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UA News
Tuesday October 23, 2001

News Briefs


Simpson testifies in road-rage trial

O.J. Simpson took the stand at his road-rage trial yesterday and calmly denied reaching into another man's car to grab his eyeglasses, portraying the other driver as a hothead who instigated the episode.

The other driver "was a guy that needed decaf coffee," the former football star said.

Simpson, 54, could get up to 16 years in prison if convicted of auto burglary and battery for last year's dispute in the men's suburban Miami neighborhood. Police said the argument began after Simpson rolled through a stop sign.

Jeffrey Pattinson contends he was at his steering wheel when Simpson reached in through an open window and took the glasses, scratching Pattinson's face.

Simpson said he didn't reach into the vehicle to pull off the glasses and he didn't remember touching them. But he said his young son, who was in Simpson's vehicle during the confrontation, later told him he grabbed the glasses as the men stood outside their vehicles, trading shouts and profanity.

Simpson offered no explanation for the scratch.

Simpson said Pattinson got him to pull over by tailgating him, flashing his lights and ``sitting on his horn.''

Simpson said he and the other driver got out and argued over whether Pattinson had been cut off by Simpson at the stop sign. Simpson said the other driver called his name, then exploded with angry words and names, and that he reciprocated.

The testimony came to a halt after prosecutor Abbe Rifkin asked Simpson: "I didn't get to take your statement, did I?"


Youth hangs self at Halloween party

A 14-year-old boy, trying to make his role in a haunted hayride scarier, accidentally hanged himself in front of a group of people who thought he was acting. Caleb Rebh's post at the ride at Alpine Ridge Farms included a skeleton hanging by a noose in a nearby tree. His mother, Kathy Rebh, said he telephoned her Saturday night to say he felt awkward simply jumping out of the woods to scare passers-by.

He apparently spoke with other teens working at the event about replacing the skeleton with himself, his mother said.

Caleb put the noose around his neck but when he let go of the rope, he apparently was not heavy enough to prevent the branch from whipping back up and choking him, his mother said.

When he started scrambling to get the double-knotted rope off his neck, fellow workers seemed to think he was acting, she said.

"I think he thought he was safe because his feet were touching the ground," Kathy Rebh said.

Hayride employees and participants tried to resuscitate Caleb, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"To have ... people right there watching him die, choking to death and not do anything - I don't know if I can ever get over that," said Bryan Rebh, the teen's father. "They just thought he was doing his scene. But he wasn't doing his scene - he was dying."

The Kent County Sheriff's Department said the death was considered an accident.


Man arrested after checking bag containing gun

A man was arrested at Sky Harbor International Airport after checking a bag containing a loaded 9mm handgun hidden inside a VCR, the FBI said yesterday.

The gun was discovered Sunday evening when the bag belonging to Keith A. Brewer of Compton, Calif., was X-rayed by airport security, the FBI said in a news release.

Brewer, 45, who was flying to Los Angeles, had been in Phoenix to collect money he won from a friend in a sports bet, the FBI said. His friend didn't have the money, so he offered Brewer the handgun as payment, the FBI said.

Brewer was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on a count of trying to take a loaded weapon onto an aircraft. The charge notes the weapon wouldn't have been accessible to passengers.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach someone at Brewer's home to comment on the arrest were unsuccessful yesterday.



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