Police catch Mafia fugitive with Massachusetts ties

Authorities say they’ve caught a Mafia-affiliated fugitive who spent two days on the run after kicking out the door of a prison van in Kentucky.

U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Craig Smith said 37-year-old Derek A. Capozzi was captured without incident Saturday afternoon. Capozzi escaped from custody Thursday. He had been in Kentucky to testify in a federal trial.

In 2005, Capozzi was identified by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts as a member of a Mafia-affiliated drug gang that killed a 19-year-old woman suspected of cooperating with investigators.

Capozzi was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison for helping to dismember and hide the body. Authorities said he also was serving time for trying to kill a correctional officer.


Tabby cat from New Mexico gets round trip to Chicago

No one knows how a tabby cat named Charles traveled the 1,300 miles from his New Mexico home to Chicago, but he’s set for a complimentary flight home on American Airlines in a carrier donated by an Albuquerque business.

Charles disappeared about eight months ago while his owner was out of town and a friend was caring for him.

Then, this past week, Robin Alex received a call telling her Chicago Animal Care and Control had picked up her wandering cat as a stray. Staffers reached out to Alex after finding that Charles had a tracking microchip embedded between his shoulder blades, said the agency’s executive director, Cherie Travis.

But Alex said she could not afford the round-trip ticket to Chicago to bring Charles home, so she was afraid he might be euthanized.

Enter fellow Albuquerque resident Lucien Sims, who was on his way to Chicago on Thursday for a wedding, so he said he would go to the shelter, pick up Charles and bring him back to New Mexico.


Sudanese opposition leader calls elections fraudulent

A top Sudanese opposition leader says he will not recognize the results of the nation’s first multiparty elections in decades, citing allegations of fraud.

Hassan Turabi, leader of the Islamic Popular Congress Party, said Saturday his group would reject the results of last week’s vote and challenge them in court.

The PCP was one of the few top opposition groups to participate in the elections. Other opposition parties boycotted the polls because of alleged irregularities. Election observers say the vote fell short of international standards.

Turabi helped bring President Omar al-Bashir to power before a falling out made them fierce rivals. Turabi was jailed last year when he urged al-Bashir to face international war crimes charges in Darfur.


Indian priest no longer working at Italian church

An Indian priest who pleaded no contest to assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Florida and was found to be posted in Italy has given up his job at the Italian church, officials said Saturday.

The Rev. Vijay Vhaskr Godugunuru was serving as deputy parish priest in Sarteano, a town of about 4,000 in Tuscany’s winemaking region.

His immediate superior, the pastor Rev. Fabrizio Ilari, said Saturday that Godugunuru had left his post. He said Godugunuru was no longer on duty as of Thursday, citing “his own tranquillity and our tranquillity.”

Ilari did not say whether Godugunuru was still in town and did not give any other details.

The ANSA news agency said this past week that Godugunuru had announced his intention to leave the job in talks with his bishop in Tuscany.

Godugunuru could not be reached by cell phone.


Federal officers open fire, wound man at crossing

Federal officers shot and wounded a man at the nation’s busiest border crossing Saturday after he sped away from a gate agent and rammed a pickup truck while crossing into San Diego County from Mexico, authorities said.

The shooting by two U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents occurred about 8:50 a.m at the San Ysidro Point of Entry, said San Diego Police Lt. Kevin Rooney.

The man drove up to a gate in a Chevrolet Tahoe and told a customs inspector he didn’t have any official identification. After offering some nonofficial documentation, the man was directed to a secondary inspection area.

Rooney said the driver accelerated up a departure lane, rammed a Ford pickup and crashed into concrete barriers as he tried to get into the northbound lanes of Interstate 5.

Agents on foot converged on the Tahoe and opened the door, trying to drag the driver out. The suspect drove in reverse, striking an agent with the Tahoe’s open door. The agent fired at the driver as he sped backward. A second agent opened fire and the driver crashed into the barrier again and stopped, Rooney said.

The suspect suffered one gunshot wound and was hospitalized under guard, Rooney said. The injury was not considered life-threatening.


Benedict begins pilgrimage without mentioning scandal

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday began a pilgrimage in Malta, a Catholic nation buffeted by the worldwide clerical sex abuse scandal and where victims are hoping to meet with him as a way to deal with their pain.

Benedict made no direct comments on the scandals during a five-minute appearance with reporters aboard the flight that took him from Rome, nor in his formal arrival remarks before Maltese officials and foreign diplomats at the airport.

The overnight trip is his first foreign travel since the full force of the scandals have rocked the church and threatened to engulf his papacy.

Benedict, for his earlier roles as an archbishop in Germany and later in his long tenure at the helm of the Vatican morals office, has been accused by victim groups of being part of systematic practice of cover-up by church hierarchy for pedophile priests. The groups are demanding he take responsibility for the Vatican as an institution.

With the pope listening at the airport welcoming ceremony, the president of this tiny Mediterranean island nation tackled the issue head-on.

“It would be wrong in my view to try to use the reprehensible indiscretions of the few to cast a shadow on the church as a whole,” President George Abela told the pontiff. “The Catholic Church remains committed to safeguarding children and all vulnerable people and to seeing that there is no hiding place for those who seek to do harm.”




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