Marine Doubted Illness

Of Iraqi Who Later Died

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A Marine implicated in the death of an Iraqi prisoner testified at his court-martial Monday that he thought the prisoner was uncooperative and faking illness.

Maj. Clarke Paulus is accused of ordering a subordinate to drag Nagem Hatab, 52, by the neck from a holding cell at a Marine detention facility in Iraq in June 2003. A military forensics examiner said Hatab suffocated and had a broken bone in his neck.

After the prosecution rested Friday, the judge, Col. Robert Chester, reduced the most serious charge against Paulus from aggravated assault to assault and battery. Paulus had faced up to 41/2 years in prison; he now faces up to 18 months.

Paulus, of New Hope, Pa., testified Monday that Hatab had to be moved from a cell he shared with other prisoners because he had diarrhea. When guards tried to get the Iraqi to stand, he fell into barbed wire. Paulus said he ordered a lance corporal to drag Hatab by the neck because "it was the only area that didn't have feces on it." Paulus said he saw no signs of choking during the dragging.

* REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- A judge told jurors considering Scott Peterson's fate to continue deliberating and to be willing to re-examine previously held beliefs, indications the panel could be at an impasse. "Do not hesitate to change an opinion if you are convinced it is wrong," Judge Alfred Delucchi told the jury, which has been deliberating since Wednesday. Pointing out that the murder trial lasted more than five months, Delucchi encouraged jurors to keep an open mind.

* OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Anthony E. Whitfield, 32, faces a minimum sentence of 137 years in prison for deliberately exposing 17 women to HIV by having unprotected sex with them. Five of the women tested positive for the virus, and as many as 170 people may have been exposed, health officials said at his trial.

* SAN FRANCISCO -- Walter Schirra, 54, son of the Mercury astronaut of the same name, was arrested Saturday on charges of child sex tourism, federal authorities said. He was preparing to fly to Thailand, where he allegedly intended to solicit sex from underage boys, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In a search, federal officials said they found 15 to 20 images of child pornography on his computer.

* DRAPER, Utah -- Utah State Prison inmate John J. Gardner, 27, died Thursday when his head was crushed in a closing cell door, officials said. He was serving time for a burglary conviction.

* IVEL, Ky. -- Nine people were injured and four houses burned when a gas line exploded in rural Kentucky.

* WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Taxi driver Robert Lee Smiley Jr., 56, was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of passenger Jimmie Morningstar, 43, who refused to get out of the cab while intoxicated over the weekend, police said.

* BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Tammy Imre, 29, faces charges for allegedly having sex with an 8-year-old boy. Police began investigating in September after the third-grader's mother discovered a letter Imre had written him.

* DENVER -- The FBI said it is investigating the reported thefts of about 100 propane cylinders in the Denver area since July.

-- From News Services