Guilty plea in use of cattle with cancer

The co-owner of a Northern California slaughterhouse accused of processing cows with cancer while U.S. livestock inspectors took lunch breaks has pleaded guilty to a federal charge.

Robert Singleton, who co-owns the Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp., entered his plea Friday in a San Francisco courtroom to aiding and abetting in the distribution of adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Singleton, 77, is free on $50,000 bail. He has signed an agreement requiring him to work with prosecutors who have filed charges against the company’s other owner, Jesse Amaral Jr., and two employees, Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera.

Those three have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors alleged that the owners schemed with employees to slaughter about 79 cows with skin cancer of the eye rather than stopping plant operations while inspectors took lunch breaks. Then, the government alleges, plant workers swapped the heads of diseased cattle with heads of healthy cows to hide them from inspectors.

Operations were halted in February after a series of recalls, including one for 8.7 million pounds of beef. The meat was sold at Wal-Mart and other national chains and used in products including Hot Pockets.

— Associated Press

Plant blast kills 2; mortar may be cause

Two people were killed Monday in an explosion at a metal-
recycling plant in southern Illinois that may have been caused by a mortar round, police said.

The explosion at Totall Metal Recycling in Granite City, about eight miles northeast of St. Louis, occurred about 6:25 a.m., police said. Bomb technicians were still trying to secure the scene Monday afternoon, sweeping the site for other possible explosives.

The victims, whom responders could not initially get to because of the fear of further explosions, were not immediately identified. A third person was injured and taken to a St. Louis hospital, police said, but a condition was not available.

Totall Metal Recycling, which employs about 160 people, according to its Web site, does business with the military, and it is not unusual for it to have items such as “military engines and ammunition casings,” Police Chief Rich Miller said.

He said authorities do not suspect any malicious intent and are investigating the explosion as an “industrial accident.”

— Associated Press

GOP congressman prevails in primary

A challenger to scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais conceded the Republican primary election in Tennessee on Monday, giving the physician a shot at a third term by 38 votes. DesJarlais and Jim Tracy, a state senator, both had declared victory after the Aug. 7 election. After the unofficial count, DesJarlais had 34,793 votes and Tracy 34,755 but Tracy said he would not contest the count. DesJarlais, first elected to Congress in 2010, admitted last year to a state board that he had sexual relationships with two female patients in 2000.

With Tracy’s concession, DesJarlais will face Democrat Lenda Sherrell in the November general election.

— Reuters

Woman gets life term in spouse’s ’70s death

An elderly Missouri woman convicted of killing her husband four decades ago and burying his body in an abandoned Wyoming gold mine was sentenced to life in prison by a Wyoming judge Monday, a prosecutor said.

Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar had sought a minimum of 20 years in prison for Alice Uden, 75, of Chadwick, Mo., while her attorney argued for a suspended sentence that would see her get probation. But the state judge opted for life.

Uden, who was arrested a year ago, was found guilty in May of second-degree murder in the shooting death in Wyoming in 1974 or 1975 of Ronald Holtz.

She was arrested alongside her second husband, Gerald Uden, who was himself convicted last year of the 1980 killing of his ex-wife and her two young sons. He was also sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors said Alice Uden used a rifle to shoot her first husband of several months in the back of the head while he slept, but defense attorneys argued that she killed him after he flew into a rage and threatened to harm her toddler daughter.

— Reuters

Russian tourist climbs atop Brooklyn Bridge: A Russian tourist climbed to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge to take pictures for fun in the landmark’s second security breach in a month, authorities said Monday. Yaroslav Kolchin was charged with reckless endangerment, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Police said they spotted the 24-year-old ascending a cable at about 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Authorities say the Moscow man reached the top of the tower, took pictures with his smartphone and was arrested as he descended.

— From news services