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Local

Investigators say you can’t do anything about con artists who prey on your good will; just check them out before opening your wallet. B1

Authorities have not yet re- leased the name of a Toney man who died in a house fire Thursday night, and the cause remains undetermined. B1

A witness questions the

timing of Dr. David Tipton’s arrival at home on the day

he found his wife dead. B1

State

The sponsor of legislation

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dog tracks in Mobile Coun-

ty and Birmingham is back

for another try this year. B3

Nation

NASA clears space shuttle Endeavour for liftoff March 11 on a 16-day mission – the longest space station visit ever. A4

A White House aide who

served as President Bush’s middleman with conserva- tives and Christian groups resigns after admitting to plagiarism. A2

World

Prince Harry, the third in line to the British crown, is whisked out of harm’s way in Afghanis- tan after his service is re- vealed. A4

Turkey says it has pulled its troops out of northern Iraq, concluding a large-scale of- fensive against Kurdish separatist guerrillas that has strained relations with the U.S. A4

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Sports

Tuscaloosa prosecutors offer to dismiss a disorderly conduct charge against Al- abama football captain Rashad Johnson. F1

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Huntsville, Alabama Vol. 98, No. 345, 44 pages Contents © 2008, The Huntsville Times

98, No. 345, 44 pages Contents © 2008, The Huntsville Times WE BREAK MORE NEWS AT
98, No. 345, 44 pages Contents © 2008, The Huntsville Times WE BREAK MORE NEWS AT
98, No. 345, 44 pages Contents © 2008, The Huntsville Times WE BREAK MORE NEWS AT

WE BREAK MORE NEWS AT

Contents © 2008, The Huntsville Times WE BREAK MORE NEWS AT SATURDAY / MARCH 1 /

SATURDAY / MARCH 1 / 2008

Rough riding at the rodeo. B1

AT SATURDAY / MARCH 1 / 2008 Rough riding at the rodeo. B1 Classifieds: 532-4222 Bullets

Classifieds: 532-4222

Bullets don’t deter suspect

Shots to buttocks fail to stop two more break-ins

By NIKI DOYLE

Times Staff Writer niki.doyle@htimes.com

A six-foot fence, three dogs, 385 pounds worth of teenage boysandthreegunshotwounds

to the buttocks didn’t stop one alleged burglar from bursting

intotwootherhomesbeforepo-

lice detained him Thursday night. Huntsville police were still trying to verify the suspect’s identity Friday but believe he is 36-year-old Marvin Horton,

police spokesman Wendell

Albertville shooting

An Albertville man shoots one of two backyard prowlers Friday. B2

Johnson said. Horton allegedly jumped a 6- foot chain-link fence at 2702 Ninth Ave. and dodged Bren- da Glover’s pit bull puppy, Rot- tweiler and German shepherd before forcing open her front door at about 11:15 p.m. Glover said she went to bed early, but her two sons, 17-year-

oldDavidand18-year-oldJerry,

were up playing video games and heard the dogs bark sec- ondsbeforetheburglarcrashed into their home.

Glover woke up and heard

the man fighting with her sons, who managed to wrestle the man into a headlock. She grabbed an umbrella before en- tering the scuffle.

“I told him to leave, and he

said, ‘No, I’m coming in the house,’” she said. “He still kept coming, and I told him, ‘I’m going to go get my gun if you don’t leave.’” The three tried to push the manbackoutthefrontdoor,but he wouldn’t budge, Glover said. Whentheburglardidn’theed her warning, Glover retrieved her .38-caliber pistol and gave him a final chance to leave be- fore firing a shot into his back-

Please see BULLETS on A7

Trail of a burglar 3 1 Suspect forces his way in, fights with homeowner who
Trail of a burglar
3
1
Suspect forces
his way in, fights with
homeowner who detains
him until police arrive.
Suspect forces entry,
fights with two young boys,
the mother of the boys
shoots him.
9th Avenue
431
Madison
County
231
53
Huntsville
72
Area
2
N
of
Suspect forces
detail
open door, fights with
S
homeowner.
Huntsville Times
Street3rd
Street2nd

LET’S MAKE IT THREE

Robin Conn/Huntsville Times Robin Conn/Huntsville Times Butler players celebrate their Class 5A boys state
Robin Conn/Huntsville Times
Robin Conn/Huntsville Times
Butler players celebrate
their Class 5A boys
state championship
Friday afternoon.
Bob Jones players Kylie Cook, left, and Jala Harris celebrate
after winning the state Class 6A girls championship Friday.
Cheers
and tears
Details in Sports, F1
Ellen Hudson/Huntsville Times
Madison Academy’s Dante Bow-
man holds the 3A boys champi-
onship trophy as the team re-
turns to Madison Friday morning.
They won the title Thursday night
– their third title in a row.

