April 9, 2005 in Nation/World

Stepdad kills girl while mom in Iraq

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Waco, Texas A man was sentenced to life in prison for the beating death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter while her mother was serving in Iraq.

John D. Mayer Jr., 30, also was sentenced Wednesday to two terms of more than 30 years, one for each conviction on charges of sexually assaulting the girl and her sister, said assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Mayer, who lived at Fort Hood, pleaded guilty in February. Because the government did not pursue the death penalty, a mandatory life sentence was imposed.

Mayer had watched the girl and her two siblings since their mother was deployed in April 2003.

Mayer told investigators he was changing the girl’s diaper but she was fussy, so he hit her head on the floor, an FBI affidavit said. He didn’t take her to the hospital because of bruises from previous abuse; he finally drove her to his father’s Louisiana home. Mayer’s father took the girl to the hospital, where she died.

Gas prices, Iraq hurting GOP ratings

Washington The public’s dissatisfaction with President Bush and the Republican-led Congress is growing, with ratings dropping amid record high gas prices, war in Iraq, the Social Security debate and the emotional Terri Schiavo case.

The Republican president’s job approval is at 44 percent, with 54 percent disapproving. Only 37 percent have a favorable opinion of the work being done by Congress, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.

Bush’s job approval was at 49 percent in January, the same month in which he was sworn in for a second term, while Congress’ was at 41 percent.

“It looks like it’s caused by a confluence of events,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, pointing to uphill efforts to change Social Security, the Schiavo case and “economic jitters” heightened by rising oil prices.

Blaming Congress, post office poses hike

Washington The post office wants an extra 2-cents-worth for its stamps.

However, at the same time Friday that the agency proposed the stamp price increase, it also invited Congress to eliminate the need for it.

The proposal sent to the independent Postal Rate Commission calls for increases to take effect early next year.

They would boost first class stamps from 37 cents to 39 cents, increase post cards from 23 cents to 24 cents and raise other postal prices similarly.

In announcing the rate proposal the Postal Service said it is needed only because a 2003 law requires the agency to place $3.1 billion annually in an escrow account.

Postal officials have been urging Congress to drop that requirement and said they will withdraw the rate request if Congress does so.


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