Jim Brown on Trial

Over Alleged Threat

LOS ANGELES -- NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown threatened to kill his wife by "snapping" her neck during an altercation earlier this year, a Los Angeles prosecutor told jurors at his trial yesterday.

Deputy City Attorney Grace Lee, making her opening statement in the case, said Brown "has a history of domestic violence."

Brown, 63, has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of making terrorist threats and vandalism in connection with the June 15 incident at his home in Hollywood Hills. He faces a possible 18 months in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.

Brown has given television interviews with his 25-year-old wife, Monique, several times since his arrest, and both have insisted that there is no basis for the charges. Monique Brown has said she called police only to get attention.

Lee said that Brown, who played for the Cleveland Browns in the 1950s and 1960s before leaving the game to pursue an acting career, threatened to kill his wife during an argument. Brown then bashed her car windows in with a shovel, the prosecutor said.

Lee said a tearful Monique ran from her home to a neighbor's house to call 911, telling police that her husband threatened " `to kill you by snapping your neck.' "

Lee said Brown had, on an earlier occasion, pointed a metal spear at Monique and asked her, "Do you want to live?" after she said she wanted to leave him.

N.Y. Youth Charged

In IBM Bomb Threats

NEW YORK -- An 18-year-old Panamanian was accused of sending e-mail bomb threats to IBM, claiming he would demolish the company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., unless he was paid $5 million, authorities said.

Jahair Joel Navarro was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. The crime, which falls under federal anti-terrorism statutes, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

Navarro, a legal resident of the United States, was ordered held without bail after prosecutors told a judge he had sent a similar threat to Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, Wash.

"Shadowmega" had sent an e-mail to IBM chief executive Louis V. Gerstner Jr., and the FBI and police traced it to an America Online account owned by Navarro's stepfather.

Agents who searched the family's apartment in Brooklyn found bomb-making recipes and documents relating to terrorist techniques but no bombs.

2 Texans Are Cleared

In 1997 Kidnapping

EL PASO -- A Texas appeals court overturned the organized-crime convictions of Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren and aide Robert "White Eagle" Otto, saying it found insufficient evidence against them.

McLaren, whose group believes Texas is an independent nation, is serving a 99-year state sentence in a kidnapping that sparked an armed standoff with police in April 1997. He also was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for participating in a fraudulent scheme to distribute $1.8 billion in worthless Republic warrants, which resembled cashier's checks.

Man Kills Wife, Hides

Her in Customer's Coffin

DEBARY, Fla. -- A funeral home director fatally stabbed his wife after she threatened to leave him, then buried her with a woman whose family held a closed-casket service, police said.

Mark Villella, 39, confessed after detectives told him they were going to exhume the grave, said Gary Davidson, a spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities were tipped to the crime when the worried sister of Exelee Louise Villella, 28, called, saying that the last time they talked, on Aug. 5, the couple was in the midst of an argument.

The woman's co-workers also raised suspicions when her husband did not make his usual morning call to check on his wife on Aug. 6. Police said that was because Villella had fatally stabbed his wife while she slept on Aug. 5. He stored her body in a cooler at Deltona Memorial Funeral Home & Cemetery in Orange City until the Aug. 9 burial of 89-year-old Marjorie Hutchison.

Investigators dug up the grave yesterday and found the wife's body in the casket under Hutchison's.

Air Force Officer Gets

Jail Term in Sex Case

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Air Force Capt. Douglas M. Bass will serve four months in a military jail after pleading guilty Thursday to having sex with two enlisted women, including one he later married. Bass admitted to lying to an investigator and disobeying orders to end his relationship with Krystal Carr, who is now his wife. After serving his sentence, Bass will be dismissed, his attorney said.