City / County Digest


December 12, 2006

APG employee acquitted of theft

A federal jury has acquitted an Aberdeen Proving Ground employee charged with stealing from the military base where he worked, lawyers in the case confirmed yesterday.

Ellis Lonabaugh, 52, of Elkton was acquitted Friday evening after a one-week trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on conspiracy, bribery and theft charges.

According to prosecutors, another Aberdeen employee and a salesman for an industrial products company earlier pleaded guilty to a scheme that prosecutors say defrauded the Army of as much as $429,000.

But Lonabaugh's lawyer, Roland Walker, said yesterday that his client was never involved despite the testimony of the two other defendants.

The jury returned a not-guilty verdict on all counts in three hours, he said.

Army employee Douglas Atwell, a civilian who managed a "tool crib" at the proving ground's Aberdeen Test Center, said he used his government purchase card to order items through the salesman at inflated prices that were billed to the Army but might never have arrived, according to prosecutors.

Walker said Lonabaugh, a 20-year employee at Aberdeen, had been suspended without pay.

A spokesman at the military installation in Harford County did not answer a reporter's request yesterday about Lonabaugh's current job status.

Matthew Dolan

No distress call was made before Arundel plane crash

The pilot of a small plane that crashed near an airport in Edgewater made no distress call before going down, a federal investigator said yesterday. The pilot and his passenger were killed.

The last communication from the single-engine Cessna 210 came Saturday when it was about 10 miles northwest of Lee Airport, said Luke Schiada, the lead National Transportation Safety Board investigator in the incident. He did not elaborate.

The plane crashed a few hundred yards short of the runway - between two small hills by Beards Creek - killing Timothy Kramer, 49, of College Station, Texas, and Deborah Giant, 50, of Bryan, Texas.

Yesterday, the wreckage was moved to a salvage facility in Delaware, Schiada said.

Nia-Malika Henderson

Carroll County: Westminster

Protesting church must pay family

Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., has been ordered to pay $3,150 in costs and fees associated with a summons and complaint filed by the father of a Marine from Carroll County whose funeral was picketed by its followers. Albert Snyder of York, Pa., is suing the Rev. Fred Phelps and his church after church members demonstrated at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder of Westminster and posted pictures of the protest on their Web site. Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq in March. The father's lawsuit, filed June 5 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, contends church members violated the family's right to privacy. Phelps and the church refused to grant a waiver in the serving of summonses in connection with the lawsuit, making the church liable for those costs. Court documents say the church has 30 days to make the payment.

Associated Press

Baltimore: Fells Point

Housing forum set for tomorrow

A forum titled "Changing the Paradigm: Providing Housing First" will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Beans & Bread Outreach Center, 402 S. Bond St. in Fells Point. The forum will include a panel of experts including Jeff Singer, president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless; Stephanie Archer-Smith, deputy director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Baltimore, which sponsors the Beans & Bread center; and formerly homeless individuals. The event is the second in a series of three forums to commemorate National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, Dec. 21.

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