Woodland Road Fire Investigated
A one-story, wood-framed home on Woodland Road in Frostburg has been declared a total loss, following a fire Monday evening. Firefighters from six companies fought the blaze at the home of Roger Buskirk. Eight people were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. The cause remains under investigation, but it is known it originated in the basement. Smoke detectors were present and activated; losses were placed at a total of $50,000.
Minnick Trial Set for February
The trial of Jeffrey Minnick has been set for February, and certain statements made by Minnick, when questioned about the murder, will be admissible at trial. His lawyer argued that he was in custody, but had not yet been read his Miranda rights when investigators were questioning him in connection with the Garrett County slayings of 24-year old Timothy Lax and 18-year old Jessica Baker. Investigators found the bodies on June 1st by some railroad tracks that police say is frequented by vagrants. Minnick’s bloody hunting knife was found nearby.
More Details on Morgan County Murder
More details are emerging in a murder investigation in Morgan County, West Virginia. James T. Zell, Jr., is charged in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, 29-year old Kelly Elizabeth Butler. Her body was found in a cabin, in a remote section of Hampshire County, West Virginia. Zell told police he blacked out, following an argument, and when he came to, she was lying dead on the floor, with fingerprints around her neck. He has admitted he loaded her body into a vehicle and took it to a cabin in Hampshire County. An autopsy is pending. The process has begun to transport Zell from Pennsylvania-where he was arrested-to West Virginia.
No Charges to be Filed in Bow-and-Arrow Killing
There will be no charges filed against a Center City man who shot and killed Tony Bittinger with a bow-and-arrow on October 10th. Bittinger, who had been romantically involved the man’s wife, made several threatening phone calls before driving to his home to confront him. The man told him repeatedly to leave; when Bittnger did not, he was shot in the chest with the bow and arrow. The shooting was justified in the state’s Castle Doctrine, adopted this past summer. It expands a homeowners’ right to use deadly force against intruders. The man who shot Bittinger will not be identified, as he is not being charged in connection with the incident.
Police Look for Breaking and Entering Suspects
The Cumberland City Police are investigating a breaking and entering that took place at 506 Linden Street on Monday afternoon. Two suspects were seen running from the residence, as the homeowner returned. They were described as wearing different colored hooded sweatshirts. The investigation revealed they had opened the front door of the residence; they had also forced open the rear door of the home. Drawers, cabinets, and closets were opened in the basement, and in each room of the house. It doesn’t appear as if anything was taken. The Maryland State Police Crime Lab responded to assist in processing the scene and the investigation is continuing.
Sears, K-Mart Shutting Down Stores
There is no word on any possible closings in Maryland, but Sears and K-Mart have announced they are shutting down between 100 and 120 stores, after terrible holiday sales during the most crucial time of year for retailers. Sears says the closings will generate $140 and $170 million in cash in inventory sales. Same-store revenue fell 5.2 per cent to date for the quarter at both Sears and K-Mart. There are more than 4,000 Sears stores in the United States and Canada.
Man Enters Guilty Pleas to Heroin Distribution
A 64-year old Martinsburg man entered a guilty plea to one count of an indictment, charging him with the distribution of heroin within 1,000 feet of Winchester Avenue Elementary School in April of 2010. Jerome Holden Cunningham could face a maximum prison sentence of up to 40 years and a fine of $2 million. He is free on bond, pending sentencing.
Damage Claims Expected to Surpass $1 Million
Damages from tar that leaked from a tanker owned by a Maryland-based trucking company on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last month will likely be well over a million dollars. More than 400 drivers reported damage, after a leaky valve spread the “goo” over 40 miles of the Turnpike, near Pittsburgh, during high travel time last month. MTS Transport of Stevensville says it is working with its insurer to cover the damages. The truck driver, from Glen Burnie, was fined $1,000 and put on administrative leave.
West Virginia Food Tax To Drop Next Month
The tax on food in West Virginia will drop from three to two per cent next month. Beginning January 1st, a family of four will save about $52 per year, or about $1 per week. An approved plan has the tax decreasing to one per cent next July, with the tax being completely removed by July 1, 2013. West Virginia has had a food tax, in one form or another, since 1934.