In a major victory for nearly 9,000 plaintiffs in the nation's largest asbestos trial, a Baltimore jury Thursday said four asbestos manufacturers and installers are liable for punitive damages. The Baltimore City Circuit Court jury will hear evidence Tuesday on the financial situation of the GAF Corp., the Keene Corp., the Porter Hayden Co. and Pittsburgh Corning Corp. before determining a formula for punitive damages to the 8,552 plaintiffs. Last week the jury awarded a total of $11.2-million to three plaintiffs in compensation for injuries and deaths tied to asbestos exposure. The jury determined the companies were negligent in either making or installing their asbestos-containing products when they knew or should have known they were dangerous.
Law orders gun seizures in domestic violence cases
BOSTON _ The City Council has passed a resolution ordering police to confiscate the guns of people who have had restraining orders issued against them in domestic violence cases. The resolution, which must be signed by Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, was passed Wednesday and was designed to stem "the incredible pandemic of domestic violence," said council member Rosaria Salerno, who proposed it. Twenty-six women and children have died in domestic disputes since Jan. 1; 13 of them were shot to death, according to records compiled by the Boston group Battered Women Fighting Back.
executed in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY _ William Andrews, a death row inmate for 18 years, was executed by lethal injection Thursday, prison authorities said. The 37-year-old had been at Utah State Prison since he was 19 for the torture-murder of three people at a stereo store in 1974. Andrews' supporters, including Amnesty International, the NAACP and the Vatican, had argued that his life should be spared because he wasn't the triggerman at Ogden's Hi-Fi Shop killings. "Thank those who tried so hard to keep me alive. I hope they continue to fight for equal justice after I'm gone. Tell my family goodbye and that I love them," Andrews said in a statement read after his death. During the robbery at the stereo shop, five people were bound, forced to drink liquid Drano and shot. Three died. Co-defendant Pierre Dale Selby, who admitted shooting the victims, was executed in 1987.
1,965 bombs set off in U.S. in '91; 166 in Florida
WASHINGTON _ Bombings in the United States have more than doubled in the past five years and killed 330 people, the government reported Thursday. The report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said that in 1991, the latest year for which figures are available, 1,965 bombs were set off across the nation compared with 973 in 1987. "Vandalism and revenge are the predominant motives," said bureau spokesman Les Stanford. "But we have seen some increase in bombings associated with drug and gang activity." California, Illinois and Florida were special trouble spots. In 1991, 382 explosives _ mostly pipe bombs _ were ignited in California, 166 were set off in Florida and 122 in Illinois.
Sony wins round in fight over tapes of musicians
NASHVILLE, Tenn. _ A judge has barred a man from selling or hiding thousands of 1960 vintage audiotapes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and other stars pending a trial on who owns them. Sony Entertainment Corp. is seeking possession of the tapes from record producer Clark Enslin of Flemington, N.J. Sony wants to prevent the manufacture of unauthorized recordings of Dylan, Cash, Charlie Rich, Tammy Wynette, Marty Robbins and Bobby Vinton. Most the tapes were recorded by Columbia Records, which Sony now owns, and some have never been released. Enslin got the tapes from a couple who paid $50 for a storage room full of apparent junk at a Nashville warehouse auction. The tapes were among the items.
Cocaine prices up sharply, agency says
WASHINGTON _ Wholesale cocaine prices in four U.S. cities have risen sharply, indicating that enforcement efforts are cutting into the available supply, the Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday. The agency said data from Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York reflected a 30 percent to 40 percent increase in wholesale prices during the second quarter of this year. The agency said the average price per kilogram of cocaine ranged from $12,000 to $18,000 in the first quarter of the year and from $18,000 to $26,000 in the second.
Companies to pay $150-million for cleanup
LOS ANGELES _ A group of companies has agreed to pay $150-million to clean up ground water at the Stringfellow acid pits, in one of the the largest such settlements ever, federal officials announced Thursday. "We are gratified that instead of continuing to spend their resources solely on litigation, these parties have agreed to clean up the site," said Jeff Zelikson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency's hazardous waste management division. Stringfellow operated as a licensed industrial landfill from 1956 to 1972. The wastes, including probable carcinogens and heavy metals, were poured into unlined ponds scattered across 17 acres. The chemicals dumped there eventually seeped through the ground and into wells that supplied drinking water. The poisonous plume now extends about three miles south of the dump.