Laci Peterson

Relative Testifies

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- One of Laci Peterson's relatives testified that he was so disturbed by her husband's behavior in the days after she vanished that he followed Scott Peterson at least twice.

Harvey Kemple, who is married to Laci's mother's cousin, said Peterson told him he had been golfing before coming home to find his wife missing on Christmas Eve 2002. He told Kemple's wife he had been fishing, Kemple testified.

"I was very suspicious from that first night," Kemple said on the stand, adding that he followed Peterson twice in January -- once to a mall parking lot where he sat in his car and once to a golf course.

Prosecutors contend Peterson killed his pregnant wife in their Modesto home, dumped her body from his small boat in the San Francisco Bay and used the fishing trip as a cover story.

Peterson says he came home to find his wife missing.

* CHICAGO -- A lawyer was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for smuggling thousands of Cuban cigars into the United States and selling them for a large profit. Richard "Mick" Connors, 54, was also fined $60,000 and placed on three years' probation. U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman ordered Connors to be taken into custody immediately, despite a request that he be allowed to attend his daughter's wedding later this month.

The judge said the former public defender is too familiar with ways to flee the country.

* ATLANTA -- Two men were arrested Wednesday in an arson and burglary investigation involving 33 fires set at vacant homes and businesses in the Atlanta area since late April. The fires were started at a range of buildings, including homes, warehouses and a construction trailer. No serious injuries were reported.

* NEW YORK -- Antoine Yates, who was indicted on charges of keeping an alligator and a tiger in his Harlem apartment, said he rejected the prosecution's offer to let him plead guilty to a misdemeanor and avoid jail. Yates's trial will begin on July 20. He is charged with reckless endangerment, endangering a child, possession of a wild animal, and failing to exercise care to protect the public from wild animals and reptiles.

* SALEM, Ore. -- A state appeals court reaffirmed an $80 million verdict against cigarette maker Philip Morris in the case of an Oregon janitor who died of lung cancer. The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered the Oregon court to reexamine the 1999 verdict to ensure it was not unconstitutionally excessive under new standards for punitive damages.

-- From News Services