December 17, 1995
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EST
TUCSON, Arizona (CNN) -- At least two shopping malls have stepped up security or sent Santa Claus home because of anonymous threatening letters.
Tucson Mall added two armed guards and moved its Santa and his elves from the center of the mall to a second-floor store space. El Con Mall sent its Santa home indefinitely Wednesday.
"We're seeing quite a few disappointed children today," John Samuelson, the mall's operations manager, said Saturday. "We hope we can bring Santa back."Police refused to release details of the threats, but The Arizona Daily Star quoted a source as saying letters sent to two businesses contained threats that Santa would be shot. Police said they wanted to talk to a transient who was charged a year ago with making threats but failed to appear in court.
STOCKTON, California (CNN) -- A man charged with killing two lesbian activist in Medford, Oregon, said he feels no remorse and hopes to be executed, according to a published interview.
Robert James Acremant, 27, told The Record in Stockton that an "urge" prompted him to kill Roxanna Ellis, 53, and Michelle Abdill, 42, on December 4. The fact that they were lesbians made it easier, he told the newspaper.
Acremant was arrested Wednesday in Stockton, California and charged with two counts of aggravated murder. The two women's bodies were found in the back of Ellis' pickup truck December 7. They each had been bound, gagged and shot.
Civil rights activists have reacted with outrage to the killings of the two women, who were vocal opponents of a series of anti-gay rights initiatives in Oregon.
Acremant said he knew Ellis and Abdill were lesbians. However, he told The Record it was a foiled robbery that pushed him to murder rather than their sexual orientation.
MANHASSET, New York (CNN) -- An Egyptian woman who had been denied a U.S. visa to come donate bone marrow for her dying brother will be allowed to come to the United States after all.
Sen. Alfonse D'Amato said the U.S. embassy in Cairo will grant Wedad Astefanous a visa for the lifesaving operation for her brother, Mauris, a New York cabdriver who has leukemia.
D'Amato had urged the U.S. State Department to reconsider its earlier rejection of a visa for her. U.S. embassies are skeptical of requests for visas on medical grounds because it is a common scam to get into the United States.
Astefanous immigrated from Egypt 17 years ago. Doctors tested his three siblings and his 14-year old daughter. His sister was found to be a perfect match for the bone marrow operation.
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