Nation in brief: Murderer’s gun offered on Internet

The gun purportedly used by executed killer Gary Gilmore to commit his crimes is being offered for sale on a murder collectibles auction site for a minimum bid of $1 million.

The owner put the .22-caliber Browning pistol on Wednesday with a description reading: “The actual pistol used by Gary Gilmore for two murders. Absolute documentation.”

Gilmore was the first person in the country executed after a Supreme Court decision allowed states to restore the death penalty in 1976 after a 10-year moratorium. He was executed by a Utah firing squad in 1977 for the shooting death of a motel clerk.

After the Gilmore case was closed, authorities returned the pistol to the owner of the Spanish Fork gun store where Gilmore had stolen it. Dennis Stilson, a bail bondsman in Spanish Fork, said he bought the gun from the store owner in 2002. He wouldn’t say how much he paid.

The auction ends Wednesday. As of Thursday night, there were no bids.

New Orleans

Religious leaders quitting committee

Nearly all the religious leaders serving on a committee created by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to disburse money to churches destroyed by Hurricane Katrina have quit their posts, claiming their advice was ignored.

Four out of nine board members confirmed their resignations on Thursday. Last week, two others – Bishop T.D. Jakes, the prominent Dallas megachurch pastor, and the Rev. William H. Gray III, former president of the United Negro College Fund – resigned as co-chairs. Gray and Jakes say they have received the resignation letter of a seventh board member.

The fund, created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, has so far raised more than $125 million, of which approximately $20 million was earmarked for rebuilding faith-based organizations. The interfaith advisory committee was charged with determining which were in greatest need.


Hastert admitted into hospital

House Speaker Dennis Hastert was hospitalized Thursday for treatment of a bacterial skin infection.

Hastert was expected to be treated with intravenous antibiotics at Bethesda Naval Hospital through the weekend.

Hastert, 64, discovered the infection on his lower left leg and applied a topical ointment. After a few days, Hastert’s doctor examined the infection at Bethesda and diagnosed it as cellulitis, which can spread rapidly without treatment.

Jenks, Okla.

Highway paintball results in death

An SUV carrying high school football players having a paintball fight with teammates in another vehicle flew out of control on a highway and flipped, killing a 17-year-old boy, officials said.

The teens had just left a paintball adventure park Wednesday afternoon after meeting up with other players and coaches from the Jenks High School football team.

Seven of them were speeding down a highway in the two vehicles, shooting paintball pellets at each other, when the SUV crossed the median into oncoming traffic, struck a sign and then flipped several times, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Garrett Austin Bennett, 17, died on the highway outside Tulsa. Two other teenagers were treated for minor injuries.

“I have seen a lot of horseplay over the past years, but I think this is the first time I have ever seen somebody playing paintball at 75 mph,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Pete Norwood. “The highway is no place to play.”


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