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Errant shells kill soldier from Ocala

A soldier from Ocala died and 14 were injured Wednesday when two artillery shells fell far short of their target and sent shrapnel ripping through a mess tent during military exercises.

Pfc. William Hamm, 34, died and Staff Sgt. Eric Hall, 34, of Phoenix was in critical condition, Fort Drum officials said.

The injuries suffered by Sgt. Antonio Pruitt, 21, of Miami, Pvt. Olden Wilson, 19, of Tallahassee, and 12 others did not appear life-threatening, according to Maj. Kenneth McDorman.

McDorman said the soldiers were part of the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum and involved in heavy fighting in Afghanistan in recent weeks.

The Army is investigating what went wrong at the sprawling base near Watertown early Wednesday morning, when an artillery company began firing shells from a 105mm howitzer at a target about 5 miles away.

Two of the shells fell to earth a mile and a quarter short of the target, near where scores of soldiers were having breakfast about 7:20 a.m.

Each shell had enough explosives to destroy a tank, McDorman said.

It remained unclear why the artillery company _ the C battery from the Second Battalion 15th Field Artillery _ had fired over the other unit's encampment.

Dog mauling jury

reaches some verdicts

LOS ANGELES _ The jury in the San Francisco dog mauling trial reached verdicts Wednesday on four of five counts facing a couple accused in the death of a neighbor, then adjourned until today to consider the last charge.

Superior Court Judge James L. Warren told the jury foreman to seal the completed verdicts in an envelope, which was to be kept under lock overnight. There was no indication which of the five counts remained undecided.

Robert Noel, 60, and his wife, Marjorie Knoller, 46, are charged in the death of neighbor Diane Whipple, 33, who was fatally mauled on Jan. 26, 2001, outside her apartment by at least one of the couple's dogs.

Knoller is charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous dog that killed a person. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Noel, who wasn't home at the time of the attack, faces only the latter two charges. He faces up to four years if he is convicted.

B-2 stealth bomber cracks not considered dangerous

WASHINGTON _ The Air Force says 16 of its 21 B-2 stealth bombers have developed tiny cracks in their rear sections, but military officials do not believe the cracks are a danger.

The cracks are in the titanium deck behind the engine exhausts, Maj. Rob Koon, an Air Force spokesman, said Wednesday.

"This is not a safety of flight issue," Koon said. "The aircraft is fully capable of doing flight operations, and there are no restrictions on it. Most aircraft will develop cracks over time."

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