Sat, Apr 14, 2007 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ UNITED STATES

Vatican defrocks ex-priest

The Vatican has defrocked a former priest accused of sexually assaulting and whipping boys participating in Passion plays, the Philadelphia archdiocese said. The Reverend Thomas Smith was accused of putting pins in his mouth and pricking the boys until they bled, according to a 2005 grand jury report. He also was accused of whipping boys participating in dramatic representations of the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ. The diocese said in a statement on Thursday that the allegations in the grand jury report had been found to be credible and called the behavior "depraved and sadistic" in determining Smith should be defrocked.

■ UNITED STATES

Attorneys challenge deal

Attorneys for a man convicted of murdering a six-year-old girl when he was 12 years old said they want his 30-year sentence vacated on the grounds that one of his former attorneys was incompetent. A motion was filed in the 4th District Court of Appeals in Florida earlier this week, said Jim Lewis, an attorney for Lionel Tate. Tate was once the youngest person in modern US history to receive a life sentence after he was convicted of murder in the 1999 beating death of six-year-old Tiffany Eunick. But the sentence was thrown out in 2004 and he was given a plea deal and probation. Tate began serving a 30-year sentence for violating his probation after he was arrested for allegedly robbing a pizza delivery man at gunpoint in May 2005.

■ UNITED STATES

Girl stabs newborn to death

A 17-year-old girl stabbed her newborn baby 135 times and then tossed her body in a garbage can outside her home in Minnesota, authorities said. The high school senior told police she gave birth on the floor of the laundry room in her home early on Monday, according to court documents. Nicole Marie Beecroft said she saw the baby's finger move and then stabbed the child in a "panic state," the complaint said. An autopsy determined the infant was born alive, but suffered numerous puncture wounds in the chest area and bled to death from 135 sharp-force injuries, the complaint said. Beecroft was charged with first-degree, or premeditated, murder and was being held in a juvenile detention facility.

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