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A Question of Substance


Usually it’s the Supreme Court justices who get to ask the tough questions. But every so often, prominent public figures come to Georgetown, and undergraduates glean the rare opportunity to ask questions in return.

Last Wednesday, those who attended Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s lecture received an index card where they could write one question for Sotomayor to answer during the standard post-lecture question-and-answer session — a Gaston Hall standard that usually fosters a candid discussion and enriches university programming. In Wednesday’s case, however, the questions were screened and posed by a university official, rather than the student or event attendee who originally wanted an answer.

MISSING: 61-year-old Frederick,Md. woman

FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA9) -- Police are searching for a 61-year-old Frederick woman who was last seen overnight, authorities said. 

Margo Gaither, 61, was last seen at 3 a.m. on Kingfisher Dr. in Frederick, Md., in the area of the Giant Food, Frederick police said. 

She is described as a light-skinned black woman, standing 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. Authorities said she has short gray hair and green eyes. Gaither was last seen wearing a 3/4 length puffer style black jacket, jeans and black rim eye glasses. 

Md. high school coach retires after scuffle with student

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - A high school football coach in Frederick has retired following a complaint that he scuffled with a player.

St. John's Catholic Prep President Thomas Powell said Thursday that John Ricca retired to pursue other activities.

Ricca couldn't be reached for comment. Calls to his listed home number were eventually answered by a man who said it was a Pizza Hut.

Ricca coached for 10 seasons, starting in 2002.

Seventeen-year-old Errance Meeks Jr., a senior co-captain last season, says Powell pulled him over a table, knelt on his chest and choked him in the gymnasium Feb. 4. Meeks says the episode started with horseplay that he, Meeks, initiated.

Powell says he has apologized to the boy's parents "for any activity that was not up to the standards of a private school."

Cattle on the loose on I-81 after truck overturns

MIDDLETOWN, Va. (WUSA9) -- Officers are rounding up cattle after a tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 81 near the I-66 interchange in Frederick County, Virginia State police said. 

Northbound I-81 is currently shut down at 300.5 MM right before I-66. 

The tractor-trailer overturned around 5:28 a.m. on Interstate 81 at the 300-mile marker close to the I-66 interchange in Frederick County, police said. The tractor-trailer was loaded with 33 cattle. It was going north on I-81 when it ran off the side of the highway and overturned in the median, police stated. Six cattle escaped when the trailer overturned and six did not survive the crash. 

Police and fire crews have been trying round up the cattle. A veterinarian responded to the scene of the crash and has been treating the cattle. 

Man charged with 1996 murder of 15-year-old girl

FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA9) -- A man living in Kansas City has been charged with the murder of a 15-year-old girl nearly 20 years after her body was found in Frederick, police announced Monday.

Lloyd Harris, 52, is also accused of raping Stacy Lynn Hoffmaster before police say he killed her and disposed of her body in 1996. On Thursday, officers from Frederick traveled to Kansas City and charged Harris with first-degree murder. 

Hoffmaster's body was found on December 23, 1996, under a moving blanket in a wooded area almost four months after she was first reported missing. An autopsy found that Hoffmaster was choked to death.

Got an extra $10k? This jet-engine powered go-kart could be yours

MIDDLETOWN, Md. (WUSA9) -- If you're looking for an adrenaline rush (and possibly a few broken bones) in a last-minute Christmas gift, there's a jet-engine powered go-kart up for sale in Maryland.

According to a Craigslist post, a Frederick County man is selling a custom model go-kart powered by a Boeing 502-12 gas turbine engine.

The thrill ride, however, won't come cheap. In the post, the seller is asking for $10.500 for the go-kart.

WUSA9 has a call into the Frederick County Sheriff's Office for information about the legality of the go-kart. 

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Man pleads guilty, gets 12 years in high school shooting

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - The second suspect in a Maryland high school shooting that wounded two teenage boys has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault and is sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Twenty-two-year-old Brandon Tyler entered the plea Tuesday in the Feb. 4 incident at Frederick High School. Prosecutors dropped two other charges of first-degree assault and other charges.

Co-defendant Chandler Davenport pleaded guilty in August to two counts of reckless endangerment. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6.

Frederick County man convicted of fatal child abuse

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - A Frederick County man faces the prospect of several decades in prison after a jury convicted him of fatally abusing his 3-month-old son.

The jury returned the verdict Monday after deliberating about 90 minutes at the end of a six-day trial. The panel found 27-year-old Ryan Huffer guilty of first- and second-degree child abuse and second-degree assault. He was acquitted of first-degree assault.

First-degree child abuse resulting in death carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. Second-degree assault carries a 10-year maximum sentence. Sentencing is set for Feb. 24.

Huffer was charged in October 2014, eight months after Logan Luaces died from a brain injury. Huffer told police he had tripped and fallen with the baby in his arms.

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Frederick Co. family says it endured '14 month hate crime'

NEW MARKET, Md. (WUSA9) -- A Frederick County man who has posted seemingly racial motivated signs that attack his next-door neighbor won't face any charges, according to the county sheriff's office. 

The man has agreed to move out of the house one month from Monday, but the neighbor at the center of these possible attacks says that's not soon enough.

"I had no idea I was going to come move right next door to hell basically," Dante, the neighbor, said. Dante has requested that WUSA9 not use his last name after enduring what he called a 14-month hate crime.

"This entire neighborhood has been terrorized by this gentleman," Dante said. 

The neighbor has allegedly posted profanity-laced signs, hung confederate flags, blasted loud music and even chased a school bus on his motorcycle after a child on board reportedly called him a "loser".

Dante says the neighbors actions have escalated.

Md. town to keep 'Colored Soldiers' plaque on WWI statue

EMMITSBURG, Md. (AP) - Emmitsburg commissioners have announced their decision to keep a controversial plaque at the base of a statue.

Board of Commissioners President Tim O'Donnell tells The Frederick News-Post the commissioners received feedback regarding the plaque before they made the announcement Tuesday.

The plaque on the Emmitsburg statue recognizes over 100 local WWI veterans and features three names under the heading "Colored Soldiers.

O'Donnell says some local veteran groups wanted the original plaque to be retained while others called for a new plaque that does not refer to race.

The statue stood in front of the Emmit House in Emmitsburg until it was hit by a car in June. The four town commissioners who were present also voted to accept a $40,000 bid to fix the statue.