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NATION IN BRIEF

Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page A14

White Supremacist Gets 40 Years

CHICAGO -- White supremacist Matthew Hale was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday for trying to have a federal judge killed -- the same judge whose husband and mother were murdered five weeks ago by a deranged man with no connection to Hale.

Hale, 33, the leader of a group that preaches racial holy war, was sentenced after a two-hour speech in which he said he was the victim and recited part of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Hale was convicted in April 2004 of soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow of Chicago in retaliation for her ruling against him in a trademark dispute.

Lefkow's husband and mother were killed in February. Early suspicion fell on Hale followers, but days later, a Chicago man upset over a ruling in his medical malpractice lawsuit killed himself in Wisconsin. He had confessed to the slayings in a note.

Detroit Elephants Head to Calif.

The two elderly Detroit Zoo elephants that triggered a dispute last year over whether it is humane to keep elephants in cold weather zoos are on their way to a warmer clime at a California sanctuary. The animals, Wanda and Winky, are expected to arrive this week at the Performing Animal Welfare Society's facility east of San Francisco.

Detroit Zoo Director Ron Kagan concluded last year that the elephants could not be properly cared for in his zoo, where they had to remain indoors for long periods during the winter. Both animals have arthritis and foot problems, believed to be caused in part by their relative lack of space to move around.

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which accredits zoos, initially opposed moving the animals to a sanctuary but relented last fall.

• LOS ANGELES -- Johnnie Cochran Jr.'s most celebrated clients, O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson, joined civil rights figures and Hollywood stars at the lawyer's funeral at West Angeles Cathedral, remembering Cochran's cunning legal skills and commitment to the people he represented. Cochran, 67, died March 29 of an inoperable brain tumor.

• BRANDON, Miss. -- Lines of violent thunderstorms rolled through the South with at least one tornado, destroying homes and ripping the roof off a school after students were rushed to shelter. No deaths were reported, but officials said at least one person was critically injured in Mississippi, where Gov. Haley Barbour (R) declared a state of emergency.

• RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina House voted narrowly, 61 to 59, to establish a lottery in the last state on the East Coast without one. The measure now goes to the Senate, which favored a lottery in the past but has not voted on the issue in 12 years.

• CAPE CANAVERAL -- The rollout of space shuttle Discovery to the launch pad was briefly put on hold after a crack was discovered in the foam insulation on the external fuel tank. But NASA later said the crack was no reason for concern.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports


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