44 Anne Arundel school buses vandalized

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

2,000 riders affected

May 30, 2007

Forty-four Anne Arundel County school buses were vandalized over the Memorial Day weekend, affecting service for at least 2,000 students yesterday morning, a county schools spokeswoman said.

Tires were deflated on buses parked at two lots in Annapolis, one off Riva Road, said Maneka Wade, the schools spokeswoman, the other off Chinquapin Round Road. All of the buses were repaired by 10:45 a.m., Wade said, and service resumed its normal afternoon schedule.

Annapolis and Anne Arundel County police are investigating the vandalism.

The buses transport students who attend 25 schools in the South River, Annapolis and Broadneck feeder systems, she said.

While the school system posted an alert on its Web site and on its cable-access TV station and sent several thousand messages to parents' phone numbers before 7 a.m., Wade acknowledged that "we may not have reached everyone."

Lisa Kirby of Arnold, a Magothy River Middle School parent, drove her two eighth-graders in and picked up three other students waiting at the bus stop. She had heard the phone message early in the morning and saw online that her children's bus number was among the ones out of service.

"It really worked out very well," she said of the schools' notification system.

Harford County

Circuit Court

Convicted murderer's motion is denied

A Harford County Circuit judge denied a motion yesterday to grant a new trial to convicted murderer Charles Eugene Burns, whose attorneys argued that jurors were influenced by media attention.

Assistant Public Defender Lloyd G. Merriam argued that while jurors abstained from media coverage during the trial, it was possible that they "felt the weight" of media attention and did not want to be scrutinized like jurors in other high-profile cases.

Judge Stephen M. Waldron denied the new trial, saying jurors were asked each day whether they had viewed news reports. They remained curious about the significance of the trial even after they had returned their verdict, Waldron said.

Burns, a 35-year-old laborer, was found guilty in May of killing an Elkton woman whose body was among four that were found in remote fields around Aberdeen last summer. He has not been indicted in other killings, though blood from at least one of the other victims was found on the bottom of his vehicle.

Yesterday's hearing took place during what was supposed to be Burns' sentencing. Sentencing was rescheduled for Aug. 6.

Justin Fenton

Baltimore

Federal court

Man pleads guilty in investment scam

A 40-year-old West Virginia man pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore yesterday to conning two dozen people, including several Marylanders, out of $1.2 million for high-return investment loans he instead used for personal expenses.

Myrle C. Grose Jr., a licensed stockbroker in Ridgeley, W.Va., pleaded guilty to mail fraud for a scheme that targeted his friends, relatives and others to lend him money or invest with him between 2000 and 2004. Instead, prosecutors said, he used the funds for personal expenses, including gambling debts.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Aug. 16, when he is expected to receive a prison term of almost four years behind bars and be ordered pay restitution for his customers' losses.

Matthew Dolan

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