Panel takes bite out of false verdicts

2 men now free after testimony of dentist disputed

By SHELIA BYRD

The Associated Press

MACON, Miss. – At a small- town courthouse in one of rural Mississippi’s poorest counties, Dr. Michael West swore under

oath that a dead girl had bite marksalloverherbodyandthat they were made by the two front teeth of the man charged with murdering her. Such testimony had become commonplace for West. The dentist considered himself an authority on forensic odontol- ogy and had taken the stand at numerous trials as a paid expert

for the prosecution. On the strength of West’s tes-

timony and little else, a jury in

1995convictedKennedyBrew-

er of raping and murdering the 3-year-old girl and sentenced him to death. Three years earlier, West gave similar testimony in a

nearlyidenticalrape-and-mur-

der case involving another 3-

year-old girl from the same town. West testified there were bite marks on the victim’s wrist and they were made by Levon Brooks. Brooks, too, was found guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Today, more than a decade later, both Brewer and Brooks

Please see VERDICTS on A7

Patients

strain

hospital

capacity

Flu, other ills put record numbers at city’s facilities

By STEVE DOYLE

Times Staff Writer steve.doyle@htimes.com

A nastier-than-usual cold and flu season in North Al- abama has area hospitals stuffed to the gills. CrestwoodMedicalCenter and Huntsville Hospital are both scrambling to keep pace with record numbers of pa- tients battling the flu, strep throat, pneumonia and gas- trointestinal illnesses, offi- cials said. Huntsville Hospital saw

some of the highest patient volumes in its history in late February, with more than 800 of its 881 licensed beds occupied, said Chief Execu- tive Officer David Spillers. Crestwood is just as busy, with 136 of 150 patient beds full in recent days and big crowds in the emergency room and in- tensive care unit, said Chief Nursing Officer Martha Walls. The problems peaked Feb. 20, when equally slammed hospitals in Birmingham and

Nashvillebegansteeringtrau-

ma patients to Huntsville Hospital for treatment, Spillers said. For about a two-hour stretch that Wednesday, Huntsville Hospital asked paramedics to divert patients to Crestwood’s emergency room. “That was to give (doctors and nurses) time to catch theirbreathandgetreadyfor the next round,” Spillers said Thursday. “The people down in the emergency depart- ment work just as hard as they possibly can, and no one

Please see PATIENTS on A7

Mobile lands Air Force contract

Northrop/EADS is the top choice to build air tankers

By GARRY MITCHELL

The Associated Press

MOBILE–TheAirForcean-

nounced Friday it had picked Northrop Grumman and its Paris-based partner, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., to build 179 refueling tankers at a site at Mobile, cre-

ating an estimated 2,000 jobs and putting the city on the aero- nautics industry’s world map. The selection of Mobile gave Alabama’s port city its second major industrial victory in less than a year. The contract is worth $30 bil- lion to $40 billion over 10 to 15 years and could be even more lucrative – it is the first of three deals to replace the Air Force’s entire fleet of nearly 600 tankers.

Last May, German steel- maker ThyssenKrupp picked a sitenearMobileforasteelplant expected to create some 2,700 jobs when fully operational,

another coup for the city on Mo- bile Bay.

A project of this magnitude

“is a change-agent for Mobile,” Mobile Area Chamber of Com- merce President Win Hallett said. “We are now well-posi- tioned to lead the United States’ aerospace industry.”

Supporters of the Northrop/EADS plan said it could move Mobile into the sameleaguewithSeattle,where Boeing builds large aircraft, and Toulouse, France, where EADS makes the Airbus.

“To say this is a great day for Alabama is a monumental un- derstatement,” Gov. Bob Riley said. “The Northrop Grum- man/EADS project will ex- pand the aerospace industry in

Mobile, as well as provide a

tremendous amount of oppor- tunities for additional aircraft manufacturing suppliers, and good paying jobs for the people of our region,” Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said at a news con-

ferencethatturnedintoacham-

pagne-pouring celebration. “This a community-changing industry.” The announcement sur-

Please see MOBILE on A7

00625096

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00400987

Bullets

Continued from page A1

side. The first shot didn’t register with the man, so Glover fired at least two more shots before he finally turned and ran back out the door. Glover’s husband called police. “What really freaked me out is when I shot him (the first time), he wouldn’t leave,” Glover said. The burglar took off across the street, jumped a 4-foot fence and kicked in the door of 2703 Ninth Ave. The home- owners pushed him back out

Verdicts

Continued from page A1

are out of prison, and prosecu- tors have all but pronounced them innocent. The reason: A third man confessed to both killings after DNA connected him to one of the rapes. As for West, his analysis of bite marks in the two murders

– and in hundreds of other Mis-

sissippi criminal cases over the

years – is under attack.

