School Shooter Pleads

Guilty to Murder

EUGENE, Ore.--Kip Kinkel, the teenager who killed his parents and gunned down two classmates at school the next day, abandoned an insanity defense yesterday and pleaded guilty to murder in a deal that could someday let him walk free.

The plea bargain came three days before Kinkel was to go on trial in the May 21, 1998, attack at Springfield's Thurston High School.

"My mind is clear and I am not sick," read the text of the plea agreement signed by the 17-year-old Kinkel. He sat slumped in a chair in court and never lifted his head as he read each paragraph silently to himself and initialed it "KK."

He pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and 26 counts of attempted murder.

Kinkel could get as little as 25 years, meaning he could be free by age 42. If he had been convicted as charged, he could have faced life in prison without parole. Because he was 15 at the time of the slayings, he could not have faced the death penalty. No sentencing date was set.

Ex-Treasurer Faces

Prison for Kickbacks

HARTFORD, Conn.--Paul Silvester, former Connecticut state treasurer, faces up to 40 years in prison and a $750,000 fine after pleading guilty Thursday to federal corruption charges of accepting more than $100,000 in kickbacks.

Prosecutors said he was paid thousands of dollars by middlemen who get states to invest their pension money with certain financial firms. Some of the money turned up in his failed election campaign.

The investigation into Silvester, a Republican, extended into Washington. Park Strategies LLC--whose president is Wayne Berman, a major financial backer of the presidential campaign of Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R)--turned over subpoenaed documents to the FBI in connection with the probe. Also subpoenaed was the Carlyle Group, a Washington merchant bank and client of Park Strategies.

Silvester was negotiating to take a job with Berman in December, while he was still in office and placing state pension funds in ventures of Park Strategies clients, including Carlyle. Berman said earlier this month that he was "cooperating fully with the investigation." A spokeswoman for Berman said yesterday that "everything he has done has been appropriate and proper."


* CLARINGTON, Ohio--The roof of a coal mine collapsed, killing two miners and injuring several others, according to Consol Energy, parent company of Consolidation Coal Co., which owns the mine. Eight people were in the mine, which was being closed, when it collapsed.

* DENVER--The federal Office of Protection from Research Risk ordered Colorado's top medical research university to stop its federally funded clinical tests after an audit by the Food and Drug Administration found problems in bookkeeping, reporting and database practices. The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, which receives about $100 million a year in research funding and has about 3,200 ongoing research studies, said the issues were not related to patient safety. It added that changes were implemented after the audit, but not to the FDA's satisfaction.

* CAMDEN, N.J.--Celeste Keenan, 37, of Pompano Beach, Fla., could be sentenced to six months in prison for losing her cool during a Spirit Airlines flight last year and kicking the seat back of a fidgety 12-year-old boy, who bumped his head when the seat broke. Keenan was convicted of a federal assault charge and is to be sentenced Dec. 13.