NYC on Pace for Fewest

Homicides in 40 Years

NEW YORK -- With the year nearly half over, New York City is on pace to record fewer than 500 homicides in 2005, which would be the lowest number in more than 40 years.

There were 215 homicides through June 19, compared with 259 in the same period last year, the Daily News reported, citing police statistics. If the pace holds, there will be 465 homicides for 2005.

The last year that the city logged fewer than 500 homicides was 1961, with 482. There were 560 homicides in 2004.

In 1990, New York had a record 2,245 homicides, more than any other city in the nation.

* FLEMINGTON, N.J. -- Former nurse Charles Cullen, 45, who had pleaded guilty to killing 24 patients, admitted Monday to killing five more people by injecting them with lethal doses of drugs. His attorney has said Cullen believed that his victims at hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were terminally ill and that it was dehumanizing to prolong lives by artificial means.

* PHILADELPHIA, Miss. -- A judge denied a new trial for former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted of manslaughter last week in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers. Killen, 80 and in a wheelchair because of a logging accident several months ago, was taken to a prison near Jackson, where officials said he will begin a 60-year term in isolation for the deaths of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman.

* NEW HARMONY, Utah -- Suddenly shifting winds pushed a menacing wildfire toward this small town in southwestern Utah, forcing more than 1,000 people to evacuate their homes. Don and Emily Jones said they saw a wall of fire heading toward the subdivision where they have lived since 1993. They rescued their three dogs but could not find their two cats. The National Interagency Fire Center said the blaze had burned 10,000 acres of grass, pinyon, pine and oak brush.

* YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. -- The search for Boy Scout Luke Sanburg, 13, who fell into the fast-moving Yellowstone River, was scaled back as hope of finding him alive faded. Tennis shoes believed to belong to him were found in the river over the weekend, but the math whiz who loved to hunt and fish remained missing after he fell into the river Friday.

* DENVER -- The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that jurors may submit questions to witnesses during criminal trials, saying the practice does not automatically harm the defendant's right to a fair trial. The court's 5 to 1 decision turned back appeals by two people who were convicted after trials in which jurors were allowed to ask questions. Defense lawyers had sought to overturn the convictions and bar jury questioning, a relatively new feature in Colorado criminal trials.

* NAPLES, Fla. -- Collier County sheriff's deputies were searching for clues in the killings of three men and a woman whose bodies were found in a house where marijuana was being grown.

* ANCHORAGE -- A couple camping along the Hulahula River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were killed by a grizzly bear, officials said. The victims were from Anchorage, authorities said. The campsite was clean, with food stored in bear-proof containers.

-- From News Services