Around The Region

AROUND THE REGION

March 12, 2009

Verdict due today in Exxon suit

A Baltimore County jury will announce at 9 a.m. today a verdict in a civil suit brought against Exxon Mobil Corp. by some 300 Jacksonville residents after 26,000 gallons of gasoline seeped into the groundwater from a leaking pipe in 2006, Baltimore County Circuit Court officials said yesterday. The residents had sought compensatory and punitive damages worth "several billion dollars," said plaintiffs' attorney Stephen L. Snyder. The jury began deliberating the case Feb. 27 after a 19-week trial. Snyder had argued that Exxon officials knew leak-detection equipment was inadequate but ignored the potential for injury. The company said it accepts responsibility for the spill and its cleanup but asserted that it did not commit fraud or act with intentional malice or negligence.

Mary Gail Hare

30-year term imposed in fatal shooting

An Annapolis teenager was sentenced to life in prison with all but 30 years suspended for the fatal shooting of a neighbor last year, prosecutors said. Tyron Montray McGowan, 18, of the 1400 block of Tyler Ave. pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the fall in the death of Kwame Travon Johnson, 17. The boys had been arguing March 16 when McGowan fatally shot Johnson on a sidewalk in the Robinwood community, according to court testimony. McGowan was sentenced in Circuit Court Judge Michael E. Loney's courtroom this week and was referred to serve his sentence in the youthful offender program at Patuxent Institute in Jessup.

Julie Scharper

Two charged in fatal shooting of pit bull

A man and woman have been charged with animal cruelty in the fatal shooting of a pit bull in an Odenton park late last month, police said. The two had been watching the dog while its owner was recovering from surgery but decided that they did not want to care for it any longer and shot it, Anne Arundel County police said. Police arrested Philip Joseph Balboni, 25, of the 1000 block of Murdoch Court in Crofton and Sarah Nicole Tavanello, 21, of the 1400 block of Mara Vista Court in Crofton in the dog's death. According to police, Tavanello called the dog's owner Feb. 25 and told her that she needed to pick up her dog right away. When the owner said that she would be unable to get the dog for several hours, Tavanello and Balboni made plans o shoot the dog that evening, police said. Witnesses heard gunshots, police said, and found the dog dead when they went to investigate.

Julie Scharper

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