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MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007
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Nation In Brief

Hotel fire trial starts Monday

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Brenda Brazell still remembers waking to the screams of “Help! My baby!” and then desperately searching a smoke-filled hotel hallway for her son and granddaughter, who were staying a few rooms away.

Brazell’s family survived, but the crying woman and her baby boy were among the six guests who died in the early morning hotel blaze in Greenville in 2004. Jury selection is to begin Monday for Eric Preston Hans, who is charged with one federal count of arson resulting in death.

“If he’s guilty, he needs to fry. That baby is what upset me so bad,” said Brazell, 60. “We’re all hurting, but that poor baby didn’t have a chance in the world.”

Obama, Clinton bank $30 million

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton ended the first half of the year with more than $30 million each for the presidential primaries, a formidable financial performance for the two leading Democratic White House contenders.

Obama reported having about $34 million in primary cash on hand; Clinton reported $33 million.

Obama led in fundraising for the period covering April though June, raising nearly $32 million for the primary election and about $1 million for the general election, according to reports filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission.

Engaged couple met on jury duty

NEW YORK — With this murder trial, I thee wed.

Love blossomed in a trial last year between alternate juror No. 3, Traci Nagy, and juror No. 6, Jonathan Cinkay. They picked up their marriage license last week, and Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis, who presided over the case, is to marry them next month.

The Daily News reported Sunday that the two made goo-goo eyes on the first day of the trial.

Fellow jurors encouraged Nagy, a 36-year-old market analyst, to date Cinkay, 33, a physical therapist.

The two went out to lunch during one long break.

“From there it just grew,” Nagy said. In the jury room they discussed movies, travel — everything but the case, which was banned from discussion. “It was a very good way to get to know someone,” she said.

Man sets off explosion in garage

CENTREVILLE, Va. — A man who was apparently trying to make fireworks touched off an explosion in his garage and set his house aflame Sunday, authorities said.

No one was hurt.

Flash powder, used in fireworks, was found among chemicals in the garage, said Mike Campbell, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A side of the attached garage was gutted, but the house didn’t appear to be badly damaged.

compiled from wire reports

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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