The week in review

Busiest day in court for former fugitives: Daniel Bradley Limbacher, 22, pleads guilty December 7 to second-degree murder in the death of his friend, Shawn G. Hatcher, whose bullet-riddled body was found near Oakwood Homes on U.S. 29 June 18. Limbacher, who was arrested at a Houston bus station, will serve 15 years of his 40-year sentence. The same day, Benjamin Lopez Rivera pleads guilty to breaking and entering his girlfriend's apartment, which was set on fire and destroyed March 18. Rivera was arrested in a laundromat in Florida. Liesel Nowak has both stories in the Daily Progress.

Worst day in court for Scott Peterson: A jury sentences him to death December 13 for the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci.

Worst day for heavy metal: Nathan Gale shoots Damageplan's Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott onstage December 9 at a Columbus, Ohio, concert and kills three more people before police gun him down.

Worst Washington area trend: Arson. Fires are set in 30 new homes in the new Hunter's Brooke subdivision in Charles County, Maryland, early December 6, burning 10 to the ground. And a regional arsonist is believed to have set 45 fires in the DC area over the past 21 months.

Oddest flashback to Allan Bakke: The Office of Civil Rights in the Education Department is investigating a complaint that UVA discriminates against white undergrad applicants, according to the Chronicle for Higher Education. The civil rights office has been asked to look into similar allegations involving UVA's and William and Mary's law schools, NC State's undergrad admissions, and Maryland's School of Medicine.

Latest Delegate Rob Bell bill: Bullying in school. Bell hosts a forum with clinical psychologist Peter Sheras December 15.

Biggest interstate custody appeal: Vermont civil unions v. Virginia's anti-gay marriage law. The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality Virginia file December 8 on behalf of Janet Miller-Jenkins, whose former partner, Lisa Miller-Jenkins, took the child she bore while the couple was together to Virginia and obtained sole custody.

Harshest gesture for the new neighbor: A legal challenge. Hydraulic Road area resident Renae Townsend appeals Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge's certificate of occupancy for its new headquarters, where abortions will be performed, to the Albemarle Circuit Court, Julie Stavitski reports in the Progress. Townsend and five other Garden Court townhouse residents have filed a separate lawsuit against Planned Parenthood and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.

Biggest defender of Christmas: John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, appears on Fox's O'Reilly Factor December 8 to explain how to mesh the religious holiday with public institutions. A guide, "The Twelve Rules of Christmas," is available on the Rutherford website.

Best time to go to Monticello: Before December 31. The cost of an adult ticket goes up a buck in 2005 to $14.

Grandest library opening: The Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture at UVA is dedicated December 8, ending months of construction in the middle of Grounds and providing a new home for the university's special collections.

Worst loose mattress: The U.S. 29 bypass is closed for about three hours December 7 after a mattress in the road causes a multi-car accident around 5:30pm between the Ivy Road and Fontaine exits.

Worst way to try to collect a reward: By telling police of your own involvement in the crime. Eric Daugherty, 21, provided information about an arson in Schuyler in hopes of collecting a $2,000 reward, and was indicted December 6 on five felony counts, according to a Reed Williams story in the Progress. Two others also face charges in the August 16 fire.