Taking the fall – Thursday, April 2nd

Sunny, with a high near 70 today (finally). It’ll stay warm tomorrow, but with a chance of thunderstorms.


James Berry, a former boxer accused of killing his rival and another man in 2008, dodged conviction for the crime. A jury acquitted Berry of charges in the double murder of Howard Grant and Justin Berry (Grant’s cousin, no relation to James Berry). During the trial, key testimony came from “murder consultant” Quinzell Covington, who described how Berry approached him for help in getting away with murder. The defense went after Covington’s credibility (Covington is in prison for an unrelated murder and took a plea deal to avoid additional jail time from this case). Berry will stand trial later this year for another double murder in 2012.


Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is proposing a bigger budget for the city in the coming year, fueled by higher property tax revenues. Previously, the mayor has pledged that higher property values, combined with revenue from the Horseshoe Casino, would allow the city to ease its property tax rates – with revenue from the casino under estimates, no tax cuts are in the work for now.


Johns Hopkins University is facing a billion dollar lawsuit for experiments that spread STDs in Guatemala in the 1940s. In the experiments, US National Research Council scientists deliberately exposed subjects to syphilis and gonorrhea in order to study the spread of the diseases. The lawsuit targets JHU as several Hopkins doctors held key roles in the research panel that approved the experiments. Legal experts are skeptical of the strength of the lawsuit, given the amount of time that has passed and JHU’s indirect involvement.


Investigators discovered that a licensed hauling service was responsible for dumping truckloads of junk in Carroll Park last month. Most illegal dumps are carried out by unlicensed “guy with a truck” haulers. The responsible dumper could be facing thousands of dollars in fines and over a year in jail time.