Charlottesville Breaking News

Seccuro’s story inspires TV drama

Over a year after the Hook first extensively reported it, somebody at CBS decided the story of William Beebe, Liz Seccuro, and justice delayed 21 years would make a good TV show. At least that seemed to be the case when a recent episode of the CBS crime drama Close to Home hit the air. The opening sequence of the March 30 episode, entitled "Making Amends," features characters Ellen Pinter and Tim O'Neill exchanging e-mails about an event that Pinter writes "more than just hurt me that night." After a face-to-face meeting that goes awry, Pinter tells a prosecutor that

as part of his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, O'Neill has sent her a letter of apology for raping her at a fraternity party 11 years before, but that O'Neill danced around the word "rape." Eventually Marion County, Indiana prosecutors charge O'Neill with drugging and raping Pinter, at which point O'Neill cuts a plea deal to implicate fraternity brothers who also took part in the incide...

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600-pound black bear: 'It sounded like it was tearing my arm off'

It was just before dawn on Friday, November 17, and Thurman Hensley's life was about to change. Making his way over the rocky terrain and thick patches of mountain laurel of his 250-acre property bordering the Shenandoah National Park, the seasoned hunter and expert marksman tracked his prey. 

Then, at 8:30am, with the sun shining brightly on the cool fall day, Hensley finally spotted his mark. He raised his muzzle loader, took aim, and fired the gun's single round. Through the cloud of smoke, the 60-year-old saw the animal lurch as his bullet penetrated its torso behind the shoulder.

It could have been a fatal shot. But rather than fall, the massive creature lumbered off into the woods with Hensley close behind, determined to snare a prize kill and put the wounded animal out of its misery. An hour later, however, Hensley, now unarmed, found himself fighting for his own life, locked in a bloody battle to the death with Virginia's largest mammal.



Thurman Hensley discusses the attack by a 600-pound bear....

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$750,000 McGuffy Park renovation moves forward

At the Board of Architectural Review's February 20 meeting, final plans were approved for renovations to McGuffey Park. "That's an interesting project," says BAR vice-chair Syd Knight. "It's going to be a park unlike anything Charlottesville has seen." Indeed, as reported by the Hook in November 2005, the park will be a kind of "living sculpture," replete with design "footprints" of a Victorian mansion and kiddie equipment named "the Kuma," "the Argo," and "the Spica." Designed by free speech wall architects Pete O'Shea and Robert Winstead[error–sorry], the park project has a determined group of North Downtown residents, called Friends of McGuffey Park, who are continuing to raise money for their vision, which could cost as much as $750,000. Of course, not everyone was...

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Wintergreen sales controversy goes legal

The controversy over Wintergreen Resort's decision to partner with a big Charlottesville-based real estate firm has erupted into a federal lawsuit, according to a story in this morning's Daily Progress. Mountain Area Realty, which purportedly holds a 30 percent share of the market for properties at the Nelson County mountain playground, is claiming in the suit that the new partnership between Wintergreen and Roy Wheeler Realty Co. could monopolize the market. The issue first came to light in September with a Hook story by Courteney Stuart. #

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'A new life' cut short

Though today's morning testimony in the capital murder trial of Anthony Dale Crawford was all about material evidence, afternoon testimony turned far more emotional as friends and family of the victim, Sarah Louise Crawford, took the stand. "She came to our house early," testified Sarah's father, John Powers of Manassas, recalling the morning of October 29, 2004. "We were going to help her move out." Powers, Sarah, and her mother, Irene, drove to the Manassas apartment she had shared with Crawford, whom she married in 1999. Sarah, her father testified, believed Crawford would be away from home, looking for a job. That was not the case.

"He was lying on the sofa in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt," said Powers. When Sarah told Crawford he needed to get dressed because her parents were with her and she was planning to move out, Powers testified, Crawford dressed– but then quickly became hostile, telling Sarah, "You can't take anything." When she continued to collect her personal belongings– including her Green Card, as she and her mother are both British citizens– Powers said, Crawford called the police, who arrived soon after and confirmed that Sarah was within her rights to remove her possessions. Manassas Police Officer Michael Carlino testified that Crawford b...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse