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Nation & World briefs, June 12

Massachusetts

Judge rejects bid to delay Bulger trial

James “Whitey” Bulger, a reputed gangster and legendary figure in Boston, is set to go on trial in a sweeping racketeering indictment accusing him of a long list of crimes, including participating in 19 killings.

Opening statements are set for this morning after a judge yesterday rejected a defense request for a delay.

Bulger’s lawyers had asked Judge Denise Casper to delay opening statements so they could investigate an allegation that state police thwarted an investigation into a key prosecution witness: John Martorano, a convicted hitman who admitted to killing 20 people.

The judge said in court that an investigation found the allegation about the state police protecting Martorano to be untrue.

CAlifornia

Police: Gunman was
mentally evaluated

A gunman who killed five people last week in Santa Monica, Calif., was held for a mental evaluation at a hospital after the police searched his home for weapons and explosives in 2006, a former police officer said yesterday.

Officers went to the house where John Zawahri lived with his father after the teen made repeated violent threats against students, teachers and campus security officers at Olympic High School, retired Santa Monica police officer Cristina Coria told the Associated Press.

Coria said she helped execute the search warrant but did not know the results of the mental evaluation. The police have declined to provide details because Zawahri was a juvenile at the time.

Earlier, Oscar de la Torre, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified school board, said the police had discovered bomb-making materials in a search of the home.

Maine

Lobsterman, 90, survives sinking

A 90-year-old lobsterman is eager to get back on the water after surviving the sinking of his boat by swimming to a nearby island through the cold waters of the Gulf of Maine.

Philip Tuttle, of the Great Island community of Harpswell, is on the mend, but his boat needs more work to ensure the engine is okay and the electronics are restored, daughter-in-law Verian Tuttle said.

His boat, Queen Tut, hit rocks Saturday, lurched and took on water in choppy, 50-degree seas after the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea passed through the area.

After the boat filled, he ended up swimming 20 to 30 yards to Hen Island.

The Associated Press

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