Former House Member

Gets Prison Term for Fraud

PHILADELPHIA -- Edward M. Mezvinsky, a former House member from Iowa, was sentenced to more than 61/2 years in prison yesterday for defrauding business associates, friends and family -- including his mother-in-law -- of millions of dollars.

U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell rejected a plea for leniency from Mezvinsky, who blamed his actions on his manic-depression and the side effects of an anti-malaria drug that he took on trips to Africa.

"Whatever impairment Mr. Mezvinsky may have had -- and I am dubious in the extreme about that -- it simply did not contribute to the . . . crimes which took place over 12 years," Dalzell said.

Through tears, Mezvinsky, 65, told the judge that he still does not completely comprehend his actions. "I went into a spiral that turned into the house of cards that fell," he said.

DNA Tests Clear Suspect in

Rape After He Killed Himself

PHILADELPHIA -- DNA evidence posthumously cleared a rape suspect who killed himself in a police holding cell, and his family members say they were never even notified that the mentally ill man had been arrested.

Wade Deemer, 41, used his shirt to hang himself on Aug. 24, the same day he was arrested.

An 18-year-old woman identified Deemer as the man who approached her at a convenience store, forced her into nearby woods and raped her.

Police said they arrested Deemer based on the victim's identification and followed proper procedures.

Recently returned tests, however, show that Deemer's DNA did not match the semen sample collected from the victim.

Deemer had bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, but apparently was not taking medication at the time of his death, said his wife, Patricia Deemer.

* NEW YORK -- A man accused of feeding the FBI false tips about terrorism suspects was ordered held without bail after he pleaded not guilty to charges in a 1996 fraud case. Michael Hamdani is charged with trafficking in fraudulent travel and identification documents. He had been held in Canada since October as part of an investigation by the FBI, Canadian authorities and others that broke up an immigrant smuggling ring.

* NEW YORK -- Joseph Massino, the reputed boss of the Bonanno crime family, was charged with the 1981 murder of fellow mobster Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, who let an undercover FBI agent -- the legendary "Donnie Brasco" -- infiltrate the family. If convicted, Massino would face life in prison.

* PLACENTIA, Calif. -- Janet Chen, 31, has been charged with leaving her children, ages 4 and 7, home alone for three weeks while she went to North Carolina to visit a man she had met over the Internet. Chen apparently left frozen food in the refrigerator, authorities said.

* GRAPEVINE, Tex. -- Three terminals at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were evacuated after alarms sounded to indicate that a bag may have contained explosive material, officials said. Neither the bag nor the man who carried it was found.

-- From News Services