Calif., Tribes Agree on Gambling Payments

SACRAMENTO -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed new agreements with five Indian tribes Monday that will allow a major expansion of tribal gambling in exchange for billions of dollars in payments to the state over the next quarter-century.

The deal allows an unlimited increase in the number of slot machines at the Indian tribes' casinos. The current compact, signed by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 1999, limits each tribe to 2,000 machines.

The tribes will pay the state a badly needed $1 billion this year and $150 million to $200 million a year after that until 2030. In return, the tribes receive a guarantee that they will be California's only outlet for casino gambling.

The agreement allows Schwarzenegger to fulfill a campaign promise to make tribes pay a greater share of their casino profits to the state, which has been trying to close multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

Schwarzenegger hopes to have new agreements with as many as a dozen tribes, but not all are receptive to the reworked deals. One tribe, the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, has sponsored a ballot measure that would allow expanded Indian gaming in return for a payment to the state of 8.8 percent of tribal net income. Schwarzenegger is seeking more than that.

* LUDINGTON, Mich. -- A 12-year-old girl who disappeared from her home was found dead Monday, and police charged an ex-convict who is an acquaintance of the girl's family. David Wayne Mears, 30, led police to Sabrina Dalzell's body, Police Chief Mark Barnett said. The girl was last seen Friday. Amanda Dalzell, Sabrina's mother, left the girl and her brother, 10, at home overnight Friday and discovered Sabrina missing the next morning.

* EAGLE, Colo. -- Kobe Bryant returned to court for a two-day hearing that began with arguments over how to guide the jury in determining whether the National Basketball Association player is guilty of rape. Bryant's defense team wants the judge to tell jurors that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman did not consent to sex and that Bryant knew it. Prosecutors say they must prove only that the sex was "against the alleged victim's will." State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle did not immediately rule on the jury instructions.

* REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- A juror who appeared to interact briefly with Laci Peterson's brother can stay on the Scott Peterson murder trial, the judge decided. Two hours after issuing a subpoena for videotaped footage of the encounter, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi announced that Juror No. 5 would not be excused. Juror No. 5, an airport screener, was taped saying what sounded like "could lose today" to Brent Rocha on Thursday. It was unclear what he meant, or whether Rocha responded.

* HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A furniture store where a group of white supremacists often met was destroyed by fire, authorities said. The group organized by a Christian Identity leader, James P. Wickstrom, met at the Marquiss Quality Furniture store for about three years, most recently on Memorial Day. Store owners Mary and LeRoy Marquiss said they have been threatened since Wickstrom's meetings were publicized in June 2003. They said they believe the building was set on fire by someone who opposed the meetings.

-- From News Services