State Digest

STATE DIGEST

April 20, 2006

Advocacy group endorses Duncan

A statewide advocacy group for working families announced yesterday that it has endorsed Douglas M. Duncan for governor.

The leadership of Progressive Maryland, which represents 20,000 members, voted Tuesday night and said the three-term Montgomery County executive impressed them with his policies on public education and affordable housing.

Duncan and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in the Sept. 12 primary. The winner takes on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in the Nov. 7 election.

"Doug Duncan has an effective record in Montgomery County of creating opportunity for working families," said Sean Dobson, deputy director for the advocacy group. "After four miserable years of Bob Ehrlich and his special interest agenda, Maryland's working families need a friend like Doug Duncan in the governor's mansion."

Both O'Malley and Duncan responded to the group's questionnaires, but only Duncan was invited for an interview because the mayor did not complete all of the questions, Dobson said.

The group's board of about 40 members gave Duncan the two-thirds majority needed for the endorsement.

Doug Donovan

Cecil County: North East

Suspect arrested in bayonet stabbing

State police say they made an arrest yesterday in the bayonet stabbing of a Cecil County man and the attempted murder of a second man that sparked a brawl involving 100 people in North East on Tuesday night.

Tyreak V. Wilcher, 24, of the first block of Loran Court in Elkton was pronounced dead just before midnight Tuesday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, according to state police spokesman Greg Shipley.

Robert D. Roberts, 38, of the 200 block of E. High St. in Elkton was arrested and charged with killing Wilcher and attempting to kill Wilcher's cousin, Elliott Jones, 23, of North East. Jones sustained minor injuries.

Police have not determined a motive for the stabbing, but Shipley said, "the argument may have been over a girl."

Troopers received a report of a stabbing at the Cedar Hill townhouse complex in the 100 block of North Main Street Extension shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday. When troopers arrived, a crowd of about 100 people began to disperse, Shipley said. Smaller groups formed, and fights broke out.

Wilcher appeared to have been stabbed in his upper torso, police said. The weapon - a 12-inch bayonet - was found at the scene.

Shipley said members of the crowd attacked Roberts, who suffered a broken arm, a concussion and several broken teeth. He was treated at Union Hospital in Elkton and released at 2 a.m. yesterday. Later, he was remanded to the county Detention Center and was being held without bail.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the North East barracks of the state police at 410-996-7800.

Liz F. Kay

Servitude Case: Sentencing

Woman to go to jail before deportation

A Montgomery County woman convicted of holding a Nigerian girl and forcing her to work as an unpaid servant has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison and will be deported after that time.

U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte listened to a statement from the now 23-year-old victim before sentencing Adaobi Stella Udeozor on Tuesday. The victim had been taken from her family in Nigeria when she was 14 under the false belief that she was being adopted to attend school in the United States, according to evidence presented in federal court.

Udeozor, a physician who lives in Darnestown, was convicted of conspiracy and harboring an alien for financial gain in 2004. A jury acquitted her of forcing the girl to work as a domestic slave but made a special finding that the girl had been held in involuntary servitude for more than a year. "You're sending an innocent person to prison," Udeozor told the judge before sentencing.

Messitte ordered Udeozor to pay restitution of $110,249 to the young woman for her labor.

In the past six years, federal prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt have won at least six convictions in forced-labor cases. Such mistreatment is common, according to law enforcement officials and advocacy groups.

Associated Press

Dorchester County: Cambridge

Mayor retains power in personnel issues

Voters have defeated a charter amendment that would have taken the authority to make personnel decisions away from Cambridge Mayor Cleveland Rippons. The proposed amendment had been approved by a divided City Council.

Claude Gootee, Cambridge's supervisor of elections, said voters opposed the change in Tuesday's balloting by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

Official election results will be released April 28, Gootee said.

Associated Press

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