Umoja Leader Pleads Guilty in Tax Case
Umoja Party leader Mark A. Thompson pleaded guilty yesterday to two tax charges in D.C. Superior Court, admitting that he did not file tax returns or pay required city taxes in 1995.
In return for Thompson's guilty pleas to the two misdemeanor charges, D.C. authorities dropped identical charges concerning 1996 and 1997. The sometime radio commentator could face as much as a year in jail on each charge when sentenced Nov. 22.
Thompson, 32, an unsuccessful D.C. Council candidate, told a Washington Post reporter last year that he failed to file local or federal tax returns for six years beginning in 1992. A D.C. statehood advocate, he said he "vacillated" about whether it was "fair" for D.C. residents to pay taxes.
In July 1998, Thompson was convicted of assaulting his wife and sentenced to two years' probation. His wife alleged in court papers that he beat her repeatedly during their marriage.
No Verdict in Marlene Cooke Trial
A D.C. Superior Court jury deliberated for two hours yesterday without reaching a verdict in the drunken driving trial of Marlene Kent Cooke, widow of former Washington Redskins' owner Jack Kent Cooke. Deliberations are to resume at 9 a.m.
Assistant Corporation Counsel Anthony C. Gagliardi is trying to show that Cooke, driving without lights in the early-morning hours of Nov. 5, was intoxicated and should not have been behind the wheel of her Land Rover. He called the evidence "overwhelming."
Defense attorney John Perazich countered yesterday that there is "a gaping hole in the government's proof." He told the jury that the case remains unproven against Cooke, who told police she drank one glass of wine or less and refused a breathalyzer test.
Cooke, who is fighting deportation in federal court, pleaded guilty to driving while impaired after a 1994 incident in which her vehicle collided with a motorcycle outside a McPherson Square nightclub. A judge dismissed a 1993 drunken driving charge filed after police spotted her driving her Jaguar convertible in Georgetown, a male friend sprawled on the hood.
Man Found Fatally Shot in Shaw
A 33-year-old man who had been fatally shot was found early yesterday on a street in the Shaw neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C. police said.
Stevie Robert Gray, of the 400 Block of Richardson Place NW, was found shortly after 3 a.m. in the 400 block of R Street NW.
Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said the area has been a longtime trouble spot.
Emergency Medical Personnel Punished
Two paramedics and two dispatchers from the Prince George's County Fire Department have been suspended and could be fired for their role in a July 18 case in which a heart attack victim had to wait 25 minutes for an ambulance, fire officials said yesterday.
Fire Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki said the dispatchers took a 911 call about 12:30 a.m. from a Croom woman who reported that her husband, 44, had collapsed and couldn't breathe. Dispatchers erred by telling an ambulance crew that the call was for "a sick person" and, therefore, was not urgent, he said. Partly as a result, the ambulance took 25 minutes to show up.
Things got worse when the ambulance arrived at the house and the crew, realizing that the man was suffering a heart attack, asked dispatchers to send a paramedic crew, Siarnicki said. But the nearest paramedic unit, based in Upper Marlboro, reported that it could not respond because of equipment problems. As a result, dispatchers had to send another crew from Clinton, resulting in an additional delay of 20 minutes, he said.
The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Southern Maryland Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead. The dispatchers and the paramedics from the Upper Marlboro unit face a disciplinary hearing Thursday. They were not identified.