News from around the Baltimore region

August 13, 2005


Welcome-back party for Norris is canceled

A welcome-back party at a West Baltimore bar for former police commissioner and convicted felon Edward T. Norris, who is to return next week to begin his community service and host a Baltimore talk-radio show, has been canceled, according to the bar's manager.

Lt. Frederick V. Roussey, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said this week that he and a group of civilians were organizing a party for Norris on Aug. 20, though it was not an official union-sponsored event.

Norris served as Baltimore police commissioner, and then as Maryland State Police superintendent, until he was indicted in late 2003 on federal public corruption and tax charges. He pleaded guilty last year and served six months in prison and six months on home detention. He has to complete 500 hours of community service in Baltimore.

The bar manager at J. Ray's Cafe in the 900 block of S. Carey St. would not say why the event was canceled. Roussey did not return a phone call seeking comment. Another party for Norris, sponsored by his new employer, WHFS 105.7, is scheduled Aug. 25 at Power Plant Live in downtown Baltimore.


Bea Gaddy food campaign is set to begin Monday

Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon and other representatives will launch a campaign Monday to encourage people to donate food for the needy.

The officials will be joined by 30 sponsors for the "Bea Gaddy Feeding the Community Campaign" that is to culminate Oct. 1 with the fourth annual Bea Gaddy Day, during which people can drop off nonperishable food at Mondawmin Mall.

Gaddy, known for putting on Thanksgiving dinners that fed thousands of homeless people, died of breast cancer Oct. 3, 2001. The aim of the food drive is to help those in need and raise awareness.

About 150 locations have been designated throughout Baltimore as food drop-off sites from Monday through Oct. 3. They include Safeway and Super Fresh grocery stores, city fire and police stations, public schools, recreation centers, City Hall, the Walters Art Museum and many churches.

More information is available at


Group's back-to-school drive is scheduled for tomorrow

The Preston Mitchum Jr. Foundation will hold a back-to-school drive tomorrow from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Toys `R' Us at Rossville Boulevard and U.S. 40.

People are encouraged to purchase and donate book bags, calculators, lunch boxes and clothing for children ages 9 to 18. The foundation will donate the items to Maryland families during its Aug. 21 Career Awareness Day at Towson University's Auburn House.

For more information and other donation locations, contact the foundation at 410-529-3844 or go to


Closing arguments set in children's killings

Closing arguments in the trial of two Mexican immigrants charged with killing three young relatives last year are set for Monday morning in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Jurors heard about an hour of instructions yesterday on the laws that they are to apply when they begin deliberating the case.

Policarpio Espinoza, 23, and Adan Canela, 18, are each facing three counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the May 27, 2004, deaths of Lucero Espinoza, 8, her brother, Ricardo Espinoza, 9, and their male cousin, Alexis Espejo Quezada, 10. The children were found nearly decapitated in the bedrooms of their family's Northwest Baltimore apartment.

Espinoza, an uncle of the children, and Canela, a cousin, could be sentenced to life in prison if they are convicted.

Prosecutors will have two hours to give their closing arguments, and each man's defense team will have at least 90 minutes to make their presentations.

Closing arguments give the lawyers a chance to summarize the evidence they have presented throughout the trial. Prosecutors have highlighted two pairs of bloodstained blue jeans and two bloody work gloves that their witnesses said contain the DNA of the defendants.

Defense attorneys have said that because no motive has been offered, prosecutors have given no reason that their clients would have slashed the throats of their relatives.

Jurors, some of whom took three notebooks' worth of notes over the five-week trial, will then attempt to reach a unanimous verdict on each count for each defendant.

- Julie Bykowicz


Group aims to help patients pay for prescription drugs

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has begun its Maryland chapter, pledging to help patients without prescription drug coverage obtain needed medicines.

The partnership -- which involves pharmaceutical companies, doctors and other health care providers, patient advocates and community leaders -- aims to help people navigate more than 475 public and private prescription drug programs.

Patients seeking help paying for their prescription medicines can find more information by calling 888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) or going to


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