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Man Given Life Terms for Slayings of Family
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Man Given Life Terms for Slayings of Family

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WARSAW, Mo. (AP) - A man accused of killing his wife and

six other relatives pleaded guilty Friday to three of the

deaths and was sentenced to three life prison sentences

with no chance for parole.

James Schnick, 40, originally was convicted of three counts

of first-degree murder in the Sept. 25, 1987, slayings,

and sentenced to death. But the Missouri Supreme Court overturned

the convictions because of problems with jury selection.

Schnick pleaded guilty in a mostly empty Benton County Circuit

Court. He admitted killing his wife, Julie, 30, and nephews

Kirk Buckner, 14, and Michael Buckner, 2, in the tiny southwestern

Missouri farming community of Elkland.

Also killed in the early-morning spree were Schnick's wife's

brother, Steve Buckner, 35; Buckner's wife, Jeannette, 36,

and their two other sons, Dennis, 8, and Timmy, 6. Schnick

never was tried in those murders and the plea agreement

reached Friday stipulated he would not be prosecuted in

those cases.

All the victims were killed early Sept. 25 at the Schnick

and Buckner dairy farms.

Schnick originally blamed the slayings on his nephew Kirk,

and claimed he then killed the boy in self-defense. The

murder weapon was found clutched in Kirk's right hand.

But suspicion shifted toward Schnick after authorities learned

the dead boy was left-handed.

DNA Tests Link Estranged Husband to Alleged Rape

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - DNA testing has led to the arrest

of the estranged husband of a woman who reported she was

raped at knife-point by a masked intruder.

Bruce C. Zollo, 48, of Barefoot Bay, Fla., was arrested

Wednesday in Florida and returned to Connecticut, said police

Lt. Peter N. BonTempo Jr.

Zollo entered no plea on a charge of sexual assault with

a deadly weapon in a court appearance Thursday.

Zollo's wife, now 35, told police a masked intruder armed

with a knife surprised her in her home in February 1991.

She said the man blindfolded and handcuffed her and raped

her for 1 1/2 hours. He used duct tape to bind her face from

nose to forehead, and dragged her around the house by her

hair, clothing and limbs, police reports said.

In May 1991, police got a warrant to obtain blood, hair

and urine samples from Zollo, BonTempo said.

Police Say O'Hare Driver Hit Accelerator, Not Brake

CHICAGO (AP) - An 87-year-old man whose car careened into

a crowd of children at O'Hare International Airport - killing

a girl - hit the accelerator instead of the brakes, police

said Friday.

Martin Horvath's car jumped a curb Thursday and plowed into

two bus loads of children lined up along a sidewalk for

a tour of the world's busiest airport.

"He thinks that the car accelerated on its own. We think

he hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal," said

Sgt. Bill Diaz of the Major Accident Investigations unit.

Nine-year-old Rebecca Westlake was killed and 78 people,

including 65 children, were injured. Five adults and 12

children remained hospitalized Friday.

Former HUD Aide Pleads Innocent to Charges

WASHINGTON (AP) - Deborah Gore Dean, a former top federal

housing aide, pleaded innocent Friday to charges of receiving

an illegal gratuity and making a false statement.

Independent counsel Arlin Adams said additional charges

are expected against her in the investigation of alleged

influence-peddling at the Department of Housing and Urban

Development during the Reagan administration.

Ms. Dean, the former executive assistant to then-Housing

Secretary Samuel Pierce, is accused of receiving $4,000

illegally in connection with a private request for HUD funds.

She also is charged with filing a false statement, stating

that she had no conflicts of interest, when a Senate committee

was considering her nomination to be an assistant HUD secretary

in 1987. Both counts are felonies.

The judge set a trial date for June 3, pending any word

on possible additional charges.

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