thee, because he trusteth in thee."

Stockton was convicted of shooting 18-year-old Kenneth Arnder in the back of the head and then cutting off his hands in July 1978. Arnder was killed in Patrick County, Virginia, and his body was found in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.

Scientists make great strides in gene mapping

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Scientists have made a compelling headway in gene identification and mapping. British scientists, in their journal Nature, will publish a "Genome Directory" to reflect the work of hundreds of scientists who have managed to decipher three-fourths of human genes. They have also determined what some 10,000 genes do.

This knowledge could pave the way for new treatments for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The findings are the result of continuing research by scientists in the five years since the launch of the human genome project. The goal of the project is to identify all human genes by the year 2005.

In order to put together the genome directory, scientists studied 335,000 pieces of human genes. They found the largest proportion of those, more than a fourth, dealt with the brain, followed by genes relating to the placenta, liver, white blood cells, lungs, embryo, breast and heart.

The human genome consists of all the DNA in the 23 pairs of chromosomes contained in each cell in the human body, affecting all of the body's functions. But aside from the 100,000 or so genes scientists believe humans have, the genome also contains vast stretches of "junk DNA" that is not thought to determine human functions. In fact, genes make up only 3 percent to 5 percent of the genome.

Remains of 18 Vietnam war servicemen coming home

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The remains of 18 U.S. servicemen who died in Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War will be flown to the U.S. mainland on Wednesday for burial.

The remains, released some time ago by the two countries, were taken to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii for identification. They include 12 remains just recently identified of servicemen previously unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Seven of the 18 were on board an Air Force AC-130A aircraft that was lost on an armed reconnaissance mission near Ban Tang Lou, Laos, on April 22, 1970. Their remains were recovered in a joint U.S.-Lao excavation in 1993.

Also being transferred Wednesday are the partial remains of six servicemen, originally identified in 1968.

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