Charles Taylor’s son jailed
“Chuckie” Taylor, son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, was sentenced in a federal court on Friday to 97 years in prison for torturing and killing people in the west African country. Taylor’s mother said on Friday that he would appeal the ruling in coming days. Charles McArthur Emmanuel Taylor, 31, a US citizen also known as “Chuckie,” was found guilty in October of crimes committed while he was the head of Liberia’s antiterrorist services during his father’s 1997 to 2003 rule. Judge Cecilia Altonaga said there was no reason for a reduced, 20-year sentence requested by the defense, instead insisting “1,164 months in prison is the appropriate sentence” for crimes of “universally condemned torture.”
Inmate eats own eyeball
A death row inmate in Texas tore out his eyeball with his fingers and ate it, leaving him blind after he gouged out his other eye several years ago, the state’s department of criminal justice said on Friday. “We don’t know how it happened,” said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the department. “There are no indications that he used anything other than his hands.” Andre Thomas, 25, was now in a secure psychiatric facility after he pulled out his left eye last month at the death row unit in Livingston in eastern Texas, Clark said. Thomas was condemned for killing his wife, son and infant stepdaughter in 2004, according to the department’s brief account of the case. Local media reports said he had ripped out the hearts of his victims.
Would-be robber mucks up
A man may have tipped off his intentions when he stood in line at a bank wearing a ski mask before staging a holdup. Police in Stow, Ohio, said Feliks Goldshtein of Highland Heights was arrested on Thursday following a brief car chase. Police say the teller asked the man to take off the mask before being served. The man displayed what turned out to be a toy gun and demanded money from the teller. He made off with an undisclosed amount. Police Captain Rick Myers said it was unusual for a masked robber to wait in line at a bank. The 24-year-old man remained jailed on Friday on charges of aggravated robbery and failure to comply with a police order.
Army uses video games
The US Army, struggling to ensure it has enough manpower as it fights wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is wooing young people with video games, Google maps and simulated attacks on enemy positions from an Apache helicopter. Departing from the recruiting environment of metal tables and uniformed soldiers in a drab military building, the army has invested US$12 million in a facility that looks like a cross between a hotel lobby and a video arcade at the Franklin Mills shopping mall in Philadelphia.
‘Sopranos’ actor jailed
Former Sopranos actor Lillo Brancato Jr was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison for his part in a botched 2005 burglary in which his accomplice killed an off-duty police officer. The actor, who played a low-level mafia operative in the hit show, was found guilty last month of attempted burglary but was acquitted of second-degree murder charges. His accomplice, Steven Armento, received a life sentence after being found guilty of first-degree murder. The case stemmed from an attempt by the two men to break into a New York apartment to steal painkillers.