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News Briefs

October 27, 1995
Web posted at: 10:25 p.m. EDT

Cookie Burglar gets at least 25 years

SANTA ANA, California (CNN) - A parolee could spend the rest of his life in prison for breaking into a restaurant and stealing chocolate chip cookies.

Kevin Weber was sentenced to 25 years to life Friday under California's tough "three strikes, you're out" law.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jean Rheinheimer said she had no choice because of Weber's two previous felony convictions stemming from a 1988 burglary.

Prosecutors said the six-time parole violator broke into the restaurant to rob the safe after a busy Mother's Day holiday, but he triggered the alarm system before he could do it. When arrested, his pockets were full of cookies he had taken from the restaurant. Family members called the sentence ridiculous and unfair.

The three strikes law was designed to deter repeat offenders by mandating long prison sentences for a third felony conviction.

Man charged with raping kidnapped boy

Boyd Weakley

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- A man charged with kidnapping two young boys was charged Friday with raping the older child.

The 3- and 11-year-old brothers disappeared in Michigan almost two weeks ago. They were found with Boyd Weekley in New Orleans on Tuesday. Police believe that Weekley raped the older boy in a motel that day. Weekley is being held without bond.

He was out on bail from a child molestation charge at the time of the alleged incidents.

Prosecutors may drop charges against rap star

Snoop Doggy Dogg

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Murder charges against rap star Snoop Doggy Dogg and a co-defendant may be dropped. Prosecutors are considering the move in order to pursue the alleged trigger man in the case.

Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, is charged along with his bodyguard, McKinley Lee, and Sean Abrams in the 1993 drive-by shooting death of Philip Woldermarian in a west Los Angeles park.

Prosecutor Ed Nison said Friday that they may be forced to dismiss charges against the two less-involved defendants in order to pursue the case against the shooter. Prosecutors believe that Lee pulled the trigger.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace said that no decision had been made on whether to drop charges, and that any speculation would be "totally premature."

All three men have pleaded not guilty, saying that the shooting was in self-defense. They claim that Woldermarian pointed a gun at them.

Abrams is being represented by Johnnie Cochran, who said that his strategy is to "attack and embarrass" the Los Angeles Police Department, just as he did in the O.J. Simpson trial.

Space shuttle loses steering power for a while

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- The space shuttle Columbia experienced some steering problems briefly on Friday, but NASA acted quickly to repair the problem.

A computer software glitch caused two small jet thrusters used for steering to fail. Mission controllers discovered the problem about 2:15 a.m. EDT through automatically-relayed information from the shuttle to ground controllers.

The problem was corrected within 40 minutes of its discovery, NASA officials said. They said loss of the thrusters was not a serious problem because one of the other 38 main jets could have been used to steer.

However, firing one of those main jets could have jolted the delicate science experiments on board and tainted data, scientists said.

As the jets were being repaired, the shuttle floated in "free drift" attitude, or without jets, said Pam Alloway, spokeswoman at Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA said the shuttle can float in "free drift" for up to 24 hours without disrupting the experiments.

As of Friday, Columbia had completed half of its 16-day mission.

L.A. County spent $8.8 million on Simpson trial


Los Angeles (CNN) -- Financially troubled Los Angeles County spent $8.8 million on the O.J. Simpson double murder trial, County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said.

The largest single component of the county's Simpson case was the $3,988,163 for prosecutorial and investigative expenses by the District Attorney's office. Next on the list was the Sheriff's Department's $3,034,369 for courtroom and jury security, and jailing and transporting Simpson between the Men's Central Jail and the Criminal Courts Building.

The Simpson case is the costliest murder case in county history for which figures are available. The previous record was $1,811,260 spent on the multiple murder case against Richard Ramirez, dubbed the Night Stalker, in the late 1980's.

Simpson was acquitted October 3 of the June 12, 1994 murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Air bags may pose risk for kids not wearing seatbelts

crash test dummy

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal regulators are issuing a warning about air bags. The National Traffic Safety Administration says the bags can kill children who aren't wearing seat belts.

Six children who were not wearing seat belts have been killed by air bags in crashes over the past three years. By law, all new cars and trucks must have dual air bags by the 1999 model year.

Ken and Barbie 'freaks', says researcher

Barbie & Ken

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (CNN) -- A Yale researcher is trying to dispel the unrealistic body images created by Ken and Barbie dolls.

An article in the "International Journal of Eating Disorders" says a life-sized Barbie would be 7 feet tall with a waist six inches smaller than the average woman's.

To measure up to Ken's dimensions, the average man would have to stretch to 7 feet 8 inches tall and add seven inches to his chest.


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