Mom pleads manslaughter
A California woman accused of killing her infant son by breastfeeding him after she used methamphetamine has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The Times-Standard of Eureka reported that Maggie Wortman entered her plea on Monday as part of a deal with prosecutors. An autopsy on six-week-old Michael Acosta III found that the infant died of “methamphetamine toxicity” on Nov. 21, 2010. Prosecutors initially tried to charge Wortman with murder, saying she should have known the dangers of breastfeeding after smoking the drug. However, a judge threw out the charge, saying there was insufficient evidence to support it. She faces anywhere from probation to nearly 12 years in prison when she is sentenced on March 5.
Gang wants peace for pope
A drug gang warned its rivals to keep the peace when Pope Benedict XVI visits next month. The warnings, hung in banners around the central state of Guanajuato and signed by the Knights Templar gang, were quickly removed on Tuesday and came shortly after the local archdiocese made a plea to drug gangs to avoid violence during the pope’s visit. Asked about the warnings, Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire on Tuesday told a news conference: “There will be security based on the rule of law in Guanajuato.” The pope is scheduled to travel to three cities of Guanajuato from March 23 to 26.
Workers die in crash
Ten migrant workers from Peru and Jamaica were killed when a truck hit a passenger van on Monday afternoon, officials said. The truck driver was also killed. The crash was the deadliest in Ontario since 1999. Three people in the van survived. Police said one was airlifted to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, and the other two were seriously injured. “On behalf of 13 million Ontarians, I want to offer our deepest condolences to those who lost a loved one and to offer our most sincere prayers for those taken to hospital,” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said in a statement. No names of the victims have been released. Albert Burgers, who owns the farm where the workers were on Monday before the crash, said some had been with his crew for more than 10 years. Police told the CEO of the truck company, Speedy Transport, that the van apparently went through a stop sign and was hit by the truck. The impact sent the van hurtling across a lawn before smashing into a house.
Art thief pleads guilty in NY
A wine steward who plucked artwork off hotel and gallery walls in a bicoastal spree admitted on Tuesday to stealing a US$350,000 drawing in New York, resolving charges there after serving jail time in California. Mark Lugo, whom prosecutors described as an art-loving thief who stole to decorate his own apartment, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the New York case. He admitted he took the pricey sketch by the Cubist painter Fernand Leger from a lobby gallery at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel on June 28. Besides the Leger, he was charged with stealing five works by the South Korea-born artist Mie Yim from another hotel on June 14. Lugo, 31, is set to be sentenced on Feb. 28 to one to three years in prison. His lawyer, James Montgomery, said that Lugo could get out in less than a year if he succeeds in a boot-camp-style prison program. As for the San Francisco charges, Lugo pleaded guilty in October to grand theft. He finished his 138-day sentence on Nov. 21.