Gunmakers' Files Opened
ATLANTA--The city can go ahead with its lawsuit against gun manufacturers, a judge ruled, forcing the industry to open its files for the first time to one of the local governments suing it for the effects of gun-related violence.
Atlanta and 26 other cities sued gun manufacturers after similar state suits against the tobacco industry. In the tobacco cases, the industry had to open secret files, revealing damaging information about decisions on product safety.
On Wednesday, Fulton County Judge Gino Brogdon allowed Atlanta to pursue its claims that guns are defectively designed and fail to incorporate safety devices. But the city must prove that the industry was negligent.
* LARAMIE, Wyo.--The prosecution rested in the trial of Aaron McKinney, accused of killing gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, and the judge said he would decide today if he would allow a "gay panic" defense. McKinney's lawyers have argued that he was intoxicated and, as a sexual abuse victim, snapped when he relived childhood traumas when Shepard allegedly made a pass.
* PONTIAC, Mich.--One of America's youngest murder defendants, who at 11 killed a teenager with a rifle from 100 yards away, went on trial, and his lawyer said the slaying was an accident. Geoffrey Fieger said in opening statements that Nathaniel Abraham, now 13, was shooting at trees with a "piece of junk" .22-caliber rifle that could not be fired with any accuracy, and that Abraham had no motive to kill Ronnie Greene, 18. But prosecutor Lisa Halushka said Nathaniel had told his girlfriend before the killing, "I'm going to shoot somebody."
* DETROIT--As many as eight girls have been sexually assaulted while walking to school in Detroit over the past two months, and police are stepping up patrols and warning youngsters to travel in groups. Attacks on three were reported this week, including the rape and robbery of a pair of sisters walking to Central High School.
* PACIFIC GROVE, Calif.--Giant waves swept a woman to her death as her husband took her picture at Lover's Point on the final day of their honeymoon. Eamon Stookesberry, 28, dived in after his bride, Jennifer, 23, but the stormy sea tossed them 50 yards from shore, where rescuers pulled both from the ocean, the Coast Guard said.
* ROGERS, Ark.--Davis Carpenter Jr., 38, and Joshua Brown, 22, pleaded not guilty to murder and rape and are to be tried in April in the death of Jesse Dirkhising, 13, who suffocated after he was gagged with underwear, strapped face down to a mattress and repeatedly raped and sodomized. Prosecutor Brad Butler is seeking the death penalty for what he called "a horrible, brutal crime."
* NEW ORLEANS--Street musicians in the French Quarter won the right to let the good times roll outside historic St. Louis Cathedral when a federal judge struck down a state law establishing "quiet zones" around churches and hospitals. The law would have muffled musicians playing in front of the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jackson Square.