Altoona Mirror, October 25, 2001

Altoona Mirror

October 25, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, October 25, 2001

Pages available: 72

Previous edition: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Next edition: Friday, October 26, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 25, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania DISTRICT 5-6 PREVIEW: BOSTON, HINISH DEFEND CROSS-COUNTRY TITLES PAGE Bl Rockin' in the USA Altoona iUtrarr Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2001 500 newsstand DA will appeal Spotz trial From Mirror staff and wire reports CLEARFIELD The Clearfield County district attorney will appeal a slate (Superior court deci- sion ordering a new trial for cross- state killer Mark Sporz in one of foui' slay ings for which he was con- victed. District Attorney Paul Cherry isaid Wednesday that an appeal will be filed with the state Supreme Court by Nov. 3, the last day of a 30-day period allotted to file appeals. Spotz of Chest- nut Grove, Clear- field County, was tried in four sepa- i rate county courts for each of the slayings that took place in 1995 over a four-day period, lie was convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection for three counts of murder. He also was found guilty on one count of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his older Brother, Dustin, in .Clearfield' County. Spotz was accompanied on his crime spree by his girlfriend, Christina Noland of Altoona Attorneys for Spotz argued that he received inadequate counsel before being convicted of voluntary i manslaughter in his brother's death. i "We .don't agree with the deci- sion and feel the Superior Court was in error for deciding what they the attorney said. "We are appealing the decision, and that goes without saying." If the Supreme Court allows the 1 decision to stand, Cherry said he I, will try Spotz again. Spotz received a sentence of up to 35 years in his brother's death. Spotz, who is incarcerated at the state prison in Montgomery County, was sentenced to death for the .subsequent murders of three women in three counties while fleeing police. Spotz had been sentenced to die by lethal injection Aug. 2 after then-Gov. Tom Ridge signed a death warrant, but a York County 1 judge issued a stay of execution in June. Two other death warrants also were stayed by the courts. AMTRAK THREAT Mirror file pholo by Gary Passengers hoard an Amlrak-train at the Altoona Transportation Center in this file" photo.'Ariitrak increased security after a New York City man was taken off the train for allegedly, making u threat in a letter. HEIGHTENED SECURITY Amtrak tightens rules of the rail BY MARK LKDKRFINGER Staff Writer Amtrak police continue their investigation into an incident Tuesday morning at the Altoona Transportation Center when a New York City man was pulled off the train for allegedly making a threat. Meanwhile, Amtrak continues heightened security measures put' into place before the incident. Altoona police said the 44-year old man was connected to a threatening letter left on The Pennsylvanian train, which stated, "Pile dead bod- ies in mounds 6 deep starting with the rear car." The train was en route to Chicago from New York, when it made its slop in Altoona, Amtrak spokes- woman Karen Dunn said Wednesday. "I can't comment on specifics because this is an ongoing investiga Dunn said. "But it doesn't appear to be related lo Ihe Sept. 11 attacks." No charges had been filed as of Wednesday. The suspect was taken to the Community Crisis Center at Altoona Hospital. Altoona police said they sought a mental health commitment on the man but were denied. The Amtrak spokeswoman said after Sept. 11, the passenger rail company increased security in the train stations and.on trains. "We are also working closely with other police departments who over- see freight lines like Union Pacific and CSX. It would also hold true in the Altoona Dunn said, SECURtTY MEASURES Amtrak Implemented the (allow- ing safety precautions after a-', threat by a New York City man Tuesday Extra police patrols at train stations and on trains' All passengers must show valid photo Identification to buy tickets, or to check baggage Guests on Ihe Boston to Washington corridor must have a ticket before boarding the.traln Source Amtrak Judicial choices I on hold GOP senators abandoned hope' to get Bush nominees approved, including District Judge D. Brooks Smith of Altoona. From Mirror staff and wire reports Republican senators gave up hope this week of get- ting Democratic agreement to approve a specified number of President Bush's judicial nominees this year, including a local judge. District Judge D. Brooks Smith of Altoona, who serves as the chief judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania, was nominated Sept. 10 to serve as a judge in tho 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Smith's nomination is more recent than many of the nomina- tions under consideration. Last week, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., accused Judiciary Commit- tee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D- VI., of attempting to delay the nom- (nations of conservatives........ Smith has served ns a U.S. district judge for than a decade. Before his appointment to the federal bench, he was a judge of the Blair County Court of Common Pleas and a former Blair County district attorney. Smith had no comment Wednesday on reports that juclgeship appointments in the Senate are being delayed because of political wrangling. A Senate GOP source said the party expects mote nominations to be accepted, "but we don't grandiose agreement to move a large number of judges'." The Republican senators decided at their luncheon to wait until January, the start of an eleci.-; tion year, to pressure Democrats again to approve" Bush's nominees, the source said, speaking on tion of anonymity. That came as Republicans decided to end their-- blockade of the foreign aid appropriations bill In the. name of bipartisan support for the war on interna- tional terrorism. "We're going to go forward with the appropriations Senate Minority Leader Trent Lotl, said. "We're going to act in good he said. "We're going to do what these times call for. We hope they-- will do the same when it comes to confirming federijt; judges." Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D-, to force GOP senators to move forward with the foK3 eign aid appropriations bill Tuesday but could find the 60 votes necessary to do it. Democrats hold a edge. Please see A4 Smith UNDER A BUCK Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Cars drive into Sunoco at Allegheny and Penn streets, Hollidaysburg, where regular unleaded fuel costs 99 cents per gallon, Wednesday. Gas prices fell an aver- age of 9 cents per gallon in the past two weeks. Home Nursing Agency requests tax exemption! i BY KAY STEPHENS Staff-Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG Blair County commissioners Wednes- day started to review 90 appeals filed on real estate tax assess- ments, including the Home Nursing Agency's request for tax exemptions on 10 properties. In the first of four scheduled hearings to review tax appeals, representatives for the Home Nursing Agency of Altoona told commissioners their organization meets tax-exemption criteria. The agency's request represents 10 of the 51 Altoona properties whose owners have asked the county for The agency's request represents 10 of m 51, Altoona properties whose owners have asked Blair County commissioners tor tax tax relief. If commissioners grant Home Nursing's request, the coun- ty, city of Altoona and Altoona Area School District jointly will lose about in tax revenue. Commissioners made no deci- sions Wednesday and will con-tinue hearing appeals today and next week. Some decisions will be made within five days of the appeal, but others will require more research. Blair County Chief Tax Assessor Bud McGrain wants to learn how other counties treat properties owned by the nursing agency. The agency asked for a tax exemp- tion on its administrative building at 201 Chestnut Ave.; Community Health Center at 500-34 K. Chestnut Ave.; and other facilities, apart- ments and properties at 228-30 Sixth Aye., 300 Sixth Ave., 1901-1112th 909 Ave., 911- Ave. andonJuniataGapRoad. Home Nursing Agency President Richard J. Lender wrote; in a letter to the county that his'! agency meets a five-point criteria" i for lax exemption. That criteria" allows a tax exemption if the advances a charitable operates free from private motive, donates or renders a stantial portion of services, benefited 1 a substantial vclass of people whcf' I qualify for charity and relieves the" 1 government of some of its Please see Subscription or home delivery questions: or (BOO) 287-4480 I Lottery numbers, A2 Partly sunny, Forecast, A2 i Altnnna THE GREAT COMBINATION I Call money today. Ask for. THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7647 Business _ Hospitals Obituaries__ A9 A11 All A8 Scoreboard Movies D3 Dear Abby D5 Puzzles___ Television D5 D5 IN WORLD An Israeli military tion to arrest the assas- sins ol a Cabinet minister' turned Inlo a ounbatlle Wednesday, killing six L Palestinians. PAQE 9': X ;