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News Briefs

November 30, 1995
Web posted at: 8:15 p.m. EST

20 years later, neighbor confesses to double slaying


LAKE CITY, Minnesota (CNN) -- Nearly 20 years after a double slaying mystified local authorities and prompted the town's 4,400 residents to start locking their doors, a 34-year-old man has confessed to the crime.

John Claypool was just 14 when his neighbor, Mayor Wilmer Strickland, allowed him into his home. Claypool claimed he was locked out of his own house.

Strickland saw too late that Claypool had a gun and was shot to death as he tried to warn his wife and flee. Verona Strickland was shot at close range.

Claypool said he had liked his neighbors but he wanted to see at the time "what it was like to kill someone," Wabasha County Attorney Jim Nordstrom said Wednesday.

Claypool was expected to plead guilty Thursday to second-degree murder. He could serve about 10 years in prison.

Brady remains in fair condition


FALLS CHURCH, Virginia (CNN) -- Former presidential press secretary Jim Brady remained in "fair condition" Thursday, according to a nursing supervisor at Fairfax Hospital.

Brady was hospitalized Tuesday after going into cardiac arrest during a dental procedure.

Brady's dentist, Dr. Peter Smith, told CNN he believes the cardiac arrest was caused by a neurological problem relating to Brady's gunshot injury. Brady, the former press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head during a 1981 assassination attempt against Reagan.

Man rescued from snowbound car

BAY CITY, Michigan (CNN) -- A 71-year-old man was recovering in a hospital Thursday after he survived two days trapped in a snowbound car as temperatures plunged below zero.

Harvey Pauwels was driving Monday near his home when he lost control of his car on a snowy road and slid into a nine-foot ditch. More snow and passing plows then buried the car.

Two passers-by spotted Pauwels' car Wednesday and cleared off several feet of snow. Initially, they didn't think anyone was in the car.

Pauwels is being treated for hypothermia and dehydration.

First test-tube gorilla baby born


CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) -- The world's first test-tube baby gorilla has been born, the Cincinnati Zoo announced Thursday.

The 3.5 pound (1.6 kilogram) female was born two months premature on October 9, but the zoo officials kept it secret until they were sure the baby would survive with intensive nursing care.

The mother, 21-year-old Rosie, resides at the Cincinnati Zoo. The sperm came from an 11-year-old male, Mosuba, at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. The newborn has not yet been named.

The zoo's Centre for Reproduction of Endangered Wildlife said the breakthrough may make it possible to expand an endangered species of western lowland mountain gorilla in Africa, which now numbers fewer than 450.

Spending bill for EPA, housing stalls in House

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House rejected an $80.6 billion spending bill Wednesday that was expected to deeply cut funds for environmental protection and housing programs.

The House rejected the bill on a 216-208 vote and ordered Republican leaders to add more money for veterans' health programs before presenting it for another vote.

The bill would slash state grants for drinking water treatment and sewage treatment programs by up to 45 percent, according to an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Democrats and moderate Republicans combined to fight the legislation, arguing that the deep cuts in EPA spending would threaten the agency's ability to enforce air and water pollution controls and clean up toxic wastes.

The spending bill, which still awaits a final vote in the Senate, would cut appropriations for the EPA and for housing programs by 21 percent from 1995 levels.

The Senate, meanwhile, unanimously approved a bill that backers say would make regulators more cost-conscious when setting standards for safe drinking water, but would protect water quality.

The bill, backed by the Republican and Democratic leadership, passed 99-0 without major amendments. The bill makes the EPA use cost-benefit analyses in setting regulations, and gives states more flexibility in meeting rules.

Ex-senator gets probation for falsifying expenses

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. District Judge on Wednesday sentenced former Sen. David Durenberger, R-Minnesota, to one year of probation for each of five misdemeanor convictions on charges he stole public funds by falsifying his expense account.

The five one-year sentences will be served concurrently.

Durenberger was also sentenced to perform 75 hours of community service and fined $1,000. He will be permitted to travel in the United States.

Before sentencing, Judge Stanley Harris told Durenberger, "You've accomplished a lot and it's difficult to conclude you're anything but a fine human being ... There's not a chance of you repeating the offense that has you before us today."

Durenberger said he'd continue to teach at a Minnesota University, and after January, would probably begin lobbying. In the aftermath of the charges, Durenberger lost both his license to practice law and his Senate seat.

Weld to challenge Kerry for Senate seat

WASHINGTON (CNN)-- Massachusetts Gov. William Weld announced Wednesday that he will run for Senate against incumbent John Kerry next year.

"He wants to be a part of the (Republican) Revolution," a close adviser to Weld told CNN.

The former U.S. attorney was first elected governor in 1990 and was re-elected in 1994 with 71 percent of the vote. His term is up in January 1999.

The moderate Republican opted not to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and instead supported the candidacy of Gov. Pete Wilson. Weld was Wilson's national finance chairman and did not endorse another presidential candidate after Wilson quit the race.

Kerry was first elected to the Senate in 1984.

Whitewater whistleblower denies anti-Clinton bias

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Jean Lewis, an attorney and investigator with the Resolution Trust Corp., told the Senate Whitewater Committee Wednesday that Bill and Hillary Clinton benefited from the Whitewater development, and that there was an effort inside of government to hinder her investigation.

Jean Lewis

But committee Democrats stunned the hearing room with allegations of political bias by Lewis against Bill Clinton, including a letter in which she referred to him as a "lying bastard."

Minority Counsel Richard Ben-Veniste produced a portion of a letter sent by Lewis to an old friend.

Chairman Alfonso D'Amato tried to block the question which led to the revelation of the Lewis' letter, and both Lewis and her lawyer said singling out one paragraph was a cheap shot.

An FBI agent quoted Lewis as saying she had given up other job opportunities to pursue the Whitewater investigation and saying it could "change the course of history."

Model murder investigation widened to other cases

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A photographer charged with killing former cheerleader Linda Sobek is also a possible suspect in the death of another model whose remains were found in the same forest in 1993, police said Wednesday.

Investigators also plan to review unsolved murders outside California in areas where the photographer, Charles Rathbun, 38, is known to have been, Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block told a news conference Wednesday.

Investigators from the Sheriff's office are heading to Columbus, Ohio, where they will focus on developing a profile and gather background on Rathbun. Rathbun was born and raised there, and his father still lives in Columbus.

Block said people who have come forward with information in the case have told of an "acquaintance" between Rathbun and model Kimberly Pandelious, who disappeared in February 1992 after leaving a beauty salon.

Pandelious' skull, bone fragments and bits of her clothing were found in an area of the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles by prospectors in March 1993. Sobek's clothes were found in the same area of the forest, but her body was buried a considerable distance away.

Clinton adviser on Cuba under criminal investigation

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- President Clinton's special adviser for Cuba, Richard Nuccio, is under criminal investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information about CIA activities in Guatemala.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is inquiring into allegations that Nuccio gave the name of a CIA paid informant to Rep. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, a report in the Miami Herald said Wednesday.

A White House official said Nuccio was still on the payroll, but declined to comment further.

Torricelli publicly linked the informant, Guatemalan Army Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez, to the slayings in Guatemala of U.S. innkeeper Michael DeVine and Efrain Bamaca Velazquez, a left-leaning activist married to an American citizen.


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