3 million gallons of sewage spill in river

Week in Review

December 25, 2005

County work crews closed a break Sunday in a corroded sewer line that allowed about 3 million gallons of sewage into a tributary of the Magothy River - 24 hours after the 36-inch line made of reinforced concrete collapsed at the Mill Creek Pumping Station in Arnold.

The spill is believed to be the county's worst in at least 15 years, said Pam Jordan, spokeswoman for the county's land-use office.

The sewage break was the fourth to spill at least 10,000 gallons - the threshold at which the state requires notification - in the county this year. Previously, the largest had occurred March 7, when a county contractor drilled through a line, causing 120,000 gallons of sewage to flow into Cypress Creek, another Magothy River tributary.

Maryland section, Dec. 19, 20

Prosecution ends in '02 murder case

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North formally ended Tuesday the carjacking-murder prosecution against Leeander Jerome Blake in one of the region's high-profile recent slayings - a case that the state's top court said Annapolis police botched and that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive.

North, whose ruling two years ago threw out Blake's statements to police and began a series of doomed appeals by prosecutors, said that by law she had to dismiss the charges.

Blake faced nine counts in indictments that accused him of first-degree murder and carjacking in the September 2002 killing of Annapolis businessman Straughan Lee Griffin, who was shot in the head and then run over by the attackers in his sport utility vehicle as they fled from the state capital's Historic District.

In statements to police, Blake, then 17, blamed Griffin's death on his friend Terrence Tolbert. Convicted of first-degree murder and other charges, Tolbert is serving a sentence of life without parole plus 30 years.

North said police violated Blake's rights after his Oct. 26, 2002, arrest. Though he had told officers that he wanted a lawyer and questioning was to stop, another officer taunted him. Blake soon gave statements.

Prosecutors pursued appeals to the Supreme Court, which heard the case Nov. 1 and dismissed it without explanation two weeks later.

Maryland section, Dec. 21

Driver is missing after accident

Maryland Transportation Authority Police were searching Tuesday for Joshua Bowie Homer, 21, of Queenstown after the car he was driving was involved in an accident on the Bay Bridge early Friday. Homer apparently disappeared after the accident, police said.

Homer was driving a tan Nissan sedan that rear-ended a Ford truck, police said. When they arrived at the accident scene at 1:54 a.m. Friday, police said, they found the car that Homer was driving parked on the bridge. In the car, they found a 20-year-old woman asleep in the passenger seat.

The driver of the Ford, Lorraine Marie Watson, 33, of Grasonville, was scared after the accident and pulled her truck off the bridge into a parking lot, then called police. Watson was treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center and released.

Maryland section, Dec. 21

Sailing hall of fame to open in Annapolis

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced Wednesday that a Sailing Hall of Fame would be established in Annapolis.

If negotiations go as planned, the National Sailing Hall of Fame will be housed in a squat, two-story building at the end of City Dock that is the headquarters for the Department of Natural Resources Police. Currently, 26 police officers work out of the six offices there.

While the details are being hammered out, organizers said that they hoped it would be a repository for all things sailing.

In remarks at the announcement, Ehrlich stressed the tourism potential of a new hall.

"We appreciate the sport," he said. "As political leaders, we appreciate the importance of the [boating] industry and the jobs and the dollars. ... It is a beautiful day to be governor."

Maryland section, Dec. 22

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