A panel of forensic experts

that examined the Brewer case says the wounds on the victim were not human bites at all, but were probably caused by craw- fish and insects nibbling on the corpse, decomposition, and rough handling when the body

was pulled from the pond where

it was found. Brooks’ lawyers say

West got it wrong in their case, too, by identifying scrapes as bites. The turn of events has shocked the community, espe- cially the victims’ families, and

led to accusations that West de- liberately falsified evidence. “You have people who en- gaged in misconduct and man- ufactured evidence and we’ve proved it,” said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, which has won the ex- oneration of more than 200 in- mates nationwide and assem-

bled the expert panel that ex- aminedtheBrewercase.“These two cases are going to be an eye- opener for the people of Mis- sissippi about some of the prob- lems they have in criminal jus- tice and how easy it will be to make it right.” West, a 55-year-old in private practice, did not return nu- merous calls to his Hattiesburg office.

Brewer,now36,andBrooks,

48, were found guilty in the slay- ings, respectively, of Christine Jackson and Courtney Smith, who were killed 18 months apart.Bothgirlsweredaughters

of the men’s girlfriends, and both

lived in Brooksville, a poor community of about 1,100 peo- ple.Bothdefendantswerepoor; Brewer is said to be mildly dis- abled mentally. Forensic experts had testified for the defense at the trials of Brooks and Brewer that the marks on the victims were not made by human teeth. But the

testimony seemed to make lit- tle difference.

Earlierthismonth,JustinAl-

bert Johnson, a 51-year-old Brooksville man who had been

a suspect early on, was arrest-

ed and charged in one of the murders. Investigators said he confessed to both killings after DNA analysis proved that his semen was in the victim in the Brewer case. Brewer, who was released on

bail last year, a few years after DNA tests excluded him as the rapist, was finally exonerated by

a judge on Feb. 15. “I ain’t worried about the past. I’m thinking about the future,” Brewer said. But he offered some advice to prosecutors:

“They need to get the truth be- fore they lock up the wrong somebody. It doesn’t feel good to be called a rapist and mur- derer.”

As for Brooks, he has a court

date on March 10, when pros- ecutors are expected to drop the case against him. He is already

back home, living with his 83- year-old mother.

In its February 2007 report,

the Innocence Project panel of top forensic odontologists from England, Canada and the U.S. concluded that West had mis-

interpreted the purported bite- mark evidence in the Brewer case. Panel member Dr. David

Senn,aforensicodontologistfor

the county medical examiner in San Antonio, told the AP that the experts were “scratching their heads to figure out how he could come to the conclusions he came to.”

The Huntsville Times, Saturday, March 1, 2008

A7

the door fairly quickly, said Glover, who watched the man flee her house. He then ran down the street and jumped through the win- dow of 2712 Ninth Ave., where the homeowner, 50-year-old Otis Ethridge, held the man until police arrived. Horton struggled with offi- cerswhiletheyhandcuffedhim, Johnson said. He faces multiple charges when he’s released from Huntsville Hospital, where he was taken to be treated for the gunshotwounds.Policesaidhis injuries weren’t serious. Johnson said it’s unlikely any charges will be filed against any of the homeowners who strug- gled with Horton, including

Glover. “Usually, if there’s any ques- tion regarding self defense, our investigators present it to the district attorney’s office and consult with them,” he said. “I don’t think that will happen, though.” Nothing was taken from the homes, all of which had fences. Police said they weren’t sure what caused Horton to al- legedly break into the homes. Incident reports show that of- ficers believe he was under the influence of drugs. None of the Ninth Avenue residents were seriously in- jured, although Glover and her sons have some minor scratch- es, bruises and knots. The incident wrapped up a

difficult day for Glover, whose grandmother died Wednesday.

