The Region

Va. Outweighs Md., D.C. on Obesity Scale

A report out yesterday ranked Virginia 22nd in the nation for its rate of adult obesity.

The report, released by the Trust for America's Health in Washington and titled "F as in Fat," puts Virginia's adult obesity rate at 22.9 percent.

Maryland ranked 29th with a 21.7 percent obesity rate, and the District ranked 35th with a rate of 21.2 percent.

Mississippi ranks as the heaviest state and Colorado as the thinnest. Seven of the top 10 states with obese adults are in the Southeast.

The report looked at data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the states' behavioral risk factor surveillance surveys and other sources.

The organization said the government has failed in its efforts to push anti-obesity policies.


Deliberations Continue in Child Slayings

Jurors in the case of two Baltimore men charged with killing three children last year assured a judge that they were working diligently as their fifth full day of deliberations ended yesterday without a verdict.

The note from the jury came a day after Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ward told jurors to focus on the case, saying he had heard that some may have been listening to music on headphones or otherwise not giving their full attention to the deliberations.

The note said each member was "contributing whole-heartedly" to the "laborious task" of sifting through an "abundance of evidence" that was presented over five weeks. The jury has submitted more than 60 written questions to the judge.

Adan Espinoza Canela, 18, and Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 23, are charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in the slayings of three of their young relatives, each of whom was nearly beheaded. Prosecutors offered no motive for the killings, pointing instead to a "family secret" that has never been divulged.

If convicted, the men could face life in prison. Deliberations are scheduled to resume this morning.

County Launches Gang Prevention Hotline

Montgomery County parents who want to keep their children out of gangs have a new place to turn for help.

The county is starting a hotline staffed by experts who can point people toward gang prevention activities. English and Spanish speakers are available to those who call 240-777-1245.

Youngsters approached about joining a gang can also call, as can current gang members looking to get out.

Institute Is Sued Over Brain Removal

A North Carolina woman is suing a Bethesda research institute, saying her brother's brain was removed for research without her consent.

Robinette Amaker of Fayetteville, N.C., is seeking $500,000 in the lawsuit, filed in Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Wash.

The lawsuit is the first legal action in Washington state concerning a brain-collection program at the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Bethesda. Lawsuits have also been filed in Maine alleging that brains were taken there without full consent.

Also named in the lawsuit is E. Fuller Torrey, the institute's founder.

Officials with Stanley Medical Research Institute did not return a phone call seeking comment. A statement on the institute's Web site says it "has never knowingly obtained any donation of brain or other tissue without the full consent of available next of kin."

Airman Slain in Iceland Is Buried

Family and friends of a slain airman buried her yesterday in Frederick as investigators continued probing her violent death at a U.S. naval air station in Iceland.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Ashley C. Turner, 20, was fatally stabbed in the neck and head Aug. 14 after she reportedly was called to testify against a fellow airman accused of stealing money from her.

A fellow airman detained for questioning last week was still in custody as of Friday, the Frederick News-Post reported.

At the funeral service yesterday at New Life Foursquare Church, speakers recalled Turner's generosity, sunny smile and love of animals, especially horses. The church lobby was decorated with photographs of her as well as dozens of ribbons she won in equestrian competitions.

Witness Says Arson Suspect Sought Tips

Prosecutors in Baltimore presented a stack of records detailing bombmaking techniques seized from arson suspect Patrick Walsh's computer, and an acquaintance testified that Walsh asked him for tips on explosives, as his federal trial continued yesterday.

FBI agents testified that Walsh, the alleged mastermind behind December's massive arson at Hunters Brooke in Indian Head, had computer documents, including a series titled "Anarchy and Explosives," and instructions on making a fire starter called a "handy house warmer."

A man who used to meet with Walsh and his friends at a Waldorf restaurant said Walsh often asked him for advice on how to make small bombs and how to use black powder, an explosive component.

Jonathan O'Neill-Cannon, who had experience with explosives in the military, said Walsh showed him a bomb he made out of a pen and a supply of black powder that Walsh kept in his car trunk.

Walsh's attorney, William Purpura, objected strongly to the use of the records from Walsh's computer during a brief hearing without the jury. Purpura said the records show no evidence of planning for the Hunters Brooke fires and questioned their relevance to the trial.


Power Goes Out at Tysons II Galleria

A failure in an electrical distribution line knocked out power at the Tysons II Galleria in McLean late yesterday afternoon, causing stores to close temporarily, according to store personnel and a utility company spokeswoman.

The failure left the facility without power for about an hour, store personnel said.

A spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power said several other buildings in the Tysons area were also affected. The spokeswoman said the cause and precise location of the failure in the distribution line had not been determined.

"In simple terms, the military value model was rigged."

-- Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), contending that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and a senior aide improperly manipulated the national military base realignment plan. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Eric Rich and Martin Weil and the Associated Press.