People And Places

PEOPLE AND PLACES

October 10, 2002

Prosecutors seek to dismiss charge against Ryder

Prosecutors asked a judge yesterday to dismiss a felony drug charge against Winona Ryder, who faces charges she stole nearly $6,000 worth of designer merchandise and illegally possessed a painkiller.

The district attorney's office said Ryder's defense offered a sworn statement from an individual suggesting the star had reason to possess the pills, which were a generic form of the prescription painkiller Percocet.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons refused to say who provided the statement, but said it made it clear that the 30-year-old actress didn't have "the requisite criminal knowledge" necessary to support the drug charge.

Ryder's attorney, Mark Geragos, did not immediately return calls for comment.

Beverly Hills Superior Court Judge Elden Fox is expected to make a ruling Tuesday, the day Ryder is scheduled to stand trial on charges of felony grand theft, commercial burglary and vandalism. The charges stem from her December 2001 arrest at a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills.

At Letterman & David

Be careful what you wish for. A case in point: The city council of Lawrence, a suburb of David Letterman's hometown of Indianpolis, unanimously approved a resolution renaming a portion of a street after the talk-show host.

A recent gag on Late Show had Letterman asking Indianapolis officials to rename Interstate 465 the "David Letterman Expressway."

Lawrence officials couldn't do that, but the council did rename as David Drive a portion of 59th Street near the former Fort Harrison.

It will cross an existing street called Letterman Road, which runs through an area that once was part of the fort.

As a result, there will be an intersection of David Drive and Letterman Road "that recognizes this Hoosier legend," the resolution states.

Twins for Kelly Willis

Country singer Kelly Willis is pregnant with twins, a spokeswoman said.

Willis, 34, and her 36-year-old husband, singer-songwriter Bruce Robison, already have a 20-month-old son, Deral Robison.

The twins are due in April, Rykodisc Records spokeswoman Michelle Jaeger said Tuesday.

The couple live in Austin, Texas.

What's in a name?

A Lake City, Fla., man who wanted to change his name to God chose a new name when a judge turned down his request.

The former Charles Haffey's new name is I Am Who I Am.

The former Haffey said after his first choice was rejected in April, he went to the Bible to find a backup. He drew on a passage where Moses asks God who he is and hears: "I am who I am or I will be who I will be."

"That's kind of wordy, so I'm just going for `I Am Who I Am' as my full legal name," he said. "My first name, of course, would be `I Am.'"

The 55-year-old said he sought the name change as a way to gain release from feelings of anxiety and rage that have haunted him since he served in Vietnam.

"I was fatally wounded in the mind and the spirit," he said. "I didn't suffer any bodily injury. It's just what I saw, what I did. I killed myself."

Putt-putt getaway

It's hardly the fastest thing on the road, but police in the southeastern Illinois town of Fairfield, say a red riding lawn mower was an effective getaway vehicle for a burglar.

Witnesses told police they saw the suspect driving the mower away from a home where an intruder made off with more than $1,000 in jewelry Monday.

"We believe he rode the mower to the crime scene as well," said Fairfield police Sgt. Steven Sons.

Today's birthdays

Playwright Harold Pinter is 72.

Actor Peter Coyote is 60.

Entertainer Ben Vereen is 56.

Singer John Prine is 56.

Actor Charles Dance is 56.

Rock singer-musician Cyril Neville (the Neville Brothers) is 54.

Actress Jessica Harper is 53.

Singer Midge Ure is 49.

Singer David Lee Roth is 47.

Country singer Tanya Tucker is 44.

Actress Julia Sweeney is 43.

Actor Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) is 43.

Musician Martin Kemp is 41.

Rock musician Jim Glennie (James) is 39.

Actress Rebecca Pidgeon is 37.

Rock musician Mike Malinin (Goo Goo Dolls) is 35.

Actress Jodi Lyn O'Keefe is 24.

Singer Mya is 23.

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