November 6, 2007 in Nation/World

Man admits raping friends’ daughters

The Spokesman-Review

A 50-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to a series of rapes in which he used stun guns and chloroform to knock out the teenage daughters of his friends while they were home alone.

Chien Tai Wu obtained garage door control codes by offering to take care of pets for friends who went on vacation, and later used the codes to enter the homes while a teenager was home alone, prosecutors said.

Some victims did not remember the rape, thinking they had dreamed an attack, prosecutors said. One teenager woke up during an attack and later identified Wu.

“I don’t know what got into my head,” Wu told the judge Monday. “It was bad judgment.”

Wu pleaded guilty to two charges each of rape and attempted rape, five charges of aggravated burglary and one charge each of felonious assault and illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material.

He faces as many as 102 years in prison when he is sentenced in December.

Detectives found thousands of child pornography images on Wu’s computer, including videos that showed a man breaking into the homes of teenage girls, knocking them unconscious with chemicals and raping them, prosecutors said.

El Centro, Calif.

Teacher who fled with pupil in court

A Nebraska middle school teacher accused of running away to Mexico with a 13-year-old to have sex with him appeared in court Monday to face criminal charges.

Kelsey Peterson said nothing as charges that she crossed the border to have sex with a minor were read by U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Lewis. The judge scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to ask whether Peterson would waive extradition to Nebraska.

Peterson’s court-appointed attorney, Diane Regan, declined to comment after the court appearance.

Peterson, 25, was a sixth-grade math teacher and basketball coach at Lexington Middle School, and the boy was once her student.

The subject of a weeklong search, Peterson was taken into custody Friday in Mexicali, Mexico, after the boy’s relatives told police he had called home asking for money.


Mother accused of son’s death

A mother who claimed a carjacker had smothered her 7-year-old son with a pillow was arrested Monday and charged with murdering the boy.

Amanda Reagan Smith, 27, was taken into custody nearly three months after she told authorities that a knife-wielding carjacker forced her to drive to a secluded, wooded area in Greenville.

Once there, she said, the carjacker locked the car doors and pressed a pillow to her son’s face. Autopsy results showed that the boy died of asphyxia due to neck compression, authorities have said.


Boys suspected in koi pond sudsing

Two 17-year-old boys face felony animal cruelty charges after a security video caught two suspects apparently vandalizing a koi fish pond with dishwashing detergent, authorities said.

Deputies were called early Sunday after the residential pond was found filled with soap suds. About 30 fish were killed.

The damage was estimated at $4,000, and the teens were charged with felony criminal mischief.

Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies said in a report that they used the video to identify the boys, who are seen putting liquid and powder dishwashing detergent in the pond about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, then running away.

The homeowner had installed the video security system after the pond was vandalized twice last year. The boys were not charged in that incident.

From wire reports

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