Jury Rejects Viagra Defense

KANSAS CITY, Kan.--Jackson County jurors rejected a Viagra defense, convicting Mary Frost, 33, of second-degree murder for stabbing Oscar Fingers, 77, in the heart with a steak knife after she said he asked her for sex, then begged and finally tried to rape her.

Lawyers said it may have been the first use of a Viagra defense: Fingers used the erection-enhancing drug, and Frost's lawyer Jarrett Johnson said his client acted in self-defense when confronted by a man consumed by lust.

But jurors convicted Frost on Thursday because they thought she could have defended herself without stabbing Fingers, a juror said later. Unaware his heart had been punctured, Fingers cleaned the knife, handed it back to Frost, and asked her not to call police. She complied, waiting more than an hour to summon authorities as Fingers died from internal bleeding. "We felt she just left him to die," the juror said.

Frost could be sentenced to 10 years.


* NEW YORK--A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that New York City can stop a Ku Klux Klan group based in Indiana from marching at a state courthouse in Manhattan this afternoon if members insist on wearing masks. A lawyer said the Klan would demonstrate unmasked, and protesters said they would hold a counterdemonstration against bigotry.

* YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.--Jan Davis, 60, plunged to her death off El Capitan when her parachute failed to open during a protest of park rules banning such jumps. The protest marked the June 9 death of a jumper who successfully parachuted off the same peak but drowned in the river below while trying to flee rangers.

* MIAMI--Orlando Sanchez Christancho, a key suspect in the Alejandro Bernal Madrigala drug smuggling organization in Colombia, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said. He had been indicted on cocaine and money-laundering charges as part of the drug ring that allegedly smuggled as much as 30 metric tons of cocaine a month into the United States and Europe.

* FORT WORTH--Jimmy Watkins, who shot his wife Nancy to death after finding her with her lover Keith Fontenot, was sentenced to four months in prison because the jury that convicted him of murder made an allowance for his "sudden passion" and recommended 10 years' probation. Watkins could be imprisoned for life if he is convicted of attempted murder charges in the shooting of Fontenot.

* PORTLAND, Ore.--Lawmakers who voted to put the Pledge of Allegiance back in Oregon's schools assumed the schools had American flags. Not so. School districts asked the Oregon Republican Party for 3,000 flags so they can comply with the law's requirement that they display the Stars and Stripes and give students the opportunity to recite the pledge at least once a week. The party has supplied 1,000 flags and is raising money for more.

* SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.--A rented van carrying 14 members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church in North Hollywood crashed while en route to San Francisco, killing seven women and injuring the others in the vehicle, police said.

* FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--Former drug agent Richard Fekete, 57, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday for killing Drug Enforcement Administration colleague Shaun Curl, 39, after a night of drunken Christmas revelry in 1997. Broward County Circuit Judge Paul Backman criticized other agents, who knew Fekete had problems with alcohol and violence, for not intervening.

* DENVER--Carla June Hochhalter, whose daughter Anne Marie was critically wounded in the Columbine High School massacre and left paralyzed from the waist down, walked into a pawn shop, asked to see a handgun, loaded it and killed herself with a shot to the head as a clerk filled out paperwork for a background check.