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NATION IN BRIEF

Tuesday, February 15, 2005; Page A09

Blood on Floor in Mich. House Is Not Hoffa's, FBI Lab Says

DETROIT -- Blood found on the floor of a Detroit house where Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa allegedly was killed 30 years ago does not match Hoffa's, an FBI crime lab report said.

Authorities had ripped up floorboards in May at a house where Delaware Teamsters official Frank Sheeran said he shot Hoffa to death.

Police in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Township said Monday the FBI crime lab concluded that human blood from a man was on the floorboards but was not Hoffa's. Hoffa disappeared in July 1975.

Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca said that it is not known whose blood it was, but that the DNA would be entered into a national database.

Bloomfield Township Police Chief Jeffrey D. Werner said investigators and prosecutors were skeptical of the lead from the beginning but were obligated to pursue it after Fox News said that its investigation had turned up blood on the floor.

KINGSTON, N.Y. -- A man who opened fire Sunday in a crowded shopping mall with an assault rifle, wounding two people, seemed to have a "lurid fascination" with the Columbine High School bloodbath in 1999, a prosecutor said. Police searched a room occupied by Robert Bonelli Jr., 25, and found a cache of "Columbine memorabilia," District Attorney Donald Williams said. An Army recruiter was critically wounded and could lose a leg, authorities said.

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Jurors began deliberating in the murder trial of Christopher Pittman, who was 12 three years ago when, his lawyers said, the antidepressant Zoloft drove him to kill his grandparents, Joe and Joy Pittman. Pittman, 15, is charged as an adult and could get 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

ATLANTA -- The Southern Christian Leadership Conference expressed concern about the safety of Taser stun guns, used by police to immobilize suspects with shocks of 50,000 volts, saying 86 deaths have occurred in the past six years. The guns are commonly used by police and the military.

ORLANDO -- A group with ties to conservative Christian organizations launched a petition drive aimed at writing a ban on same-sex marriage into Florida's constitution. To put the amendment before the voters in November 2006, Florida4Marriage.org must collect 611,001 valid signatures by next February. Then the state Supreme Court must decide if the wording passes muster before it goes on the ballot.

BIRMINGHAM -- Eric Rudolph will not use an insanity defense to fight the death penalty if jurors convict him in a deadly abortion clinic bombing, according to a defense document. Rudolph's lawyers made the disclosure in asking a federal court for more time to reveal their potential expert witnesses to prosecutors.

-- From News Services


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