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In brief: Smith: Panel won’t hold gun hearings

SATURDAY, JAN. 29, 2011

Washington – The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Friday rejected a request from Democrats to hold hearings related to gun safety in the aftermath of the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., earlier this month.

All 16 Democrats on the committee, which has jurisdiction over firearms laws, sent a letter to Rep. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who recently took charge of the panel, asking him to convene hearings on the use of high-capacity magazines and improving background checks to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining guns.

But Smith, in a statement released by the committee, said any such hearings could prejudice the upcoming trial of the shooting suspect, Jared Lee Loughner.

Air Force sergeant guilty of adultery

Mascoutah, Ill. – A military jury on Friday sentenced a chief master sergeant of the Air Force to a year and eight months in prison and a dishonorable discharge for committing adultery with four married female subordinates and making unwanted sexual advances toward several others.

A six-man jury of officers from Scott Air Force Base deliberated for about four hours before rendering their sentence on Chief Master Sgt. William Gurney, who was the top-ranking enlisted man at the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, when the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in 2009.

The 27-year Air Force veteran was convicted of or pleaded guilty to 15 counts, including adultery and sexual misconduct, during court-martial proceedings that began Monday.

Man convicted of 1976 murder

Columbia, Mo. – A 66-year-old Georgia grandfather was convicted Friday of killing a Missouri waitress nearly 35 years ago before going into hiding for the next three decades.

Jurors deliberated for about six hours in Columbia before deciding that suburban Atlanta resident Johnny Wright was guilty of second-degree murder in the August 1976 disappearance and death of 23-year-old Rebecca Doisy. The former University of Missouri student’s body was never found.

Wright was charged with murder in 1985, after an acquaintance said Wright admitted killing Rebecca Doisy.

He wasn’t arrested until 2009, after he sought a criminal background check for a job application at the police department in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Columbia police said Wright lived under the assumed identity of Errol Edwards for years in Seattle, Texas and most recently Georgia, where he raised a family. But he used his real name when seeking the background check, prosecutors said.


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