Tropical Depression

May Be Headed for Gulf

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A tropical depression in the western Caribbean was expected to intensify into Tropical Storm Wilma on Monday and pose another hurricane threat to the beleaguered Gulf states by next weekend.

It would be the 21st named storm of the frenetic 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and tie this year with 1933 as the busiest in 154 years of record-keeping.

Long-range forecasts call for the system to brush the west end of Cuba, possibly as a major hurricane, on Thursday. It was expected to then churn north into the Gulf of Mexico on Friday. From there, the projected path aims it toward the Louisiana or Mississippi Gulf Coast, but that remains uncertain because steering currents are weak. It could end up striking anywhere from Mexico's Yucatan to South Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Depression No. 24 was about 140 miles southeast of Grand Cayman Island, or about 500 miles south of Miami, creeping west-northwest at 2 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph. It threatened to drench Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with up to 12 inches of rain. A hurricane watch was posted for the Caymans.

Defense Lawyer's Wife

Found Slain at Home

LAFAYETTE, Calif. -- The wife of prominent defense lawyer and TV legal analyst Daniel Horowitz was found slain in the entryway of the couple's San Francisco Bay Area home, authorities said.

Police said Horowitz called 911 on Saturday evening to report that he found the body of his wife, Pamela Vitale. Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies said the death was being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy was planned.

Vitale, 52, a former high-tech marketing executive, worked at her husband's law practice, creating and managing databases.

Horowitz is defending Susan Polk, accused of murder in the 2002 stabbing death of her psychologist husband. Polk has said she killed her husband in self-defense.

* OSSEO, Wis. -- A bus carrying Chippewa Falls High School musicians home from a band competition crashed into a tractor-trailer that had jackknifed on the interstate early Sunday, killing bus driver Paul Rasmus, 78; band director Douglas Greenhalgh, 48; his wife, Therese, 51; their granddaughter Morgan, 11; and student teacher Brandon Atherton, 24.

* ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A 600-pound homebound man died when his mobile home was set on fire by an electrical short, and he could not be freed. Timothy Lee Morris, 45, called 911, and his daughters summoned neighbors, who were unable to move him. Fire Battalion Chief John Nelson said firefighters were "very emotionally distraught they couldn't get him out."

* HOUSTON -- An explosion set fire to a Houston refinery as workers tried to restart gasoline-producing equipment that had been idled since Hurricane Rita. A contract worker suffered minor burns, according to a spokesman for the Lyondell Chemical Co. and Citgo Petroleum Corp. plant.

* EVERETT, Wash. -- A plane crash near Seattle killed two female students from a school for teenagers interested in aviation careers, school officials said. A third person also was killed when the plane hit trees after an attempted landing.

-- From News Services