Peterson Doesn't Testify

As Defense Rests Its Case

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Scott Peterson's attorneys rested their case Tuesday without calling the former fertilizer salesman to testify on charges that he killed his pregnant wife, Laci, and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay.

The defense called 14 witnesses over six days -- a fraction of the time it took prosecutors to complete their case.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi said the prosecution would call eight rebuttal witnesses beginning Wednesday. Closing arguments are set to begin Monday, and jurors are expected to get the case by next Wednesday.

* DALLAS -- A judge welcomed a former fugitive back to her courtroom with balloons, streamers and a cake before sentencing him to life in prison. "We're so excited to see you, we're throwing a party for you," Judge Faith Johnson told Billy Wayne Williams, 53, who disappeared last year while being tried for choking his girlfriend. He was convicted in absentia of aggravated assault. "It seems like everyone wants to have a party, and it's fun for you people, but not for me," Williams told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs.

* NEW YORK -- Twenty-two members of an Albanian gang were arrested in what officials called the first federal racketeering case against an organized crime network from the Balkan country. The Rudaj Organization members were charged with offenses ranging from robbery to attempted murder in an effort to control gambling in Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County, the FBI said.

* SEATTLE -- In a combination of tourism and health care, people are taking a high-speed ferry cruise across Puget Sound to British Columbia and getting a flu shot, too. The company that operates the ferry has lined up vaccine through a Canadian company and provides the shots to riders at the terminal on the Canadian side. At $105, it is an expensive flu shot, though it is a discount from the normal $115 round-trip fare to ride the Victoria Clipper.

* ALBANY, N.Y. -- Women should not lose custody of their children solely because the youngsters see them being battered by abusive spouses, New York state's highest court ruled. "Not every child exposed to domestic violence is at risk of impairment," the Court of Appeals said in a 7 to 0 decision written by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. In many instances, she said, removal "may do more harm to the child than good."

* TOLEDO -- A child playing with a candle, a lighter or matches started an apartment fire that killed seven youngsters, fire investigators said during an inquiry to determine whether the children were home alone. The fire started on a mattress in an upstairs bedroom where some of the children were playing Sunday afternoon.

* CHICAGO -- Buildings Department employees testified they had little or no training on porches before they inspected a structure that collapsed during a party last year, killing 13 people.

* NANTUCKET, Mass. -- Elizabeth Lochtefeld, 44, was found stabbed to death after telling police and relatives that she feared her suspected assailant, Thomas Toolan, 37, whom she had briefly dated. Toolan was arrested in Rhode Island on suspicion of drunken driving a few hours after Lochtefeld's body was found, authorities said.

-- From News Services