Boyfriend charges in student's death; Oakland to issue state ID/ATM cards

Saturday, November 27, 2010; 9:55 PM

New York
Boyfriend charged in slaying of student

A 20-year-old Pennsylvania college student who vanished last week while on Thanksgiving break in her hometown in suburban Syracuse, N.Y., was killed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, a prosecutor said Saturday.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said 21-year-old Steven Pieper of Liverpool, N.Y., was arrested on a charge of murder in the death of Jenni-Lyn Watson, a junior dance major at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa.

The arrest came hours after searchers combing through woods for any sign of Watson found the body of a woman thought to be the missing student behind a storage shed in a swampy area of Clay Central Park.

Fitzpatrick said Pieper was upset when Watson tried to end their relationship in October. He said investigators think Pieper killed Watson at her parents' house Nov. 19, and her body was "dumped, frankly, like garbage," in the park.

"We do not believe she left that house alive," Fitzpatrick said.

- Associated Press

Oakland to issue city ID/ATM cards

Oakland is moving forward with plans for a municipal identification card that is being touted as the first in the nation that would double as a full-fledged debit card.

The Oakland City Council this month awarded a contract to issue the cards. The goal is to help any city residents, including illegal immigrants, who might have difficulty obtaining a state-issued ID.

Cardholders would also be able to load money onto their cards and use them wherever ATM cards are welcome. Oakland officials say that would allow people without bank accounts to avoid high check-cashing fees or the need to walk around with large amounts of cash.

San Francisco and Washington are among the other cities that offer municipal identification cards, although neither includes a full debit option.

- Associated Press

Boston mayor released from hospital: Mayor Thomas M. Menino was released Saturday from a Boston hospital where he had been treated for a bacterial infection in his elbow. The 67-year-old mayor was released from Brigham and Women's Hospital and will continue to receive antibiotics at home as he recovers. Doctors think that Menino developed the infection after scraping his elbow during a visit last weekend to Italy.

Casino evacuated after fire: Gambling was briefly halted and the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City evacuated early Saturday after a fire broke out on the building's sixth floor. No injuries were reported. Officials said the fire apparently started in an outdoor planter and burned through the facade into a wall.

Willie Nelson charged with marijuana possession: Country music legend Willie Nelson has been charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces of the hemp plant was found aboard his tour bus in Texas, authorities said. A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said the bus was searched when an officer smelled marijuana after it pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday.

- From news services

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