But Glover said it’s just anoth- er day on Ninth Avenue, where she often has had to ask home- less people to move out of her driveway when she comes home. Her car stereo has been stolen, and a thief snatched her husband’s boots from the front

porch,butshe’snevercomeface-

to-face with someone deter- mined to get in her home. “I got the gun for protection when my kids were little,” she said. “I always thought I would have to use it out and about, not in my own house. I never ex- pected that.”

Patients

Continued from page A1

likes going on divert.” “But sometimes you just run out of room at the inn.” Ironically, Spillers and his counterpart at Crestwood, Dr. Pam Hudson, were in Mont- gomery that day to learn the fate of a proposed Madison

hospital that would give the

county 60 extra hospital beds and its third emergency room.

Unable to get a quorum of

votingmembers,thestateCer-

tificate of Need Review Board postponed action until March

19.

Don Webster, chief opera- tions officer for HEMSI am-

bulance service, said seven pa- tientswhorequestedtransport

to Huntsville Hospital during

thedivertperiodweretakenin-

stead to Crestwood. “The paramedics explained it to the patients and their fam- ilies, and nobody got upset,” Webster said. “There is a good procedure in place when either hospital has to go to a divert process.” Barbara Bush, Crestwood’s infection control coordinator, said the hospital off Airport

Road has treated 111 flu pa- tients since December, plus scores more with strep throat, pneumonia and other winter ailments. “We’ve seen an increase (in flu patients) every week since the beginning of January,”

Bush said Friday. With so much sickness

swirling around, Crestwood put up signs at every entrance reminding visitors to wash their hands and cover their coughs.Thehospitalalsooffers sterile masks to ER and in- tensive care unit visitors. The federal Centers for Dis- ease Control

and Preven- tion has said this year’s flu vaccine is only partly effec- tive against two of the three flu strains that are making people sick. The flu sea-

sontypicallyrunsfromlateDe-

cember to late March. Crestwood’s emergency room treats 115-120 patients a day on average, Walls said, but hit 159 patients recently. Mak- ing matters worse, some hos- pital employees have had to call in sick with the flu and other

employees have had to call in sick with the flu and other Huntsville Hospital CEO David

Huntsville

Hospital CEO

David Spillers

illnesses. “Our staffing has been stretched,” Walls said Friday, “butwe’vemanagedquitewell.

This particular flu has taxed the emergency room more than the inpatient side.”

SpillerssaidHuntsvilleHos-

pital’s patient census is still higher than normal, but down from last week’s peak. Things should be better next winter, he said, because Huntsville Hospital will be finished with its $27 million emergency room expansion project. A new ER wing opened in August, but the old section was closed until this summer for remodeling. When the dust settles, the state’sbusiestemergencyroom

will literally be the size of a gro- cery store, with nearly 50 ad- ditionalpatientbedsandmore treatment rooms. “That would have helped immensely” with the current flu problems, Spillers said. “I think it’s pretty clear that the

shotsdidn’tcoverallthevirus-

es this year.”

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prised even the state’s con- gressional delegation, which has lobbied on Mobile’s behalf for months but knew the Northrop team was widely considered the underdog in the competition, after Boeing. Sen. Richard Shelby, R- Tuscaloosa, called it “stunning news.” “Alabama’s on a roll,” he said. “Our economy is good.” Shelby said the Northrup/EADS plane ap- peared to be the better option all along. “It is larger. It’s more modern. It’ll carry more, and in the long run, it’ll save us money.” Sen.JeffSessions,R-Mobile, said the contract award is “fabulous news.” “We’re talking about bil- lions of dollars over decades of work,” Sessions told a crowd- ed room of local officials in a telephone call. “I know there will be a lot of challenges as we move forward from here.”

Mobilehaslonghadathriv-

ing port and industrial sector. Then last May ThyssenKrupp picked a site near Calvert north of Mobile for a steel plant that had been widely courted by other states. For more than two years, local and state officials sup- ported the refueling tanker

proposal by the partnership of Northrop Grumman/EADS, which would bring with it high-paying jobs. The indus- try recruiters pointed to the city’s closeness to the Gulf of Mexico shipping lanes and its available airport space, high- ways and railroads. In June 2005, Riley joined EADS North America execu- tives to announce the firm’s plans for an engineering facil- ity at Brookley Industrial Com- plex, the city’s largest manu- facturing employer, in antici- pation of assembling its KC- 330 refueling aircraft there. The engineering facility, which opened in January 2007, is involved in the com- pany’s Airbus engineering plans and will continue to op- erate.

Airbus engineering plans and will continue to op- erate. 00625105 It all comes down to TRUST

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