News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*In February in Lakeland, after Justin Rezendes scratched and bit teachers, the principal, and the school police officer, he was arrested, booked, and fingerprinted. Mug shots were taken. Justin is six years old. Two weeks earlier in Pensacola, Chaquita Doman, age five, scratched and bit two officials at her school, and she too was arrested, booked, fingerprinted, and photographed. Justin seemed not to have been deterred by his brush with the law, declaring to a reporter minutes after he was released from custody: "I kicked their [school officials'] butts."

*In February police in Abha, Saudi Arabia, threatened new parents Abdullah Mohammed Ali, age 55, and Hasna Mohammed Humair, age 40, with arrest if they did not pick up their septuplets, who were born January 14, from the hospital. Hasna said she took a fertility drug only to regulate her menstrual period and had no idea the multiple births would happen. Abdullah, who has two other wives and nine other kids, is a cab driver and doesn't think he can support the new babies.

Courtroom Antics
*Just outside a Fort Lauderdale courtroom in September, defendant Mark Gusow, age 36, told his court-appointed attorney Laura Morrison, age 52, that he was going to ask the judge for a new lawyer. Morrison tried to persuade Gusow to stay outside and talk about it but he broke away and started back inside. Morrison then clamped him in a headlock and raked his face with her fingernails.

*In a New Year's Eve ruling, Hillsboro, Ohio, Municipal Judge James Hapner ordered chronic drunk driver Dennis Cayse (eighteen convictions) to move to within half a mile of a liquor store so he will not be tempted to drive home from bars. Furthermore, when he travels by automobile, he must either have another person between him and the driver or be handcuffed to the passenger-side door, so as to decrease the likelihood that he could drive and change seats if stopped.

*George Gaillard confessed to murder at the trial of his pal Lawrence Fuller in New Haven, Connecticut, in July, which helped Fuller, who had been charged with the killing and who was thus left with only the lesser crimes of kidnapping and assault. At his own trial in December, however, Gaillard testified that he did not kill anyone and that he confessed only to help Fuller. Partners in crime occasionally try to pull these feeble-sounding switches, but the jurors bought it and acquitted Gaillard. An Associated Press dispatch said Gaillard's own lawyer was "stunned" by the decision.

Least Competent People
*In October Polson, Montana, Sheriff's Deputy Grant Holle was suspended for fourteen days for violating department policy. He had come to help fellow officer Tina Schlaile, who was trying to prevent multiple DUI offender Rich Logan from driving away in his car. Though Logan's car was barely creeping along, Holle pulled his gun and fired a total of eight shots. Schlaile fired six shots at the tires and missed every time. Logan got out of his car voluntarily a few minutes later.

*In November in Annapolis, Maryland, during a celebration of Gregory Johnson's 32nd birthday, his cousin Darwin Derwood Coates, age 21, tucked a .22-caliber handgun into the waistband of his trousers and accidentally shot himself in the groin. Johnson relieved him of the gun and stuck it in the most convenient place he could find, which was the waistband of his own trousers. The gun fired again, striking Johnson in the buttocks. Both men were hospitalized.

-- By Chuck Shepherd