Guards Allegedly Beat Inmate to Death

TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida death-row inmate known as a troublemaker was beaten to death in his cell by prison guards, authorities said yesterday in announcing a murder investigation.

Frank Valdez, sentenced to die for the 1987 slaying of a prison guard, was found dead in his cell at the Florida State Prison in Starke after a brawl Saturday. Nine guards have been suspended.

A lawyer for the guards acknowledged a fight in which Valdez was badly bruised but said that the injuries did not lead to his death and that Valdez was given a checkup and cleared to return to his cell. Prosecutors said Valdez had broken ribs and boot marks on his body.

Cruise Line to Pay Fine for Dumping

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has agreed to pay a record $18 million criminal fine and plead guilty to 21 felony counts for dumping oil and hazardous chemicals in U.S. water and lying about it to the Coast Guard, Attorney General Janet Reno said.

The fine, the largest ever for a cruise line on charges of polluting U.S. water, is in addition to a $9 million fine Royal Caribbean agreed to pay last year.

Boy, 6, Fatally Shoots Brother, 5

LAKE PARK, Fla. -- A 6-year-old boy fatally shot his 5-year-old brother as the boys played with a shotgun they found under their grandparents' bed, police said.

Cory Andrew Wilson was pronounced dead at his grandparents' home in this West Palm Beach suburb, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

His older brother, whose name was not released, "didn't intend to shoot his brother. He's very distraught," said Paul Miller, a sheriff's spokesman.


RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina lawmakers voted to stop development of a low-level nuclear waste dump to replace a South Carolina facility that is one of three such dumps in the nation. Legislators voted Tuesday to pull out of the Southeast Compact, a congressionally chartered group of seven southeastern states -- including Virginia -- that was one of several created to deal with waste disposal.

CHARLES CITY, Iowa -- People filled sandbags along the Cedar River hoping to stem the record flood of water that washed into town, damaging 100 homes and filling countless basements. The river crested at 23 feet, more than a foot higher than the floods of 1993, the worst Iowa had seen in 30 years. "Everything we had sandbagged got washed out from two different directions," Mayor James Erb said. "So we got a double whammy."

CHICAGO -- The slayings of as many as a dozen black prostitutes over the past four years are the work of four killers, according to police, who warned all women to use caution.